Many thanks to Bruce MacDonald for the following photographs which were taken at The Sunbury Plantation House, St Philip Parish Barbados. All the bricks present were fire bricks and included English manufacturers such as Ruffors of Stourbridge, Cowen of Newcastle and Duddell of Fenton. 90% of the bricks present appear to have been stamped ‘Glenboig’….
Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Co (Note – SBH – In some of the newspaper archives the company is referred to as the Bonnybridge Fireclay and Silica Company).
See also the Drum Fireclay Mine.
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 the company took over Aitkendean Mine, Carrington, Midlothian in the 1960s although this closed shortly afterwards. In 1961, 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.
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.
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.
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.
04/04/1891 – Falkirk Herald – Striking a boy wi his bunnet. John Welsh, labourer, Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Works, was charged with having, on 30th ult, in the pipe-making shed of the works, assaulted Alexander Foster, brickworker, Blackhill, by striking him on the face and head with his bonnet and with his fist. Accused pleaded guilty, and was fined 15s or ten days’ imprisonment. The wife of prisoner was in Court, and she was evidently under the belief that the penalty imposed was rather severe, and she vented this opinion by saying “Oh! dear me. Fifteen shillings for striking a lad his bunnet.”
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.
12/o7/1893 – Falkirk Herald – Presentation to Dr Griffiths. The employes of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company last week presented Dr Griffiths, Falkirk, son of their esteemed employer, Provost Griffiths, with a marble clock, on the occasion of his marriage. The clock, which is of a handsome and elegant design, with real bronze figure on top, was supplied by the firm of Johnston & Co., jewellers, Buchanan Street, Glasgow.
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.
10/08/1895 – Falkirk Herald – Wm. McAnsh, brickworker, Milnqaarter Cottages, Bonnybridge, was charged with having on 3d August, the gate of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Works, assaulted Edward Hynds, labourer, Griffiths’ Buildings, by striking him on the breast. The accused pleaded guilty. Mr W. D. Marshall, solicitor, on his behalf, stated that McAnsh had had an argument with Hynds and that the latter, to emphasise his remarks, had thrust his head too close to the accused. McAnsh then merely pushed him on the breast to keep him back. That was practically all the assault. The Sheriff said he did not consider the case a very serious one. It had apparently arisen out of dispute about the different kinds of beer, and a too emphatic expression of views. The assault was trivial one, but the pity was that a decent-looking man like the accused should have the stigma of a conviction attached to him. He must take care and not be so emphatic in his arguments in future. A fine of 7s 6d, or three days, was imposed.
Below – 1896 – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd.
04/04/1896 – Falkirk Herald – Hungry man steals a hen and eats it. At a pleading diet the Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, before Sheriff Scott Moncrieff, Alex. McGregor, engineer, Glasgow admitted having on the 14th of March, stolen a hen from the hen house in Bonnybridge occupied by Archibald Low, brickwork manager. The Fiscal said there were three previous convictions against the accused, his last sentence being in April 1895 when he was sent to prison for sixty days with hard labour. Mr Blackadder, solicitor, Falkirk, made a statement on behalf of the accused. He was an engineer to trade and had been compelled to come to this district in search of work. He spent two days in Falkirk searching for employment without success. On the day in question, he travelled to Denny to look for work, also without success, and he then went Bonnybridge. It was a Saturday afternoon and having no money, and feeling very hungry he was tempted to take the hen. He took the hen to a fire at the fire-clay works, where he ate it. The prisoner said he was forced to commit the offence through hunger. He had been already fifteen days in prison. The Sheriff said that unfortunately for the accused he had previous convictions against him. There might be circumstances, in this case, to warrant him imposing a smaller sentence than that inflicted on the last occasion. He passed a sentence of 14 days imprisonment.
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 …
1901 – Clayworkers Directory – Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. Best fireclay bricks, blocks etc. Stoppers, nozzles and ground ganister. T. Add – ‘Silica, Bonnybridge’. London agent and office – Alexander M. Parker, 69 Coleman Street, E.C.
1901 – Clayworkers Directory – A. Griffiths, Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire.
