Bonnyside Brickworks, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire

Bonnyside Brickworks or Fire Clay Works, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire.


James Dougall & Sons Ltd, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire

Alternative brickworks include:

  • Bonnyside Brickworks, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire
James Dougall and his two sons, George and Robert, were oil merchants in Glasgow.  James died prior to 1870, and in 1884 George and Robert moved to Bonnybridge, with their sisters, Margaret ( 1839-1913 ), Janet ( 1845-1913 ), and Elizabeth ( 1847-1884 ), except for Margaret the widow of James Dougall, who was the sister of George Turnbull, the tenant of Bonnymuir Brick and Tile Works.  He was unmarked and no doubt helped them to get established in Bonnybridge.  He took Margaret and Janet into partnership with him in 1887, in the Bonnymuir works which he has bought.  George and Robert started the Bonnyside works in 1884, while still continuing their business as oil merchants. (although from the OS  map of 1868 it would appear the site had already been used for the manufacture of tiles)
James Dougall & Sons were incorporated for the first time on December 30th, 1886 ( BT 2/1592. )  with a capital of £20,000 in £10 shares of which £4 was paid up.  George became the managing director, and Robert, a director.  They had a new partner in the firm just prior to incorporation, William Cochrane, a civil engineer from Bothwell.  The assets of the partnership were assessed at £7,200 and transferred to the new company in return for £2,200 cash and & £500 £10 paid-up shares.  The agreement was witnessed by Janet and Elizabeth Dougall, their sisters.
George Dougall appears to have run into financial trouble, for his estate was sequestered in 1892 when he ceased to be a director.  The first list of directors dated 1901 shows the Rev. James Russell the late minister of Campbeltown, Argyllshire, now living at 9 Coats Place in Edinburgh, as the chairman,  Robert Dougall was managing director, James B Smith of Clifford Park, Stirling and iron founder, and William Cochran, a director and company secretary Robert Dougall appears to have had a side interest in the Larbert Ganister and Fireclay works in 1893.  (Slater’s directory), and William Cochran started a small brickworks at Bonnyhill, on the site of the present Rollo Industries works,  about 1906, and ran it till it was sold to James Auld of Garfield House, Stepps in 1929.  While these were small businesses, they were potential competitors and such practice would not be allowed today.  John G Stein appears in the original shareholder’s list in 1886 with 15 shares, £4 paid up, he was working at that time for the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay company as a salesman.  They were sold on August 3rd, 1887, just before he started his own business.  There were further calls on the shares and by February 1895 they were £8-10-0 paid up.
 The company was re-organised and incorporated for a second time under the same name on November 15th 1907.  ( No, 6675 ).The capital was £50,000 £1 ordinary shares of which 20,000 were issued to the shareholders of the earlier company.  The Rev. James Russell continued as chairman with a greatly increased stake in the company of 4,776 ordinary shares nearly 25% of the ordinary.    Robert Dougall held 3,262 shares, and lived in Woodlea House, and was deputy chairman and managing director.  William Cochrane has just does and his widow Margaret Dougall held nearly 1,000 shares each, but there is no record of Elizabeth holding any.
The business was valued in 1907 at:-
Buildings and plant            £18,463
Workmen’s houses            £  3,674
Moveable plant                  £  1,859
Goods in hand                   £   2,430
Accounts receivable          £  8,053
Cash                                  £        62
Calls outstanding              £    1,265
Total                                   £  35,809
Less liabilities                    £  15,809
   Net credit                       £  20,000
The balance sheet was rather short on cash, but satisfactory profits had been made for the last three years.
Profit before tax
  To dec-1904 £3,474
        ”    1905 £4,386
        ”    1906 £4,269
   1/2 yr 1907 £1,850
The company had expanded and was the biggest in the High Bonnybridge area, as shown on the 1918 ordnance survey map.  There were thirteen round kilns and two blocks of Newcastle type kilns, with a Belgian chambered kiln.
William Walker, secretary of the Fife Coal Company became a director in 1910, and James King in 1921.  He was a director of the Rosyth Brick and Tile Company, and the Bothwell Park Quarries and Brickworks Ltd.
 Two important events happened in 1924.  The capital was increased by £20,000 new ordinary to make £50,000 ordinary, and William Boyd Mitchell was appointed a director.  He has joined the company the previous year as a works chemist, after training at the North Staffordshire Technical College.  The Mitchell family were important developers of the Scottish coalfields.  His uncle, later Sir George Arthur Mitchell, became chairman of Lochgelly Iron & Coal company, which has profits of £122,075 after the depression in 1916.  The family were also controlling shareholders of the Flemington  Coal company, and associated with Robert Forrester and company Ltd, who controlled at a later date, Bonnybridge Silica &  Fireclay company.  Boyd Mitchell was a director of all three companies and chairman of the  Flemington Coal company when it was nationalised in 1947.  They owned the Whitrigg Fireclay mine at Whitburn in West Lothian, so it was natural for him to take it over on behalf of James Dougall & Sons Ltd. There was no particular need for the clay initially, so he sold a 50% share of the mine to the Douglas Fireclay company Four rectangular Newcastle type kilns were built at the mine to make calcine.  It was a good low iron Clay company of Stoke-on-Trent who were the largest makers of daggers for the pottery industry and had become a subsidiary of Dougalls in 1953 when both companies became subsidiaries of the new holding company Ceramic Holdings Ltd.  At this time Boyd Mitchell celebrated his 25th year as chairman and managing director of Dougall’s, Sandy Callender was a director And works manager, and G.C.McNiven, the commercial director, L. Sabiston was the chief chemists.
