Researching through the old newspapers there are several references to brickworks being located in the South Leith Links area of Edinburgh around the late 18th century. The locations are often vague and difficult to pinpoint. All such references are detailed below. It is appreciated they may not all refer to the exact same location. Indeed…
The site appears to have been initially known as Craigward Brick and Tile Works as well as Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
Info – Family connection?
Sited close to the glassworks, and probably dates back to about 1750. An advertisement in the Stirling Journal of 20th July 1820 offers common brick at 30 shillings per thousand and firebricks at 70 shillings per thousand. The firebricks very superior having been fully proved in the strongest furnaces. It was managed by W & J Carmichael in 1882. Dollar Main Brickworks were also managed by W & J Carmichael in 1882 (Brickworks started) and the adjacent Dollarfield Brickworks was managed by Alexander Brodie. Both were situated at Lower Mains, Dollar.- Unknown source
31/03/1764 – Caledonian Mercury – Shipping Arrivals. Leith 31st … The Erskine of Phaline, Wright from Alloa with tyle. (Note – SBH – Could this be an early reference to trade in clay roof tiles from the Alloa / Craigward Brick and Tile Works?). (Note – SBH – Info from Andrew Wood suggests that Phaline is an error in translation and should read Fallin near to Throsk which would make sense as the ship appears to be registered nearby at Alloa).
03/06/1775 – Caledonian Mercury – Sale of tyles – James Haig merchant in Edinburgh, manufactures, at his Tile and Brick Work at Craigward, near Alloa, the following articles, viz. Pantiles, paving bricks, bricks for furnaces, bricks for corn kill-heads, and common bricks for building, all of the best quality, and manufactured in the most sufficient manner.-Those to please to favour him with their commissions for any of these articles, addressing either to himself, or to William Pirrie at the Tile Work, Alloa, may depend on their orders being punctually answered, and being well served. The above articles may be depended on for their efficiency; and the pantiles are of a larger mould than any in the country, neatly made, and thoroughly burnt, and will be delivered to merchants at different ports, at the cheapest rates, and reasonable discount given for ready money.
Below – 26/06/1788 – Caledonian Mercury -Ground at Craigward, Alloa to be leased. Lately occupied by James Haig, Distiller, Canonmills, as a brick and tile works.
28/04/1810 – Caledonian Mercury – Alloa Coals – The managers of the Alloa Colliery having now completed the fitting of the New Sauchy Colliery and having confined their workings within the Alloa Colliery to the New Splint Seam, they are enabled to bring to market coals of the best quality … no mention of brick manufacture but Alexander Bald is the agent for the Alloa Colliery.
13/10/1814 – Caledonian Mercury – Brick and tilemaker wanted – wanted for the Alloa Brick and Tile Works. A person thoroughly acquainted with the manufacture of bricks and tiles and who has been in the practice of making fire bricks. Apply to Alexander Bald Junior, Alloa 08/10/1814.
15/06/1815 – Caledonian Mercury – Alloa Brick and Tile Works – The subscriber having lately entered the above Works begs leave to intimate to the Public that he is now ready to receive orders for tiles and bricks. He has likewise commenced the manufacture of fire bricks from the clay of a superior quality and has now on hand a quantity of the common size but will be ready to execute orders to any pattern. Alex Bald Jun. Alloa 09/06/1815.
NB – application may also be made to:-
Mr David Ramsay – Agent, Leith.
Mr Thomas Maxwell- Agent Dundee.
Mr John Dow – Agent Perth.
02/09/1816 – Caledonian Mercury – Alloa Fire Bricks, Ground Clay etc – The subscriber having lately erected a steam engine for the purpose of grinding fire clay and of the milling common clay, he is now able to execute orders with more expedition than formerly. The fire bricks and clay are of the best quality and he can with confidence recommend to builders his stock of tiles and common bricks. Alexr Bald, Jun. Alloa Brick and Tile Works 30/08/1816.
05/12/1816 – Perthshire Courier – Alloa Coal Yard, Perth. Mr John Dow having resigned the Agency for the Alloa Colliery, here, Mr James Bisset is this day appointed Agent in his place. The public may depend upon every attention being paid to whatever orders may be received for coals, and as Mr Dow is no longer connected with the Alloa Colliery, those who stand indebted to the concern previous to the 5th October last, will please make payment of their accounts to Mr Robert Peddie, writer in Perth; and Mr Bisset is authorised to settle all accounts since the said 5th October. Orders for the whole bargains of Coal given to Mr Bisset will be executed the same as if the orders were sent to Alloa. Robert Bald, Alloa Colliery Coal Yard, Perth, 29th November 1816.
