Polmadie Brickworks, Govan, Glasgow

1863 – Bell and Hornsby letterheads of 1893 state that Bell, Hornsby & Co were established in 1863 and reference the Polmadie Brickworks, Glasgow and the Langlands Brickworks, Govan on the same letterheads. The brickworks may not have been established at the same time as the Company.

07/10/1879 – Glasgow Herald – Theft of oats from the stables at Polmadie Brickworks, Govan occupied by William and Thomas Stevenson.

24/09/1880 08/08/1881 – (Note – SBH – I have numerous Stevenson Brothers invoices from their Polmadie and Millcroft Brickworks, both situated in Rutherglen Road. They cover various dates from 24/09/1880 to  09/02/1897. All the invoices are detailed Stevenson Brothers but those invoices dated between 24/09/1880 and 08/08/1881 have had the ‘Brothers scored out and ‘& Sons’ written in pen instead and also the initials ‘W & T’ have been written in prior to ‘Stevenson’. (William and Thomas?). I have an invoice dated 03/09/1883 and it is back to using the ‘Stevenson Brothers’ as the manufacturers as do the 20 invoices I have beyond that date. So W& T Stevenson & Sons were operating prior to 24/09/1880 and prior to 03/09/1881 but why were the invoices between these dates originally printed Stevenson Brothers and then had to be amended!?)

Below – 22/08/1883 – Glasgow Herald  – William Stevenson, Polmadie fined for employing children at his brickworks.

31/08/1883 – Dundee Advertiser – At Paisley on Wednesday Messrs Bell and Hornsby, Polmadie Brickworks, were charged with employing a girl under the age of sixteen years in their brickworks. The offence was admitted. A fine of £3 2s 6d, including costs, was imposed.

28/06/1884 Sept 1884  – Invoices – Bell and Hornsby and Co, brickmakers, builders and contractors. Brickworks Polmadie and Langlands, Govan. Office 197 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.

1886 – Bell, Hornsby & Co. 197 Pollokshaws Rd; Brickfields, Polmadie, Glasgow, Langlands, Govan, Blairdardie, Duntocher.

Below – 1888  –  Polmadie Brickworks.

1891 1895 – Invoices – Bell and Hornsby and Co, brickmakers, builders and contractors. Brickworks Polmadie, Glasgow and Langlands, Govan. Office 176 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.

Below – 1892 – 1894 – Polmadie Brickworks.

Below – 1893 – Polmadie Brickworks, Govan, Glasgow.

1895 – Invoices – Bell and Hornsby and Co, brickmakers, builders and contractors. Brickworks Polmadie, Glasgow. Office 176 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow.

1896 – 1897 – Stevenson Bros, Millcroft and Polmadie Brickfields, Rutherglen Road, Glasgow. Residence Polmadie House.

1903 – James Stevenson, brickmaker (Stevenson Bros) – Polmadie, Rutherglen Road, Glasgow.

March 1903 – Invoice – Stevenson Brothers, brickmakers, Millcroft and Polmadie Brickworks, Glasgow.

1907 – John Paterson and Son Ltd, Office, 610 Pollokshaws Road. Works, Polmadie Road, Polmadie and Temple Brickworks, Fulton Street, Anniesland.

Below – 1910 – Polmadie Brickworks, Govan, Glasgow.

1911 – 1912 – Stevenson Bros, brickmakers, Millcroft and Polmadie  Brickfields, Rutherglen Rd.; also Garscadden Brick and Tile Works, Drumchapel.

1912- 1913 – Stevenson Bros, brickmakers, Rutherglen Road, Glasgow.

1935 – These Brickworks no longer exist.

These may be the same works as W & T Rowland, Toryglen Brickworks, Polmadie – click me

Source  – Bell, Hornsby & Co. – Mason and brickwork contractors – Bell, Hornsby & Co. were a building and contracting firm, and one of many brick manufacturers in the Glasgow area. From the 1860s to the 1890s, local brick was widely used for factories, and for the internal and rear walls of stone-faced commercial and domestic buildings). Of the original partners, Alexander Hamilton seems to have been the longest established, manufacturing bricks at Lilybank off Eglinton Street, on the south side of the city, from about 1852.  He expanded into tile making, operating from a second brickworks at Strathbungo in 1858, before becoming a ‘silent partner’ in Bell, Hornsby. Another partner, Robert Bell, possibly ran a bricklaying firm in South Wellington Street c. 1857 (He is not to be confused with the wealthy Wishaw and Broxburn industrialist of the same name, who was also a brickmaker). Other partners were John Thomson Hornsby and Alexander Whitelaw, a Greenock based builder.

The firm of Bell, Hornsby first appears in the Glasgow Post Office Directory for 1864 as ‘brickmakers, builders and contractors’, based at Hamilton’s premises.  Bell, Hornsby and Hamilton at first all lived beside their works, before moving elsewhere. They shed a partner in 1868 when Whitelaw chose to continue on his own.

By 1875, the partners had taken over Polmadie Brickworks, Rutherglen Road, with its clay pits nearby at Mallsmire Burn. Brickmaking was a seasonal activity; since clay digging was impossible in winter when the ground froze, and good weather was important for initial drying. Rather than pay for the upkeep of draft horses over winter, the brickmakers, including Bell, Hornsby, sold them off. As a supplementary activity during the closed season Bell, Hornsby erected one or two blocks of tenements at a time (probably using their own bricks) in the fast-growing working-class area of Polmadie. Of the 46 tenements built there, ‘Robert Bell, house factor, and John Bell, mason’ were proprietors, and therefore the likely builders, of five.

In 1883, Bell, Hornsby were prosecuted for a breach of the Factory Act: ‘Inspectors were very particular in enforcing the law with respect to the employment of young girls [under 16 years] in brickfields’. By the time Robert Bell retired in 1886, the firm was running an additional brickworks at Blairardie, which was beside its own clay pits at Garscadden, and another at Govan. The business was continued into the 20th century by John Hornsby Junior, after his father’s retirement in 1896. Since the late 1860s, it had been based at 197 Pollokshaws Road, and it continued to operate from here until at least the 1920s.

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