The West works had been modernised with two Belgian kilns and a new gas-fired Mendheim kiln with 18 chambers of about 45 tons capacity each.  The Fireclay brands were Dougall for the 35/37% alumina range, and Docken in the 42/43% alumina range to take care of any customers stung by the Nettle brand of John G Stein & Company.
Special shapes were fired in two Newcastle kilns of about 75 tons capacity which could be turned over on a six-day cycle, with coal consumption of 8/8 1/2 cats per ton of firebrick.  A small amount of silicon carbide was made for the pottery industry under the ” Sicardo ” brand name.  High alumina bricks were a growing market and Dougall’s took a share using the brand name Aludo.
Perhaps the most important development post-war was the decision to build a tunnel kiln on a greenfield site to the east of the original works.  These East works were opened on May 30th 1957, under the technical direction of the new research manager, Dr B.E. Vassillion of Sheffield.  After nearly 100 years of mining, the Bonnybridge Fireclay seams were mostly worked out In the Bonnyside area, so two new mines were driven down to the Castlecary Fireclay seams.  These improvements cost over £250,000 a large sum for these days, however, the refractory business was booming in the post-war period.  Boyd Mitchell took an active interest in all the Fireclay associations, being President of the Scottish Employer’s Council for the Clay Industry from 1937-39, and President of the British Ceramic Society in 1945.
In April 1962 an offer from J & J Dyson of Sheffield was accepted by the shareholders, and Dougall’s ceased its independent existence.  Campbell of Roughcastle was also bought by Dyson in 1965, and both companies are now part of the holding company Dyson Refractories Ltd.  Source KW Sanderson
Below – The site gate at the High Bonnybridge works depicts the Dyson trademark ‘D’ within a diamond surround.
Dyson Refractories Diamond D gate at Bonnyside Bonnybridge brickworks
Dougall, James & Sons Ltd – James Dougall & Sons Ltd operated a refractory in High Bonnybridge, which was established by 1874 and incorporated in 1886. The company was re-incorporated in 1907. It was then re-organised in 1953 and became a subsidiary of Ceramic Holdings Ltd. It was bought by J & J Dyson Ltd in 1962.
Below – Ceramic Holdings trademark as it appeared on a James Dougall and Sons leaflet.
ceramic holdings subsidiary
Below – From Falkirk Archives –  – During the period 1920 – 1935, furnace temperatures in almost all industries were increasing. This, in turn, necessitated the production of a better quality firebrick which tended to favour the larger manufacturer with more specialised production methods. However, Bonnyside Brickwork’s along with many others in the area encountered the economic difficulties common to all industry during this period. These were made worse by the hardships experienced by the surrounding farming community which resulted in fewer orders being placed with local firms for drain tiles. However, Bonnyside Brickworks managed to withstand the depressed state of the industry largely due as a consequence of their superior salt glaze process for pipes.
The firm was taken over by Dyson Refractories who also took over the Roughcastle Fireclay Works in order to make use of the high-quality fireclay available in the mine attached to these works. However, in 1981 Dysons closed the mine.
In September 1981 Dyson made an application to Falkirk District Council for planning permission to win minerals by open cast mining at their Bonnyside works.
1976 – Site description –
1 Tunnel Kiln  – in use
Belgian Kiln (28 chambers, 20 tons per chamber)
Mendheim Kiln (18 chambers, 60 -70 tons per chamber)
Liquid petroleum gas tank
Jaw crusher
7 Hoppers for normal production
8 Hoppers for specialised production
3 Silos
2 Johnston high production presses.
3 Butler presses
1 Boyd high production press
Boyd brick press
Raw materials  – were derived largely from a vein of high-quality refractory clay, 30 feet thick found to the south of Bonnybridge. However, when the silica was almost all worked out, Dougall’s took over the Roughcastle Fireclay Works in order to make use of the raw materials from the mine there – by this time Roughcastle had closed. Grog was frequently used and mixed with clay.  Bauxite was obtained from Guyana and China. The new plant was fired by coal, gas and oil although liquid petroleum gas tended to predominate. Hand bricks were produced at a rate of about 80 per day depending on size and shape.
Transport – The company shipped goods from Glasgow, Grangemouth, Leith, Bo’ness and Alloa. However, most of the bricks produced at the works left via the railway. Bonnyside brickworks had direct access via a siding to the main Glasgow – Edinburgh railway line. Latterly the works exported goods via Liverpool, Hull and Felixstowe in addition to the above.
Markets – In 1979 the company’s biggest British order was supplying Pilkington’s Glass Works at St Helens. The steel industry also constituted a large market although changes in industrial practices were causing its decline. Over 40% of the company’s total output was exported, going to markets in Zambia, the Philippines, Holland, Scandinavia, Australia, Russia and China.
Labour conditions – In the early days, the company was able to accommodate its workforce in its own houses. However, as time progressed the workforce came from further afield and this was no longer feasible. In 1979 the works employed
7 – 8 engineers – £89  – £100 per week
30 Apprentice engineers
1 bricklayer
1 labourer
The workers belonged to 2 Unions – The Amalgamated Engineers Union and The Transport and General Workers Union.
A 39 – 40 hour week was generally worked.
Products –
8 – 9  qualities of brick were produced in a standard buff biscuit colour.
Machine-made bricks – 1979 – output was 1,800 – 2, 200 tons per month.
The works had once produced ganister, drainpipes, firebricks, high alumina bricks, refractory cement castables, ‘Diamond’ bricks.
Latterly they produced refractory bricks, high alumina bricks, cement and castings.
Works Manager – Mr Clarkin.
Managing Director – Mr J Howie.
Ex Sales Director – Mr A Binnie.
Below – Source Falkirk Museum and Archives  – James Dougall & Sons Limited Leaflet No 1.