01/10/1823 – The Scots Magazine – Announcement of the death of Mr Alexander Bald, Senior, Alloa aged 79 years.
1825 – 1826 – Alexander Bald, timber merchant and brick and tile manufacturer, Shore, Alloa.
Below – 1825 – Alloa Brickworks. Alexander Bald. So there are references to 2 x brickworks and a Tyle Work. From the info below it is likely George Christie was running 2 sites and George Cockburn the other (Note – SBH – Further research is required to establish who George Cockburn was and which site he was working – Many thanks to Andrew Wood for this information).
Below – 1826 – HM Customs register – The AGNES was a sloop of 41 tons built in 1826 by John Duncanson’s yard shown on the map. The AGNES was owned by
- George Christie, Brick & Tile Manufacturer, Stirling – share: thirty four 64ths.
- George Cockburn, Brick & Tile Manufacturer, Alloa – share: twenty two 64ths.
- John Christie, Merchant, Edinburgh – share: eight 64ths.
In 1836, John Christie transferred his share of the AGNES to George Christie.
In 1845, George Christie transferred his share of the AGNES to John Christie, Brick & Tile Manufacturer of Stirling.
In 1848, George Cockburn died and his share of the AGNES was transferred to John Christie, Brick & Tile Maker of Stirling. (Was this the year that Alex Bald took over the Alloa brick works? The map shows that there may have been two brick works. Alex Bald’s name is shown between them. He also had the timber yard next to Duncanson’s shipyard.
According to the 1826 Loyds Register of Ships the AGNES was a coaster probably used for carrying bricks & tiles to Leith, Grangemouth, Aberdeen etc. The ships Master was Donaldson and the owner was Christie & Co.
Below – See the relationship between Duncansons Shipyard and the Christie Brickworks. Note Alexander Bald has the Wood Yard at this time.
Below – 02/08/1827 – Caledonian Mercury – Alexander Bald advert.
Below – 20/02/1828 – Alloa Brick and Tile Works – Alexander Bald.
Below – 01/05/1833 – The Scotsman – Alexander Bald, Alloa Brick and Tile Works writes to the Government with a plea to repeal the brick tax.
1837 – Alexander Bald, brick and tile manufacturer, Craig Ward, Alloa Page 326.
Below – 21/04/1847 – The Scotsman – Advert of Alex Bald.
17/09/1849 – Caledonian Mercury – Trade with Egypt – The Triad, belonging to Kirkcaldy took in a cargo at Alloa consisting of ale, firebricks, coal etc which are to be taken to Alexandria. This is supposed to be the first instance of any vessel leaving Alloa for Egypt and the circumstances has created much interest there. (Note – SBH – Perhaps the fire bricks were manufactured by Bald?)
12/07/1851 – Alloa Advertiser – Notice – The subscriber begs to intimate to his friends and customers whose orders for common bricks he could not execute a short time ago, that he has now a supply which he is selling at a lower rate than formerly. Fire bricks, tiles and other articles on hand as usual, the whole being of approved quality. Alex Bald, brick and tile works, Alloa July 1851.
24/01/1852 – Alloa Advertiser – The subscribers beg leave to inform their friends and the public that they have commenced business as Timber Merchants here in the yard on the premises of Mr Bald, adjoining his brick and tile works. Having selected a stock of timber of the best quality they beg respectfully to solicit a share of public patronage which by attention to the business they will endeavour to merit. Wm R Carmichael & Co Alloa 24/01/1852 (He would appear at this time not be involved in brick and tile making).
Below – 24/03/1853 – Inverness Courier – Advert for the Alloa Brick and Tile Works. Alexander Bald. Orders received by Mr W Watson, Cromarty.
14/10/1857 – Glasgow Herald – To pipe makers. Wanted a person qualified to make sewerage pipes by a machine attached to a steam engine and who has knowledge of salt glaze burning. Apply to the manager Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
27/08/1858 – Dundee, Perth and Cupar Advertiser – The Alloa brick and tile works – The subscriber continues to manufacture the following articles which are of approved quality viz:- Fire bricks, paving tiles, flue covers and wall coping made to any pattern. Fire clay blocks for furnaces and masonry. Gas retorts. Salt-glazed sewerage pipes from 3″ upwards. Chimney pots and flower vases of various patterns. Cattle troughs and vent linings. Ground fire clay for crucibles etc. Roofing tiles (red and blue). Drain tyles and pipes from 1 1/2″ to 12″ diameter. Common and composition bricks. Alexander Bald. P M Duncan, 13 Dock Street – Agent.
