Sourcing the history of a family and it’s business.


Finding information on Robb’s is not hard at times, and extremely difficult at others.

My early research was more into the family history. Family lore says that great grandpa began his working life as a lamp-lighter. The full story seems to be more complex, and I am still chasing that down, but will get to the bottom of it by the time my blog expands into a book.

Many a happy hour has been spent searching in the Dundas Room at New Register House/Scotland’s People pouring over the records and trying to swim back up the stream to find my family origins. Needless to say, I have been sidetracked into other tributaries and found other fascinating bits and pieces on other branches of the family too!


So, what of finding out about Robb’s Shipyard? Well, that is more accessible. For a start, there are people with tales to tell and knowledge to share. Always they have met me with kindness, an understanding of my current time restrictions (the move back to Scotland can’t be far off methinks) and a genuine desire to see a full and accurate history of the yaird in print.

But there are other sources too, often in little, overlooked volumes produced by other people. One such source is “Leith Lives – Memories at Work” sponsored by Lamb’s House, the Leith History Project. It is about employment between the wars. In this wee book there are pictures of Henry Robb’s Joiner Shop in 1937, Henry Robb’s Shipwright’s Shop at Albert Road around 1921, a general view of the dock in the early 20’s and of the Cairnross being repaired at Robb’s in 1936. If anyone knows, or is Robert Sewell or Scott Marshall, to whom these photographs are attributed, I would be delighted to hear from them to ask if they would be prepared to have some of them included in my work. Whilst there are no direct printed reminiscences from workers at Robb’s, there are comments from workers from other yards including Cran and Somerville which was later taken over by Robb’s.

Here’s where my readers come in – and many have been doing so in email with all sorts of suggestions which will all be followed up in time. There have also been various questions, which I am answering to the best of my ability or keeping note of, so that when I find the information I can help to complete other people’s genealogical and other research too.

If you know of a source you think I may not have found or know of, please drop me a comment on here, or an email.

Copyright: Ruth Patterson 2010


About Ruth Macadam

Great Granddaughter of Henry Robb. School teacher.
This entry was posted in Henry Robb, Leith, Leith Shipbuilding, Shipbuilding, Shipyards. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sourcing the history of a family and it’s business.

  1. Pingback: Bruce Partington’s memories of Robb’s 1962-72 | Henry Robb's Shipyard

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