Aludo – due to the harder driving of many types of furnaces under modern operating conditions there is an increasing demand for a refractory of better quality than a first grade 42% alumina firebrick. This demand is being successfully met in a very wide variety of conditions by the Aludo 6 refractories which contain 60% alumina and have improved properties as compared with a first-grade firebrick with regards

– higher spalling resistance

– greater volume stability

– better resistance to slag attack

– increased resistance to temperature and load

– improved resistance to abrasion at high temperatures

It is recommended that Dougalene B15 is used for jointing or surfacing of Aludo 6 refractories.

JD – Semi Silica – is manufactured from the well known Bonnybridge ganister which is obtained from the Company’s own mines. Although less refractory than other firebricks produced by the Company, JD has greater volume stability than the ordinary type of firebrick under heavy loads provided the temperature is not excessive. It also has the advantage for some purposes of a slightly higher thermal conductivity. JD is not normally recommended for use at working temperatures in excess of 1400c. Contains 78 – 80% silica.

Dougall or Dougall A – Their qualities are in the range of firebricks containing 35 – 40% alumina.

Docken and Aludo 4 – are in the range of high alumina firebricks containing between 40 – 44% alumina.

Sicardo – 95+% silica carbide – this firebrick will only have a very low percentage of additives.  Special shapes are made from this. Sillimanite is also produced.

Silicon Carbide does not occur naturally but is a synthetic material with a formula SiC. It is also made by mixing in an electric furnace, sand, coke, salt and sawdust. SiC does not melt but dissociates at a temperature of over 2200c. The refractory product may have a lower softening temperature dependant upon the additives used.

Below – James Dougall & Sons Refractory catalogue – Diamond, Docken, Dougall JD, and Dougalene.
James Dougall & Sons Refractory catalogue - Diamond
Dougall bricks details

28/03/1845 – Glasgow Herald – Clay to be let for such a number of years as may be agreed upon with immediate entry. A large field of fine clay on the property of Bonnyside, well adapted for making bricks and tyles. It lies nearly adjoining the great canal at Bonnybridge and also close to the line of the Central as well as the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway. Besides the ordinary sale of the district, there will be an extensive sale for several years for bricking for the tunnels on the various new lines of the railway at present in progress.  The clay is of very considerable depth and proved at Mr Cairns’ Brickfield to be of very superior quality and particularly well adapted for manufacturing both bricks and tyles. The easy access to the canal and railways is also very advantageous. Further particulars on application to H. Salmon the proprietor, Falkirk. 24/03/1845.

12/01/1860 – Falkirk Herald – The farm of Bonnyside in the Parish of Falkirk to be let … there is a valuable tilework adjacent to the farm but most of the land has been deep tile-drained …

1884 – George and Robert Dougall started the Bonnyside Works in 1884.

22/05/1886 – Falkirk – The Edinburgh International Exhibition – James Dougall & Sons, Bonnymuir Fire Brick Works, Bonnybridge. Court 2 – among the ‘Pottery glass and kindred industries’ occupy stand 60, where they show fire clay, gannister bricks for steel and iron furnaces, special stoppers, nozzles of pipes for steel furnaces, fire clay blocks, grate and stove backs etc. (Note SBH – I think this should refer to Bonnyside, not Bonnymuir – to clarify).

