Lairg Quarry and Brick Company Ltd, Lairg, Sutherland.
Many thanks to Stan Wilson, Dornoch for most of the information detailed here and for the permissions to reproduce the letters below. Stan’s father, Frank Wilson used to be employed at the Works as Manager.
Lairg Quarry and Brick Company Ltd.
Canmore – refers to the quarry but not the brickworks
Lairg Quarry and Brickworks were bought from Lairg Estates who previously run it.
It was bought by a consortium group, the main partners were Wm Tawse Public Works Contractors Aberdeen. The other main partner was McGruther and Marshall Builder Merchants who in recent years were taken over by Travis Perkins.
Another shareholder was a Company from Dundee, Hoods. See below a copy of a letter of congratulations from them when the Lairg Brickworks produced over 3 million bricks in 1951.
The bricks were made of sand and lime and then went into high-pressure steam ovens called autoclaves for curing,
There were large coal-fired boilers that produced the high-pressure steam, hence the connection with Hoods who supplied the coal.
The brickworks also sold Cement/lime/Stone chips/sand etc, to the local builders, or Masons as they were called then.
The quarry side of things came to a halt due to blasting restrictions, as it was right beside the Inverness Thurso/Wick railway line.
The brickworks closed about 1954 at a time shortly after Brora Brickworks re-opened again.
The press that punched out the bricks went to Reay up in Caithness where I believe Wm Tawse produced cement bricks.
The Lairg brick did not stand up to the weather very well unless they were plastered or rendered.
They also produced coloured bricks.
There are the remains of Lime Kilns on what is known as “The Aird”. (Canmore
) – The lime used to come down Loch Shin by boat to near the mouth of the River Tirry or Terry as it is known locally. Then there was a cableway arrangement up to the road, with pylons or towers for these cables.
Due to the hydroelectric dam built in the 1950s (Canmore
)the Lime Kiln are now flooded when the water level is high.
The lime later came in by rail, there was a rail siding at the brickworks which was next door to the Railway Station which was about two miles from Lairg. Some bricks actually were transported by rail.
– Dundee Courier – Brickworks and quarry situated at Lairg, Sutherland, and adjoining the main L.M.S. Railway Station Lairg, and with special siding thereto, are for sale, by a private bargain. Sand and lime brick, with an output of over 2,000,000 bricks a year. Quarry produces road metal, chips and bottoming. For further parties, and arrangements to view apply to the Subscribers. Middleton, Ross and Arnott, Solicitors, North Bank Buildings, Dingwall.
Below – 1947 – Letter from Lairg Quarry and Brick Company re managers post.
Below – 1951 – Letter from Smith and Hood congratulating Lairg Brickworks on manufacturing 3 million bricks.
Below – This unmarked brick was manufactured at Lairg Brickworks. It was recovered on-site by Stan Wilson.
It is from the wall of the brickwork’s office building. This would be from a date before 1947.
This one is made with fine crushed dust and not the fine sand that was used during later years