Biography of Sir William Douglas Weir 1st Viscount Weir
William Douglas Weir )1877-1959) 1st Viscount Weir, was an industrialist and public servant who, with others, endowed a lectureship in Russian in 1917 .
Weir was born in Glasgow and became an apprentice in the family business, a marine engineering and maintenance company that became G&J Weir Ltd in 1895. He rose to become managing director of the firm and, after 1915, its chairman. He is credited with making it one of the world's leading manufacturers of industrial pumps. Much of the firm's success was due to the introduction of payment by results at the Holm Foundry in Cathcart, and Weir was never popular with trades unionists.
During the First World War, Weir served as Director of Munitions in Scotland, Director General of Aircraft Production and President of the Air Council. He served on many government committees and as an advisor on industrial matters and was largely responsible in the organisation of shadow aircraft factories during the 1930s, which proved vital to the war effort after 1939. He opened a factory to produce standardised steel houses at Cardonald, but the scheme was abandoned in the late 1920s owing to trades union hostility and the opposition of vested interests in the construction industry.
Weir was created GCB in 1934 and became a Viscount in 1938.