The Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel was known as The Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre until 10th January 2015. The Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel is an integral part of the Golden Jubilee Foundation and is unique within the NHS. The Golden Jubilee Foundation is the new name for the family of services that encompass the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, the Golden Jubilee Research Institute, the Golden Jubilee Innovation Centre and the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel (formerly the Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre).
Originally opened in 1995 as a private hospital and hotel complex, the Golden Jubilee campus has been owned and managed by the NHS since 2002. But it is not the first major undertaking to occupy the north bank of the River Clyde at Dalmuir – Beardmore, Glasgow has played an influential role in Scottish history.
On the north bank of the river, where the Golden Jubilee now stands, the land was once occupied by one of Scotland's greatest shipbuilding and engineering companies masterminded by William Beardmore.
Born in London in 1856, his father was a mechanical engineer who moved the family to Glasgow in 1861 when he co-founded Parkhead Forge, a steel mill and supplier to the thriving shipbuilding and railway industries on the Clyde in the East end of the city.
A young and energetic William, with a passion for engineering and a determination to expand the company's manufacturing base, eventually became head of the company. As the 20th century dawned William purchased over 80 acres of land at Dalmuir and began to lay out the most extensive and well-equipped private shipyard and marine engineering works in the UK.
In the past Dalmuir had been a small village with a modest connection to industry, the home of a calico works, a paper mill and a soda works during the 18th century. In 1860, it formed its first direct connection to the River Clyde when the Clyde Navigation Trust built workshops for the repair of its river craft at Dalmuir Shore.
Beardmore's new yard was on the "Dalmuir Bend" just down the river from John Brown's in Clydebank. The ambitious industrialist sank about £100 million in today's money into the Naval Construction Works, as the yard was called, and its opening, in June 1906, was marked with the launch of the battleship HMS Agamemnon for the Royal Navy.
Orders for ships required men with the skills to build them and housing them posed a problem. Beardmore solved the problem by constructing tenements in the area. Agamemnon Street, which is Golden Jubilee National Hospital's official address, was named after that first-launched battleship and a stone carving on the tenement which sits at the corner of Agamemnon Street and Dumbarton Road shows the ship plus the letters W B and Co.
Other Beardmore-built tenements still remain today and a sculpture of one of their other ships, HMS Ramillies, by local artist Tom McKendrick stands at the corner of Dumbarton Road and Beardmore Street.
Beardmore was a man for diversifying and the business had a remarkable range of products from vehicles, armaments including shells and tanks, aircraft, air ships and motorcycles.
Naval vessels in particular, including submarines, were designed and built by Beardmore and played a crucial part in World War One. It was during this time the shipyard had its employment peak of 13,000. Across the West of Scotland though he had more than 40,000 people engaged in war work.
Many were women brought in to replace the men who had joined the forces.
In recognition of his work he was honoured with the title Lord Invernairn of Strathnairn in 1921.
When the production of armaments ceased after the end of the war Beardmore constructed locomotives and steel houses in Dalmuir. The depressed years of the 1920s were a challenge and to begin with Beardmore managed to find sufficient orders to keep Dalmuir in production but never to make such a large works profitable.
The start of the Great Depression in 1929 was the beginning of the end. The yard which had produced a remarkable range of products including 107 ships, 393 locomotives and 539 aircraft closed its gates in January 1931 and the great shipbuilding gantry prepared for demolition.
The engine works managed to remain in production until 1936 which was the same year as which William Beardmore died. Many of the buildings survived until the 1980s being used in a variety of less attractive roles including making asbestos sheets and shipbuilding. Visitors to the Golden Jubilee Foundation might want to ponder the fact that they are standing on the ground where once great ships were launched into the Clyde.
Beardmore, Glasgow – A Tribute
In tribute to the history of Beardmore, Glasgow, the meeting rooms in the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel (previously, the Beardmore Hotel) are named after some of the famous vessels built here in Dalmuir, including Agamemnon, Cameronia and Zaza. You can read a short biography of each vessel on a plaque attached to the meeting room.