Shortroods Brick and Tile Works, Nethercommon, Paisley, Renfrewshire

(Note – SBH – The brickworks situated in the Nethercommon area of Paisley are often difficult to separate when trying to ascertain which piece of researched information should be allocated to which brickworks. The same goes for conclusively determining which location on the old OS maps refers to which brickworks. If anyone notices any error or has any relevant suggestions then please get in touch. The brickworks concerned are Shortroods Brickworks, Glockston Brickworks, Galts Nethercommon Brickworks, North Caledonia Brickworks, Caledonia Fireclay Works and the Caledonian Brick and Drain Tile Works).

Shortroods Brick and Tile Works, Nether Commons, Paisley.

Below – 02/06/1860 – Paisley Herald – Glasgow Herald – Land of Shortroods for sale, belonging to the Estate of the late Robert Carswell … The lands contain clay suited for making bricks … Upset price £3500.

Below – 29/08/1860 – Glasgow Herald – Land of Shortroods for sale, belonging to the Estate of the late Robert Carswell … The lands contain clay suited for making bricks … Upset price £3000.

27/04/1861 – Paisley Herald – Important case to proprietors of public works. On Thursday, in the absence of Mr Sheriff Campbell, Mr Sheriff Macfarlane presided the usual sitting of the Small Debt Court. Among the cases on the roll which were disposed of, was one of considerable interest to the owners of public works in the town was an action for damages, restricted to £12, against Robert Brown, Esq. of Shortroods, and owner of the Ferguslie Fire Clay Works, situated about a mile and a half west of Paisley, at the instance of Mrs William Barr, of Ferguslie Place, Paisley. The following is a copy of the charge:— “1861, April 11. —To sum due by you to me, in consequence of the injury and damage done to a thorn hedge, belonging to me on the side of the turnpike road, leading from Paisley to Johnstone, opposite your brick and tile work at Millarston, by heated air or smoke, or other substance coming or being blown from time to time during the preceding ten years from your said work, over and upon the said hedge, whereby it has been injured and damaged and rendered unfit for a proper fence, and in some parts been totally destroyed.” Mr James Caldwell, writer, appeared for the pursuer, and William Hodge, Town-Clerk, for Provost Brown. Hodge urged several preliminary objections to the competency of action, that the pursuer was bound to prove that the damage had resulted from the wilful act or carelessness of the defender and that the pursuer was also bound to specify the time when the damage was done; and also that the pursuer had virtually acquiesced in the establishment of the works, and had therefore lost any claim, and that if there was claim it was at the instance of the pursuer’s tenant, who was bound by his lease to maintain the fences. Mr Hodge further stated that the works had cost Provost Brown the sum of £10,000; that he employed in them about one hundred men and disbursed about £400 monthly in the shape of wages. Mr Caldwell, on the other hand, urged that it was not necessary that he should aver culpable negligence on the defender’s part in conducting his operations – that the action was laid on the broad ground that the defender’s work was a nuisance, doing actual damage to the surrounding property, for which the defender must be held responsible; and in support of this, he quoted a case where a brick kiln in the vicinity of Glasgow had been, by the Court of Session, ordered to be removed. He further urged that it was incumbent on the part of the pursuer to specify a particular time; the injury had done to the property gradually, and it was not only now that the full amount of the damage had been sustained; and that, as regarded the objection that the claim could only be maintained by the tenant, that the pursuer, as proprietrix of the fence, was entitled to insist on the claim. The Sheriff was of opinion that it was not necessary to aver culpable negligence on the defender’s part, as there might be a claim on account of the work being a nuisance without any mismanagement, but he had doubts how far the claim could be maintained in the whole circumstances in its present shape. To a certain extent in towns, public works were nuisances, and caused a certain amount of damage; but, considering their value and importance to the community, it would be entirely out of place to propose that they should therefore be suppressed. In this case, he also considered that too long a period had been allowed to elapse between the establishment of the works and the raising of the action. The pursuer might have applied for an interdict against the works being erected at first, and if the pursuer was more of opinion that she had sustained such a serious amount of damage, the course was to raise an action in the Supreme Court, and lay the matter before a jury; but he did not think it right that a case involving such important interests should be disposed of summarily before a Small Debt Court. The defender was accordingly assoilzied.

14/09/1861 – Paisley Herald – Donations to the infirmary include Shortroods Fire Clay and Brickworks (So they were up and running at this point).

