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Before the arrival of major industries, villages such as Dalmuir and Dalmuir Shore were quiet backwaters and largely pastoral. Prior to 1900 there was little development on Dumbarton Road to the west of the point at which it is crossed by the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The coming of William Beardmore's Dalmuir Naval Construction Works in the early 1900s brought jobs and boosted development of the area. However, there was a severe shortage of housing for workers. Earlier speculative building, such as The Crescent (financed by the City of Glasgow Bank before its collapse in 1878), proved insufficient to meet the increased demand for accommodation and Beardmore was obliged to fill this need themselves by providing housing for their workers.

Initially, the company purchased villas and tenements near the works. However, in 1905 Clydebank Burgh Council granted Beardmore permission to erect thirty-seven tenements, the first phase of which commenced in 1905. By 1914 the area between Scott Street and Dunn Street, including Beardmore Terrace, had been laid out. Beardmore Terrace had shops at ground level and three storeys of accommodation above. There was a "pecking order" in the provision of accommodation: workers might be housed in tenements such as those in Beardmore Terrace, foremen in the Agamemnon Street tenements, and senior management in the large detached villas in Regent Street.