David Colville Snr was born in Campbelltown in 1813.
He first came to North Lanarkshire through his business partnership Colville & Grey in the form of the Clifton Iron Works in Coatbridge. After this partnership ended Colville looked towards Motherwell as a location for his new business ventures and partnership with sons John, Archibald and David Jnr.
The first Colville & Sons establishment in Motherwell, the Dalzell Iron & Steel Works, opened in 1872. From modest beginnings the Dalzell works grew into a substantial concern largely in part through securing the contract to supply iron bars, which would rebuild the Tay Bridge following the tragic disaster of 1879.
However, it was probably the decision to begin manufacturing steel that secured the company’s place in the history of Scotland’s heavy industry.
During WWI Colville’s were asked by the Government to come to the aid of many idle and underused works. The purchase of these works would in turn assist the struggling country with its demand for more metal. By the time the country found itself fighting another world war, Colville’s would represent more than 85% of the entire Scottish iron and steel trade.
1930 saw the merger of Colville & Sons with James Dunlop & Co, Ltd forming Colville’s Ltd. It was under this moniker that the plans for Ravenscraig were set in motion. Ravenscraig’s Strip Mill was the last major capital development carried out by Colville’s in 1962.