07/04/1888 – Falkirk Herald – Messrs Dougall & Sons Fire Clay Works. The exhibits from Messrs James Dougall & Sons, (Limited), Gannister and Fireclay Works, Bonnybridge, will consist of their special manufactures in firebricks, blocks and bricks for steel, iron, chemical furnaces. They will also show fire-bricks, clay, and segars (vessels for holding pottery while burning) for potteries and glass-works.
12/05/1888 – Falkirk Herald – Glasgow International Exhibition … Bonnyside Fire Brickwk Works. Court 5, south side of the main avenue, has three exhibitors of fireclay goods from Bonnybridge. The first claim to attention is the stand (No. 142) of James Dougall & Sons Limited, Bonnyside Firebrick Works, The articles are all such as are used for furnace and other fire purposes, and are moulded in great variety of shapes and sizes.
Below – 18/06/1890 – Falkirk Herald – Bonnyside Fire Brick and Ganister Works – James Dougall and Sons Limited.
Below20/09/1890 – Falkirk Herald – Small debt court James Dougall and Sons V Geo Elliot, brickmaker. who left the pursuer’s employment without giving a weeks notice …
10/10/1890 – Glasgow Herald – Awards at Edinburgh exhibition – Silver medal – James Dougall and Son Limited, Bonnyside Firebrick Works, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire – Fire bricks, swan necks, sleeves, stoppers, nozzles, ganister brick.

1893 – 1893 – Bonnyside Brick and Tile Works, Bonnybridge. James Dougall & Sons.

Below – 1896 – Bonnyside Brickworks.
Below - OS Map 1896 - Bonnyside Brick Works

1899 – 1900 – James Dougall & Sons Ltd – Bonnyside Brickworks, Bonnybridge. Sole agents Wright & Stewart 59 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. ( Should McDougall actually read Dougall?)

21/01/1899 – Falkirk Herald – … All the brickworks to the east and the west of our district have been kept very busy, and the prospect at present, with the numerous new works buildings going up, are quite as good they were a year ago. Messrs James Dougal(l) and Son (Limited), fire-clay brick manufacturers, Bonnybridge have put in new boilers and mills, and extra stove accommodation, during the past year, and have been very busy …

1903 – Dougall James & Sons Limited, Bonnyside Fire Clay Works, Bonnyside R.S.O.  Stirlingshire; T A ” Ganister.”

Below – 1903 – Advert – Dougall James & Sons Limited, Bonnyside Fire Clay Works, Bonnyside.


19/05/1906 – Falkirk Herald – A miner, named William Rae, living in Skinfiats, was fined 10s, or seven days’ imprisonment, for having committed a breach of the peace on 3rd May. Thomas Douglas, brickmaker, Bonnyside Terrace. Bonnybridge admitted having created a breach of the peace on 1st May at Bonnyside Brickworks. High Bonnybridge. The Sheriff passed a sentence of 10s, or seven days imprisonment.

1907 – Same advert as for 1903.

02/07/1907 – Falkirk Herald – Gas Association’s visit to the Bonnyside Fireclay Works – The members of the Western Section of the Scottish, Junior Gas Association paid a visit on Saturday afternoon to the Bonnyside Fireclay Works of Messrs James Dougall and Sons, Limited. The party, which numbered about seventy, included representatives from the leading Scottish gas companies and gas departments of corporations. Amongst those present were —Mr McLeod, of Provan Gas Works, president of the association; Mr Lowe, assistant manager, Glasgow Gas Department; Mr Hislop, Uddingston; and Mr Simpson, Bellshill. The Rev. J. C. Russell, D.D.; Messrs Robert Dougall, E. M. Stewart, and E. G. Smith, directors of Messrs Dougall and Sons, Limited, and Mr G. Wink Wight, C.A., secretary, received the party and welcomed them on behalf of the company. The works were gone over, the machinery being seen in motion, and the various processes of making fireclay goods shown in full operation. Of especial interest were the various blocks and retorts used in gas works as well as in iron, steel, and chemical works. The party then descended the pit and examined the underground workings. Thereafter dinner was served in the company’s hall, and Dr Russell welcomed the members of the association. Mr E. M. Stewart, manager and director, read a paper on the history and manufacture of fireclay goods.

07/09/1907 – Falkirk Herald – The employees of James Dougall and Sons, Ltd., Bonnyside Brickworks, held their annual excursion last Saturday, the venue being Crieff. Fully 200 took advantage of the special opportunity for visiting the charming Perthshire tourist and health resort. The party left special-train 8 a.m. and reached Crieff in due course. The weather was in its best behaviour, which enabled the visitors to view the charming scenery under the best conditions. Mr E. M. Stewart, managing director, accompanied the excursionists, and he presided at the dinner, to which the firm generously entertained the employees, in the Town Hail. There, a splendid repast was enjoyed, followed by songs from several of the company, Mr Tom Wishart presiding at the piano with much acceptance. In addition, Mr Stewart managing director entertained the office staff to luncheon and a drive to the famed Drummond Castle Gardens. In addition to proofs of the goodwill of the firm already alluded to, it falls to be noted that the firm also defrayed half the railway fare of the entire workers, a kindness much appreciated all. Pipe Major Macfarlane accompanied the trippers, and his excellent pipe music contributed his quota to the success and pleasure of the trip. After a delightful visit, the party entrained for home about 7 p-m., and Greenhill was reached about 9 p.m., everyone in the happiest mood at tho sight-seeing and pleasure of the day.