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 effect 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.
11/10/1902 – Falkirk Herald – Opening of a new hall at Upper Bonnybridge. On Sunday last a new hall erected at the sole expense and initiative of Mr Azariah Griffiths, The Hollies, Falkirk, of the firm of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, High Bonnybridge, for the benefit of the residents in this rapidly increasing and populous district was formally opened … The hall which is situated on the West side of the Silica and Fireclay Company’s works is a neat and commodious structure and capable of seating 200 persons. Built of brick with cement the building presents a very neat appearance …
19/01/1906 – Edinburgh Evening News – New Scottish companies … Bonnybridge Silica and Fire Clay Company (Private company), capital £25,000 in £1 shares.
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 …
07/03/1908 – Falkirk Herald – Hungry man steals a hen and eats it. At a pleading diet at the Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, before Sheriff Scott-Moncrieff, Alex. McGregor, engineer, Glasgow admitted having, on the 14th March, stolen a hen from the hen house in Bonnyhridge occupied by Archibald Low, brickwork manager. The fiscal said were three previous convictions against the accused, his last sentence being in April 1885 when he was sent to prison for sixty days with hard labour. Mr Blackadder, solicitor, Falkirk, made a statement on behalf of the accused. He was an engineer to trade and had been compelled to come to this district in search of work. He spent two days in Falkirk searching for employment without success. On the day in question, he travelled to Denny to look for work, also without success, and he then went to Bonnybridge. It was a Saturday afternoon and having no money, and feeling very hungry he was tempted to take the hen. He took the hen to a fire at the fire-clay works, where he ate it. The prisoner said was forced to commit the offence through hunger. He had been already fifteen days in prison. The Sheriff said that unfortunately for the accused he had previous convictions against him. there might be circumstances in this case to imposing a smaller sentence than that on the last occasion. He passed a sentence of 14 days imprisonment.
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 the 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 of 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.
1914 – Whittaker’s Red Book – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company Ltd, Firebrick and Ganister Manufacturers, Bonnybridge, Scotland. Hours of Business: Office, 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Established in 1874 by Alexander White(d.), who retired in favour of the late Azariah Griffiths and William B. Ross, and carried on as above. Incorporated as a private Limited Company in 1906. Managing Director: Alfred Griffiths. Pioneers of the well-known seam of Bonnybridge Fireclay and Ganister. Premises: About eleven acres, exclusive of ground leased for mineral operations. Staff: 160. Specialities: Firebricks of first-class quality of Fireclay and Ganister for Steel and Iron Works and Foundry Cupolas. Nozzles, Stoppers, Sleeves and Runner Bricks for Steel processes. Firebricks for Oil Fuel Furnaces. Brands: ” Bonnybridge ” and B.S. & F.C. Co.” Awards: Medal, International Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1886; Medal, Royal Mining Engineering and Industrial Exhibition, Newcastle, 1887; Diploma, Glasgow International Exhibition, 1888. Connection: Home, Foreign and Colonial. Contractors to H.M. Government (Admiralty, War Office, India Office), Principal Steel and Iron Works, &c. Telephone: No. 7 Bonnybridge. Telegraphic Address: ” Silica, Bonnybridge.”. Code: A B C (5th Edition). Bankers Commercial Bank, Ltd. (Bonnybridge); Royal Bank (Falkirk)
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 …
Below – 30/07/1914 – Clyde Bill of Entry and Shipping List – Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company Ltd advert. Reference to ‘Bonnybridge’ and ‘Marco’ brands.
09/02/1918 – Falkirk Herald – Reference to Mr Wilson being chairman of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd and Mine Manager.
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.
