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 tennant 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 was incorporated for the first time in 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 ironfounder, 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 shareholders 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 coal fields. His uncle , later Sir George Arthur Mitchell, became chairman of Lochgelly Iron & Coal company, which has profits of £122,075 after 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 Dougalls, 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, and a 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 Dougalls 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 green field site to the east of the original works. This East works was 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 it’s independant existence. Campbell of Roughcastle were 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 is still in situ and depicts the Dyson trademark ‘D’ within a diamond surround.
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.
Ceramic Holdings trademark as it appeared on a James Dougall and Sons leaflet
Below – From Falkirk Archives – – During the period 1920 – 35, 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
7 Hoppers for normal production
8 Hoppers for specialised production
2 Johnston high production presses.
3 Butler presses
1 Boyd high production 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, Dougalls 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 Phillipines, 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
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.
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 a 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 are obtained from the Company’s own mines. Although less refractory than other firebricks produced by the Company, JD has a 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.
28/03/1845 – Glasgow Herald – Clay to be let for such 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 on 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 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.
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).
Below – 07/04/1888
– Falkirk Herald – Messrs Dougall & Sons exhibit at the Glasgow International Exhibition.
Below – 18/06/1890
– Falkirk Herald – Bonnyside Fire Brick and Ganister Works – James Dougall and Sons Limited.
1893 – 1893 – Bonnyside Brick and Tile Works, Bonnybridge. James Dougall & Sons.
Below – 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 brick works 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
Below – 1911 – advert – James Dougall & Sons
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 workmens 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 Brick Works, and not the Bonnybridge Silica and Fireclay Company, as erroneously stated last week’s issue.
Below – 06/07/1912 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Strike riot at Messrs James Dougalls, Bonnybridge. Edward Martin Stewart, Managing Director assaulted.
Below – 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.
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)
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 industrial experience, are conversant with an unusually wide range of products in the ceramic industry itself. Source –
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 issues 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 steel works 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 percent. (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.
– 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 90’s. 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 produce 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 Gougall Fireclay 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.