02/10/1907 – Falkirk Herald – At Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, Michael McAndrew, miner’s drawer, Griffiths’ Buildings, High Bonnybridge, was charged with having, along with two other men, who were before the Court last week, on 13th September, on the Drove Road, leading between Bonnybridge and Bonnyhill, and near Bonnyside Brickworks, occupied by James Dougal and Sons, Limited, brick manufacturers, with a view to compelling Alex. Fleming, labourer, residing at 126 Gordon Street, Camelon, who was then employed as a labourer in their clay pit, to abstain from working, intimidated him, and threatened to “go for him” and challenged him to fight, cursed and swore at him, and used abusive and threatening language towards him. The complaint further stated that the accused, along with other persons, followed Fleming in a disorderly manner, shouting and cursing, for 150 yards along the road. A plea of guilty was tendered by the accused. Mr Will Stevenson, solicitor, Falkirk, in the course of a statement on behalf of the accused, stated that the reason he was not present at the last calling of the case was owing to the fact that he went to Prestongrange, and four days later the complaint was served at his house in Bonnybridge. The first thing he knew of the case having been brought up was when read of it in the evening papers. He at once sent a message to his mother to send the police, and he went home, and he called three times at the police office in Bonnybridge, but the constable was out on all three occasions. When walking through Bonnybridge on Sunday night he was arrested and refused bail. Sheriff Moffatt, in imposing a fine of 30s, or ten days’ imprisonment, said he would cause an inquiry to be made into the hardship which it was alleged the accused had suffered.

25/08/1909 – Falkirk Herald – Success of a local mining engineer – It is gratifying to note that Mr Archibald McNeil, M.E., late pit manager of the firm James Dougall and Sons, Ltd., Bonnyside Brickworks, at the recent Board of Education examination in mining, held South Kensington, has been awarded a first-class certificate in honours, and the King’s medal in coal and metal mining. Mr McNeil was a student in the Coatbridge mining engineering classes, and his success reflects credit on that institution and demonstrates his thorough equipment for the conduct of mining engineering classes, to which he is devoting himself.

19/11/1910 – Falkirk Herald – Presentation to mine manager. In the Bonnyside Hall on Wednesday evening the miners of Bonnyside Brickworks (Messrs J. Dougall and Son) met and presented John McPhail with a barometer and Mrs McPhail with a gold-mounted umbrella on the occasion of their departure. Mr E. M. Stewart presided, and the gifts were presented By Mr James Blair. Mr McPhail was also the recipient of a bible and travelling rug and Mrs McPhail a wrist bag from the members of Bonnyside Works Mission. The presentation was made by Mr C. Cruise, and McPhail suitably acknowledged.

Below – 1911 – Advert – James Dougall & Sons.

1911 advert James Dougall & Son

25/03/1911 – Falkirk Herald – Sequel to the Bonnybridge fracas. John Logan, labourer, Bonnybridge. was charged with having (1) on 18th curt. at the works office. Bonnyside Brickworks occupied by Jas. Dougall and Sons, Ltd., assaulted David Gillespie, works foreman. High Bonnybridge by kicking him on the thigh with his booted foot, and (2) assaulted John McCafferty, labourer, by striking him on the face with his fists and biting him on the neck. The accused pleaded guilty to the first charge only. The Fiscal accepted the plea. Mr Will. Stevenson, solicitor, Falkirk, appeared for the accused and explained that Logan was employed at the brick works at 22s per week. On the date mentioned he only received £1, and seeing the foreman passing, he kicked him with the side of his boot. Accused was then knocked down and severely handled, both of his eyes being blackened. Traces of the injuries received could still be seen, and in view of the fact that the accused had been severely handled, Mr Stevenson asked his Lordship to admonish him. Fine 20s, or ten days’ imprisonment, was imposed

13/12/1911 – Falkirk Herald – John Hawthorn, labourer, Bonnyside Terrace. High Bonnybridge, appeared upon a charge of having on 30th ult., at Bonnyside Brickworks, assaulted Minnie Gemmell, brick-worker, kicking her on the haunch with his booted foot. He pleaded guilty and stated that the girl had used bad language to him. The Fiscal said the girl was only 16. She received a severe kick. A fine of 10s or five days imprisonment was imposed.

29/07/1911 – Falkirk Herald –  John Porteous, Labourer was sentenced to 40 days imprisonment after stealing a silver pocket watch from a jacket hanging in the workmen’s shed at Bonnyside Brick Works, High Bonnybridge.

29/07/1911 – Falkirk Herald – Notwithstanding the heavy rains the past week, the fire which broke out a fortnight ago in a field on Bonnyside estate still in a smouldering condition. The field affected is the property of Messrs James Dougall and Sons. Ltd., Bonnyside Fire Brickworks, and not the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, as erroneously stated last week’s issue.