13/05/1922 – Falkirk Herald – Death of Mr John G Gillespie (64) of the firm Messrs Gillespie and Main, ironmongers, Falkirk … he was for many years the cashier at Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co Ltd. He left there in 1896 to take over the family ironmonger business …
26/08/1922 – 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 …
24/06/1933 – Falkirk Herald – The Railway and Canal Commission, sitting in Parliament House, Edinburgh, on Tuesday, heard counsel in an application under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Acts, 1923 to 1925, and the Mining Industry Act, 1926, by the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, Ltd., Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. Lord Blackburn presided, and the other Commissioners were the Hon. Sir Francis Taylor, G.B.E., K.C., and Sir Francis Donnell, Bart. The applicants, who carry on business as fire brick manufacturers, are lessees of John Russell, Slinford, Sussex (proprietor), and Mrs Agnes Russell, widow, as executrix of her husband, Thomas Russell (bondholder in possession), under a lease of the seams of minerals lying in and under the lands and farm of Drum, Stirlingshire. By a minute of agreement dated in June 1905, the applicants became entitled to wayleave under or over the lands of Drum for all minerals wrought, under lease from another proprietor, from the adjoining lands of Easter Drum. Access to the minerals of Easter Drum and to the minerals in the southern portion of Drum, the applicants stated, could only be obtained by means of a haulage road on the lands of the respondents continuing southwards by an underground mine or shaft passing first beneath the lands of the respondents and then beneath the lands of Easter Drum. The works had been and were being developed on the basis of the continued availability of this access. It was highly expedient in the national interest that a continuance of the rights and facilities hitherto existing should be obtained by the applicants. Since 1924, the applicants had been in negotiation with the respondents with a view to securing a renewal of their lease, or, alternatively, to purchasing the lands of Drum outright. The respondents indicated their willingness to sell the lands and minerals at a price of £10,200. The applicants had been advised that £2150 was a fair price, and they had offered, unsuccessfully, to buy the lands and minerals for £3840, or, alternatively, to take a lease of them for a further period of thirty-one years. But they had been informed by the respondents that they would not entertain such an offer to buy the lands and minerals, nor would they agree to let them. Upon November 8, 1932, notice to quit the lands of Drum at Whitsunday, 1933, was served by the respondents on the applicants. If that notice took effect the applicants were apprehensive that their entire undertaking would be imperilled. In view of the virtual exhaustion of the respondents’ minerals, the main purpose of the application was to obtain certain ancillary rights for a period of thirty-one years, with breaks upon two years’ notice being given by the applicants. These included rights of way-leave on or under the lands of the respondents for the purpose of access to the minerals of Easter Drum; to use and occupy as at present the portion of the surface of the lands of Drum occupied by the offices, stoves, kilns, and other premises provided by the applicants for the purpose of their undertaking; and to use and occupy an adjoining area not exceeding two acres. The only compearing respondent, Mrs Russell, averred that it was a feasible and commercial proposition for the applicants to extract fireclay and other minerals from under the lands of Easter Drum by the sinking of a new mine, and the provision of the necessary facilities on or through the lands of Easter Drum. The respondents were anxious to work their own minerals, and the site of the applicants’ works was required for the applicant’s own factories. She denied that having regard to the whole circumstances, the respondents had been unreasonable in the matter. The commissioners unanimously granted the application.
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 a 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 was 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.
14/12/1939 – Stirling Observer – Stirlingshire Public Health Committee has approved the following plans: Additions to gardener’s cottage at Headswood House, Denny, for the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co.. Ltd. Plans by petitioner.
14/12/1940 – Falkirk Herald – On Thursday evening of last week troops in the district were entertained in the Russell Hall, High Ronnybridge, by the ladies of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company’s Voluntary Work Party. County Councillor John Wilson, J.P.. and Mrs Wilson were present, the former presiding over the gathering at the request of the ladies. A splendid tea was served and thoroughly enjoyed by all, after which songs were contributed by several ladies and some of the soldier guests. A happy and enjoyable dance followed, excellent music being supplied by Messrs C. Reid and C. Ferguson. The members of the work party must be congratulated on the success of their effort and the generosity that prompted it. Both were duly acknowledged on behalf of the soldiers. The arrangements were made by Mrs Mclinn, secretary of the work party.
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.
Jan – Jun 1943 – Engineering – Patents – Kiln, Muffle. Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd., and W. McBryde.
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.
Below – 30/10/1944 – Invoice from Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd to Smith & Wellstood for ganister.
