Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Co, Bonnybridge, Falkirk, Stirlingshire


Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Co – Originated with partnership in 1874 of Azariah Griffiths of Sheffield and Alexander Whyte, flesher, of Alma St, Falkirk. Griffiths became a sole partner in 1887. It is believed to have been one of the first companies to discover and work the seams of fireclay and ganister at Bonnybridge. The company was incorporated as Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co in 1906. In 1936, merged with Calder Fireclay Co (founded in 1880) which ran Armadale Brickworks, and the combined company then opened Chapelhall Works. Torwood Mine opened in the 1940s and company took over Aitkendean Mine, Carrington, Midlothian in the 1960s although this closed shortly afterwards. In 1961 (Note – SBH – this may have actually been in 1969?), the company was bought from the family and re-financed by Scotcros Ltd and re-named Bonnybridge Refractories Ltd. The company was sold to Hepworth Ceramic Holdings in 1972. Bonnybridge Works closed in 1973 and Chapelhall Works closed in 1980. Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co, operate as manufacturers of bricks and refractory ceramic products. The company’s registered office is in Linlithgow, West Lothian. Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co was incorporated in 1969 with the registration number SC047123.

1874 – Company started.

c. 11/1882 – John Gilchrist Stein starts work as a salesman at the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd. He was paid 27s 6d per week.

Below – 1886 – Advert – Bonnybridge Whyte and Griffiths.

22/05/1886 – Falkirk – The Edinburgh International Exhibition – At stand 73, the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd (Baillie Griffiths, Falkirk – Proprietor) show fire clay blocks, and special fire clay goods for steel and ironworks with gannister, raw and manufactured, for withstanding intense and long sustained heat and wash from molten metal.

30/10/1886 – Falkirk Herald. Awards at the Edinburgh exhibition. The Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company have been awarded a bronze medal for an exhibit of fire clay goods from steel and ironworks.

12/05/1888 – Falkirk Herald – Glasgow International Exhibition … The Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company (stand 149) have an almost similar display to that of their neighbours. The Silica and Fireclay Company have, hanging the back of their stand, a framed certificate for a bronze medal awarded them at Newcastle-on-Tyne Exhibition and another for a diploma of merit at Edinburgh.

26/10/1886 – Edinburgh Evening News – International Exhibition – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd, Bonnybridge – Bronze medal – for an exhibit of fireclay goods for steel and ironworks.

25/09/1888 – Glasgow Evening Citizen – The International Exhibition – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd exhibit fire bricks adapted for the construction of puddling, copper-smelting, retorting and foundry cupolas.

Below – 1889 – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd, Bonnybridge. Griffiths.

25/06/1890 – Falkirk Herald – The steamer Jupiter ran a pleasure excursion to the Forth Bridge and Leith on Saturday, with the employees of the Bonnybridge Silica Fire Clay Co., and a number of their friends. The weather was pleasant, and the trip turned out a most enjoyable one.

10/02/1892 – Falkirk Herald – A small debt action was called in Falkirk Sheriff Court on Wednesday at the instance of the Bonnybridge Silica Fire Clay Company against David Tough, Bonnybridge, for loss and damage sustained by them in consequence of defender having left their employment without the requisite notice and in breach of engagement. The defender states that he gave notice, and only left on the last day of the notice. The pursuers, however, say that after the notice was given the defender agreed to continue in their service and that the notice was departed from. The case was continued for proof.

1893 – 1896 – A Griffiths, JP, Fire brick and ganister manufacturer, The Hollies, Bonnybridge.

26/08/1893 – Falkirk Herald – Reference to Mr Archibald Low, manager of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Works.

