Caledonia Fireclay Works, Paisley, Renfrewshire

(Note – SBH – The brickworks situated in the Nethercommon area of Paisley are often difficult to separate when trying to ascertain which piece of researched information should be allocated to which brickworks. The same goes for conclusively determining which location on the old OS maps refers to which brickworks. If anyone notices any error or has any relevant suggestions then please get in touch. The brickworks concerned are Shortroods Brickworks, Gockston Brickworks, Galts Nethercommon Brickworks, North Caledonia Brickworks, Caledonia Fireclay Works and the Caledonian Brick and Drain Tile Works).

1851 – 1852 – George Smith, brick and tile maker, Caledonia Brickfield, Greenock Road. House 22 Caledonia Street, Paisley. (Page 82). (Note – SBH – This brickfield may or may not have been the original site of the Caledonia Fireclay Works). (Note – SBH – Was this George Smith the same man that at one point operated the Albert Plumbago Crucible Works, Glasgow?).

1865 – 1866 – Alexander Speirs of Speirs & Gibb – House, 5 Caledonia Street.

1865 – 1866 – Andrew D Gibb, of Speirs & Gibb – House, 23 Oakshaw Street.

1866 Alexander Speirs, Bellvue, 17 Main Street, Castlehead, Paisley – Speirs & Gibb Coal Merchants & Fireclay Manufacturers, Stoney Brae/Underwood Depot.

1869 – Speirs Gibb & Co, 10 Canal St, Port Eglinton.

19/05/1869 – North British Agriculturist – Paisley, public works on the burgh lands. The large tract of ground belonging to the Burgh Trustees to the north-west of the town promises to prove a valuable source of revenue. For many years much of it has been leased for agricultural purposes, and a considerable portion has been held, chiefly by Messrs Robert Brown and Son, for the manufacture of bricks, tiles, etc., the red clay it contains being of excellent quality and found nearly throughout the whole lands. A few years ago Messrs Merry & Cunningham bored for ironstone on that part of the ground where the racecourse is formed, but the result being unsatisfactory, they abandoned the undertaking. In the course of the operations, however, seams of limestone, coal, and fireclay were found, and Messrs Speirs & Gibb, coal merchants in Paisley, having satisfied themselves that a rich field of minerals existed in the burgh land, secured a lease of the entire underground minerals. Further operations revealed the existence of a bed of very superior fireclay from 12 to 14 feet in thickness, which, it is believed, extends throughout nearly the whole burgh possessions. Messrs Speirs & Gibb are now engaged in flourishing manufacture of fireclay articles. Above the fireclay is a seam of coal of about 2 feet thick, but above the coal is a stratum, several feet in thickness, of excellent limestone, which it is expected will by and by be turned to good account. In the meantime, the manufacture of red bricks, &c., by Messrs Brown is being carried on very extensively on various parts of the lands …

26/06/1869 – Paisley Herald – Excursion of Messrs Robert Brown & Sons, fire clay, brick and drain tile workers. On Saturday last, the workers connected with the Ferguslie Fire Clay Works, and Caledonia and Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Works, numbering about 500, had their first annual excursion, through the kind liberality of their employers, to Arrochar. The Shortroods workers assembled at St James Street at six o’clock. Headed by the Prince of Wales Royal Renfrew Militia band they marched to the house of Mr John Brown, junior partner, and thence to Well Street, where they joined the Ferguslie Fire Clay Workers and proceeded to the residence of Mr Robert Brown, Underwood Park, senior partner. They marched then to the Abercorn Railway Station, whence they were conveyed per rail to Renfrew, where the steamer “Nelson” was lying ready for them, all receiving, as they stepped aboard, a cordial welcome from the captain, whose care for the comfort and happiness of his large party was as unceasing as it was successful. The general felicitations on the fine weather and the anticipations of a pleasant day on the Clyde were certainly amply fulfilled. Arrochar was reached about eleven o’clock. The excursionists scattering about ashore, some to engage in the mazy dance, and other various amusements and games. Some travelled to the high grounds to view natures wildest grandeur, and said by the poet “It was glorious through the loopholes retreat, to gaze on such a world”. The company left Arrochar at four o’clock, delighted with the result of their visit, and the splendid country which they had witnessed. The party reached Paisley about seven o’clock, breaking up at the County Square.