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.
14/04/1945 – Falkirk Herald – Under the auspices of the Works Welfare Club of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, Ltd., the employees and friends held a social meeting and dance in the Public Hall on Friday evening of last week. Mr John Wilson, J.P., presided over a company of about 200 and, accompanying him at the platform table were Mrs Wilson, Mr and Mrs W. F. Hoggan, Mr and Mrs W. Gracie, Mr and Mrs A. J. Shorter, Miss Stevenson, Mr W. Smith, Mr and Mrs Moran and Mr and Mrs A. Pettigrew. The chairman, who welcomed all present, tendered an apology for absence from the directors, who found the petrol restrictions insurmountable. After a splendid tea, the concert programme was handed over to the compere …
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.
24/11/1945 – Falkirk Herald – Experienced shorthand typist required. Application in writing, stating age. experience, and salary required to Secretary, Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge.
Clerkess required. Must be experienced; salary according to qualifications. Apply in writing, giving age and details of present employment, to Secretary, 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. The 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.
12/02/1947 – Falkirk Herald – James Wilson, kiln worker, 45 Hillrig Avenue, Airdrie, pleaded guilty, through an agent, at Falkirk J.P. Court on Tuesday to having stolen 70lbs. of coal from the brickworks at Broomside Road, High Bonnybridge, occupied by Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co., Ltd, The agent said that Wilson had had no coal in house for a fortnight and the coal question was small pieces which had dropped off waggons. It was a common practice for the firm to allow their workers to take coal if the practice was not overdone. Bailie J. A. Brown, J.P., Grangemouth, from the Bench, said that he found it difficult to believe that any employer allowed people to remove coal, no matter how small the quantity, in the present emergency. He fined Wilson £1 with the option of 10 days’ imprisonment.
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.
06/12/1947 – Falkirk Herald – Experienced bookkeeper required, able to prepare trial balance and monthly statements; knowledge of typing an advantage. Apply, in writing, to the Secretary, 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.
Girl age 15 or 16, required for staff canteen, five-day week, good hours. Apply Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, Ltd., Bonnybridge.
14/01/1950 – Falkirk Herald – Accident at brickworks. Andrew Cowan McVicar (25), motor driver, 2 Woodhall Street, Chapelhall, was emptying a lorry load of coal on the railway lye at Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Works about 10 o’clock last Saturday forenoon when the lorry moved forward and jammed him against a railway truck, as a result of which he was severely crushed. It was necessary to obtain the services of a crane before he could be released. Dr Young was in attendance, and McVicar was removed to Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, where he was detained. His condition is regarded as serious. He is employed by a firm of contractors in Airdrie.
24/08/1950 – The Scotsman – The death occurred yesterday of Mr John Wilson, J.P., Hillview, High Bonnybridge. Mr Wilson, who was in his eighty-first year, was the works and mines manager of the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Co. Ltd ., for a long number of years. He retired at the end of the recent war. Actively interested in public affairs he was a member of the old Eastern District Committee of Stirlingshire, and latterly, a member of Stirlingshire County Council. Mr Wilson was a keen Churchman and an elder of the Bonnybridge Parish Church.
1951 – Directory for the British Glass Industry – Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge. T.A., “Silica, Bonnybridge”. T.N., Bonnybridge 227/8. London Agents: Geo. A. Skelly, 13 Rood Lane, E.C.3. Established 1874.
Firebricks and fire clay refractories. Trade Names: Bonnybridge Brand; Calder; Octo; Novo; B.S.F.; Bonsil; B.S.
31/03/1951 – Falkirk Herald – Wages clerk or clerkess wanted; experienced, must be conversant with P.A.Y.E, machine accounting experience preferred but not essential; five-day week; there is a superannuation scheme. Applications, stating experience and wages required, to Secretary, Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co., Ltd., Bonnybridge.
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.
24/07/1954 – Falkirk Herald – Clerk wanted for costs department. Applications, stating experience and salary required to be addressed 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.