25/11/1864 – Glasgow Herald – Drain pipes and tiles of all sizes and the best quality are for sale by the subscriber. Prices are given on application for delivery at the railway station, Paisley; on board of vessels, Paisley; at suitable landing places in the River Clyde and Western Highlands; and at any of the stations on the Ayrshire, Caledonian and Greenock Railways &c. also glazed sewer pipes of superior quality both socket and according to Jennings Patent; fire bricks, chimney cans, vent linings, cattle troughs and all articles made of fire clay; building bricks, machine-made. Robert Brown, Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Works, Paisley. October 1864.

1865 – 1866 – Robert Brown, manufacturer of patent machine made bricks, drainpipes and tiles, Caledonia and Shortroods Works; and of fire bricks, patent sewer pipes, &c., Ferguslie Fireclay Works. Town office, Sneddon Bridge. Residence, Underwood Park.

25/01/1865 – Glasgow Herald – Theft by boys. At the Police Court on Thursday, before Bailie Barclay, Alex. McLusky and William Paterson, aged 14 and 13 years respectively, were charged with having, between Saturday the 17th and Wednesday the 22d inst.. from the works at Shortroods, occupied by Robert Brown, brick and tile maker, stolen nine brass bushes. They pled guilty, and were sent to prison for 14 days, and thereafter to Kebble’s Reformatory School, the former for three years and the latter for four years. The boy McLusky had been convicted of theft in the Police Court on the 13th inst., and was then admonished and dismissed.

06/01/1866 – The Renfrewshire Independent – Sheriff Court Paisley. Before Sheriff Cowan. Examination of Robert Adams, brick manufacturer. Present, Mr Robert Boyd, accountant, trustee; Mr James Caldwell, writer, agent in the sequestration; Mr David Campbell, writer, and Mr George Hart, writer, agents for creditors. The bankrupt deponed – l commenced business in March 1864 as a brickmaker in a field adjoining Love Street, Paisley. Prior to that time, I had been a foreman to Mr Robert Brown, brickmaker, Shortroods.

02/11/1867 – Paisley Herald – The half-yearly meeting of the Road Trustees of the County of Renfrew was held on Tuesday, in the Council Renfrew. Sir Robert Napier was in the chair. The minutes of the committee bore that an application had been received from Mr Robert Brown, of the Ferguslie Fireclay and Tile Works, to be allowed to make a railway crossing on the Barnsford Turnpike Road from their works at Shortroods. The committee had agreed to the request. Mr Speir thought Mr Brown ought to be required to pay a way-leave, as other parties had to for their crossings. Mr Salmon said that the case of the iron manufacturers was different. Their traffic was a very heavy one, and there were other parties who had crossings on the roads without having to pay anything for way-leave. The Chairman read a memorial from Messrs James Dunlop & Co., iron manufacturers, requesting to be relieved of their annual payment of £3o for their railway crossing at Linwood, and to be put on the footing as those parties who required to pay nothing. Mr Brown said he was taking an immense traffic off the road by this new route, a traffic which was indeed nearly equal to all the rest of the traffic there. This article was not a valuable one like ironstone and consisted chiefly of bricks and tiles for draining. Captain Speirs suggested that a committee should be appointed to consider whether or not it might be advisable to exempt all from payment for their crossings. After some conversation the matter was arranged, on the suggestion of Mr Gilinour, by Mr Brown agreeing to pay an annual sum of £7 10s for the privilege he asked …

08/11/1867 – Glasgow Herald – Drain pipes and tiles of all sizes and the best quality are for sale by the subscribers. Prices are given on application for delivery at the railway station, Paisley; on board of vessels, Paisley; at suitable landing places in the River Clyde and Western Highlands; and at any of the stations on the Ayrshire, Caledonian and Greenock Railways &c. Robert Brown & Son, Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Works, Paisley. October 1867.

20/11/1867 – Glasgow Herald – Clerk and traveller. Wanted by the subscribers, a steady person of experience and intelligence to act as clerk and traveller. Robert Brown & Son, Ferguslie Fireclay Works and Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Works, Paisley. 18/11/1867.

Below – 30/03/1868 – Glasgow Herald – Drain pipes and tiles of all sizes and of the best quality are for sale by the subscribers. Prices are given on application for delivery – at the Railway Station, Paisley; on board vessels, Paisley; at suitable landing places in the River Clyde and Western Highlands; at any of the Stations on the Ayrshire, Caledonian and Greenock Railways &c &c Robert Brown & Son, Caledonian and Shortroods, Brick and Drain Tile Works, Paisley. March 1868.

