William Douglas Weir

William Douglas Weir / Engineer & Industrialist

Lord Weir, as he would become, was born in Glasgow in 1877, and educated in that city at Allan Glen's and Glasgow High School. His father had set up the firm of G & W Weir, and it was in that company that William Weir was apprenticed as an engineer. The main business of the company was the supply of pumps and pumping machinery, especially for government naval contracts.

Weir became a director of the company in 1898, and its managing director in 1902. During World War I his firm became of crucial importance, and as a result of his efforts in supplying the war's demands for parts he was knighted in 1917 and elevated to the peerage the following year.

As a believer in payment by results, he had his fair share of labour disputes, not helped by his firm commitment to advanced production methods. He had enough energy and talent to ensure that the company survived throughout the lean wars between the two World Wars, and this was recognised by succeeding governments who not only allowed him to help shape and create official policy, but employed him as a director-general at the Ministry of Supply during World War II.

He died in 1959.