Thomas McMaster & Son Ltd.
Thomas McMaster & Son Ltd.

Our History

Thomas McMaster & Son was founded in October 1955 by Thomas McMaster, trading initially from his home at 9 Ivanhoe Road, Knightswood, Glasgow and by early 1957 from premises rented from British Railways at 24 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow.


Due to redevelopment these premises had to be vacated and alernative premises were purchased in 1959 at 55 Kelvinside Avenue, Glasgow.


The company in these early years specialised in a mix of private work and jobbing repairs to Glasgow tenements for House Factors many of which we continue to serve to this day.


In late 1959 the old established (1884) business of George Kilgour & Son was taken over and in 1961 the Company became incorporated as Thomas McMaster & Son Limited. Kilgour's business premises at 33 Anderson Street, Partick, Glasgow, became the main trading premises, although Kelvinside Avenue was retained until it was the subject of a compulsory order by the Corporaton of Glasgow in 1965. The land being required to build the new North Kelvinside Secondary School.


The business of Neil Leitch & Son, 62 Drymen Road, Bearsden was taken over in 1962, on the retirement of Mr Leitch. This was to assist with the expansion of private works in this area. The premises were retained until around 1967 when the business was totally absorbed within the main company.


The company continued with the same type of work until the major storm in Glasgow on 15/16th January, 1968.


Such was the severity of the storm that a decision was reached to expand the company and commit the full resources to storm damage work.


This work continued for around two years and allowed the company to be more profitable than previously. It was also decided during this time, when the total labour pool in the City was stretched to the limit, to give priority to existing customers as far as was possible. This was a decision that was to prove invaluable when the lucrative storm damage work dried up.


In 1970/71 a number of competitors ceased to trade, finding it difficult to cope with the competative tendering and reduced margins, having become used to the storm damage method of time and materials work. They had also fallen out with a number of customers especially House Factors by refusing to carry out routine works during the storm damage period.


The more long term view of Thomas McMaster & Son Limited however, allowed the business to continue to flourish.

The current Directors Craig & Scott with the "new" truck (circa 1981)

The company was then joined by the founders son Thomas Brown McMaster in April 1969 and he was instrumental in the decisions which were made to utilise the more sound financial base of the Company. He also oversaw the expansion into new sub contract works for private house builders and the active seeking and aquiring of slaters and plasterers businesses within the City, generally where the owner wished to retire and had potential redundancy problems with existing staff.


James Smith & Son, 65 Springbank Street, Maryhill, Glasgow was acquired on 15th July 1970, and before 1980, the businesses of W.T. Muir of Springburn, John H. Brown of Hillhead, Andrew Philp of Govan, John T. Glass of Bridgeton and W.B. Robison of Cambuslang had been taken over and their labour forces and client base successfully absorbed within the main company.


This method of expansion was particulary successful and allowed skilled tradesmen, with many years experience, to become available immediately. It also allowed the Company to actively pursue it's training programme which was in many ways ahead of it's time. From 1973 to 1988, over 80 boys completed the apprenticeships in Slating and Tiling (The Company's main trade), a figure only exceeded in the West of Scotland by Glasgow District Council.


Whithout this influx of skilled tradesmen it would not have been possible to train so may apprentices to such a high standard.


This training commitment to apprentice and staff traing has continued to this day.


Around 1979/1980 private housing works began to fall and margins became greatly reduced. Although this work amounted to almost 50% of turnover a decision was made to pull out of this area of work and concentrate on pursuing work which was higher skilled and therefore potentially more profitable.


This work was found in the area of external tenement refurbishment. In 1982 Glasgow District Council introduced 90% Home Improvement Grants. This activity then became the Company's core activity until 1988. 

Thomas McMaster (Founder) & Thomas Craig McMaster (Current Director)

Around this time grants became less available and House Factor repairs were greatly reduced, with most properties which had been subject to regular repairs now having had comprehensive repairs schemes carried out.


Between 1988 and 1994, when roof repairs were at a premium and the company diversified into general builderworks, carrying out substantial structural works for Safeway plc converting Presto stores to the higher Safeway standards.


In recent years the Company has returned closer to its original roots undertaking projects for private individuals and property managers along with corporate and surveying clients.


The current Directors are the grandsons of the founder and are continuing to maintain the standards and quality that are expected of the Company. Both Craig and Scott McMaster have honours degress in Building Surveying with Scott being chartered with the RICS and Craig having extensive technical experience following from his surveying rolls within the city. This extensive knowledge and experience allows us to offer a professional service that we believe to be unrivalled by our competitors. 


Thomas McMaster 1970

Thomas Craig McMaster 2016