03/09/1859 – Alloa Journal – Caithness pavement and glazed pipes. The subscriber begs to inform the public that he has a consignment of the above pavement at his works, of good quality and low prices. Also that he has been manufacturing for some time very superior glazed fire clay pipes (spiggot and faucet) from 2 to 15 inches in diameter. Alexr Bald, Brick and Tile Works, Alloa, 26/08/1859.
21/10/1859 – Stirling Observer – Death of Alexander Bald – We have this week the melancholy duty if recording the death of Mr Alexander Bald, of Alloa, which sad event took place at his residence of Craigward Cottage on the evening of Friday last, the 21st inst. A friend and associate of men and letters, and himself possessed of no inconsiderable literary powers, Mr Bald was well known to, and highly appreciated by a wide circle of friends in the district-though many of those who knew him best have been gathered to their fathers. He was born in Alloa, on the 9th June 1783. His father, Mr Robert Bald, was the author of a book of arithmetical calculations known as “The Corn-dealers’ Assistant,” and which is still extensively used by those engaged in the grain trade. For many years he acted as agent for the collieries of John Francis Erskine, Esq., who, on the removal of the forfeiture of the title, became afterwards Earl of Mar. Completing his education at the best schools of his native town, the subject of this notice established himself as a timber merchant in the place; an occupation which he subsequently exchanged from that of brick and tile manufacturer. Early in the century, a younger brother, Mr Francis Bald, having entered into a partnership, as timber merchants in Alloa, with Mr John Grieve, afterwards of Cacrabank in Ettrick, Mr Alexander Bald formed the intimacy of the latter ingenious and accomplished gentleman. Mr Grieve subsequently removed to Edinburgh, where he carried on business as a hat manufacturer, and attained considerable opulence. Through the kindly offices of this worthy and estimable person, Mr Bald was introduced to the most noted literary characters of the capital and had afterwards the satisfaction of enjoying their society and friendship. By Mr Grieve he was made acquainted with the Ettrick Shepherd, while he was still tending to the flocks on the Dumfriesshire hills; and he had the satisfaction of hearing from the future another author of Kilmeny, seated on the award, portions of those ballads and poems which long afterwards contributed to his fame. Ten years before he was known to the world of letters. Mr Bald was thus led to interest himself in the Ettrick Bard. It ought to be added that when Hogg removed to Edinburgh in 1810, the acquaintance formed on the hillside was cordially resumed, the poet becoming a cherished guest of his honoured friend. “The Good Man of Alloa,” one of Hogg’s most amusing and popular ballads, was composed consequent on the Bard’s frequent visits to the banks of the Forth. It is interesting to remark that, on the occasion of the Shepherd’s last visit to Craigward Cottage, he inscribed some finely conceived impromptu verses in the album of Mr Bald’s only daughter, who dies shortly afterwards; and that one of the Poet’s latest visitors at Altrive during his last illness was his affectionate friend from Alloa.
29/10/1859 – Alloa Advertiser – A comprehensive account of Alexander Bald’s life.
26/05/1860 – Alloa Advertiser – Welsh slates and Caithness Pavement – The subscriber has just landed a cargo of slates from the Port Dinorwic Quarry, Bangor of fine quality. He has also on hand a quantity of Caithness Pavement, polished and rough of large squares. W.R Carmichael, Brick and Tile Works, Alloa 24/05/1860.
Below – 1863 – Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
11/07/1863 – Alloa Advertiser – Burgh customs – Mr Carmichael called attention to the circumstances of his being charged custom on bricks and tiles sent out of town … The clerk said in his opinion all goods sent out of town, as well as those sent into it, were liable in custom.
Below – 10/10/1863 – Alloa Advertiser – W.R Carmichael complaining about custom charges on clay he brings into town and bricks he takes out …
21/02/1865 – Dundee Courier – Mr William Robb Carmichael, Alloa Brick and Tile Works – elected as Burgh Commissioner.
23/02/1865 – Stirling Observer – Election of Burgh Commissioners – Mr Wm Robb Carmichael of Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
08/04/1865 – Alloa Advertiser – Roofing tile maker wanted at the Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
20/06/1868 – Alloa Advertiser – Ballachulish slates – The subscribers have just received to hand an excellent cargo of the above slates. W R & J Carmichael. Alloa Brick and Tile Works 12/06/1868.
