Lochhead Fireclay and Terracotta Brickworks, Dunfermline

Alexander Wilson & Son Terracotta Manufacturers, Lochhead Works, Dunfermline


Much of this former industrial area is now the site of active landfill and landscaping, some of which has already reverted to agriculture. The area is depicted on both the 1st and 2nd editions of the OS 6-inch maps, (Fife & Kinross, 1856, sheet 35 ; Fifeshire, 1896, sheet xxxii SE), as Lochhead Fireclay Works (NT 077 903), Lochhead Coal Pit (NT 079 904), and the Patrick’s Walls complex of cottages (NT 0795 9005) and pits which included Drumtuthill (NT 075 901) and Balmule Pits (NT 078 901). All that now survives is the site of Drumtuthill Pit (Cleish91 73 NT 0755 9010), where one side of a shuttered concrete machinery plinth can be seen. The fireclay works survived until about 1940.

The sidings and headshunt that served the fireclay works and the coal pits have largely been removed by opencast mining. All that survives is a siding on the S side of the public road, which crossed the line at Balmule crossing (NT 0822 9011).


Below – 09/06/1860 – Dunfermline Saturday Press – A. Wilson, Lochhead Tile and Brickworks advert.

Below – 07/06/1861 – Dundee Courier – New brick and tile work at Lochhead.


Below – 22/08/1861 – Perthshire advertiser – Lochhead Fire Clay and Terracotta Works advert.

1862 – Lochead Brickworks, Dunfermline – A Wilson and Son (note spelling of Lochead as opposed to Lochhead) page 158.

Below – 19/04/1862 – Dunfermline Saturday Press – Robert Lindsay, Manager.

Below – 27/11/1863 – Buchan Observer – William Stuart Peterhead and Fraserburgh is the agent for Alexander Wilson & Sons.

Below – 1867 – Advert  – Alexander Wilson & Son, Loch – head, Fire Clay Terracotta Works, Dunfermline (apologies for the double print)

1867 alexander wilson loch-head dunfermline

Below – 20/10/1870 – Falkirk Herald –  Advert for Alexander Wilson & Son (refers to winning a silver medal in 1869)

Below- 02/05/1872 – The Scotsman – Paper on Fireclay Manufacture in Scotland read over by Wm Wilson, Lochhead Fireclay Works.

Below – 09/11/1872 – Dundee People’s Journal  – fraud committed by dismissed agent of Alexander Wilson & Son.

Below – 1877 – Advert – Alexander Wilson & Son, Loch – head, Fire Clay Terracotta Works, Dunfermline


1878 – Lochhead Fire Clay Works, Dunfermline  – Alexander Wilson & Son and Robert Hamilton, Manager Page 551

21/06/1878 – Dundee Evening Telegraph – Fall of a brick kiln near Dunfermline – four men seriously injured. For some time back bricklayers have been engaged in erecting some brick kilns at Lochhead Brick Work, situated fully two miles from Dunfermline.  One of the kilns was completed fully a fortnight ago, and on Thursday morning the workmen began to remove the wooden centers in the arching of the kiln.  Competent judges at the work were satisfied that the centers might safely be removed was determined upon yesterday.  The workmen succeeded easily in removing the centers, but immediately this was accomplished the whole kiln came down with a crash., burying in ruins four of the men. No time was lost by the men at the work in beginning to unearth their companions, and in a short time the four men were extricated, when it was found the two most seriously injured were Hugh Shearer, aged twenty-four, who had both legs fractured, and John Archibald, several contusions over his body.  The other two here slightly hurt, and were able to remove themselves,  Mr Hamilton, the manager of the works, telegraphed to Dr Morris, of Dunfermline, and that gentleman, along with Dr Drysdale,went to the railway station, where the injuries the men had sustained were attended to.  Mr Arnott, the stationmaster, and all the officials did everything possible for the men, and with much promptitude Mr Arnott had Shearer put into a carriage and conveyed by the express train to Glasgow Infirmary.  Archibald was moved to his lodgings in Rumbling Well.  Mr Hamilton went to Dunfermline with the injured men, who, up to late I Thursday night, were progressing as favourably as could under the circumstances be expected.  It is calculated that fully ten tons of brick and other materials fell above the men.