09/03/1912 – Falkirk Herald –  The firm of Messrs J. G Stein Co Ltd, Bonnybridge and Castlecary Fireclay Works and the Messrs Dougall and Co, Bonnyside Fireclay Works closed their works on Saturday last due to the restrictions and scarcity of coal. Up to 700 hands are affected by the stoppage.

11/03/1912 – The Scotsman – Denny. A number have been added to the list of unemployed during the past few days, bringing the total up to about 880, the principal contributants being Messrs J. G. Stein & Co, Bonnybridge and Castlecary Brickworks, 600 men and Messrs Dougall & Co Ltd, Bonnybridge Fire Brick Works, 200 …

11/05/1912 – Brickworkers strike – Bonnybridge is once more in the throes of a labour fight. On this occasion, it is at Bonnyside Brickworks (Messrs James Dougall and Sons, Ltd.), where over 150 men have ceased work as a protest against the dismissal of four of their number. The men came out on Tuesday night, and strong picketing has taken place. The district is quiet, and no disturbances have so far occurred. On Thursday night a public demonstration was held at The Toll when addresses were delivered to a large gathering by Councillor Alexander Turner, Councillor Anderson, and Mr J. McKenzie. Tho men are members of the National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers, and Mr J. McKenzie, organising secretary, has taken their interests in hand.

Below – 02/07/1912 – The Scotsman – The Bonnybridge brickworkers strike.

Below – 06/07/1912 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Strike riot at Messrs James Dougalls, Bonnybridge. Edward Martin Stewart, Managing Director assaulted.

Below – 1913 – Bonnyside Brickworks.
Below - OS Map C. 1913 - Bonnyside Brick Works

21/02/1914 – James Dougall & Sons Limited, Brick manufacturers, Bonnybridge – for sale 200 ordinary shares of £1 each and 100 5 1/2%. Cum pref shares of £1 each; fully paid – Marshall and Hunter Solicitors, Falkirk.

17/11/1917 – Falkirk Herald – Brickwork labourers. A number wanted for firebrick work. Government Class A work. Time or piecework. Minimum 45s. James Dougall and Sons Ltd, Bonnybridge.

09/09/1922 – Yorkshire Post – Company dividend – James Dougall and Sons (Limited), Bonnyside Fireclay Works – Dividend of 7 1/2% on the ordinary shares.

23/07/1924 – Falkirk Herald – A brickworker named Jas, Douglas, residing at 3 Russell Place, High Bonnybridge, pleaded guilty at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Monday to having on 9th July, in Bonnyside Brickworks. High Bonnybridge, assaulted a fellow-worker, by throwing two half-bricks at him, one of which struck him on the body and the other on the elbow. Mr Andrew Hunter, solicitor, Falkirk, appearing on the accused’s behalf, said that Douglas and the complainer worked together. The complainer had accused Douglas in the morning of having circulated tales about him having interfered with some young girls. The row took place as they were going to work in the morning and at dinner time Douglas went to the complainer to ask him what meant by those stories. It appeared that Douglas was working with a spade amongst lime, and he had a brick in his hand, which he shied at the other fellow. The accused was on holiday now and as he was anxious to enjoy his holiday, he hoped his Lordship would enable him to do so by dealing leniently with him. Sheriff Robertson said that according to Mr Hunter’s statement it looked as if the accused had gone back to this man and renewed the altercation which he had earlier in the day. It would have been wiser if had kept away. He did not do so, however, and the result was that he threw a half-brick at the other man. If he had come to fisticuffs he might have received more sympathy. It did not look well to find grown men throwing bricks at one another. A fine of 30s was imposed and paid at the bar.

21/01/1931 – Falkirk Herald – Sequel to Bonnybridge Work’s Blaze. The distressing sequel to an outbreak of fire in the Bonnyside Brickworks, High Bonnybridge, early on Monday morning took place at the works on Tuesday, when Donald Stewart, glazier, 52 Mary Street, Laurieston, who was repairing the roof of one of the buildings involved in the fire, fell through and sustained injuries to his head and left leg. He was removed to the Falkirk and District Infirmary, where he was detained for treatment. It appears that Stewart, who is employed by Messrs Daniel O’May & Company, glaziers, Falkirk, was working on the roof of a stove when he fell through the roof, which consisted of asbestos sheets, and landed on the cement floor, a distance of about 12 ft. The Bonnyside Works are occupied by James Dougall & Sons, Ltd., and the fire occurred about 2.30 a.m. on Monday. It was discovered that it had broken out in a stove in which a large number of fireclay spirals had been placed in wooden crates to dry. The flames shot into the air and spread with such rapidity that all the crates were destroyed. Over 100 panes of glass, measuring 6ft. by 2ft., on the roof were broken by the intense heat. The fine was first seen on the top of the gas kiln situated immediately underneath the cement floor of the stove, where bricklayers had been using a scaffold. The entire stove was burnt out before assistance could be got, and the outbreak only lasted for a short period. The damage to the building and material is estimated at £200 and is understood to be covered by insurance.