19/09/1894 – Coventry Evening Telegraph – Coventry dispensary. Medical appointment. Dr Allan is a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh; licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh; licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow; licentiate in midwifery; fellow of the Obstetrical Society of London; and a member of the Medico-Psychological, and British Medical Association, and Police Surgeons’ Alliance. Amongst the appointments he has held are surgeon to the Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company, the Bonnybridge Foundry, “Ure and C0.,” and the Columbian Stone Works. He has lately been surgeon to the Kent County Police, Tonbridge, Medical Officer of the 3rd District of the Tonbridge Union, a visiting physician at Redland’s Asylum, Tonbridge, surgeon to Foresters, Oddfellows, Kent and Sussex Labourers’ Union, and other clubs. Dr Allan has taken Dr Oldham’s practice and residence.

22/09/1894 – Falkirk Herald – The Bonnybridge band promenade concert. Bonnybridge 13th September 1894. Sir – Your Bonnybridge correspondent, in your issue of 8th inst, still seems to assert that the sandwiches were distributed amongst those on strike at Haggs and Bonnybridge Brickworks. The term Bonnybridge Brickworks of course includes all the brickworkers in this district, and I am not aware of any brickworks being on strike at present. Further, he would be more correct were he to say that the “pitiful dole” was distributed among some of the workers in one brickwork only. This I am prepared to substantiate, and although, like your correspondent, I desire to gratify curiosity, can, if necessary, name those who handed over the sandwiches and the parties who received them. As I stated in my former letter, none of our workpeople received any, nor did they require such aid at this time. It was merely to make this known that I troubled writing to you on the subject at all, and I think enough has now been said about this matter. It seems to me that your correspondent must have been scarce of news when he took the trouble to report the donation of such a trifling charity, but evidently the philanthropists in Bonny bridge like to keep the left hand well advised of the doings of the right.—I am, &c, Archd. Low, Manager, Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Co.

Below – 1896 – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.

14/09/1896 – The Scotsman – Plaster or stucco mould maker (first-class) wanted. Accustomed to grate backs preferred. Apply with testimonials, stating wages, Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Co.

26/10/1898 – Falkirk Herald – Wm MacDonald, labourer, Barleyside Terrace, Bonnybridge, was fined 10s, or seven days, for creating a disturbance in Bonnybridge Silica Fire Clay- Company’s Works.

21/01/1899 – Falkirk Herald – … during the past year, and have been very busy.  The same may be said of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Works where the electric light has been fitted up during the year …

09/06/1900 – Falkirk Herald – The occupation of Pretoria. Local rejoicings … For the bonfire kindled by the employes of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company, Mr Griffiths supplied six tons of wood, including grease casks, which made an excellent illumination from the high ground chosen for the fire …

16/03/1901 – Falkirk Herald – Presentation. On the evening of the 2nd curt., a deputation of the employees of Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company waited on Mr Low at his father’s residence and presented him with a gold Albert, a gold appendage and a silk umbrella with gold mountings. The appendage and umbrella bore inscriptions to the that the gifts were due to the appreciation of the workmen for Mr Low, who is temporarily leaving the company’s employment. Mr Wren, in a few remarks, bore testimony to the kindly feeling existing among the workmen towards Mr Low, and hoped, that he would be speedily back at work, restored in health. Mr Low duly replied, and the company was afterwards entertained to supper.

06/11/1901 – Falkirk Herald – “There were giants in those days.’ The fossil remains of a man of unusual size have been discovered by workmen engaged blasting ganister the pit at tho Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Works.

30/04/1902 – Falkirk Herald – James Hardie, engineman, Bonnybridge, admitted stealing 12lbs. of coal from the Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Works. The Fiscal said that the prisoner, while in charge of his engine, showed a woman where to pick up coals. The woman had been already fined. He was really worse than she was. The Sheriff imposed a fine of 5s or three days.

Below – 1907 – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd advert.

14/09/1907 – Falkirk Herald – Last Saturday the employees of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd – (Messrs A Griffiths and Co) held their annual excursion, the destination this year being Dunoon. Fully 150 took advantage of the trip, and the North British Railway Company conveyed the excursionists in a special train. Leaving High Bonnybndge N.B. Railway Station about 7 a.m a pleasant ride and sail brought them to Dunoon, which was reached about 9.20 a.m The weather was delightfully fine, which enabled the visitors to enjoy the trip to the full. The return journey was resumed about 7.15 p.m., and Bonnybridge reached in due course, no untoward incident occurring to mar the pleasure of the visit. As usual, the firm generously gave a handsome donation to the excursion fund.

