Records of Babcock International Group plc, boiler makers and engineers, England

Reference and contact details: GB 248 UGD 309/0-2, 7-9, 12, 16, 48, 50, 72, 94, 122, P, S, 201, 208
Title: Records of Babcock International Group plc, boiler makers and engineers, England
Dates of Creation: 1881-1987
Extent: 14 metres
Language of Material: English
Held at: Glasgow University Archive Services
Name of Creator: Babcock International Group plc (multinational engineered systems and services group: 1989-: Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England)
Level of Description: fonds

Administrative/Biographical History

In 1856 , 26-year old Stephen Wilcox of Rhode Island, USA, patented a water tube boiler that increased heating surfaces, allowed better water circulation and that was inherently safe. In 1867 , he and his friend, George Babcock, established a partnership, Babcock, Wilcox & Co, to manufacture and market Wilcox's boiler. In 1873 they received patents for the "Babcock & Wilcox Non-explosive Boiler" and the "Babcock & Wilcox Stationary Steam Engine". In 1881 , the company was incorporated in America as The Babcock & Wilcox Company. That same year, the Brush Electric Light Co, Philadelphia, USA, the first central electrical generating station in the United States, went into service powered by 4 Babcock & Wilcox Co boilers. In 1902, New York city installed its subway system powered by a Babcock boilers.

In 1881 , the company opened a sales office in Glasgow, Scotland, and by 1883 boilers were being made by sub-contractors in Scotland. Other offices were also opened between 1884 and 1887 in London and Manchester, England; Paris, France; Sydney, Australia; and Brussels, Belgium. The first completely British-built Babcock boiler was manufactured for the Singer Manufacturing Co works in Kilbowie, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. A British company, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd was formed in 1891 with a capital of £240,000 with its sphere of operation to include the world outside of the USA and Cuba already covered by the American company. By 1936, the company had established new companies in Japan, Spain, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

The firm established its own manufacturing facility at Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1895 and increased the company's capital to £1,575,000 in 1900. The firm rapidly became a leader in both land-based and marine boilers and opened subsidiaries and production facilities around the world. The group developed a large defence business during the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 World Wars, producing tanks and munitions in addition to their naval boiler business. In 1926, the company provided massive steam generating hardware for Battersea Power Station, London.

From the 1960s onwards the group became increasingly involved in nuclear energy, taking the lead in the design and construction of Hinkley Point Power Station, Somerset, England . Between 1968 and 1974, Babcock's invested £30 million on acquiring other businesses during a period of diversification, and a further £25 million on capital investment and turnover rose from £100 million to £248 million.

By 1975, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd employed approximately 37,000 people world wide with 22,000 of these in the UK. Subsidiary and associated companies were located in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA, Venezuela and Zambia but the company's main office was in central London. The company's activities included not only the manufacture and provision of boilers for conventional and nuclear power stations and industrial and marine applications, but also steel fabrication; mechanical construction; chemical and processing plant; unit and bulk mechanical handling equipment; construction equipiment and services; industrial and agricultural tractors; instrumentation and control systems; desalination, ultra-filtration and pollution control plant; foundry products, and wire and cable machinery. The company at this time was divided into 6 main operating group subsidiary companies, each of which dealt with a specific area of the parent companies interests: Babcock Construction Equipment Ltd, Babcock Contractors Ltd, Babcock Industrial & Electrical Products Ltd, Babcock International Inc (USA), Babcock International Investments Ltd, and Babcock & Wilcox (Operations) Ltd. Each of these companies in turn operated a number of subsidiary companies. Around this time, the company had approximately 80 subsidiary and associated companies world-wide.

In 1979 , Babcock & Wilcox Ltd became Babcock International Ltd and in 1982 a public limited company as Babcock International plc . By 1985 , the company had been restructured into 7 groups and employed around 26,000 people with a turnover of £1.1 billion. Each group was managed by a main subsidiary company that in turn managed a number of other subsidiary companies. These groups and their main operating companies were: UK Power Group ( Babcock Power Ltd , previously Babcock & Wilcox (Operations) Ltd ), Contract Group ( Babcock Contractors Ltd ), Industrial & Electrical Group ( Babcock Industrial & Electrical Products Ltd ), Mining Group ( Babcock Mining Ltd ), Overseas Group ( Babcock International Investments Ltd ), North America Group ( Babcock International, Inc ), and FATA European Group.

FKI Electricals plc, engineering company, London, merged with Babcock International plc in 1987 to become FKI Babcock plc . At the same year, Babcock Power Ltd , the UK Power group's main subsidiary company, was renamed Babcock Energy Ltd . FKI Babcock plc de-merged in 1989 to form FKI plc and Babcock International Group plc with a small number of former Babcock International plc companies becoming part of FKI plc.

A further de-merger occurred within Babcock International Group plc in 1995 when the Mitsui Engineering & Shipping Co (est. 1917), Japan, bought-out Babcock Energy Ltd and a number of its subsidiary companies and constituted it as Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd with its main offices in Renfrew. However, Babcock International Group plc retained a 25 percent share of Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd, managed through Babcock (Management) Ltd.

In 1995, Babcock International Group plc restructured following the de-merger with around 150 subsidiary and associated companies world-wide. By 2002 , the company had rationalised, changing its focus from energy and boiler making which was now the concern of Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd, to providing services to the Ministry of Defence. The three divisions of the company were technical services, training and support, and materials handling, each of which operated a number of subsidiary companies. Technical provided technical services and secure facilities management for the Ministry of Defence and related markets. Training and support offered training, operations and maintenance services for the Ministry of Defence. The Materials handling division provides material processing technologies and engineered systems.

