Harland and Wolff - Shipbuilding and Engineering Works

Greenock (1916-1936)
In 1916 Messrs Harland & Wolff acquired the shares of Caird & Co., Ltd., Greenock

Within a few months a great extension scheme was announced, the huge expansion of the shipyard was to take over several properties including the original harbour, the Old West Kirk and the Kirk yard.

After much negotiation, agreement was reached among the parties involved in 1919 whereby Harland & Wolff would pay for dismantling the church and "building of its replica" at Seafield on the Esplanade.

They offered generous compensation, including a new site about 0.5 miles further west along the coast at the east end of Greenock's Esplanade, and agreed to have the Kirk carefully taken down and re-erected.

Harland and Wolff's contribution was organised by Lord Pirrie, and included provision of a new church hall on the new site, which would take the congregation during the works. He died before this could happen, and five days after the church was closed for work to start, the Pirrie Hall named after him opened on 19 February 1925 and provided a temporary place of worship giving churchgoers the opportunity to watch progress on the replacement.

When the Old West Kirk closed in 1925, the momentous task of dismantling the ancient and historic church began.

The rebuilding of the church had begun in March 1926 and was completed in January 1928.
A carved stone on the wall of the church facing Campbell Street


At the beginning of 1919 Kincaid & Co acquired from Harland & Wolff the engine works in Arthur Street, formerly known as Caird's Engine Works. Arrangements were made by Kincaid & Co. whereby a sub-licence has been obtained from Harland & Wolff, who held the sole licence for the construction of internal combustion engines on the Burmeister & Wain system for Great Britain and the Colonies, this enabled Kincaid & Co to construct in their works this particularly well-known type of machinery.