07/03/1908 – Falkirk Herald – … In the Bonnybridge district, on account of underground workings, there was considerable subsidence of the public road opposite Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Works, but as yet there has been no chokage of the sewer at the point …

05/09/1908 – Falkirk Herald – Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Coy employees trip. Last Saturday the employees of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, Ltd. (Messrs A. Griffiths and Co.), held their annual excursion, the venue this year being Portobello. Numbering about 150, the company travelled by the 7.15 a.m train from High Bonnybridge Station. The weather at the start was stormy and wet, but as the day advanced the conditions improved, the afternoon being all that could be desired, and permitting of the visitors enjoying the pleasure facilities with which this coast resort abounds. The trippers left Portobello for home at 9.15 p.m, arriving at High Bonnybridge in due course, unanimity prevailing as to the enjoyable nature of the visit.

13/03/1909 – Falkirk Herald – Stirling County Council … The superintendent reported he had received further complaints from the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company as to alleged unsatisfactory supply of water at their manager’s house at High Bonnybridge, and threatening proceedings unless this is remedied …

24/09/1909 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – New Management at Muirs Brickworks – Hugh Goldie, who has managed the brickworks and coalmine of Messrs Robert Muir and Ltd., for past three years, having accepted an engagement of similar nature Bonnybridge, left on Wednesday of last week. In order to fill the vacant position. Messrs Muir and  Co., who own Armadale. Barbauchlaw, and Boghead Brick and Pipe Works, and Coal Mine have had to engage a  manager for the brick and pipe works, and also a manager for the mine. Mr James Gillespie,  late of Turner and Co., Portobello, took up the duties of managing the brick and pipework on Tuesday, and Mr Heaps, from Blackbraes, a young certificated mine manager, has taken over the management the mine.

20/05/1910  – Dundee Evening Telegraph – Death of a Falkirk ex provost. The death has taken place at the Hollies, Falkirk of ex Provost Griffiths, fire brick manufacturer, Bonnybridge. The deceased who was about 70 years of age was a native of Monmouthshire. A good many years ago he started the making of silica and gannister bricks, the first industry of its kind in Scotland and had large works in Bonnybridge. For 12 years he was a member of the Falkirk Town Council and was for a period Provost. He was also a J.P and Honorary Sheriff Substitute.

Below – 1913 – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.

11/03/1913 – The Scotsman – A serious explosion occurred at an early hour yesterday morning at the works of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company at High Bonnybridge, as a result of which one man lost his life and another was severely injured. The explosion occurred in a brick structure near the mouth of a clay pit, which was used for the storage of explosives. At about six o’clock, before the day miners had commenced work for the day, William Hoggan, (65), Griffiths Buildings, High Bonnybridge and Alexander Miscummins (43), Laurelbank, Greenhill were employed in the shed thawing explosives for use in the pit during the day. It is supposed that during this operation some gelignite became overheated and exploded, but it is also stated that the explosion occurred while Hoggan was breaking a cartridge prior to placing the pieces in the warming pan to thaw. The force of the explosion completely destroyed the shed, the brick walls being levelled to the ground. Hoggan was killed outright, his injuries, particularly about the face, being of a frightful character. Part of one of his hands was blown away. Miscummins had a remarkable escape from death but was rather badly injured about the face and head. Medical aid was summoned, but Hoggan was found to be entirely beyond assistance. Miscummins was able, after being attended to, to walk to his home. Hoggan leaves a widow and grown-up family.

