CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3348
TitleRecords of Messrs Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., engineers and personal papers of Victor Cook, engineer and businessman
Date19th century - 20th century
Extent18 archive boxes, 3 outsize boxes, 38 rolls and 1 parcel
Creator NameBarry, Henry and Cook Ltd., engineers, Aberdeen (1790 - 1973)
Seaforth Maritime, engineers, Aberdeen (est. 1972)
Robert Charles Victor Cook, engineer and businessman (1897 - 1990)
Administrative HistoryBarry, Henry and Cook Ltd. was founded in 1790 by John Barry, blacksmith, and later, burgess, of Aberdeen. For its first hundred years the company operated mainly as ironfounders, undertaking some ancillary engineering work and fertiliser manufacture, but during the period 1890 - 1923 engineering sales began to outstrip the foundry output, as emphasis on power transmission equipment and the beginning of materials handling became dominant. From 1923 - 1973, engineering was its main activity, and the company developed expertise in bulk material handling contracts, conveying systems and storage plants. Its ironfoundry was partly mechanised in this period, and after 1973 underwent radical advances in line with recent national research and development. From 1973 engineering material handling and oil-related work predominated.

In 1973 a new Aberdeen-based company Seaforth Maritime (est. 1972) took over a majority interest in Barry, Henry and Cook, Ltd.. It was subsequently subsumed into the engineering division of its parent company.

During its main period of growth in the 1960s and 1970s Barry, Henry and Cook, Ltd. supplied plant to a number of high profile industrial developments. These included the British Coal Open Cast Site at Westfield, Fife (1962); new aluminium smelter plants at Invergordon (British Aluminium, 1969 - 1971), Lynemouth, Northumberland (Alcan, 1971 - 1972) and Anglesey (Imperial Smelting Ltd., 1969 - 1970); the British Steel Corporation, Clydesdale and Ravenscraig Works, Motherwell (1973 - 1976); and the British Sugar Corporation, Newark Factory (1975).

For further details on the company's history see 'History of Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., Engineers and Ironfounders, Aberdeen, from 1790 - 1975: with a Supplement on the Industrial and Social Development of Aberdeen' (unpublished typescript, c 1980; deposited in MS 3348).
SourceDeposited in Jan 1991, by the Gordon Cook Foundation. Additional deposit (mainly engineers' drawings) November 1996, from Aberdeen City Archives.
DescriptionThis collection comprises business records of Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., engineers, Aberdeen, dating from the late 19th c- early 20th c, and personal papers of Victor Cook, last sole shareholder of the company, c 1970s - 1980s.

The business records are mostly records of production and marketing, comprising monthly returns, c 1895 - c 1952 (some gaps); orders lists, 1920s; draughtsman's books, 1895 and 1902 - 1903; engineers' drawings, 20th c; pattern books and catalogues, 1890 - 1911 (gaps); printed papers and publicity, c 1960s - c 1970s; and miscellaneous minutes, accounts and files (unsorted - but seem unlikely to include comprehensive runs of either minutes or accounts), 20th c. There is also a typescript 'History of Barry, Henry and Cook Limited, Engineers and Ironfounders, Aberdeen, from 1790 - 1976: with a Supplement on the Industrial and Social Development of Aberdeen'; and some Cook family papers which relate to their involvement with the company, viz. shares and transfer papers, late 19th c - early 20th c. (Boxes 1-10 contain folded drawings, boxes 11-18 contain business papers and also see outsize rolls series).

The personal papers of Victor Cook are principally local history research notes. They include papers relating to the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, and a typescript copy of 'Strathdon Notes' (1976), a local history of the Strathdon district of Aberdeenshire, written by Cook, with recollections of Miss Bella Rogie of Glencarie. There is also a volume containing mechanics lecture notes taken by Victor Cook, whilst a student at Glasgow Technical College, 1920. (Boxes 19-21)
AccrualsNone expected.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionNo physical conditions affecting use of collection.
Related MaterialMS 3268 Photographs of commissions completed by Barry, Henry and Cook Ltd., 1960s - 1970s and related publicity.

Material is also held by Aberdeen City Museums.
Add to My Items