Cardowan Fire Clay Works, Stepps, North Lanarkshire

Cardowan Fire Clay Works, Stepps, Glasgow – This should be read in conjunction with the post on the Heathfield Fireclay Works.


Cardowan and Heathfield Works. The first of these works, belonging to Messrs. John Young and Son, was built in 1852 by Messrs. John Hurll and John Young, previous to that time of the Garnkirk Company. The clay is the Garnkirk seam and is of much the same character as the Stourbridge clay. The Heathfield Works were acquired about 1860 from Messrs. Miller and Ferguson (which see) and were largely extended and altered, and improved machinery introduced. The clay was won at 350 feet, passing through a solid bed of freestone of 120 feet, giving off much water; the seam itself is known as the Glenboig seam of clay, as it was first wrought at the ” Glenboig Works,” with which Mr Young was also till quite recently, a partner. At the “Cardowan Works” the firm manufacture the usual varieties of fire-bricks, blast-furnace blocks, gas retorts and fittings, vases, garden edgings, and plain and ornamental chimney shafts. At the ” Heathfield Works,” they produce fire-bricks, and vitrified salt-glazed pipes for sewerage and water purposes, and invert sewer blocks and all the usual salt-glazed articles. In 1874 Messrs. Hurll and Young dissolved partnership; Mr Young, along with his sons John and Robert, being now the sole proprietors. The product of these works when in full work is about 20,000 fire-bricks per day and about 1,500 yards of pipes weekly.

Adjacent to Mark Sprot’s extensive fireclay deposits of Garnkirk were others owned by Dr James Jeffray of Cardowan, Professor of Anatomy at Glasgow University for the very long period 1790-1848. In 1832 Professor Jeffray’s fireclay bricks were said to be “not let”, but soon afterwards a fireclay works was established at Heathfield by Peter Ferguson to make use of these minerals. By 1834 Ferguson had a store at the Garnkirk & Glasgow Railway terminus at Townhead, Glasgow, for his Heathfield firebricks and tiles. About 1846 the Heathfield’s firm’s name was changed from Peter Ferguson & Co. to Ferguson, Miller & Co.

Below – 25/11/1833 – Glasgow Herald – Fireclay fields to let at the Farm of Baads, Garnkirk – I am uncertain as to this exact locus but it could be Cardowan.

Below – 1836 – Baads clay field belong to Dr Jeffray, Garnkirk.


1840 – 1841 – Peter Ferguson, Fire Brick and Tile Works, Heathfield. Store Railway Depot. Orders left at J. Ferguson’s 70 Hutcheson St. House Villafield Place.

c. 1846  – The Heathfield’s firm’s name was changed from Peter Ferguson & Co. to Ferguson, Miller & Co.

1858 – 1859 – Cardowan Brickworks – Moodiesburn, Glasgow. Messrs Hurll and Young and Depot St Rollox.

Below –  1858  – Cardowan Fire Clay Works.

Below – 1861 – Hurll and Young Cardowan Garnkirk.

1861 advert Hurll and Young Cardowan Garnkirk

25/07/1861 – Glasgow Herald – Notice – We advance cash to our men as hitherto and pay John Jenkins, George Allan and Patrick McAteer daily or hourly if required. Hurll, Young and Co. Cardowan Fire Brick Works 24/07/1861.

22/02/1862 – Renfrewshire Independent – Capture of daring burglars ….  a pair of boots were also found which were identified as having been stolen from a store at Crow Road, Garnkirk belonging to Mr John Hurrel (Hurll), of Cardowan Brickworks …

Below – 1875 –  John Young and Sons, Heathfield and Cardowan.

1875 John Young and Sons, Heathfield and Cardowan

Below – 01/05/1884 – Clyde Bill of Entry and Shipping list – Advert. John Young and Sons, Heathfield and Cardowan Works near Coatbridge.

1886 – John Young and Sons, Heathfield and Cardowan. Office 42 Bath Street, Glasgow.

03/06/1887 – Glasgow Herald – The following circular has been issued. The firm (John Young Sons and Co) has been long engaged in the fire brick and tile trades and has also been to some extent in the coal trade. It is understood that the liabilities reach a good figure, yet as their situation has been in a measure known for a time, their facilities have of late been contracted.

42 Bath Street, Glasgow 31/05/1887

Dear Sir, it is with extreme regret that we have to announce that we have this day been compelled to suspend payment. We have placed our works into the hands of Messrs Kerr, Andersons, Mair and Main, C.A, Glasgow by whom a statement of our affairs will be made up and submitted to a meeting of our creditors to be held in their chambers, 142 West George Street, Glasgow upon Tuesday 5th June at 12 noon, which meeting you are invited to attend. To facilitate the preparation of this statement please favour us by the return of post with a statement of your account to date. Your obedient servants John Young Sons and Co

08/03/1893 – Kirkintilloch Herald – The first social meeting of the employees of Heathfield and Cardowan Fireclay Works was held in the Drill Hall, Muirhead on the 28th …

Below – 10/09/1902 – Kirkintilloch Herald – Railway accident at Cardowan fireclay works. Waggons filled with fireclay overturn.

29/10/1902 – Kirkintilloch Herald – Owing to a dull trade the Cardowan Fire Clay Works close today for an indefinite period. The fire clay trade has been very dull for a considerable time back with the unfortunate result that the Heathfield and Cardowan Fire Clay Co have found it necessary to close their works at Cardowan for some time. Forty or Fifty men will be thus thrown idle at an exceptionally dull period of the year.

1912 – 1913 – J Young and Co, fire clay manufacturers, 42 Bath Street, Glasgow.

1913 – The Cardowan Works were abandoned by 1913 but the Heathfield site was expanded and came under the control of the Grierson family who continued to make pipes until 1968 under the company name of Heathfield and Cardowan Fireclay Company Limited and the Heathfield and Cardowan Pipeworks Ltd – Source Kenneth Sanderson.

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