05/12/1878 – Fife Herald – Reduction in wages – The workers of the Lochhead Brick Works have had their wages reduced by 10%.

17/06/1881 – Dundee Courier – On Monday a select party were privileged to see in operation a splendid new and exceedingly powerful telephone which has just been erected in the spacious premises in High Street of Messrs Wilson & Son, the proprietors of Lochhead Brick Works. Although the works are over 3 miles away from the office, yet conversation was clearly maintained and songs were sung and tunes whistled, the whole being distinctly heard just as if the speakers and singers had been in the adjoining room with the visitors. The Messrs Wilson do all the communication with their works by telephone  and Mondays experiments bespeak at once of the enterprise of the firm and their desire to bring science to their aid in conducting their thriving establishment.

17/06/1881 – Dundee Courier – Excursion  – On Saturday morning the workmen employed at Lochhead Brickworks together with their wives and sweethearts had a trip to Port Laing near Inverkeithing. The excursionists were accompanied by the Elgin Band, and on assembling at the Rumbling Well the party, 200 in number, marched in procession to Walmer House, the residence of Mr Wilson, where they received a most cordIal welcome. Walking to Comely Park Station, the train soon took the excursionists to Inverkeithing, from whence they walked to Port Laing where they spent a most pleasant day. During the day the Messrs Wilson visited the scene of enjoyment, and did all they could to make the party enjoy themselves. The young people ran races, and engaged in dancing. Messrs Wilson kindly distributed prizes to the best competitors in running, jumping, leaping, &c. Altogether, the party enjoyed themselves splendidly, thanks to the liberality of the Messrs Wilson, and the admirable arrangements made by Mr Niven, the manager the works. The party reached Dunfermline at an early hour in the evening, all highly pleased at the succees of the day’s outing.

07/05/1887 – The Scotsman – Fifeshire – For sale by private tender – Lochhead Fireclay Works, Dunfermline. The above works which have been carried on for many years by the firm of Alexander Wilson and Son, are situated about 2 miles north from Dunfermline. They cover about 15 acres and are connected with the N.B Railway. The works are admirably laid out and fully equiped with locomotive power, manual labour being reduced to a minimum. There are separate divisions for making composition bricks, unglazed fire clay goods and glazed fire clay goods, connected with which there are the necessary drying stoves, firing kilns and other machinery and accommodation including an excellent managers house. The machinery is of the most improved description and in perfect condition, its producing power estimated at 15,000 tons of fire clay and 15,000 tons of composition clay per annum. The lease which includes the right to the whole clay field of 210 acres has 13 years to run at a fixed rent of £50 per annum which if desired might be extended. There is no lordship. There is a considerable stock on manufactured goods on hand which will be included in the sale. Cards of admission to the works will be furnished by the subscriber, with whom sealed tenders may be lodged not later than the 10th day of June 1887. The seller does not bind himself to accept the highest or any offer. John Brewis C.A. 5 North Saint David Street, Edinburgh 06/05/1887.

24/09/1887 – Dunfermline Saturday Press – Lochhead Fireclay Works, Dunfermline. These works being now in operation, all description of bricks and fireclay goods can be supplied at current prices.

Below – 19/12/1894 – Glasgow Herald – Court case re the death of an employee at Lochhead Fire clay company due to a kiln collapse.

Below – 1896 – Lochhead Fireclay Works.

1939 – Kenneth W Sanderson states the works were closed prior to 1939.

Below – sold by Christies – An Alex Wilson of Dunfermline sundial. Late 19th century. 50 in. (127 cm.) high; 19 in. (49 cm.) diameter.

Sundial Alex Wilson Dunfermline

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