Shirlaw Allan & Co (Auctioneers)
Guide to the Shirlaw Allan sale catalogues, 1882-1972
Shirlaw Allan was established around 1880 in Hamilton and became a leader in their field. With industrial auctioneering becoming an increasingly competitive market, Shirlaw Allan merged with J A Cathcart in 1998 to form Shirlaw Cathcart Ltd which itself ceased trading in 2007. The collection was acquired from Dr Bill Lind in 1981.
In over a century of trading, they undertook the sales of a broad range of industrial equipment including collieries, railways, bakeries, golf club manufacturers, laundries, textile manufacturers, brickworks, shipyards, linoleum factories, paper mills and many more. These are an invaluable source for anyone wanting to know the equipment needed for a particular industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
With the benefit of hindsight, their most important sales took place in South Queensferry in 1890. The Forth Bridge opened in March and Shirlaw Allan was responsible for selling the plant and equipment that had been used in its construction. Three sale catalogues list the equipment in fascinating minute detail.
The collection also includes the sales catalogues of some art and furniture sales, including the sale of the contents of Bothwell Castle in 1919.
The collection index is available for download, see Shirlaw Allan collection index (39 pages, 849kb, pdf format).
The sale catalogues can be consulted in person in our searchroom, or copies can be requested using our copying services.