Plann Colliery and Fire Clay Works, Kilmarnock, North Ayrshire

Plann Colliery and Fire Clay Works aka Plan.


Info – The 1860, 1898 – 1904 and, 1923 and 1912 OS maps all show that the extent to which Knockentiber was surrounded by collieries, coal pits and freight-only railway or ‘tram’ lines. Collieries were located near Busbie farm and Plann. These were served by standard gauge mineral railway lines, crisscrossing the countryside; they all now lifted, with only a few embankments left to indicate their original course. In 1860 numerous old and current coal pits dotted the area. The waste bings of Busbie Colliery still lie close to Busbie farm in the field across the road. Greenhill freestone quarry layover towards Waterpark and several limekilns were present near the Carmel Ford, etc. J. & R. Howie had extracted coal and clay under licence from the National Coal Board in 1951. Tiles were made at the rail-served Plann Brickworks and Balgray Bauxite Company had a small mine at Fardalehill. Quarry house still stands.

Plann Fireclay Works was a very large works making a range of products including salt-glazed sewer pipes. It had 14 downdraught kilns, some rectangular and some round, and at least one Newcastle kiln. This works closed in 1969 and was demolished in 1978. It was probably the largest works of its kind in Scotland.

Balgray Bauxite Company Limited – Fardalehill Mine – The Company exploited the bauxitic fireclays which reached from Saltcoats to Fardalehill. They did use clay themselves but sold much of it to other brick manufacturers.

1856 – There are no references to the Plann Brickworks on the 1856 map. The nearby Pan Farm is spelt with one ‘N’. It appears with two ‘N’s on the 1895 map.

1874 – John and W.C McKnight take the lease for the Plann Fire Clay Works.

Below – 23/02/1874 – Northern Whig – Alexander King, Belfast – agents for the Plann fireclay, fire and composition bricks and flooring tiles.

13/03/1879 – Ayr Advertiser – Ayr Public House.- The contractor for the new Public Hall has, from a number of offers, selected that of Messrs John McKnight & Son, Plan Colliery and Fire Clay Works, Kilmarnock, to supply the enamelled bricks to be used in constructing the walls and arches of the police cells, and also the passage underneath the hall commuting between the Police Court Lane and High Street.

17/01/1882 – John Ure Forrest, lime and cement merchant, 6 Oswald Street, Glasgow. Agent for John McKnight & Sons, Enamelled brick, Plann, Kilmarnock.

Below – 06/03/1885 – Glasgow Herald –  Plann Colliery and Fireclay Works for sale.

Below – 13/04/1885 – Plann Fire Clay Works – Sale of stock.

Below – 26/05/1885 – Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald – Bankrupt examination – John McKnight and Son, Plann.

Below – 26/02/1886 –  Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald – Court case regarding the lease of Plann Fireclay Works by John and W.C McKnight.


Below – c.1890? – Plann Fireclay Works Crosshouse Ayrshire.

Below – 20/03/1890 – Ayr Advertiser – Fire at the Howie Plann Fireclay Works.

25/03/1890 – The Scotsman – Retorts (23) 72″ and 27″ by 16″ for sale at Plann Fireclay Works, Kilmarnock. Price 15s each.

Below – 1895 – Plann Brick and Tile Works.

Below – 1908 – Plann Fireclay Works.

Below – 25/02/1924 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – John Stevenson charged with on 12th October at the pay office of the Plann Fire Clay Works, Crosshouse, Kilmaurs pretended to Jean McCraw, Kilmarnock, pay clerk to J & R Howie that he had been sent for the pay of John Stands, 36 Townend, Kilmaurs, a miner and thus induced her to hand him £5 11s 7d which he appropriated for himself.

Below – c.1927 – 1928 – Villagers at Howie’s sink finishers. Plann in Knockentiber. Source – Eleanor Kennedy.

Below- 1938 – Plann Fireclay Works.

1940 – 1941 – R P Cochrane representatives for J & R  Howie, Kilmarnock (Agents for the Scottish Brick Enamelled Company) House – 51 Milton Crescent, Portobello. Telephone 82459 Portobello

1940 – 1941 – Hurlford and Plann Fire Clay Works.

Below – 30/07/1941 – The Scotsman – Fire at the Plann Fireclay Works owned by J & R Howie.

Below – 1944 – 1967 – Plann Fireclay Works.

Similar articles