19/08/1913 – The Scotsman – Thoughtless or Reckless Boys. Five boys, whose ages ranged from 16 to 11 appeared in the Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday to answer a charge of having on 31st July at the railway siding between the North British Railway and the brickworks at High Bonnybridge, Falkirk parish, occupied by the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company (Limited), wilfully removed the plates which locked the wheels of a bogey lying beside the siding, placed the bogey on the rails, and ran it down the siding and smashed and destroyed the entrance gate. All the accused pleaded guilty: In reply to the Sheriff, the Fiscal, who stated that the smashing of the gate was not intentionally done, mentioned that had the bogey gone right through the gate onto the mainline of the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway, something serious might have occurred. The Sheriff commented on the seriousness of the offence land fined the eldest accused £1, or ten days, the others being dismissed with an admonition

28/01/1914 – Falkirk Herald – A clay miner’s compensation. In an action for review of compensation, brought under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, Sheriff Moffatt issued his decision on Monday. The action was at the instance of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company, Ltd., Bonnyhridge, against Alexander Miskimmon, clay miner, Laurelbank, by Bonnybridge. The pursuers craved the Court to review the weekly payment of 18s 7d agreed to be paid by them to the defender under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. 1906, and to order that the sum be diminished to such a sum as might be deemed proper, as from 6th October 1913. It was further asked that the sum payable be ended, or, at all events, further diminished as from 5th November 1913. It was stated that on or about 10th March last defender was sitting in a bothy pursuers’ works along with a fellow-workman, named William Hoggan, preparatory to entering the clay mine. Hoggan was engaged softening gelignite, which had become frozen and hard, and while he was thus employed a piece of gelignite exploded, the result of which the bothy, which was built of brick, was razed to the ground. Hoggin was thrown 7 or 8 yards away and was killed, and the defender was rendered unconscious. Defender’s injuries consisted of a cut over the left eye, a bruised back, the drums of both cars being broken, and severe shock to his nervous system. Pursuers averred that the defender was examined by Dr McKee, Glasgow, and that he was reported being fit for light work, which would hasten his recovery, and that the pursuers accordingly offered him light work, which the defender refused to accept, maintaining that he was unfit for any work. It is further averred by the pursuers that the defender was examined by Dr A. N. McGregor, surgeon to the Glasgow Western Infirmary and that he was then reported to be fit for full work. The defender admitted that he had been examined by Drs McKee and McGregor, and explained that he would be unable to do the light work which the pursuers could offer him. He further averred that he had been in regular attendance at Dr Young’s, Bonnybridge and had been examined for the purposes of that case by Dr Fraser, Falkirk, and both of these gentlemen stated that he was unable to perform any kind of light work whatever. Medical and other evidence was led for both parties at the proof, which took place on January 13th. after which Sheriff Moffatt made an avizandum. His Lordship now holds that Miskimmon is still totally incapacitated for work, refuses to end or vary the compensation payable to Miskimmon, and finds him entitled to expenses. The Sheriff states in a “note” that the medical assessor was quite satisfied that the claimant’s complaints were genuine, although perhaps he might be making the most of some of his symptoms. He was still suffering severely from neurasthenia …

14/02/1914 – Falkirk Herald – Stirling County Council … Mr Forrester, in moving the approval of the minutes, said the committee met a deputation of the Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Company and had come to terms with the company so that they would now have a sufficient water supply …

Below30/07/1914 – Clyde Bill of Entry and Shipping List – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company Ltd advert. Reference to ‘Bonnybridge’ and ‘Marco’ brands.

06/07/1918 – Falkirk Herald – Death of Mr Hugh Goldie, High Bonnybridge – The death took place on Wednesday afternoon of Mr Hugh Goldie, manager, Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd. Deceased who was in his 46th year, occupied a prominent place in the Scottish brickmaking industry. A native of Kilmarnock, he came to Bonnybridge 9 years ago. He leaves a widow and 4 of a family to whom the sympathy of the community is extended.

