We are a long-established, family-owned company, and can trace a member of the Waugh family involved in the recycling industry back to the middle of the 19th Century.
Although the William Waugh from whom the business takes its name was born in 1857, his father John, who was born in 1820, and also his grandfather, born in 1794 also William, traded in Edinburgh from the 1850’s.
The family had moved from the papermaking industry in Cramond, and traded variously as china merchants, rag merchants, and metal merchants.
The 1860 Post Office Directory shows ‘William Waugh & Son’ in the Pleasance, and later we have a photograph of his son John Waugh’s premises at the Old Bow Head, (at the top of the Lawnmarket) in 1870.
The business moved in 1872 to South Back of Canongate (the old name for Holyrood Road), becoming ‘Iron & Steel Merchants’, and when John died in 1873, his son, also William, took over.
Although it is this William who gave his name to the current business, he died young (aged 35) in 1893, leaving his wife of the same age, Jane Waugh, with the business to run. We have the inventory from her husband’s estate, which shows some 80 tons of metal plus two horses with harness, two carts and a hay cutter, among other things.
Jane Waugh seems to have been a competent business woman. She declined an offer for the business in 1896 of £150, and formed a partnership with her elder son, another John, to continue the business, which moved across the road to Dumbiedykes Road at the end of the Century. She eventually retired in 1922, and John Waugh took control, though his younger brother Hector also worked with him.
In 1948, John Waugh incorporated the company as William Waugh Ltd, and in due course was joined by his youngest son, David William Waugh, who took charge after John’s death in 1956. David had a bad car accident which left his wife dead, and himself badly injured, and the business drifted with no real control for several years. In 1960, John’s grandson, also David (David John Waugh) joined the company, and the business moved from its home in Dumbiedykes Road to Norton Park, using rail sidings in Duddingston and Leith, but soon outgrew these premises, and in 1969 moved to its present site in Granton, where we have now traded for over 40 years. On David William Waugh’s death in 1970, John Waugh’s grandson David John Waugh took over completely.
After an unsuccessful merger with another Edinburgh Scrap Merchant, Bruce Laird Ltd., in the 1980’s, and a brief spell as part of a large group, (Ireland Alloys), William Waugh (Edinburgh) Ltd was formed, and David John Waugh resumed full control again, being joined in 1984 by his eldest son, Alan. David officially retired in November 2008, and operations are now overseen by Alan, the current Managing Director, and great, great grandson of William (but also the great, great, great, great grandson of the first William).
At our Granton site, Alan has been instrumental in developing and organising the modern processing plant and transport facilities which form the backbone of our current capabilities and services.
We have a 850 tonne shear on site to process oversize scrap, and have a comprehensive fleet of Skip and roll-on/off vehicles with over 300 containers, from 8cu yd to 40cu yd, available to customers for collection of large or small tonnages from their premises, on a long term or a one-off basis. Vehicles are all equipped with tracking systems, allowing us to provide immediate response to any customer’s needs.
We also have a de-pollution plant for the re-cycling of redundant vehicles, with full certification from DVLA being provided.
Though the area around us is changing, we hope to be operating from our present base for the foreseeable future.