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.

13/09/1879 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – Renfrewshire valuation appeal court … Polmadie Brickfields. The appeal in this case was dismissed. The valuation is £262. There was no appearance for the appellants …

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!?)

22/08/1883 – Glasgow Herald – Factory Act case. Before Sheriff Cowan, at the Sheriff Court yesterday afternoon … William Stevenson, brickmaker, Polmadie was charged with an offence committed under the Factory and Workshops Act (for employing children at his brickworks). He pleaded guilty and stated that it was through ignorance of the Act that he had not the boys examined by a doctor. He was fined 30s with 33s of expenses or 14 days imprisonment.

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.

21/01/1910 – Milngavie and Bearsden Herald – Local Builders Affairs. William Stevenson, builder and brickmaker and trading inter alia as Bishopbriggs Building and Joinery Company at Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, examined in bankruptcy before Sheriff Balfour in the County Buildings, Glasgow on Monday. Bankrupt stated, in answer to Mr Walter Neilson, trustee, that he started business on his own as a builder in 1874. He took over the Bishopbriggs Company about October 1907. The capital put into that business was all borrowed, and he had since repaid the loan. He was also interested in the firm of Stevenson Brothers and in the Bishopbriggs Brick Company, he had 1000 shares and was a director. These shares had been transferred to the bank in respect of an overdraft on behalf of Stevenson Brothers. His holdings in South African and other companies had also been deposited with the bank against advances. He had an interest in a large number of properties and would supply a note of all transactions of such. The value of the furniture belonging to him in his house at 55 Dixon Avenue was £28 odds, and he had also some furniture of little value in a house of which he was a tenant at Rothesay. Bankrupt accounted for his insolvency owing to the depreciation which had taken place of late in the value of property. The Bishopbriggs Joinery Company had been carried on at a loss. By a creditor – He had been sequestrated before, in the spring of 1889, and got a discharge. He was short of money for the last three or four years. His loss on the brick and joinery business he estimated at about £2000 and the losses on his stock exchange transactions would come about the same amount. The examination was adjourned.

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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