14/04/1873 – Brickmakers (Fire) wanted. A good steady hand. Apply at the Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
14/03/1874 – Alloa Advertiser – John Carmichael, Alloa Brick Work involved in local society.
1877 – John Carmichael, joint proprietor of Craigward Brickworks and Cottage, Stirlingshire (page 34)
William R Carmichael, joint proprietor of Craigward Brickworks, Stirlingshire (page 34)
W. Monteath, Craigward Brickwork (page 19)
08/04/1882 – Alloa Advertiser – Alloa Railway, laying of the foundation stone of the bridge across the Forth. Gentlemen attending included John Carmichael and W.R Carmichael of Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
05/04/1884 – Alloa Advertiser – Wanted – An experienced burner also a common brick maker. Apply at Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
20/09/1884 – Alloa Advertiser – Alloa Brick Works – There were from 25 to 30 men from the above-the works belonging to Messrs W. R. & J. Carmichael-the marshal being Mr Wm. Cant. The employees had a banner illustrative of a kiln burning bricks over the top of which was painted, “Alloa Brick and Tile Works.” Beneath the painting was the gallant assertion-“Gladstone wants to make two million County Bricks, and we’re the boys to help him.” The specimens of workmanship carried included pipes, flower vases, artificial roots for trees, a model steeple, &c. The men wore white bonnets and had Gladstone sashes and rosettes. Their lorry was neatly decorated and heavily laden. The Grand Old Man (a small model made of fire clay at the works by Mr Wm. Vance) was accommodated in a chair in front of the conveyance. Here also was seen a kiln in full operation, and a machine for pressing tiles, with specimens of bricks, tiles, and a garden chair. On the kiln was inscribed, “We will fire them up.”
Below – 16/05/1885 – Alloa Advertiser – issues over land required to widen the road near to Craigward Brick Works – Mr W.R. Carmichael.
19/09/1885 – Alloa Advertiser – Complaint regarding work carried out by Carmichael, Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
The Chairman-Mr Carmichael has repaired the part near his property.
The Surveyor-Yes, he has raised the tiles to the level of the rails.
The Chairman-And was there any objection to that?
Mr Grant-Oh yes. It makes the path dangerous. It is lying on a slope.
The Chairman-In that case the Commissioners cannot accept the work alone. He must lay the thing as originally ordered. We have powers to compel it to be done.
The Clerk-Oh yes. But I think he said Lord Mar had something to do with the waggon-way.
The Chairman-But it is quite clear that Mr Carmichael has not carried out the order we served upon him.
Dr Horne Hay-What about the road at Kelliebank?
The Chairman-That is a road we have nothing to do within the meantime. Of course, we could call on the proprietors to make the street.
Dr Horne Hay-Carting is always going on to Dawson’s works, and the carts can hardly get through, the road is so bad. He thought Lord Mar’s factor was to be asked about this road.
Mr Moyes-Mr Dawson should complain about it.
Dr Horne-Hay-They have never made a complaint about it.
Mr Grant-The proprietors should be called on to make the roadway there.
The Chairman-It is questionable whether the commissioners would be altogether justified in calling upon the proprietors to make the street simply because someone comes and builds a factory in the outskirts. The making of the street would be a very considerable expense to the proprietors, and we must bear this in mind that they have never cut up the road in any way. I think it would be very hard to cause them to make the street partly for the benefit of people who are not in the burgh at all, and who would not pay 1s towards the expense of it. I am strongly disinclined to order it to be done if the proprietors themselves are not inclined to make the road. We know the circumstances of the proprietors down there.
Mr Thomson said that if a new road were made according to specifications approved of by the commissioner, the commissioners would take the street off their hands.
The Chairman – Of course, but it is not an opportune moment to call upon them to make the street. No doubt it will have to be done some time.
Dr Horne-Hay-The worst part of the road is beyond the part that is fenced.
The Chairman-If the proprietors can see their way to do it we could pass an order, but if they do not, I think we should not press them. We should see exactly in what position the fees stand, and ascertain the views of the feuars on the subject.
Mr Moyes- Allow Messrs Dawson to write to Lord Mar themselves as to the state of the road.
It was agreed to do nothing to the street until the feuars made the street, but to insist upon the orders as to the footway being carried out
Below – 1886 – Advert Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
26/10/1886 – Dundee Evening Telegraph – Edinburgh International Exhibition – Carmichael, Alloa – honourable mention for brick and chimney cans.