Below – 31/07/1869 – Paisley Herald – Speirs Gibb & Young, Caledonian Fire Clay Works open a depot in Paisley.

12/02/1870 – Renfrewshire Independent – Paisley – Advantages for the erection of public works in Paisley. Some time since it was agreed to form a branch railway in connection with the burgh lands in the vicinity of the Greenock Road, with the view of encouraging the proprietors of large works to erect their places of manufacture thereon. This railway has now been completed, and has been connected with the extensive brick and tile works of Messrs Brown at Shortroods, and also with the new fireclay works of Messrs Speirs, Gibb, & Young, in that vicinity, and already its advantages are clearly perceptible from the considerable traffic which passed over the railway from these works alone. Ground for public works in connection with this branch railway is offered by the burgh at a feu-duty of 1s 6d per pole only, which of itself is a great inducement, and well worthy of the attention of gentlemen in Glasgow and elsewhere having the erection of public works in contemplation. In addition to the cheapness of the land, and the advantages of direct communication with the Caledonian Railway, Paisley has now an abundant water supply, and gas at a very cheap rate, while the public burdens are also comparatively low.

Below – 05/05/1870 – Northern Whig – Speirs Gibb & Young, Caledonian Fire Clay Works open a depot in Belfast.


13/08/1870 – Paisley Herald – The smoke nuisance – The minutes of the Sanitary Committee showed that Mr Bell, Mossvale Cottage, had complained of the smoke from Messrs Speirs and Gibb’s fire-clay works. Mr Ronald was requested to have a personal interview with Messrs Speirs and Gibb, with the view of prevailing on them to remove any cause of complaint.

16/10/1871 – Invoices – Speirs Gibb and Young, manufacturers of glazed sewerage pipes, fire and ornamental building bricks, paving and stable bricks, flooring tiles, flue covers, plain and ornamental chimney cans, vent linings, flower vases and stands, rustics, cattle troughs, ground fire clay and all articles made of fire clay. Depots 16 Wallace Street, Glasgow. 101 Corporation Street, Belfast. Railway Depot, Govan and Railway Depot, Renfrew.

Below – 28/03/1871 – Belfast Telegraph – Speirs Gibb & Young, Caledonian Fire Clay Works advert.


15/07/1871 – Paisley Herald – Smoke nuisance – Council chambers meeting … The clerk has been instructed to write to Messrs Speirs, Gibb and Young calling their attention to a complaint as to the smoke issuing from the Caledonia Fire Clay Works.

1871 – 1872 – Speirs, Gibb, & Young, sewage pipe and fire-brick manufacturers, Caledonia Works, Paisley; depot, 16 Wallace Street, south.

Below – 16/03/1872 – Belfast News Letter – Speirs, Gibb, & Young goods for sale including Rochsolloch white facing bricks.


Below – 14/11/1872 – Greenock Telegraph – Slander trial.


1872 – 1873 –  Speirs, Gibb, & Young, sewage pipe and fire-brick manufacturers, Caledonia Works, Paisley; Depot, 16 Wallace Street, south.

1874 – Priory Park, 19 Main Street, Castlehead, Paisley – John Young & Co. Timber Merchants, Burgh Saw Mills or possibly it is John Young of Heathfield and Cardowan Works but he used to be in partnership with Hurll and from this link Hurll and Young were together between c.1861 -– c.1873 so it is unlikely Young was in partnership with Speirs and Gibb at the same time.

21/02/1874 – Paisley Herald – Speirs Gibb and Young have removed their office from Terrace Buildings to their works, Burgh Lands of Greenock Road by Caledonia Lane.