20/08/1955 – Falkirk Herald – Bonnybridge and Silica Fireclay Co., Ltd., the well-known firm of firebrick manufacturers, have opened a new canteen for the use of the staff and workers at their High Bonnybridge brickwork. A Glasgow firm are doing the catering.
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.
Below – 06/1960 – The Refractories Journal – An advert for Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co. Ltd.
Below – 08/1960 – The Refractories Journal – An advert for Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co. Ltd.
09/12/1960 – The Scotsman – Scotcross Limited – Application has been made to the committee of the Glasgow Stock Exchange for permission to deal in and for quotation for all the issued preference and ordinary shares in the capital of the company.
Scotcros Limited was incorporated as a private company in Scotland on 8th March 1960 for the purpose of carrying on business as an industrial holding company and was converted into a public company on 8th December 1960. Under contract no 1 below, Messrs Spiers and Jeffrey subscribed in cash at par for 200,000 6½%, cumulative redeemable shares of £1 each and at 6s 0d per share for 1,599,998 ordinary shares of 5s each in capital of the company. The company has been formed to meet the need which is considered exists for a Scottish industrial holding company which will supply the means whereby the owners of private businesses in Scotland can be enabled to provide for death duties and to eliminate the threat of future surtax directions by the sale of their businesses in exchange or part exchange for locally marketable securities while continuing to be actively concerned in their management. The company’s policy will therefore be to serve this need and to preserve its Scottish character by looking to the acquisition of suitable businesses in Scotland and its environs …
Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company Limited – The following is a copy of a letter received by the directors of the company from Mr F. G. Griffiths, the chairman of Bonnybridge –
To the directors of Scotcros, 145 St Vincent Street, Glasgow
With reference to the advertisement which is being issued in connection with the application to the Glasgow Stock Exchange for permission to deal in and for quotation for the whole issued share capital of your company, I have the pleasure in giving you the following information in regards to The Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company Limited (The Bonnybridge Company).
History and business – The Bonnybridge Company, which is a private limited company, was incorporated in Scotland on 17th January 1906 for the purpose of taking over the business of manufacturing fire bricks from the fire clay and ganister which had been carried on for more than 20 years previously by my grandfather Mr A. Griffiths, who had acquired in 1880 the lease of minerals in Drum Setate, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. In 1936, the Bonnybridge Company acquired the business of the Calder Fireclay Company which held mineral leases at Chapelhall, Lanarkshire.
The Bonnybridge Company now operates three fireclay mines in the vicinity of its works at Bonnybridge and Chapelhall in which is carried on the manufacture of high-grade firebricks, high alumina refractories, cements, castables and mouldables for use in iron and steel works, foundries, boiler installations, cement and lime works, oil refineries, carbonisation plants and most industrial furnaces. These products are both sold in home and export markets and a laboratory and research staff ensure quality control and technical development.
Mines – Of the three fireclay mines operated by the Bonnybridge Company, one is situated on Drum Estate, Bonnybridge and on Torwood Estate near Larbert, Stirlingshire and these supply the Bonnybridge Works; the third is situated on Monkland and Torwood Estates and supplies the Chapelhall Works. The surface of Drum Estate extending to approximately 210 acres and the minerals with the exception of the lower measures of coal are wholly owned by the Bonnybridge Company on feudal tenure and at Torwood the fireclay, silica rock and ganister in an area of 539 acres are held on lease until Martinmas 1971. At Chapelhall the Bonnybridge Company holds a lease of fireclay in the Monkland Estate in an area of 135 acres which runs until Whitsunday 1972. The Bonnybridge Company has contracted to purchase on feudal tenure seams of fireclay in part of the Lauchope Estate extending to 144 acres. In addition, the Bonnybridge Company holds a lease until Whitsunday 1979 of fireclay and other refractory minerals in Newhouse Estate in an area of 87.92 acres but no workings have as yet been opened up. Subject to renewal of the relevant leases and to the availability of supplies of imported raw materials for the manufacture of high alumina refractories the Bonnybridge Company, to the best of my knowledge and belief in the light of technical and professional advice which I have received, has within its control reserves of fireclay and ganister adequate to permit of the maintenance of at least the current rate of production of finished products for a period of at least 60 years and such reserves should be workable without incurring expenditure on major development in the immediate future. Except in the case of the Newhouse minerals where a preliminary permission only has been obtained, the Bonnybridge Company has all the planning permissions required for the winning, working and carrying away of the reserves. All the minerals provide breaks in favour of the Bonnybridge Company.
