Newmains Brick and Tile Works, Newmains, Morningside, North Lanarkshire

Newmains Brickworks, Morningside, Lanarkshire.

(Note – SBH –  Possibly the same business as the Caledonian Brickworks, Birkenshaw – to be confirmed. Click me. It is difficult to decide on whether researched information related to the Newmains Brickworks or the Newmains Fireclay Works).


Newmains Brickworks Ltd started Newmains Brickworks in 1934 and operated the business until sometime after World War II when Caledonian Brick Company took over.

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, Tefler 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.

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.

c. 1934 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests the Glasgow Iron and Steel Company Limited were the operators.

24/09/1937 – Wishaw Press – New Company Local Industrial. The following company was registered in Scotland last week under the Companies Act: No. 19955 Newmains Brickworks, Ltd. Capital. £10,000 in £1 Shares. Private company to carry on the business of brick, tile, pipe and pot manufacturers. etc. Subscribers—Thomas S. Craig. estate agent and John Macleod, Clerk, 2 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.

06/07/1947 – Sunday Post – Brick from Bings – Two disused pit bings at Harthill have been bought by the Newmains Brick and Tile Making Company. The Company’s directors have a hunch. They believe they can turn these mountains of waste material into honest to goodness bricks. Tests are now being carried out.  If their guess is correct, a brickwork will be erected in the district close to the bings (Eastfield and Balbakie No 1) with a good access for transport on the nearby railway and the Glasgow to Edinburgh Road. It is estimated materials are sufficient to give employment to a large number of men for 30 years. Negotiations for the purchase were carried out by a director Mr John Halliday and Councillor T Cunningham of Harthill.

1960s – 1978 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests the Caledonian Brick Company were the operators of these works during this period.

Below – 25/06/1970 – The Glasgow Herald – Coltness Brickworks – Mayfield, Newmains and Stepends – “Coltness for Service”
 coltness mayfield newmains and stepends

1978 – 1980 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests the Scottish Brick Corporation were the operators during this period.

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