William Denny and Brothers were one of Scotland’s most successful shipbuilding companies. Based in Dumbarton on the River Clyde, they were renowned for their steamships and ferries. The company was formed in 1814 when William Denny began a partnership with Archibald McLachlan for the construction of steamships. He died in 1833 and his sons William, Alexander and Peter would eventually form William Denny and Brothers after a previous attempt dissolved in 1844.
The next fifty years would see the company work on significant ships, including the Cutty Sark and the SS Sir Walter Scott. They also built the world’s first commercial test tank in Dumbarton to examine propulsion methods and test vessels.
It was in 1911 when Maurice Edward Denny became a partner of the company. Maurice was in Dumbarton in 1886 and was the son of Alexander Denny. Before becoming a partner he had been educated in Lausanne and Heidelberg before studying at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology. In 1922 Maurice succeeded his uncle, John Denny, as chairman of the company.
Maurice would become one of the most respected figures in shipbuilding and engineering in Scotland. He played active roles with several different federations and institutions including the Shipbuilders Employers Federation; British Corporation Register of Shipping and Aircraft; the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders; Institute of Marine Engineers; and the Institution of Naval Architects. He was knighted in 1946 and received an honorary degree from Glasgow University in 1949.
In 1947, Marurice Denny successfully applied for planning permission for the reinstatement of Gateside House in Drymen. This would be Maurice and wife Marjorie’s retirement home. He retired in 1952 and became president of William Denny and Brothers. Just three years later, he died on 2nd February 1955 after a short illness. Obituaries appeared in both the Stirling Observer and Stirling Journal following his death.
For more information on Maurice Denny and his company, please follow the link below.