26/8/1922 – Falkirk Herald – Two ash tennis courts, which have been in preparation for the past month or so, were formally opened at High Bonnybridge on Saturday afternoon in the presence of a good number of invited guests. The courts have been laid out at the suggestion of Major Griffiths and his son, Mr Fred Griffiths of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd., who have covered the initial expense. The labour, which was voluntarily given, was under the direction of Mr John Wilson, manager of the firm. At the outset, Major Griffiths welcomed the ladies and gentlemen from the neighbouring brickworks, who had come in response to an open invitation, after which Miss Sybil Griffiths declared courts open. An exhibition game by Miss MacAra and Mr Alex. MacAra, Jun, Denny, set the sport in motion, after which various sets were played by members present until evening. Tea was served in nice style during the afternoon, under the supervision of Mrs Wilson and Mrs Dunsmuir.

27/06/1923 – Falkirk Herald – Alfred Thorpe, a young brickworker, residing at 1 Bonnyside Terrace, High Bonnybridge. was charged at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday with having, on 9th June, in Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Works assaulted Elizabeth Quin, by striking her a severe blow on the face with his fist. After the evidence, the Sheriff found the accused guilty, but took into consideration the explanation that there was some provocation for the assault, and imposed a modified fine of 10s.

18/03/1933 – Falkirk Herald – In the court of the railway and canal commission. Whereas an application has been made to the Railway and Canal Commission under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Acts, 1923 and 1925, and the Mining Industries Act, 1926, by the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd for certain rights of wayleave, as set out in said application, on or under the lands and farm of Drum in the Parish of Falkirk and County of Stirling belonging to John Russell and of which Mrs Agnes Jamieson or Russell as executrix to her husband Thomas Russell is the bondholder in possession. Notice is hereby given that a copy of the said application has been deposited with the said Court and copies thereof may be obtained at the offices of the subscribers and that maps showing the area of the proposed workings and the districts affected thereby have been prepared and may be seen at any time during business hours at the said offices and at the registered office of the applicants at Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire …

07/10/1933 – Falkirk Herald – Falkirk area water shortage. Fears of industrial stoppage. In consequence of the prolonged drought, the Falkirk district, in common with other Scottish areas, is suffering from a severe water shortage. A development decided upon by the Stirlingshire and Falkirk Water Board for the purpose of ensuring that domestic users will not have their supplies affected meantime, occurred yesterday, when a number of important district industrial concerns had their water supply cut off or drastically curtailed … The Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company have hopes of securing an alternative supply from a burn near the works. It is particularly low, but it is likely that water will be available from this source. If that alternative fails, the position will become serious, and if work stopped, approximately 100 people would be affected …

Below – 18/10/1933 – Falkirk Herald – Fireclay on the Estate of Drum for sale. Presently worked by Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.

04/11/1933 – Falkirk Herald – There was exposed for public sale in the office of Mr Hugh P. Black, solicitor, Falkirk, Thursday afternoon at the upset price of £3840, the site of Drum, in the parish of Falkirk, including the farms of Drum and South Drum, fireclay and other minerals, and certain wayleaves. The total assessed rental is £339 2s 5d, and the ground burden is £14 1s 5d. The property was purchased at the upset price by Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Company, Ltd. Mr Galloway, of Messrs Thomas Binnie Ltd., was the auctioneer.

25/05/1934 – Kirkintilloch Gazette – Plans passed … house at West Drum Farm, High Bonnybridge for Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Co., Ltd …

03/12/1935 – Dundee Courier – Scottish inventions. W. McBryde and Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Co., Ltd, Bonnybridge chequer brickwork structure for regenerator furnaces.

04/09/1936 – Motherwell Times  – Brickwork for Chapelhall – Chapelhall village is to have an industry, the first for ten years. A new industry is the manufacture of fireclay bricks. Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company are building a factory. Constructional work is being pushed ahead and it is hoped to begin production towards the end of October. Work will be given to about 200 men. The latest type of machinery will be installed in the factory. Bricks produced will be for home use and export.

