Atlas Brick Works, Bathville, Armadale, West Lothian

Atlas Brick Works, Bathville, Armadale, West Lothian


These works were situated directly East of the Etna Brick Works and they are the older of the two. It was started by Robert Fleming of Coatbridge and Mr Kopel Moritz.


Below – 1886 – Robert Fleming & Co, Atlas Fire Brick Works.

04/02/1888 –  Falkirk Herald – Action for damages – Thomas Crawford, farmer Bathville, Armadale raises an action for compensation for damages suffered in 1887 to his grass, turnip and stock upon his farm as caused by Robert Fleming & Co, Atlas Brick Works, Armadale. He wins the case and damages and expenses to the sum of £9 5s are awarded.

25/03/1893 – Linlithgowshire Gazette  –  Patrick Duffy, brickmaker, Bathville charged with assaulting Helen Hempseed, brickworker, Armadale by compressing her throat and striking her head against a wall. He was found guilty and fined £2 or 3 weeks imprisonment.

07/12/1894 – Glasgow Herald – Fire brick maker (good) wanted. Constant work to a steady man – Apply Foreman, Atlas Brickworks, Armadale, Bathgate.

21/06/1895 – Glasgow Herald – Moulder wanted for Atlas Fire Brick Works, Armadale. Constant work for a good man. Apply Manager at the works.

Below – 1896 – Atlas Brickworks.

07/11/1896 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Glasgow Royal Infirmary – Contributors include Jas Wood Limited Etna and Atlas Brickworks, Bathville – £3 15s.

14/09/1899 – Glasgow Herald – Brick moulder wanted. Constant work – Apply Foreman Atlas Fire Brick Works, Armadale, Linlithgowshire.

05/10/1900 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – Wanted, a few women and girls at Atlas Brick Works. Good wages and constant work. Apply to the foreman.

Below – 26/10/1900 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – A history of brickworks in the Bathgate, West Lothian area.


22/01/1902 – The Scotsman (I am uncertain which Armadale brickworks this article refers to but I have included it here so that it does not go unmissed!) – For sale belonging to the Executry Estate of the late Mr Marshall, Contractor. Portable engine at no 9 pit, Armadale, Bricks large quantity, Fireclay pipes large quantity and various sizes, Whinstone sets and couplings, freestone jambs, Pan Mill at New Brick Work, Armadale, Bricks (40,000 already cleaned at No 8 Pit, Freestone large quantity not including iron. The articles will be shown to enquirers Mr David Sclater, Clerk of Works, Uphall.

Below – 21/03/1902 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – An article discusses the Boghead, Bathville, South Broadrigg, Etna and Atlas brickworks of West Lothian.


11/06/1902 – Kirkintilloch Herald – Proposed Scottish coal combine – So far as evidences go (writes a mining correspondent) the rumour of a Scottish coal combination is not without foundation. Representatives interested in such a trust are systematically visiting, for valuation purposes, the collieries of those firms who might be disposed to consider the formation of such an amalgamation. Combine visited the collieries of Messrs Jas. Wood, Ltd., in Armadale district. The pits owned by this firm in Armadale district, of which a valuation was taken, together with the siding accommodation belonging to the firm, are as follows;—No. 2 and No. 7 Northrigg, Nos. 2, 5, and 8 Polkemmot, and No. 4 Hartrigg and Colinshiels Pit, while they own Drumpellier Pit, Coatbridge; Meiklehill, Kirkintilloch: and Neilston, Kilsyth. The firm also owns Atlas and Etna Brickworks, which have a large output.

01/07/1902 – Dundee Evening Telegraph  – The Scottish Coal Combine – Today the various collieries and brickworks belonging to Messrs James Wood Limited and the collieries belonging to the Armadale Coal Company will be formally handed over to the syndicate known as the Scottish Coal Combination. Yesterday representatives from the Glasgow office of the combination for stock-taking purposes made a survey of the whole material on hand, furnishings and coal etc, exclusive of the working colliery plant at the different collieries, along with the coal foremen. Messrs James Wood Limited own the following collieries in Armadale district: No 2, No 8, No 6 pits, Polkemmet, No 4 Hartrigg, Nos 2 and 7 Northrigg and Colinshills and also the well known Atlas and Etna brick Works. They further own Drumpelier Colliery, Coatbridge, Meiklehill, Kirkintilloch, and Neilston Colliery Kilsyth. They employ over a thousand men in Armadale district. The Armadale Coal Company own the 2 pits Nos 17 and 23 Buttness.

02/05/1905 – Edinburgh Evening News – Labourers wanted – Apply Topping, Atlas Brick Works, Armadale.

Below- 19/06/1908 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – United Collieries Limited per the Atlas Brick Works Armadale sued in court for damages after a 16-year-old youth was scalded.

17/07/1908 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – The holidays started at Dickson and Manns works on Wednesday, and will continue till Tuesday, 28th. The Etna Brick Works are only to be closed for four days, but the Atlas is to have three weeks, and the collieries will be closed from the 16th to the 27th.

Below – 27/08/1909 – Linlithgowshire Gazette  – Etna and Atlas brickworks excursion to Portobello.

12/09/1909 – Linlithgowshire Gazette  – Etna and Atlas brickworks export to Canada … there is a large order for a million bricks that is being shipped from Etna and Atlas brickworks to Canada that is taking up all the extra wagons. When this order has been discharged more waggons will be had for coal …

Below – 21/10/1910 –  Linlithgowshire Gazette – Death of Duncan Richmond former manager of the Atlas and Etna brickworks, Bathville. He started work at the works around 1885.

