Tarrasfoot Tile Works, Dumfries and Galloway

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Tarrasfoot Tile Works, Dumfries & Galloway  – The Duke of Buccleuch started Tarrasfoot Tile Works in the early 19th century. The works produced drain tiles that were mainly used on the Buccleuch estate. The works closed in 1969 and by 1975 the buildings were used for storage. There were  four fireboxes in the two-chamber Newcastle kiln. Each chamber had two fireboxes, and the heat produced by the burning of fuel in these boxes was used to heat drain tiles in the kiln. The tall chimney of the kiln drew heat through each chamber. Developments in the draining of fields in the early 19th century led to there being a huge demand for draining tiles. The development of plastic field drain pipes during the 20th century was a major factor which led to the decline of Scottish drain tile works.

Note 09/11/2014 – only the kiln and a sandstone outbuilding where  the raw clay was milled and prepared for firing in the kiln.

Examples of  ‘D’ shaped drainage tiles of various sizes have been found at the site. – link

Although the works did not appear to make bricks, the following bricks have been found on site and would have been used in the kiln and surrounding buildings.

English bricks – Camerton, J. Jameson & Son, Corbridge on Tyne , Lily, Cowen M, NB,

Scottish bricks – J & M Craig, J & M Craig Kilmarnock, Atlas, Preston Grange, Hurll, Hurlford Kilmarnock, Dewar and Whitehill and one was found where the mark ends possibly ‘G’ then ‘LE’ – possible Eagle.

Info – It had been hoped to open the extension from Canobie (later called Canonbie) to Langholm by November 1863, but this was delayed due to problems in completing the twelve-arch Tarras viaduct. A goods siding was provided at the south side of the viaduct to serve the Tarrasfoot tile works adjacent to the line here and the Glen Tarras distillery which had opened on the north bank of the River Tarras (a tributary of the River Esk) in 1839 .

03/03/1854 – Carlisle Journal – Tile Burner Wanted – Wanted  – a tile burner for Tarras-foot tile works, Cannobie. Particulars may be learnt by applying to Mr Connell, Chamberlain to his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, Irvine House, Langholm.

29/06/1866 – Carlisle Journal  – To tile burners. Wanted immediately, a first class workman for his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch’s Steam Tile Works, Tarras Foot, Langholm. Apply to Mr Joseph Rush, the Contractor, Solway Junction Brick Works, Abbey Holme.

1867 – TARRAS FOOT TILE WORKS – Canonbie. Owner Duke of Buccleuch . Joseph Rush Contractor and Manager.

1875 – Tarrace Tile Works -(Tarras Foot ?  – to be confirmed) Canonbie 5 1/2 miles. Skellen and Farish

1878 – Tarrace Tile Works -(Tarras Foot ?  – to be confirmed) Canonbie 5 1/2 miles. Skellen and Farish

1893  – William Tweddle Manager Tarra Foot Tile Works

1893 – 96 –  Tarras Tileworks : Langholm : J. Tweedle,   manager.

1903 – TARRAS FOOT TILE WORKS – William Tweddle Manager, Langholm

At some point the kiln has been girdled in an iron support frame – see below

Tarrasfoot Tile works, Dumfries and Galloway


Tarrasfoot Tile works, Dumfries and Galloway


Info and photographs below are from William Tweddle, the son of William Murray Tweddle. William, then aged 7,  left the Tileworks in 1969 when he father finished work there. This was truly a family vocation covering 4 generations.

William Tweddle ran tile works late 1870’s – 1893
William Tweddle
James Tweddle ran tile works 1893 -1936 – James was called up for war duties in 1917. Tragically he suffered gas poisoning and died in 1936.
James Tweddle
Jane Tweddle and a young William Murray Tweddle, Jane ran tile works 1936-late 1950’s after the death of her husband
Jane Tweddle
Willam Murray Tweddle ran tile works late 1950’s – 1969
Willam Murray Tweddle

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  1. William James Tweddle 22/02/2015 at 12:53 am

    My father William Murray Tweddle ran the tileworks at tarras, as did his father James Tweddle and his father before him . We left including myself in 1969. Murray was the last to fire the kiln.
    …..William Tweddle

  2. markcranston 22/02/2015 at 5:41 pm


    Many thanks for the email and the info. That is an amazing family timeline for working at the works – 3 generations – did you work there yourself?

    I obviously do not know how old you are but I was wondering if you ever remember them stamping the drainage tiles – I would love to find a whole tile that we could say definitely came from Tarrasfoot.

    Do you have any photos of the works

    best regards

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