Below – 19/09/1868 – Paisley Herald – The new buildings and street committee. Messrs Robert Brown & Son, of Shortroods and Caledonia Brick and Tile Works, had submitted to the Committee a ground plan of several buildings to be erected by them for another new work between Inchinnan Road and the River Cart, giving notice that the chimney stalk would be 130 feet in height, and also notifying that they intended to cover and divert Bullfauld Burn. The Committee allowed the erections to proceeded with but agreed to give no opinion as to the height of the stalk, and no sanction in regard to the diversion of Bullfauld Burn, that in case existing rights might be affected, the Messrs Brown alone might be held responsible.

26/06/1869 – Paisley Herald – Excursion of Messrs Robert Brown & Sons, fire clay, brick and drain tile workers. On Saturday last, the workers connected with the Ferguslie Fire Clay Works, and Caledonia and Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Works, numbering about 500, had their first annual excursion, through the kind liberality of their employers, to Arrochar. The Shortroods workers assembled at St James Street at six o’clock. Headed by the Prince of Wales Royal Renfrew Militia band they marched to the house of Mr John Brown, junior partner, and thence to Well Street, where they joined the Ferguslie Fire Clay Workers and proceeded to the residence of Mr Robert Brown, Underwood Park, senior partner. They marched then to the Abercorn Railway Station, whence they were conveyed per rail to Renfrew, where the steamer “Nelson” was lying ready for them, all receiving, as they stepped aboard, a cordial welcome from the captain, whose care for the comfort and happiness of his large party was as unceasing as it was successful. The general felicitations on the fine weather and the anticipations of a pleasant day on the Clyde were certainly amply fulfilled. Arrochar was reached about eleven o’clock. The excursionists scattering about ashore, some to engage in the mazy dance, and other various amusements and games. Some travelled to the high grounds to view natures wildest grandeur, and said by the poet “It was glorious through the loopholes retreat, to gaze on such a world”. The company left Arrochar at four o’clock, delighted with the result of their visit, and the splendid country which they had witnessed. The party reached Paisley about seven o’clock, breaking up at the County Square.

02/08/1869 – Glasgow Herald – A number of horses suitable for light work are for sale at the Shortroods Brickworks, Paisley in consequence of operations being stopped for the season.

Below – 05/08/1869 – Southern Reporter – Fatal accident at Shortroods. George Stirrat.

Below – 1870 – Advert For Robert Brown Ferguslie Fire Clay Works and Caledonia and Shortroods Brick and Drain Pipe and Tile Works, Paisley and 1875 – 1876

1870 Brown Ferguslie Caledonia and Shortroods

12/02/1870 – Renfrewshire Independent – Paisley – Advantages for the erection of public works in Paisley. Some time since it was agreed to form a branch railway in connection with the burgh lands in the vicinity of the Greenock Road, with the view of encouraging the proprietors of large works to erect their places of manufacture thereon. This railway has now been completed, and has been connected with the extensive brick and tile works of Messrs Brown at Shortroods, and also with the new fireclay works of Messrs Speirs, Gibb, & Young, in that vicinity, and already its advantages are clearly perceptible from the considerable traffic which passed over the railway from these works alone. Ground for public works in connection with this branch railway is offered by the burgh at a feu-duty of 1s 6d per pole only, which of itself is a great inducement, and well worthy of the attention of gentlemen in Glasgow and elsewhere having the erection of public works in contemplation. In addition to the cheapness of the land, and the advantages of a direct communication with the Caledonian Railway, Paisley has now an abundant water supply, and gas at a very cheap rate, while the public burdens are also comparatively low.

20/08/1870 – Paisley Herald – On several occasions, Messrs R. Brown & Son, brick and tile manufacturers, Shortroods, have had their machinery destroyed but they have always been unable to ascertain the cause. At the Court this morning two lads named Charles Dinning, New Smithhills, and Robert Irving, Nethercommon, in the employment of Messrs Brown, were charged with having, ou the 5th August, wilfully and maliciously placed a piece of iron between the wheels of a brick-making machine, at the brickworks at Shortroods, belonging to Messrs Robert Brown & Son, by which four teeth of one of the wheels and a bracket were broken. They both pleaded not guilty but it was proved that Dinning put the piece of metal where it caused the damage, the object appearing to be that the boys would get a rest or time to amuse themselves while the machine was being repaired and that Irving showed him how to do it. They were both found guilty, and fined in the sum of 15s each, with the alternative of ten days imprisonment.