Below – 25/08/1911 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – Drought causes local firms to unite in order to construct a pipeline to bring in water –  United Collieries, Etna and Atlas Brickworks, Robertson and Loves Pipe and Can Works. Robert Muir and Co’s works at Boghead Brickworks will be disadvantaged as they will not be connected to this new supply but their Armadale Barbauchlaw Works may be able to secure a supply of water from their own resources.

07/05/1915 – Dundee Courier – Wanted – 2 fire brick moulders, steady work, good wages, every encouragement given to suitable men. Apply Manager, Atlas Brick Works, Armadale, West Lothian.

08/05/1915 – Dundee Courier – Panmillman wanted for wet pans; steady work, good wages; every encouragement given to a suitable man. Apply manager, Atlas Brick Works, Armadale, West Lothian.

21/03/1916 – Daily Record – Men wanted immediately for temporary employment during this week discharging magnesite from wagons on to the ground; 6d per ton will be paid each man as soon as wagons are emptied……… The Eglinton Silica Brick Co Ltd., Atlas Brick Works, Armadale.

03/06/1921 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – Public works coming to a complete stand – Week after week one public work after another is compelled to shut down for want of fuel. First the Atlas Steel Foundry had to close down, then Messrs R. Muir and Co,’s brickworks, and next Messrs Robertson and Love’s fireclay pipe and can works, and lastly Messrs Dickson and Mann, Ltd., have had to close their steel foundry, and the Etna and Atlas brickworks, which were well stocked, to begin with, have now also had to shut down for want of coal. Messrs Dickson and Mann could probably have held out little longer as far as fuel is concerned, but the opportunity is being taken to make some desirable repairs on the furnace. They are still carrying on their engineering shops, and the United Collieries are able to carry on their machine shops and wagon building shops, being little fuel required with them. All the chimney stacks being now smokeless, the air is pure that one can’t help commenting what a blessing it would be to humanity if the air pollution by smoke could be entirely eliminated. It’s a poor misfortune that does not yield some compensation.

Below – 1929 – Etna and Atlas Brickworks from the air.

02/12/1931 – Falkirk Herald – West Lothian Industries – Promising Revival in Brickmaking and Hosiery.

A promising revival in certain industries in West Lothian is reported notably to the manufacture of bricks and hosiery.  One of the busiest places in the country at the moment is the Etna Brick Works, at Armadale, belonging to the United Collieries Ltd.  An official stated that there had been a sudden revival of trade, and they were supplying the demand as it occurred.  A few weeks ago the daily output of bricks from the works was 25,000, and last week the figure was almost 55,000.  Not only has the spurt to the industry been responsible for the employment of additional men, but it has also been found necessary to put on a night-shift.  A large number of the bricks have been sent to Glasgow for housing achievement.  This output of bricks is regarded as a really high for a brickwork in the provisional housing schemes in progress in West Lothian are being supplied.  The prospect of the brick trade is promising.  At the company’s other brickworks at Bathville, the employees are also busy.
Another brickworks at Barbauchlaw, Armadale, belonging to Robert Muir & Co (1930). Ltd., have also doubled their output and business has been much better during the past five weeks.  They chiefly export bricks to Canada, South Africa, and India.  The employees are working extra time, and the output has been greatly facilitated by the installation of new plant.  There has been a large demand for bricks from the East of Scotland.  These works are associated with a concern in Fife, which is also working for steam ahead.
The prospects in the hosiery trades are higher than ever.  Mr James Livingstone, the chairman of the West Lothian Hosiery Factory, Ltd., stated that fancy hosiery manufacturing was very busy, and if the manufacturers of this particular brand of hose were successful in their efforts for the tariff the result would be advantageous and the factories in the county would be going full steam ahead.  He stated that although Bathgate and Bo’ness hosieries orders were being executed for German clients, and there was plenty of work in hand for the next three or four months.  Within a recent week, the boom had been so satisfactory that 120 extra hands had been taken on at Bathgate and 40 at Bo’ness.
So long as the staple industries such as shipbuilding, engineering and electrical manufacturing are suffering from depression, the steel and iron foundries in West Lothian will be affected.  According to Mr James Watt, of the Atlas Steel, Armadale, it was very difficult to make a prediction regarding the future of the industry in the County.  About a month ago there was a spurt in business, but at the end of last week a lull occurred, but it was coming away this week.  It was much better at the moment than it had been, and all that was required was a new confidence.  the iron trade, he said, had been badly hit.  On enquiry at the works of Messrs George Wolfe & Sons, Ltd., shovel manufacturers it was reported that there had been an improvement in business since the General Election.  Their chief manufactures were shovels and rolled steel. They have six employees, and the policy of the firm has been to keep the works going at full time.
29/10/1937 –  Linlithgowshire Gazette – Fatal accident enquiry. Robert Wood Apprentice Electric linesman, 21 Park Terrace, Armadale was electrocuted on 11/09/1937 at the Atlas Brick Works owned by United Collieries Ltd. After the hearing, a formal verdict was returned.
11/02/1938 – Linlithgowshire Gazette – United Collieries Ltd, Bathville brickworks Armadale  (See entry above – was it Bathville or Atlas!) were charged with negligence after the electrocution of Robert Wood.  After the hearing, the firm were found not guilty.
Below – 1938 – Atlas Brick Works.
1947 – United Fireclay Products Limited comprised of the Etna and Atlas Firebrick Works, The Bathville Pipe Works, the UNICOL Tile Works, all at Armadale and the Brownhill building brickworks at Clelland, Lanarkshire.  Lower demand for refractories led to the Etna Works being converted to making building bricks under the ETNA brand and the closure of the Atlas Works in 1973.
(Note – SBH – According to the Survey of Scottish Brickmarks published in 1986, the Atlas brickworks stamped bricks ‘Atlas Great Britain’ and ‘Atlas Stirling’ and as far as I am aware neither of these stamped bricks have been found and recorded)

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