Hermand Brick & Tile Works, West Calder, West Lothian


GS Loudon was making bricks before 1882. In this year he advertised in Slater’s as a manufacturer of composition and firebricks at his Allanton Brick, Tile and Fireclay Works, Newmains. 2 years later he started the Allanton Foundry Company with a capital of £10,000. Iron steel and brass were cast and enamelled pots and sanitary ware were made. The foundry business did not flourish and was wound up in 1902. Later the business became Loudon and Russell and concentrated on making building bricks at the Allanton and Hermand brick and tile works, West Calder.  Source KW Sanderson


East Hermand Crude oil works –  Also known as Hermand Crude Oil Works or Dunnet’s Works, this appears a separate operation to the Hermand Shale Oil Works of Thomas and James Thornton that operated between 1867 and 1875 and the later Hermand Oil Works further to the south. Redwood states that the works of Dennit & Brown (possibly Dunnet) operated between 1866 and 1873, with 150 horizontal retorts producing only crude oil, and sited three-quarters of a mile to the east of West Calder, on the south side of the railway.

The location of these works is surmised from two pieces of evidence

  • Mining plans show Dunnet’s mine in the Hermand estate located close to the subsequent Hermand Quarry and Brickworks
  • A substantial bing of spent shale survives immediately north of Hermand Quarry.


1886 – Hermand Brickworks were advertised for sale, as a going concern producing 10,000 bricks per day, by proprietor John B Walker in Glasgow Herald 28th April 1886.

01/10/1887 – Hamilton Advertiser – For sale … Tuesday 11th. At Hermand Brickworks, West Calder (by instructions of the trustees of the late James Thornton of Hermand). The whole plant and buildings of the above works, comprising a horizontal engine, 18″ cylinder; 3 pan mills, a large quantity of C. I. plates, bricks, roofing &c. Particulars in catalogues to be had from theauctioneers.

29/10/1887 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Hermand Oil Company. A new bench of retorts has been started at the brickworks of the Hermand Oil Company, West Calder, bringing up their consumpt of shale to about 180 tons daily.

03/12/1891 – Invoice – Loudon and Russell, manufacturers of agricultural drain pipes, common and fire bricks, vitrified pipes, chimney cans, red roof and ridge tiles, fire clay paving tiles, garden edging, wall cope, ground fire clay, vent linings, fire covers, vases, feeding troughs etc. Hermand Brick, Tile and Terra Cotta Works, West Calder, N.B and Hallcraig Tileworks, Carluke N.B and Allanton Brick, Tile and Fire Clay Works.

06/02/1892 – Linlithgow Gazette – West Calder – Rundown on the railway – The body of a middle-aged man was found on the Caledonian Railway between Limefield and West Calder on Saturday evening. The deceased had apparently been run down by the 5 o’clock express train to Edinburgh while walking towards West Calder from his work. The body was identified as that of William Carroll (31) a labourer employed at the Hermand brick manufactory.

Below – 1893 – Hermand Brickworks.

Below – 1895 –  Hermand Brickworks.

21/04/1903 – Edinburgh Evening News – Man found dead at West Calder – Man found dead at West Calder  – When the workmen went to their work at Hermand Brickworks this morning they found the dead body of a man who had apparently gone into work for shelter during the night. The body was identified as that of Martin McDonald (54) a labourer belonging to the Parish. The authorities were communicated with and the body was removed to the mortuary.

Below  – 1905 – Hermand Brickworks.

Below – 03/08/1908 – The Scotsman – Sale of fireclay and brickwork plant, buildings, new stock &c at Hermand Brick, Tile and Fireclay Works, West Calder as instructed by Messrs Loudon and Russell …

Below – 1913 – Hermand Brickworks.

c. 1915 – A survey of Scottish brickmarks 1985 suggests that the works closed around this time.

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