Scope and Content

  • Board meeting minutes 1891-1985
  • Head Office Committee of Board minutes 1955-1957
  • Management Policy committee minutes 1962-1965
  • Corporate Development committee minutes 1972-1980
  • Group Purchasing Co-ordinating committee minutes 1980
  • Group Management Advisory committee minutes 1979-1980
  • Committee of Directors minutes 1978-1981
  • UK Group Finance Executives' committee 1975
  • Publicity committee minutes 1953-1964, 1967, 1969-1972
  • Annual accounts 1933-1988
  • Memoranda and Articles of Association 1891-1979
  • Seal books 1941-1983
  • Licensee agreements 1881-1975
  • Executive & finance committee minutes 1930-1948
  • Staff and company magazines and newsletters 1957-1987
  • Presscuttings 1891-1953, 1974-1987
  • Company profiles 1969-1985
  • Company histories 1940-1980
  • Subject files relating to staff and groups of companies, 20th century
  • Staff records 1951-1973
  • Shareholding/secretarial papers 1891-1987
  • Organisational charts 1966-1984
  • Inter-company visits and conference records 1924-1984
  • Registers of directors, obituaries and related papers 1926-1985
  • Financial papers 1945-1981
  • Press releases 1967-1987
  • General management and secretarial papers 1954-1982
  • Property records 1958-1982
  • Annual returns to companies house, including some subsidiary companies 1950-1980
  • Intimation notices and circulars 1931-1984
  • Acquisitions, liquidations and reorganisation papers 1969-1980
  • Annual reports and accounts of subsidiary companies 1972-1984

Photographs: arranged by subject including:

  • Equipment, products, power stations and contracts 1910s-1970s
  • General photographs including works, contracts, cranes, sales, directors and publicity photographs 1897-1970s

Records relating to the Construction Equipment Division including:

  • Catalogues late 20th century
  • General management papers 1973-1981

Records relating to the Electrical Engineering group including:

  • Marketing and sales records c1980

Records relating to the General Engineering Division including:

  • Presscuttings [1970s]
  • Financial records 1976-1980
  • General management records [1970s]
  • Property and land records 1975
  • Staff circulars [1970s]

Records relating to the Mechanical Handling & Civil Construction Division including:

  • Minutes 1973-1974
  • Company profiles 1974
  • Financial records 1973-1980

Records relating to the Power Engineering Division including:

  • Financial records 1972-1976
  • General management papers 1972-1977

Records relating to the Overseas Holding Group including:

  • Board papers 1965-1967
  • Financial records 1966-1983
  • General management papers and correspondence 1959-1967
  • Circulars 1966-1967

Records relating to International Division of Babcock & Wilcox Ltd including:

  • Management committee minutes 1972-1975
  • Company profiles 1977
  • Technical papers 1970s
  • Inter company visit papers 1978-1981
  • General financial papers 1979-1982
  • General management papers 1979-1983
  • Circulars 1976

Records held relating to Babcock & Wilcox Company, USA, relating to Babcock & Wilcox British concerns include:

  • Annual reports and accounts 1951-1977
  • Formation papers 1881
  • Agreements 1941-1951
  • Catalogues 1890-1950s
  • Staff magazines 1949-1976
  • Presscuttings 1889, 1966-1977
  • Company profiles 1968-1976
  • Company histories 1931-1967
  • Organisational charts 1970-1974
  • Technical papers 188-1978
  • Share records 1887-1890
  • Patents 1886-1890
  • Inter-company visit records 1928, 1949, 1955
  • Registers of directors 1929-1943
  • Press releases 1952-1976
  • Sales and marketing records 1890-1962
  • General management and secretarial papers

System of Arrangement

The material is arranged into series as shown in the scope and content note. Within series, items are generally arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

Held by FKI Babcock plc and its predecessor companies

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Permanent loan : FKI Babcock plc/Babcock International Group plc : 1988-1992 : ACCNS 0089, 0161, 0183, 1617

Permanent loan : Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd : 2002 : ACCN 2300

Appraisal, Destruction, Scheduling

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Accruals

None expected

Access Conditions

Open access to records over 30 years old, except those subject to current Data Protection legislation. Company permission is needed for access to more recent records, please contact the University Archivist in the first instance.

Copyright/Reproduction

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Existence of Copies

No known copies

Finding Aids

Digital and manual file level lists of the surviving records of all Babcock International Group plc and Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd companies and their subsidiaries are available in the searchroom ref: UGD 309

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)) and London (NRA33916)

Related Units of Description

The records of Babcock International Group plc and Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd and their predecessor, subsidiary, and associated companies of are held by Glasgow University Archive Services starting with call reference GB 248 UGD 309

Many of the earlier contract details and information concerning the earlier days of the company and boiler manufacture can also be found in GB 248 UGD 309/3 Records of Babcock Energy Ltd, formerly Babcock Power Ltd

The records of some Babcock subsidiary companies were deposited in local record offices by FKI Babcock plc/Babcock International Group plc:

GB 040 D4791 Records of Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co Ltd and Gloucester Foundry Ltd (Gloucestershire Record Office) [Can also be searched on-line via Access to Archives at http://www.a2a.pro.gov.uk ]

GB 243 TD 244 Records of Penman & Co Ltd (Glasgow City Library)

GB 057 ROBEY Records of Robey of Lincoln Ltd (Lincolnshire Record Office)

GB 1204 3B Records of Winget Ltd and Blaw Knox Ltd (Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre)

GB 1456 Cinematographic films (British Film Institute)

GB 2120 "Home and Away" Cinematographic films (Scottish Screen Archive)