Below – 21/03/1874 – Paisley Herald – Speirs Gibb and Young partnership dissolved. William Young leaves the company on 13/03/1874.

Below – 03/06/1874 – Northern Whig – Speirs, Gibb and Co, Caledonian Fireclay Depot, 101 Corporation Street, Belfast.

Below – 29/09/1874 – Greenock Telegraph – Fatal accident at the Caledonia clay pit.

10/07/1875 – Paisley Gazette – The Smoke Nuisance. On Tuesday, at the instance of the Local Authority, the complaint against Messrs. Speirs and Gibb, Caledonia Fire-Clay Works, for non-consumption of smoke, was again before Sheriff Cowan. Mr Gibb appeared and stated that the new boiler, for the insertion of which the case had been continued when first brought into court, was still in the hands of the makers. He, therefore, asked that further continuance be allowed. The Sheriff agreed to the request.

Below – 24/08/1875 – Northern Whig – Speirs Gibb and Co advertising goods at their depot in Town Hall Street ( Old Posk Market) Belfast.

25/09/1875 – Paisley Herald – Cricket. Workers of Messrs Brown and Son V Workers of Messrs Speir and Gibb. A return match was played on the ground of Western C.C. between the workers of Messrs Brown and Son, Ferguslie Fire Clay Works and the workers of Messrs Speir and Gibb, Caledonia Fireclay Works, resulting in favour of the former by six runs. Scores • Messrs R Brown and Sons, 26; Messrs Speirs and Gibb, 20.

26/02/1876 – Paisley Herald – Speirs Gibb and Co, Caledonia Fire Clay Works annual outing was this year held in the Adelphi Hall. Mr A. D Gibb presided along with Mr Alexander Speirs.

1877 – Morven, 10 High Road, Castlehead, Paisley – Andrew D Gibb-  Speirs & Gibb Coal Merchants & Fireclay Manufactures, Stoney Brae/Underwood Depot.

Below – 1877 – 1878 – Watsons Post Office Directory – Robert Brown & Son, Ferguslie, Caledonia and Shortroods.

Below – 1878 – Advert – Speirs and Gibb Caledonia Works Paisley.

1878 advert Speirs and Gibb Caledonia Works Paisley

15/02/1879 – Paisley Gazette – Police Board meeting – Smoke nuisance – Sanitary Committee reported that Bailie Clark had informed the committee that several improvements with the view of preventing smoke had been introduced at the Caledonia Fire Clay Works and had also made reference to the means taken tor the same ends at the Ferguslie Fire Clay Works. Mr Fisher expressed the hope that the committee would give that matter every consideration. The Clerk said the committee were waiting for a report from Mr Green, the Sanitary Inspector, in regard to two cases of smoke nuisance.

1880 1906 – Invoices numerous – Speirs and Gibb, manufacturers of glazed sewerage pipes, fire and ornamental building bricks, paving and stable bricks, flooring tiles, flue covers, plain and ornamental chimney cans, vent linings, flower vases and stands, rustics, cattle troughs, ground fire clay and all articles made of fire clay. Depots Canal Street, Port Eglinton, Glasgow and Caledonia Fire Clay Works, Paisley and Railway Depot, Govan and Railway Depot, Renfrew.  By 1901 shipping ports of Glasgow, Greenock, Grangemouth and Leith has been added to the invoice headers and by 1906 they state they always have Portland and Roman cements in stock.

1882 – John Baird, agent for Speirs Gibb & Co, fire brick manufacturers, Paisley, Canal Street, Port Eglinton.

1882 – Speirs Gibb & Co, Brick and Tile Drain Makers, Caledonia Fireclay Works, Paisley.

Below – 13/08/1883 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Buchan’s Patent infringements by Hurlford Fireclay Works and Caledonia Fireclay Works.

Below – 25/09/1885 – Edinburgh Gazette – 31/03/1884 – Speirs and Gibb dissolved due to retiral of Andrew Dewar Gibb, Alexander Speirs and John Faill will continue the partnership.