24/09/1870 – Paisley Herald – About four o’clock last Saturday morning a fire occurred in the engine house Shortroods Brickworks, belonged to Messrs Robert Brown & Son. The firemen turned out, but there being no connection with the main water pipes, and the fire engine being under repair (as it has been for a considerable time now), it was with difficulty that sufficient supply water was obtained. The fire originated in the joiners’ shop, which forms the lower flat of a two-storey building, the machinery store being upstairs. These were completely destroyed, and the firemen, observing that it would be useless to endeavour to save the buildings, directed their attention to preventing the fire from spreading to the adjoining premises. In this they were successful. The damage done is considerable, but is covered by insurance. The cause of the fire is unknown as yet. The shop was shut about six o’clock the night previously.

Below – 1871 – Advert – Robert Brown & Son – Ferguslie, Caledonia, Shortroods.

Robert Brown & Sons Ferguslie Fire Clay Works, Paisley advert 1871 - 1872

01/07/1871 – Renfrewshire Independent – Excursion – On Saturday last the workers of Messrs Brown & Son, Ferguslie Fireclay Works, Paisley, and Shortroods Brickworks, had their third annual excursion. About 600 workers and friends left for Renfrew by rail and met the steamer Hero, which was especially engaged for the occasion. The excursionists then proceeded to Largs, where they spent a very pleasant day. They were accompanied by the rifle band, which contributed in no small degree to the pleasure of the party.

1871 – 1872 – Robert Brown & Son. Town Office Sneddon Bridge. Works Caledonia, Shortroods & Ferguslie.

26/10/1872 – North British Daily Mail – To be let. The going business of Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Pipe and Tile Works, Paisley. These extensive works which have been in operation for upwards of 30 years, will, in consequence of the proprietor retiring from that branch of his present business, be let for such a number of years as may be agreed on. The clay is of a superior quality and abundant and the demand for both bricks and drain pipes and tiles has always been increasing and the quantity made has every season not been equal to meet the demand for them. The machinery for making the bricks is of the most modern and improved kind and capable of producing upward of 6 million bricks annually. There are 8 x kilns for the burning of drain pipes and tiles and the machinery in that department is of the most complete description to make goods of the best quality. These works are intersected by branch railways and likewise with a private quay on the side of the River Cart belonging to the proprietor, thus affording every facility for bringing in coals and a cheap and rapid transmission of large quantities of goods to all parts of the country. Terms of the lease and further information will be given by applying to the proprietor, Robert Brown, Sneddon Bridge, Paisley who will give permission to intending tenants to see the works. Paisley 22/10/1872.

10/12/1873 – Glasgow Herald – Brick and drain tile burner wanted. Must be steady and thoroughly qualified. Apply to Robert Brown & Son, Shortroods Brick and Drain Tile Works, Paisley.

10/01/1874 – Paisley Herald – Dead body of a man found. On the forenoon of Saturday last, the watchman at Messrs Robert Brown & Son’s brickworks at Shortroods, found the dead body of a man lying nearly naked in one of the clay pits there. The clothes of the deceased were found scattered about near at hand, as if he had taken them off thinking he was retiring to bed. The body was conveyed to Burgh Poorhouse, where it was afterwards identified as that of a bone and rag gatherer named John Gallocher, who was almost blind, although he could about the streets.

30/03/1874 – Glasgow Herald – Brick building – We beg to intimate that Messrs Bell and Mclauchlan, brick builders, No 2 Glen Lane, Paisley have taken a lease at a part of the brick works at Shortroods, Paisley and we have therefore ceased to manufacture red building bricks and to execute brick building work. As Messrs Bell and McLauchlan were foremen to us in our brick building department for many years we can with the utmost guarantee recommend them to parties with whom we done business and to the public generally. We also beg to intimate that we still continue to carry on the manufacture of drain pipes and tiles for field drainage at Shortroods and likewise to manufacture glazed sewerage pipes and every class of fire clay goods at the Ferguslie Fire Clay Works, Paisley – Robert Brown & Son, Paisley 27/03/1874.

01/04/1874 – Glasgow Herald – Going Brick Work to let – A field of clay at Shortroods Brickworks, Paisley along with a brick making machine, a steam engine and every necessary apparatus connected with brick making for such a number of years as may be agreed upon. The clay is of the best quality and the brick making machine is of the newest and most approved description and ready for commencing operations. The brickwork is connected by railway with the Caledonian Railway and also with a wharf close at hand on the side of the River Cart. Apply to Robert Brown, Sneddon Bridges, Paisley. 31/03/1874.