Land and buildings – The works at Bonnybridge and Chapelhall have both been erected on ground belonging to the Bonnybridge Company. The Bonnybridge Works are situated on part of Drum Estate and cover an area of seven acres and have been extended and modernised over the years with plant suitable for present day requirements. A further extension of the works is at present in hand with a view to meeting increased demand and to allow for the development of new products. The Chapelhall Works, which were erected after the acquisition of the Calder Fireclay Company and on ground held by the Bonnybridge Company on feudal tenure, are of a modern design and have undergone many improvements in recent years, including the conversion of the tunnel kiln from coal to oil firing. The Bonnybridge Company owns 10 dwelling houses which are occupied by senior executives and staff and 42 houses in tenement property in Bonnybridge which are occupied by a number of its workers and a few retired workers. The surface of Drum Estate includes 2 farms which are let on agricultural tenancies.
Management and employees – The directors are all full-time working directors and each of them has entered into a service contract with the Bonnybridge Company (see contracts no 4 to 8 below). I am aged 66 and have been a director of the Bonnybridge Company since 1919; Mr A. F. C. Forrester (aged 59) is the managing director and has been a director since 1933; Mr J. W. R. Paine (aged 63) is the sales director and has been a director since 1936; and my sons Geoffrey D. G. Griffiths (aged 34) and Donald G. Griffiths (aged 30) are respectively the works director and director and secretary. The Bonnybridge Company has approximately 350 employees many of whom have spent most of their working days in the service of the Bonnybridge Company. A staff superannuation scheme has been in operation since 1946.
Profits – The products manufactured by the Bonnybridge Company are supplied to a large extent to the steel industry. As a result of this close connection, the profitability of the Bonnybridge Company was adversely affected in 1958 and 1959 by the recession in that industry and at the present time is benefitting by its resurgence. In 1958 the Bonnybridge Company undertook a major reconstruction programme being one of the first companies in the United Kingdom to convert chamber kilns to side oil-fired burning. As a consequence of this programme, the ability of the Bonnybridge Company to cut costs in 1958 was restricted but the position was rectified entirely in the course of 1959 and I anticipate that pro rata the profits for the 15 months to 31st March 1961 will exceed our previous best year.
Yours faithfully Fred G. Griffiths …
1961 – 1962 – A directory of British clay products and manufacturers – Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co. Ltd. Head office – Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire. Tel – Bonnybridge 227. T. Add – Silica Bonnybridge. Fireclay and high alumina bricks, refractory cements, castables and mouldables. Other works at Chapelhall, Lanarkshire – fire bricks. Trade names – Bonnybridge firebricks, Calder, Calder L, Calder LS, Octo, Novo Fifty, Novo Sixty, Novo Seventy, Novo Super 70, Novo Sillimanite. Refractory materials – BoncreteCastables, Bonsil Mouldables.
Below – 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.
Below – An example of a section of Carblox lining found by Ian Suddaby at Bonnybridge. No XF 004 Carblox.
November 1969 – A paper is written by Norcros Limited on behalf of Scotcros 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 – Clay Worker Magazine – 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. (Info from Ann Los, East Yorks).
May 1970 – Clay Worker Magazine – 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. (Info from Ann Los, East Yorks).
June 1970 – Clay Worker Magazine – 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. (Info from Ann Los, East Yorks).
1972 – The plant was bought by Hepworth Ceramic Holdings.
Jan 1972 – Clay Worker magazine – Bonnybridge Refractories Ltd. Mr A. R. Moffat died aged 77. He joined the company in 1908 when it was known as the Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co. Ltd and worked there until 1960. (Information from Ann Los, East Yorks).
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
Below- Bonnybridge Silica & 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.