Jordanhill Brickworks were in operation until the raw materials were exhausted in 1928. From them were drawn the bricks for part of Glasgow Corporation’s housing estate at Knightswood. Whitewashed low roofed houses occupied by workers in the brickfields while modern buildings were raised around them struck a note of incongruity for a year or two….
Records of Coltness Iron Co Ltd, coal and iron masters and steel and brick manufacturers, Newmains, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
The Coltness Iron Co Ltd, Newmains, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, was established in the 19th century by Henry Houldsworth and his brother, Thomas. The brothers settled for the board and financial control, leaving the technical business of mining and metal making to competent managers. By 1922, the iron and steel interests of the business had been much diminished and the company concentrated on mining, appointing William Hamilton Telfer as general manager. Telfer came from a long family tradition of mine managers and had considerable mining experience in the Scottish coalfields. By this time, the company had already made strong connections with other important Scottish companies through shared directorships that were a great help to Telfer during the inter-war period. Following the general strike of 1926, Telfer urged the board to abandon coal iron making and the furnaces were dismantled. A programme of modernisation was then undertaken on the mining side of the business and new collieries were opened at Kingshill, South Lanarkshire, and Overtown, North Lanarkshire, even though the economic climate was unfavourable to such ventures. However, coal output steadily increased during the 1920s. The company’s position was made stronger through its link with the Wilson & Clyde Coal Co, colliers, Fife, with whom they purchased the business of James Waldy & Co, coal merchants of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland, which provided a wide sales network for the coal produced. Telfer’s influence and success resulted in his appointment as managing director of the company in 1927 and he was able to influence the board to resisted the attempts to amalgamate coal companies through the 1930 Coal Miners Act.
It was clear that the company could not survive solely as coal masters and it was various diversifications that kept the company viable. Most notably, it was the success of the cement works at Newmains and the brick works at Carluke, South Lanarkshire, and Jordanhill, Glasgow, which provided the support for the colliery enterprise in this period.
(Jordanhill Brickworks were established about 1890 producing building bricks. It survived until 1928, by which time the raw material, the local bings, was exhausted. This Coltness Iron Company enterprise was then closed and the machinery transferred to the Giffnock Brickworks, on the site of the then recently closed Giffnock Colliery. The works at Giffnock remained until 1942 when the lease ran out and the plant was then dismantled. – source )
The 1930s saw the acquisition of neighbouring collieries such as the Ardenrigg Coal Co Ltd, South Lanarkshire, in 1932 and the Darngavel Coal Co Ltd, North Lanarkshire, in partnership with the Wilson & Clyde Coal Co Ltd, Bellshill, Glasgow. In 1934, the company sub-let part of the coalfields of Stewart & Lloyds Ltd, Corby, England, near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England, and purchased that company’s 35 per cent stake in Wilson & Clyde Coal Co Ltd. The Coltness Iron Co Ltd had previously moved into the Warwickshire coalfields at Kersley, near Coventry, England, in 1902, though the purchase of the Warwickshire Coal Co Ltd. This colliery had been unprofitable between 1911 and 1923, but Telfer re-organised the concern and made it profitable.
Telfer retired as managing director in 1936, becoming vice chairman although he continued as manager of the Warwickshire concerns which now including Kersley’s neighbouring pit, the Sandwell Park Colliery in South Staffordshire.
In 1937, the company acquired the Cumberland Coal Co (Whitehaven) Ltd at Whitehaven, Cumbria, England, at the suggestion of Telfer. The 1930s also saw the development of the company’s cement and brick works and the steel foundry was modernised and expanded into the production of non-ferrous metal in partnership with ICI as Scottish Non-Ferrous Tube Industries Ltd, Hillington, Glasgow.
The company expended some £800,000 on new developments between 1936 and 1941 without having to increase the companies share capital and during difficult economic conditions. As a result, Telfer was appointed chairman in 1941, a post he held until 1946. By then, Coltness Iron Co Ltd was one of the largest colliery concerns in Scotland and England, employing nearly 5,000 men in both countries with an output of 5 million tons. Telfer had overseen improvements in working conditions, miners welfare, housing and pit safety.
The National Coal Board acquired the company’s assets in 1947 when the company was nationalised under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946. The Coltness Iron Co Ltd became Coltness Holdings Ltd in 1946 in order to acquire the assets and capital not taken over by the National Coal Board and entered into voluntary liquidation in 1947. At the time of nationalisation, the company had pits at Blairhall, Douglas, Kingshill, Hanockrigg, Woodend, Gillhead, Greenhead, Overtown, Duntilland and Collyshot, all in Scotland.
1839 – Coltness Iron Company founded. There were some very old brick kilns to the north of the ironworks which are believed to date from around that time. The Newmains Fireclay Works were their main brick producing site. Bricks manufactured at the Newmains Fireclay Works were lower grade and latterly they concentrated on glazed enamel whiteware. – Source Kenneth W Sanderson.
1858 – Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for 1858 –Coltness, Clay of coal measures. Name of freeholder – Lord Belhaven. Manufacturer – Lord Belhaven. Manufacture estimated annual output – 409,826 bricks, 55,300 fire bricks, 827,844 drain pipes, 166,050 composition bricks, 6,572 other articles. (Note SBH – I believe this entry may relate to the Coltness Iron Co Limited as opposed to the Coltness Brick and Tile Works).
04/08/1888 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – To architects, engineers and builders – Bricks of special manufacture for all building purposes and particularly adapted for engineering works where great strength is required. Coltness Iron Co Ld, Newmains.
Below – 1889 – Advert Coltness Iron Company.
Below – 1893 – Advert Coltness Iron Company.
Below – 12/07/1899 – Daily Telegraph and Courier – Coltness Iron Company Limited prospectus. The three brickworks of the company are in efficient condition and are situated at Newmains and Hallcraig, in Lanarkshire both being the absolute property of the company and Jordanhill, Glasgow. The manufacture of enamelled fireclay goods is carried at Newmains, and that of building bricks at Hallcraig and Jordanhill, the capacity of the two latter being about twenty millions of bricks per annum. The properties absolutely owned by the company, including the above-mentioned purchase, are as follows (1) At Newmains, about 325 acres of mineral area, and 270 of surface area, upon which the blast furnaces, &c., are situated, and having abundance spare room for future extension. (2) Woodend, in Linlithgowshire, about 1,024 acres surface and minerals, upon which one of the company’s collieries. (3) At Hallcraig, in Lanarkshire, about 186 acres of surface and minerals, upon which is one of the company’s brickworks. The mineral in this property is chiefly clay band ironstone. (4) Mayfield and neighbourhood, in Lanarkshire, about 187 acres of the mineral area — chiefly clay band ironstone and limestone.
1936 – 1937 – Coltness Iron Co Ltd, iron and coal masters, manufacturing chemist, oil merchants, iron and steel founders, manufacturers of Portland cement, fire clay enamel goods and composition building brick, 34 Robertson Street. Works – Newmains, Lanarkshire.
10/04/1936 – The Scotsman – Coltness Iron Company Limited. Annual company meeting … The working of the brick and cement works has been affected through building construction having been held up owing to the severe winter weather, but the prospect ahead for building material is quite bright …
12/04/1938 – The Scotsman – Coltness Iron Company Limited. Annual company meeting … Our brickworks have been going full, with a good demand for building brick …
13/04/1940 – The Scotsman – Coltness Iron Company Limited. Annual company meeting … Our cement and brickworks were extremely busy until the end of the year when the building industry was practically brought to a standstill unless for Government and A.R.P work and with this exception, the market for bricks has almost disappeared …