19/02/1938 – Falkirk Herald – A few minutes before midnight last Saturday Mr James Ferguson, Broomside Terrace, High Bonnybridge, passed to his rest after a long and trying illness, leaving the village much the poorer by his loss. He was for many years employed as timekeeper with the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Coy, retiring from the position some time ago …

06/08/1938 – Falkirk Herald – Sheriff-Substitute Robert Hendry, at Falkirk Sheriff Court, has made a grant of compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Acts to John Bradley, 15 Drum Terrace, High Bonnybridge, in respect of an injury received during the course of his employment with the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, Ltd., Bonnybridge. In an interlocutor announcing his Judgment, Sheriff-Substitute Hendry writes that having considered the record and proof he finds in fact that the claimant is a bricklayer. On and prior to 4th February 1938, the claimant was in the respondents’ employment as a brickworker. On that date, he sustained personal injury by accident, namely, injury to the left leg, involving a fracture. It is not in dispute that the claimant is still totally incapacitated. The claimant’s pre-accident average earnings were £3 5s per week. The accident to the claimant was duly reported and a claim made for compensation. The respondents refuse or delay to admit liability. The accident to the claimant happened at 1 p.m. At this time, the employees of the respondents had stopped work for dinner. The claimant at this time stopped working at a kiln. He then shifted a portable light at the kiln. By the time he finished doing so the rest of the employees had left their work for dinner … The claimant was a member of a burnt brick squad. It is part of the duty of the members of these squads at any time, including the dinner interval, to sort any bricks which they find disarranged in a waggon, and to go into the waggon for that purpose. There is no recognised method of going on or coming off a waggon … In evidence, the claimant said that he was working at the waggon as he came along and that when he came to one waggon he noticed a brick had become dislodged and this dislodgment had caused a whole row of bricks to come out of order, and that he stepped into the waggon and re-arranged the bricks, tightening them up. He added that he then made to step off the waggon on the other side to gain the steps to get up on the other loading bank so as to walk down to the main gate, but in doing so his foot slipped when he was getting up on the waggon, and he overbalanced and in trying to jump clear of the waggon he fell to the ground … The Sheriff awarded to the claimant compensation from and after the 4th February 1938, at the rate of 30s per week until the same is competently varied or ended. He found the respondents liable to the claimant in the expenses of the process …

30/01/1939 – Edinburgh Evening News  – A well-known Stirlingshire surgeon, Dr Alfred Griffiths, M.B. F.R.C.S.(Edin.), died at his residence, Polmont Park, Polmont, on Saturday. He was 74. A native of Wakefield … Dr Griffiths was for 28 years chairman of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co. …

04/07/1939 – The Scotsman – Lanark County Council has been given notice by H. M. Inspector of Mines of the abandonment of the following mines: Gain Mine, Glenboig belonging to the Glenboig Union Fireclay Co., Ltd ., Glasgow … Chapelhall, belonging to the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge.

18/04/1942 – Falkirk Herald – Injury to works chemist – An unfortunate industrial accident occurred at High Bonnybridge last Monday, resulting in serious injury being sustained by Mr Shorter, the chemist employed by Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, Ltd. In furtherment of his research work, Mr Shorter had descended the clay pit adjacent to the works. Having completed his task, he was proceeding to the shaft on a hutch, when he came into violent contact with a low roof of which he was not aware. He sustained two fractures of the upper limbs and severe bruising that necessitated his removal to Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary.

Below – 1944 – 1969 – Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd.

21/10/1944 – Falkirk Herald – Shorthand typist or clerkess wanted; must have some experience. Details, in the first instance, to The Secretary, Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co.. Ltd., Bonnybridge.

Below – 24/10/1944 – Invoice from Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd to Smith & Wellstood for ganister.

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Below – 30/10/1944 – Invoice from Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd to Smith & Wellstood for ganister.

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03/02/1945 – Falkirk Herald – The Bonnybridge Silica Welfare Club held their fifth annual Burns supper in the Welfare Club premises at High Bonnybridge on Friday evening of last week …

24/03/1945 – Falkirk Herald – Reference to Mr William Hoggan, assistant works manager, Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.

30/06/1945 – Falkirk Herald – Reference to Mr Walter McBryde being the managing director of Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.

25/08/1945 – Falkirk Herald – Keen intelligent boy 14-16, wanted for laboratory; prospects good. Apply by letter to Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge.