11/09/1931 – The Scotsman – Brickworks manager killed on the railway – The body of a middle-aged man found lying on the railway line near Camelon junction, was identified yesterday as that of Thomas Love Bernard, Bonnyside House, Bonnybridge. The deceased, who was the manager of Dougall’s Brickworks, High Bonnybridge was returning home along the line when, it is surmised, he was overtaken and run down by a goods train before he could get out of the way.

07/10/1933 – Falkirk Herald – Fireman injured – In the course of his employment at the High Bonnybridge Works of Messrs Dougall & Sons, brickwork fireman named James Hutcheson residing at Cowden View, Bonnybridge was on Monday last severely burned on the eyes. The accident occurred while Hutcheson was engaged in firing a steam boiler and injury is such that it is feared he will lose the sight of an eye.

08/06/1935 – Falkirk Herald – The employees of Messrs James Dougall & Sons, Ltd., met in a social capacity in the Welfare Hall, High Bonnybridge, on Friday evening of last week, to do honour to Mr Duncan Ferguson, works foreman, who has retired after having served the firm for 21 years. ln his opening remarks, Mr John M Phail, manager, who presided, expressed his gratification that such a large number had attended, and hoped that the evening would prove an enjoyable one for all. He also intimated an apology from Mr Boyd C, Mitchell, managing director, who was prevented from being present by his father’s indisposition. A splendid tea was then served by a voluntary party of interested ladies, whose service and arrangements were deserving of the highest praise. After tea, the chairman, at the close of a felicitous speech, and on behalf of the firm and employees, asked Mr Ferguson to accept a wallet of treasury notes, as a token of their profound esteem, and as an earnest of their good wishes for a long and happy retirement. The gift, he said, was also a mark of appreciation of the faithful service he had given to the firm. For a long time, his wide experience and expert knowledge of the routine would be missed in the works, as Mr Ferguson himself would be missed by all. On accepting the gift the recipient’s son, Mr W. R. Ferguson said he was touched by the kindly feelings which prompted it. It gave him the greatest pleasure to know that his father had been held in such deep regard by those with whom he had worked. On his father’s behalf, he thanked them all most heartily, not only for the valuable gift but also for the spirit of sincere friendship that had led to the presentation. The remainder of the evening was happily spent, songs being rendered by the Misses Gavin, Cullen, and Stocks, and Messrs J. McDonald, J. Nolan, and J. Martin. After the customary votes of thanks had been accorded to Mr McPhail to the ladies who had served the tea, and to Messrs Coyne and Mills, who had carried through the arrangements, the whole company joined in singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

1938 – List of mines in Scotland – Jas. Dougal & Sons Ltd., Bonnyside Firebrick Works, Bonnybridge. John McPhail manager. Thomas Boak, under manager. 48 employed underground and 34 employed above ground.

Below – 08/01/1938 – Falkirk Herald –  James Dougall and Sons social outing.

Below – 01/11/1941 – Falkirk Herald – Disgruntled employee damages bricks in the gas kiln buildings (Note – SBH – Gaskil is a stamp I have seen on several Dougall bricks and I suspect it represents an abbreviation of Gas Kiln and thus where and how they were fired)

Below – 1944 – 1967 – Bonnyside Works.

09/12/1944 – Falkirk Herald – Theft and reset of petrol. Thomas Connell, in custody, pleaded guilty to having, between 24th and 28th November, broken into the garage at Bonnyside Brickworks, High Bonnybridge, occupied by James Dougall & Sons, Ltd., and stolen a drum containing 10 gallons of petrol valued at £1 1s.

1947 – James Dougall and Sons took over the Whiterigg Fireclay Mine, East Whitburn. They sold 50% to the Douglas Fireclay Company.

c. 1953 – James Dougall bought out the 50 % share of the Whiterigg Fireclay Mine, East Whitburn as owned by the Douglas Firebrick Company. The clay from the Whiterigg clay mine had a low iron content and was used in the manufacture of saggars.

15/05/1953 – The British Clayworker – New Acquisitions by Ceramic Holdings Ceramic Holdings Ltd., as from March 31st, 1953, have acquired 98.2 per cent. of the issued share capital of James Dougall & Sons Ltd., Firebrick Manufacturers, Bonnybridge, and the whole of the issued share capital of the Diamond Clay Co Ltd., Stoke-on-Trent, who are specialists in the manufacture of refractories for the Pottery Industry. The two companies will continue to trade independently under their present Board of Directors and it is intended later to apply for a Stock Exchange quotation for the shares of the new holding company. The Directors of the Ceramic Holdings Ltd. are Mr W. Boyd Mitchell, M.B.E., Chairman and Managing Director of James Dougall & Sons Ltd, and Chairman of the Diamond Clay Co. ltd.; Mr Alan D. Cuthbert, Shipowner; Mr G. N. Hodson, M.B.E., Chemical Stoneware Manufacturer; Mr Donald. L. Platt, Floor Tile Manufacturer; Sir A. Murray Stephen, M.C., Ship-builder; Mr C. R. F. There fall, M. C., Firebrick Manufacturer. The Board of Directors includes in Mr Threfall, Mr Hudson and Mr Mitchell three Past Presidents of the British Ceramic Society showing that the Board as a whole, in addition to industry experience, are conversant with an unusually wide range of products in the ceramic industry itself.