31/07/1875 – Paisley Herald – Messrs. Robert Brown and Son, of Fergnslie Fire Clay Works, and Shortroods Drain Pipe and Tile Works, were awarded a silver medal for their display of fire-clay articles, which were varied in character, and included white facing fire bricks of every design; glazed sewer pipes, with the usual socket joints, and according to Jenning’s patent; white enamelled fire bricks, white enamelled tiles for lining walls; ornamental chimney cans, vent linings and oncomings, joist shields, balusters, wall coping, ornamental rybats, &c., for doors, windows, and corners of houses; garden borders, stable bricks, finials, channel blocks, inverted sewer blocks, bridge tiles, plain and ornamental; flooring tiles – hexagon, octagon, and square; flue covers of all sizes; gas retorts, cattle troughs all sizes; horse mangers, flower vases and stands, byre gutter blocks, milk coolers, drain pipes for field drainage, flower vases, collars for drain pipes, open or horse-shoe drains of the various sizes; roofing tiles, &c. The white enamelled bricks can be used most advantageously lining external walls, in backcourts, passages, &c where there is a deficiency light, and also in lining the internal walls of buildings, such as school-rooms, public works, &c to prevent a close and unhealthy atmosphere, and to secure continuous freshness and cleanliness, while superseding the future necessity of painting, whitewashing, &c.

07/03/1877 – Glasgow Herald – Going brickwork to be let. A brickwork at Shortroods, Paisley to be let for a term of years. The clay is of the best quality and teh machinery of the most approved kind. The work is connected with the Caledonian Railway and with a wharf on the River Cart. Apply to Robert Brown, Sneddon Bridge, Paisley.

31/03/1877 – Paisley Herald – The St Kilda cruise aboard the ‘Sneddon Maid’ … All the vessels in the harbour are getting out their bunting in honour of the expedition. The vessels above referred to consist- (l) of a gabbart loading with Shortrood’s brick ; (2) that is all. Tho bunting is about the buntingest ever seen. It consists of a tattered Rob Roy woollen shirt, hung over the gaff-royal-top-jigger. The crew of the gabbart have each hoisted a brick up to the topmost binacle of the topmast as much as to say to the Commodore of the ‘Sneddon Maid’, “you’re another.” …

1878 – Bell and Mclauchlan, Brick and Drain Tile maker, 2 Glen Lane, Paisley.

21/02/1880 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – A brickworks at Shortroods, Paisley to be let for a term of years. The clay is of the best quality and the machinery of the most approved kind. The work is connected by a branch railway with the Caledonian Railway and a wharf on the River Cart. Apply to Robert Brown, Sneddon Bridge, Paisley.

1886 – Bell and Mclauchlan, Brick and Drain Tile maker, Shortroads, (Shortroods) Paisley.

31/03/1888 – Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette – Glasgow exhibition … Robert Brown & Son, Ferguslie Fire Clay Works; The Paisley Earthernware Works; Crown Plumbago Crucible Works; Shortroods Drain Pipe and Tile Works. The exhibits of this old-established firm will comprise a full assortment of articles from their various works as above. Their fire-clay works, which have now been established for about forty years, will be represented by a collection of white enamelled bricks, wash tube, sinks, and water-closets; also, vases, chimney-cans, cattle troughs, mangers, and various kinds of sewerage traps and pipes. Included amongst the above will be Bruce’s patent trap and connections; also, a sewerage pipe recently patented by Mr James Barclay, builder, Paisley. This pipe is said to have several important advantages over the ordinary pipe, as it ensures a clean, straight, secure, and accessible joint. Sanitary engineers, architects, and all others interested, should certainly see this exhibit. From the sanitary earthenware works will be shown specimens of their now-famous manufacture, notable amongst which will be their specialities in house and ship cabinet stands and water-closets. Four of the latter will be fitted up and shown working. One of these closets, the “Perfect Pedestal,” obtained a silver medal at the Edinburgh Exhibition, which was the highest award for that class of closet; and it is now well known for its superior qualities as regards style, appearance, and working parts. This closet is made on the combination principle – can be used as urinal or slop-sink by simply lifting its hinged seat. It is made in a complete piece of earthenware, lightly fluted outside, and requires no woodwork except the seat. It is shaped in the inside as near as practicable on the lines of a pipe, thereby securing its being thoroughly flushed out at each discharge of the cistern. Another selection from these works will consist of varieties of glazed earthenware wall tiles, which, for their purity of colour, glaze, and superior finish, are considered second to none. The “Aron” slop-sink, Buchan’s “Carmichael” accessible wash-down closet, “Ferguslie” pedestal, and the “Perfect” washout closets, will also be shown, of which Robert Brown & Son are the sole makers. From the Crown Plumbago Crucible Works will be exhibited the various shapes and sizes of crucibles used for melting all kinds of metals. Their make has now been extensively used for upwards of twelve years, and for them, they hold many valuable testimonials. The agricultural drain pipes and tiles from their Shortroods Works will complete what ought to be a very varied and most interesting stand. It may be mentioned that this firm was successful in receiving no less than six awards at the Edinburgh Exhibition.

