The last years of John Wallace & Sons Ltd, Glasgow

The name of John Wallace & Sons is a well-known and long established one among the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers.

In the early 1940s the company had a business that extended throughout the major agricultural districts of Scotland. In 1942 an advert in the Scottish Farmer noted that the Glasgow based company (at Dennistoun) had branches at Perth, Aberfeldy, Edinburgh, Cupar, Laurencekirk, Wishaw, Carlisle, Oldham and Welwyn Garden City. By 1947 the company was listed as being at Glasgow and Welwyn Garden City and as having branches at Perth, Aberfeldy, Edinburgh, Cupar, Laurencekirk, Wishaw, Dumfries, Carlisle and Oldham. In 1952 the company’s branches were at Perth, Cupar, Stirling and Laurencekirk.

There were changes in how the company presented itself and how it was structured. There were a number of companies set up under the Wallace name.

By 1961 the company had changed its name to John Wallace & Sons (Agricultural Engineers, Glasgow) Ltd. It was to become John Wallace Agricultural Machinery Ltd after its incorporated on 23 November 1965 (and dissolved on 5 December 1973). An advert in the Farming News on 14 May 1965 noted that “John Wallace & Sons (A. E. G.) Ltd announce that the name of the company has been changed to John Wallace (Agricultural Machinery) Ltd, and are now operating from their new headquarters at Shell Park, Stirling. As previously announced spare parts enquiries are to be made to John Wallace Spares Division, Alloway Road, Maybole.

In addition, John Wallace Engineering Ltd was incorporated on 10 July 1964 (and dissolved on 30 December 1975). Further, John Wallace Farm Equipment Ltd was incorporated on 3 February 1965 (and dissolved on 30 December 1975). John Wallace Farm Equipment East Limited was incorporated as Thomas Sherriff & Company Ltd on 23 September 1941. Its parent company There was also a John Wallace Chemicals Ltd.

By the late 1960s John Wallace (Engineering ) Ltd was a holding company with 8 directors, and 2 shareholders, whose principal activity was the investment in and management of companies engaged in general engineering. In 1967 the subsidiay companies included Polarcold Ltd, Associated Metal Works Glasgow Ltd, Crawford Machinery Co. Ltd, John Wallace Mechanical Handling Ltd, Trucks & Pallets Scotland Ltd. All was not, however, well on the trading side by late 1968. In its annual return for October 1968 the company had a trading loss of £45,000. From 1 April 1969 the company was no longer trading; it was under a patent company, Stenhouse Holdings Ltd, which was incorporated in Scotland. By 1973 this had become Stenhouse Industries Ltd. Wallace was dissolved by notice in the Edinburgh Gazette on 30 December 1975.

John Wallace Farm Equipment Ltd, with a registered office at Shell Park, Stirling, and then at St Vincent Street, Glasgow, had a number of wholly owned subsidiaries. These were A. Baird & Sons Ltd, Alexander Jack & Sons Ltd, Thomas Sherriff & Co. Ltd, and Praills Hereford Ltd. By 1968 the first three of these were dormant companies. by 1971 the company was no longer trading. It too was also under the ultimate holding company of Stenhouse Holdings Ltd.

John Wallace Farm Equipment East discontinued its business activities in January 1967 and by 31 March 1969 its assets had been substantially realised. It was also under the holding company of Stenhouse Holdings Ltd.

By the second half of the 1960s the companies faced tough trading conditions – like the other Scottish implement and machine makers. A good many of them went under, including leading names like that of Wallace of Glasgow. Its company records show an interesting connections between companies as well as different business models and types of management.