18/06/1887 – Alloa Advertiser – Craigward Road – A correspondence was read between the Burgh Treasurer and Messrs W.R & J Carmichael, Alloa Brickworks, relative to the making of the roadway at Craigward. Messrs Carmichael denies liability for payment of their share on the ground that they did not receive notice that the road was to be made and that they had already paid Lord Mar their share for making the new tramway.
The commissioners resolved to intimate to Messrs Carmichael that notice was given according to the Act by public advertisement and seeing that no objections were made by them at the time, the commissioners insist upon Messrs Carmichael paying their share.
12/05/1888 – Alloa Advertiser -The Glasgow Exhibition – Messrs W.R. & J Carmichael’s stand – Messrs W. R. & J. Carmichael, Alloa and Dollar Brick and Tile Works, have stand 866, court 5, class 3, where they have erected two pillars of fine red facing bricks, intermixed with enamelled bricks of various colours. They are covered with round and square roofs respectively and slated with small red tiles of various designs to show their manufacture in that kind of goods, of which, we understand, they are the only makers in Scotland. They show in the terracotta department a variety of ridge tiles, finials, and terminals for roofs of houses, which are of a fine bright red colour and have a pleasing appearance. A number of terracotta chimney cans of new and superior designs are also exhibited along with various kinds of air bricks, flower boxes, seed pans, brackets, busts, and hanging flower pots covered with raised roses and other flower imitations. In white and yellow enamelled ware, they have a good show of superior glazed sinks, washtubs, troughs, traps, rustic garden edging, bricks, &c.
25/09/1888 – Glasgow Evening Citizen – The International Exhibition – W.R. & J Carmichael of the Albion Brick and Tile Works (Alloa Brick and Tile Works?) who have sent baths, sinks, milk coolers, bricks, ridge tiles, finials, flower boxes and a variety of sanitary ware.
22/02/1890 – Alloa Advertiser – William R Carmichael, Alloa Brick and Tile Works called as a juror for the Annual Fiars Court which determines the price of grain in the County.
28/12/1895 – Alloa Advertiser – New clay supply – A Cowdenbeath firm have opened a shaft at Blairingone near to the established Church Manse there and are getting a good supply of coal. The seam of coal is 3 1/2 feet thick and above and below the seam is a 2 1/2 foot layer of fine clay which is being used by Messrs W.R & J Carmichael, brick makers and C. Buick & Sons, Hilton Brick Works, Alloa
02/03/1898 – Dundee Courier – Death of a well known Alloa citizen – Yesterday there passed away at the age of 74, Mr William Robb Carmichael, senior partner of the firm of Messrs W.R & J Carmichael of the Alloa brick and tile works. The deceased gentleman who was a native of Clackmannan has been connected with the brickworks for the long period of 55 years. He succeeded the late Mr Bald in the year 1858 (?) when the work was of small dimensions and ultimately assumed his brother John as a partner. The late Mr Carmichael was a sagacious businessman and largely to his skill and business qualifications is due to the important place in local industries which Alloa Brickwork holds. At one time Mr Carmichael was commissioner of the Burgh when the Late Andrew Mitchell was Chief Magistrate, but beyond serving a term he did not take much part in public affairs. He was a staunch Liberal. The deceased was never married.
Below – 1899 – Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
02/05/1903 – Edinburgh Evening News – Wanted at once a good roofing tile maker. Liberal wages and constant work. Apply W. R. & J. Carmichael, Alloa Brick and Tile Works.
24/11/1906 – Alloa Advertiser – Reference to 11 young men appearing in Court charged with a contravention of the Trespass Act after they were caught in a yard at Craigward Brickworks (Alloa) while engaged in a game of cards without the consent of the owners.
05/11/1910 – The Scotsman – Alloa Brick and Tile Works for sale by a private bargain. The subjects for sale include the goodwill of the business which was established in 1805 together with all the stock therein. The business includes the manufacture of all kinds of bricks, tiles and enamelled and fireclay ware. The works occupy an excellent position with a frontage to the River Forth and a large and lucrative trade can be carried on. Further particulars can be obtained from W. R. & J. Carmichael, Alloa of their agents J.W & A.P Moir, Solicitors, Alloa. Offers to be lodged with agents on or before 19/11/1910.
Below – 27/04/1912 – Dundee Courier – Sale of the Alloa Brick and Tile, Enamelled Fire-Clay and Terracotta Works as instructed by W.R. & J Carmichael who is retiring from the business.
22/02/1917 – Dundee Evening Telegraph – 50 years an elder – By the death of Mr John Carmichael retired brick and tile manufacturer which took place at his residence, Smithfield, Alloa yesterday, a lengthy record of church service has been terminated.