1889 – A Robert Brown and Son invoice is headed up Ferguslie Fire Clay Works and Shortroods Drain Pipe and Tile Works.  Depots at 360 Eglinton Street, Glasgow, 27 Morrison Street, Edinburgh and 69 North Wall Quay, Dublin.

Below – 1895 – This map appears to show the following brickworks but it is not certain – can anyone confirm?)

  1. Galts Nethercommon Brickworks?
  2. Glockston Brickworks?
  3. Shortroods Brickworks?

1896 – Bell and Mclauchlan, Brick and Drain Tile maker.

Below – 11/03/1896 – Glasgow Herald – Sale of field drain pipes, tile and common brick makers plant at the late Robert Browns Brickworks, Shortroods, Paisley.

29/11/1897 – Glasgow Herald – Underwood, Shortroods and Nethercommon Estates. Ground to feu on the above estates in lots to suit builders and others. Feuing plans may be seen and other particulars obtained on application to James Muir, C.A, 149 West George Street, Glasgow 9factor for the trustees of the late Mr Robert Brown) …

01/10/1901 – see entry below dated 07/07/1902 … The business as since 1st October 1901 has been carried on for and in future will be carried on by Robert Brown & Son Limited …

07/07/1902 – The Scotsman – Notice is hereby given by the subscriber Charles Ker, chartered accountant, 115 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, judicial factor on the trust estate of the late Robert Brown of Shortroods, who resided at Underwood Park, Paisley created by the trust disposition and settlement of the said Robert Brown that he has sold as at 1st October 1901 the business of Robert Brown & Son, manufacturers of bricks, tiles and fire clay goods and of Plumbago Crucibles and Earthenware formerly carried on by the said Robert Brown at Ferguslie Fire Clay Works, Paisley and at 69 North Wall, Dublin and since his death for some time by the testamentary trustees and thereafter by the subscriber, as judicial factor aforesaid. The business as since 1st October 1901 has been carried on for and in future will be carried on by Robert Brown & Son Limited who will discharge the whole debts and obligations applicable thereto as from and after this date … Robert Brown, director; M Greenlees Jr; R H MacGregor, secretary …

1912 – The works appear to be disused by this date.

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Robert Brown was born at Rainger Home farm, East Kilbride, 15th July 1810. In 1815, his parents moved to Nether Capellie Farm, Neilston, and the boy’s first responsibility was to herd on the braes above Glen Killoch until he reached school age. He was educated at Neilston parish school and showed an aptitude for Latin and Greek and Arithmetic, the intention being that he should proceed to the University.

This intention was departed from, and came to Paisley in 1827 and had built his home ‘Underwood Park’ on Underwood Road. Subsequently going to Glasgow, he acted for a time as reporter and sub-editor of the Chronicle newspaper, which helped to give a literary bias to his inclinations. In 1834, he was appointed Town Chamberlain to the Burgh of Paisley, and in 1845 was an accountant and share broker in Buchanan Street, Glasgow.

Having acquired the property of Ferguslie in 1850, he founded the Ferguslie Fire-clay Works. The firm originally produced fireclay linings for furnaces, garden ornaments and statuary for gardens and by 1876 the business had expanded to the manufacture of white sanitary earthenware, wall tiles and bricks. Browns Brickworks remained a significant manufacturer and employer until the mid-1970s.

In 1854, he entered the Town Council for the Fourth Ward, and two years after, in 1856 was elected Provost of Paisley, as which he served until 1859. Retired from his term in office he turned to literary work, the result being the publication of a series of works: History of the High Church, History of the Grammar School and Academy, History of Burns Clubs, Memoirs of Paisley Poets, and his greatest work, A History of Paisley, he is also believed to be the author of the ‘Paisley Pamphlets’, a collection of ephemera rich in social history covering the period 1739 – 1893

Robert Brown died in 1895 leaving an estate to the value of £23,962 (£2,571,589 today)

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