Below – 1946 – Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Works.

09/10/1946 – Falkirk Herald – Patrick Keane, brickworks labourer, 9 Waverley Crescent, High Bonnybridge, pleaded guilty at Falkirk J.P. Court on Tuesday to having stolen barrow, 329lbs of coal and four sacks from the brickworks at Broomside Road, High Bonnybridge, occupied by the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd. The Fiscal said that the property stolen was valued at £5 10s 6d, all of which had been recovered. Accused said that he had stolen the coal because he had had none in his home. He had intended to take the barrow back. Mr Festus Moffat, J.P., in imposing a fine of £2. with the alternative of 20 days’ imprisonment said that everyone was short of coal these days, but this was not the way to get it.

09/08/1947 – Falkirk Herald – Shorthand typist required, experienced, work includes invoicing; applications in writing, stating age, experience, and salary required, to Secretary, Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay. Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge

27/09/1947 – Falkirk Herald – Reliable night watchman required. Apply Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd, Bonnybridge.

27/09/1947 – Falkirk Herald – Assistant electrician wanted – must have DC mining experience. Apply Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd, Bonnybridge.

25/10/1947 – Boy, 15-17, wanted for laboratory. Apply in writing to Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge.

27/12/1947 – Falkirk Herald – Ex councillor John Wilson J.P and Mrs Wilson, Hillview, Bonnybridge celebrate their golden wedding anniversary … Mr Wilson who is a mine manager by profession and examination, has been associated with the mining industry for almost 65 years He has held managerial positions at Arniston. Gorebridge, Rosewell, Bishopbriggs and Avonbridge; while for the past 40 years he has been associated with Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Bonnybridge …

31/12/1949 – Falkirk Herald – Clerkess with knowledge of shorthand and typing and good at figures, wanted for office; 5-day week. Apply Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co, Ltd.

04/08/1951 – Falkirk Herald – Maintenance engineer wanted for firebrick works. Apply to the works manager, Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.

25/07/1953 – Falkirk Herald – Factory accident. High Bonnybridge firm fined. Before Sheriff John Macgregor. Q.C. at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, the Bonnybridge Silica Fire Clay Coy Ltd., High Bonnybridgewas charged with a contravention of the Factories Act, in the respect that on 11th May, the company failed to maintain the fencing provided for a certain dangerous part of the machinery, namely the top plate and bottom die of a screw brick press at which Mary Stewart Wilson Buchanan, 58 Broomside Road. High Bonnybridge. was working and suffered bodily injury. Mr George Yuill, the works manager, who represented the firm, tendered a plea of guilty. Miss Brand. H.M. Inspector of Factories. Stirling, who prosecuted, explained how the machine was operated and how it worked. She said a girl of sixteen years of age was taking bricks off the machine. On this occasion, a brick was not properly formed and had to be repressed. Just as she was going to take the brick out. the top plate came, down and jammed her fingers between the brick and the bottom die. The girl lost two joints of the fourth finger and one joint of the little finger of the right hand. The guard had not been properly maintained. The firm had been doing a lot to improve the standard of safety in their machinery. They had been trying to do their best. Mr Yuill said the firm had taken every precaution to see that such an accident did not happen again. The Sheriff said the firm was liable to a fine of £100. but he thought a fifth of that sum would meet the present case. He would therefore impose a fine of £20 with £1 6s 6d of expenses. As Mr Yuill undertook to send a cheque for the amount of the fine and expenses, no alternative was mentioned.

12/06/1954 – Falkirk Herald – If the weather was kind to the fishers, it was not kind to the workers, and their families, of John G. Stein & Co., and Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co., Ltd., when they had an outing to Dunbar on Saturday. It was very cold, but In spite of this «everyone enjoyed themselves.

10/07/1954 – Falkirk Herald – Clerkess wanted for Costs Department, knowledge of wages essential; machine accounting experience an advantage. Applications, giving full details of present and previous experience to the Secretary, Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd, Bonnybridge.