26/12/1885 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – Fatal accident in the Caledonia Fire Clay Pit. About midday on Saturday, an unfortunate accident took place in the Fireclay Pit (At Mossvale) in Caledonia Street, belonging to Messrs. Speirs, Gibb, & Co. William Gilmour, sen, and William Gilmour, Jun., Newton Street, Paisley, were working in the branch of the pit in Clark Street, about 400 yards in a southwesterly direction from the bottom of the pit shaft when a large quantity of mixed stones and fireclay fell from the roof of the pit. The greater quantity of the stones fell on the top of the father, injuring him internally very severely, bruising him on the right aide and on the head and rendering him unconscious. The son. who was working a few yards from the father, was only injured on the left leg. The other workmen, the nearest of whom was fifty yards from the place, hurried up to the assistance of the injured men. As the elder Gilmour was unconscious and in a dangerous state, he was removed to the infirmary but the son was taken home. The father never regained consciousness and died in the infirmary on Sunday morning. Deceased leaves a widow and young family. The injured leg of the son is all but better.

Below – 1885 – 1886 – Speirs & Gibb, coal merchants, Underwood depot (See advt.)

speirs gibb coal merchants

Speirs, Gibb, & Co., fire clay manufacturers, Caledonia Fire Clay works, Burgh lands, off Greenock Road.

Speirs, Alexander, of Speirs & Gibb – House Greenhill.

24/09/1886 – Glasgow Herald – Action against a football club. Messrs Speirs & Gibb, Paisley, yesterday raised an action in the Paisley Debts Recovery Court, Sheriff Cowan on the bench, against the members of the Paisley Hibernians Football Club, now defunct, to recover £16, the amount of one year’s rent of a field which the pursuers allege they let to defenders. Most of the defenders deny liability on the ground that they had never paid any subscriptions to the club, and were therefore not members, only playing when requested. Sheriff Cowan fixed a diet for proof on the 15th of October.

16/10/1886 – Glasgow Herald – Action against a football club. In the Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday, before Sheriff Cowan, proof was led in the action at the instance of Speirs & Gibb, fireclay manufacturers, Paisley against the members of the Paisley Hibernian Football Club to recover £16 as the rent of a field let by the pursuers to the defenders. After the evidence, the Sheriff gave decree against the defenders, with expenses.

Below – 07/07/1888 – Paisley Gazette – Glasgow exhibition. Messrs Speirs and Gibb, Caledonia Fireclay Works, Paisley. This firm supplied the sewage pipes used in connection with the extensive drainage arrangements of the building and grounds and also the fire clay coping covering the walls of the terraces and picture galleries of the exhibition.

17/08/1889 – Oban Times – Coal depot. North Pier … Wm Wilson, Breadalbane Street agent for Speirs, Gibb and Co’s fire clay goods.

05/10/1889 – Paisley Gazette – Dean of Guild Court – Plans were passed granting authority to Messrs Speir Gibb and Co, Caledonia Fire Clay Works to erect a two-storey brick building in McKean Street to be used as a store.

Below – 05/07/1890 – Paisley Gazette – Caledonia Fire Clay Works annual outing – Ardrossan.

27/12/1890 – Daily Telegraph and Courier – At Paisley today, the trade arrangements assumed an acute stage inconsequence of the strike. Messrs  Speirs. Gibb, and Co., Caledonia Fire-Clay Works, and Messrs. Brown and Son, Forfarshire Fire Clay Works (Note – SBH – I believe this should read Ferguslie Fire Clay Works), have stopped work, owing to the failure of the coal supply.

19/03/1892 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – Dean of Guild Court. On Wednesday afternoon, the ordinary sitting of the Dean of Guild Court was held in the committee room of the Municipal Buildings, Provost and Bailie Paton presiding. Plans of a ventilating shaft proposed to be erected at the back of the property at 8 Moss Street by Mr James Wallace, Braehead, were approved. Messrs. Speirs. Gibb, & Co, fireclay manufacturers, obtained the sanction the Court to erect a ventilating outlet to the pit shaft at Clark Street, to be built on a piece of vacant ground there.