28/01/1955 – The Glasgow Herald – Refractories Placing – Ceramic Holdings Ltd., capitalised at 250,000 in ordinary shares of 10’s each, of which there are in Issue or to be issued fully paid 400,000 shares, are applying to the London and Glasgow stock exchanges for permission to deal and for a quotation for the whole of the issued Ordinary shares.  The company have no debenture stock, mortgages, or loan capital outstanding. Incorporated in February 1953,  the company acquired the issued share capital of the subsidiaries, James Dougall and Sons, Ltd.,  formed in 1907, and the Diamond Clay Company,  Ltd., formed in 1933, as at March 31, 1953.  James Dougall and Sons own Works at Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, and manufacture heat-resisting firebricks and other refractories for use in iron and steelworks and coke oven plants, and for other similar purposes.  The Diamond Clay Company own works at Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent, and manufacture specialised refractories for the pottery industry,  so that the two businesses are to some extent complementary. To effect certain improvements to the Dougall works, the company have issued 52,000 Ordinary shares Of 10’s each at 10’s 7 1/2d per share. All the works are fully employed An interim dividend of 5 per cent. (Previous year 3 per cent.) was paid on January 14 last, and on the assumption that the profits for the current year will be approximately those for the year ended March 31, 1954 – namely. £73,450 – it is intended to recommend a final dividend of 5 per cent., payable towards the end of July.  It is expected that full particulars will be advertised on Monday and that dealings will begin on Thursday. February 3.  Brokers to this placing Are Cazenove and Co.,  Stock Exchange,  London,  and S.  M. Penney and MacGeorge.  Glasgow. Stock Exchange.

Below – 13/08/1955 – Falkirk  Herald – Wash machines for brickwork. Mr W Boyd Mitchell, who has been managing director at Dougal’s Brickwork, High Bonnybridge for 25 years, marked the occasion of his semi-jubilee by presenting two electric washing machines for the use of the employees and employees wives. The picture shows a demonstration in progress.

1962 – Dyson Refractories take over the site.

01/07/2015 – RHI Magnesita Hillview Road, High Bonnybridge, Scotland, United Kingdom are currently operating on what was previously known as the “West works” in Dyson’s time and prior to that, James Dougall. Dyson produced bricks in the “East works” and in the West Works, Graphite/Alumina Isostatically pressed products for the control of molten steel in the continuous casting process in steel mills. Dyson sold the ISO (Isostatic products) business to Foseco in the early ’90s. Foseco then developed the manufacturing process and gained significant market share in Europe. In 2008, RHI purchased the operation from Foseco (who in turn sold out to Cookson/Vesuvius). The operation in Bonnybridge no longer produces isostatic products, this is done at the RHI site in Clydebank. RHI Bonnybridge produces the graphite/alumina granular material which is shipped to Clydebank for pressing/heat treatment/kilning/finishing. What is left of the East works is no longer owned by Dyson but a local dairy farmer.
Below – Unknown date – James Dougall Fire clay Works from the air.

Below – A dense unmarked brick found in abundance on the Bonnyside Works site. Most likely a James Dougall or Dyson product.


Below – The Scottish Industrial Archaeology Survey published a report in 1985 entitled ” A survey of Scottish brickmarks. During the compilation of this report in which the survey officers visited working and derelict brickworks sites, many items of interest were donated or found. Many of these items were thereafter donated to the National Museum Scotland. The item below is one of these items. A brass stamping plate marked ‘Docken’.

Below – a Similar brass stamping plate marked ‘Dougall’.


Below – Information – British Geological Survey. Ganister from the Top Ganister Bonnybridge Fireclay Works, Stirlingshire
Ganister from the Top Ganister Bonnybridge Fireclay Works. A number of works and mines were active in the Bonnybridge area. They worked and processed the Carboniferous, Millstone Grit Upper Fireclay, a series of fireclays and ganisters.

The works at Bonnybridge included James Dougal and Sons Limited working the Bonnyside Pit and the Bonnyside Fireclay Works (the only pit recorded working the ‘Top Ganister’); the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company working the Drum Mine; Dykehead Ganister and Firebrick Company Limited working the Dykehead Mine and the Glenyards Fireclay Company working the Glenyards Mine.
The ganisters were usually crushed at the works and sold in the ground condition to steel manufacturers for lining converters etc. Mixtures of ground ganister and fireclay were also
supplied to foundries and chemical works.

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