05/02/1955 – Falkirk Herald –  Fatality at Bonnybridge Silica Fireclay Works, High Bonnybridge. Robert Robertson (50) brick machine operator fell into a clay hopper filled with clay dust and suffocated.

13/08/1955 – Falkirk Herald – Apprentice electrician required by firebrick manufacturers; five-day week; canteen facilities, Apply in writing to Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd, Bonnybridge.

27/08/1955 – Falkirk Herald – Bonnybridge. On Saturday last the Silica Welfare held their annual meeting when over 150 were conveyed to Aberdour. These included eighty children who were treated by the club to lunch in Burntisland. Sports were organised on the beach at Aberdour for both young and old, and everyone spent an enjoyable afternoon.

11/06/1964 – Birmingham Daily Post – Messrs Hale & Hale (Tipton) Ltd wisely chose Carblox bricks for the lining of the two new cupolas in their new melting plant. Carblox Ltd., in association with Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co. Ltd., were pleased to supply the necessary materials. Carblox Ltd, Storrs Bridge Works, Loxley, Nr Sheffield.

November 1969 – A paper is written by Norcros Limited on behalf of Scotros Limited entitled – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company Limited – Report on economic effectiveness.  In this very interesting document, it details further Bonnybridge brands eg Heat store – bricks for storage heaters, Duoss (?) a silicon carbide brick and an engineering brick carrying the tradename Millstone. It also refers to the Bonnybridge plant at this time having 3 Belgian kilns and 2 zig-zag kilns and the Chapelhall plant having a tunnel kiln.

March 1970 – Bonnybridge brings its name up to date – Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd. (Scotcros group), Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, has changed its name to Bonnybridge Refractories Ltd.  The change will reflect more accurately the present day activities of the 96-year-old company. Clay Worker Magazine March 1970.

May 1970 – Bonnybridge Refractories Ltd., (Scotcros group) has made C. J. Sunderland the market development manager.  He was with the company about 10 years previously as a sales representative. Clay Worker Magazine  May 1970.

June 1970 – Bonnybridge Refractories Ltd (Scotcros group) has made Michael R. Hooper development and progress engineering manager.  One of his duties will include phasing in and planning a new plant to be bought soon as part of an expansion programme.  He was formerly with Samuel Wilkinson & Sons Ltd as works manager and with Interkiln Engineering Inc. as a project engineer. Clay Worker Magazine  June 1970.

1972 – The plant was bought by Hepworth Ceramic Holdings.

c. 1973 – The Bonnybridge Silica works were closed.

Torwood Mine, Dunipace originally supplied fireclay to Craigend Refractories at Avonbridge but the latter sold the mine to Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company who continued to work it until it closed. The worked-out clay was hauled to the surface by electronically driven winding gear.  In 1978 the mine had 25 employees. Remains of brick structures on the site show they were constructed with Bonnybridge Brand and Drangaini? bricks – Source Falkirk Museum and Archives.

Below – Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Co brass identity disc – clay miners check. Found by John Main in the late 1970′ s at the semi-derelict site of Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company works


bonnybridge silica fire clay miners check

Below- Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd Trademark

Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd trademark

Below – unknown date – Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co trademarks.

Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd, Bonnybridge, Scotland

Bonnybridge Brand – for general steel use.

Calder L – Manufactured exclusively for use in steelworks ladles.

Calder – A first-class Scotch firebrick with superior spalling resistance

Octo – For highest heat duty in the firebrick range – combines slag resistance with good resistance to spalling.

Novo Fifty – These are finding themselves more applications in the severest temperatures zones of modern furnaces.

Novo Sixty – These are finding themselves more applications in the severest temperatures zones of modern furnaces.

Novo Sillimanite  – These are finding themselves more applications in the severest temperatures zones of modern furnaces.

BSF ( Semisilica )  – recommended for reheating furnace roofs and similar applications.

Bonsil Plastic Refractories  – growing field of application for monolithic and in situ construction.

Boncrete Refractory Castables – growing field of application for monolithic and in situ construction

BS Refractory Mortars & Cements – For all refractory jointing purposes.



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