18/11/1892 – Dundee Evening Telegraph – Bankruptcy of Paisley Coal Merchant – Alexander Speirs, of Speirs and Gibb, coal merchants, Paisley, was examined today in the Paisley Bankruptcy Court. He stated that during the past year be had lost in business £42,000. Had it not been for these losses would have been today worth £36,000.

Below – 15/09/1894 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – The subsidence of council lands. Council v Speirs and Gibb. Mr Thomas McKaig, Paisley acting as arbiter.

Below – 26/06/1895 – Glasgow Herald – Court case regarding the safety of the Mossvale Fireclay Mine.


Below – 1896 – Caledonia Fireclay Works.

1896 Caledonia Fireclay works

Below – 20/03/1896 – Ross-shire Journal – Speirs Gibb & Co Caledonia Fire Clay Works, Paisley. Largest manufacturer in Scotland of all kinds of fire clay goods, including salt-glazed sewerage pipes, fire bricks, flue covers, flooring tiles, stable bricks, cattle troughs, chimney cans, vent linings. Goods dispatched same day as ordered. Representatives for North Of Scotland John Fraser, Ironmonger, Dingwall.

11/07/1896 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – Court action by Hugh Highgate and Co, oil refiners, Paisley to interdict the Burgh of Paisley from working minerals under the pursuers lands in Murray Street, Paisley … The defenders reply that by a lease dated September 1885, they let to Speirs, Gibb Co, the fireclay in the moss lands Paisley, including the fireclay under the plots of ground in the pursuers feu contract. By the lease Speirs, Gibb & Co. bound themselves to relieve the defenders of all damage which the former might occasion by their operations …

Below – 26/11/1898 – Paisley Gazette – Caledonia Fireclay works stand trial regarding the blinding of a man engaged in their fireclay pit. He is awarded 15s per week in compensation. (Note there is more on this finding in the actual newspaper.)

1898 – 1899 – Alexander Speirs of Speirs & Gibb – House Greenhill.

Speirs & Gibb, coal merchants. Underwood, Canal, Ferguslie, Potterhill, and Saucel depots.

Speirs, Gibb, & Co., fire clay manufacturers, Caledonia Fire Clay works, Burgh lands, off Greenock Road.

10/01/1899 – Glasgow Herald – Reference to John F Baird of Speirs Gibb and Co. He appears to have been on the committee of the Paisley Savings Bank.

Below – 25/02/1899 – Glasgow Herald – Court case against Speirs, Gibb and Co with regards a claim by an injured workman.




Below – 1912 – Caledonia Fireclay Works.

1912 Caledonia fireclay works

07/03/1912 – The Scotsman – Strikes – At the works of Messrs Speir, Gibb and Company, fireclay manufacturers, 100 are unemployed.

31/07/1917 – Daily Record – The death was reported yesterday of Mr John F Baird, Edgehill, Castlehead, Paisley who was well known in Glasgow and local business circles and had been for a time a director of the United Collieries Company, the Kelvinside Brick Company, the Cleghorn Terracotta Company Limited besides having been managing director at Speirs, Gibb & Company’s Paisley works and for a period chairman of Messrs McGee Ltd, Engineers. He was a member of the Parish Council and for a period chairman.

The works do not appear to be present on the 1938 OS Map.

Below – 2012 – auction in Melbourne, Australia

Description: A fine pair of 19th century English glazed terracotta lions. Manufacturers stamp for Speirs, Gibb and Co, Caledonia Works, Paisley.
In seated positions, some remnant glaze, each with a factory stamp to the front of the plinth base, supported on green straight-sided iron pedestals, 119 x 77 x 41cm each.

Speirs Gibb & Co Caledonia Works Paisley




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