Jordanhill Brickworks were in operation until the raw materials were exhausted in 1928. From them were drawn the bricks for part of Glasgow Corporation’s housing estate at Knightswood. Whitewashed low roofed houses occupied by workers in the brickfields while modern buildings were raised around them struck a note of incongruity for a year or two….
Stepends Brickworks, Plains, Airdrie, Lanarkshire.
Stepends Brickwork was situated in the village of Plains 2 miles East of Airdrie on the Bathgate Road. It used the waste from the Ardenrigg Colliery. Ardenrigg Mine lay up in the hills above the Lily Loch toward Salsburgh, the output of 77,000 tons per annum of Anthracite Coal was carried by overhead Tramway down to Stipends Colliery on the edge of Plains and next to the Railway. The Stepends Colliery had a Coal Washer which served both Mines. The Coal dust and Dross from this Washer was utilised in Brick making onsite as a method of disposing of the Mining Spoil. These Bricks were stamped “Stepends” Both Ardenrigg and Stipends can still be accessed by road and the Farm on whose land both mines and Brickworks stood still exists.
The Ardenrigg Coal Co, coal masters, Plains, near Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland was established by John Gardner and John Gemmell in the late 19th century. In 1925, the company was incorporated as the Ardenrigg Coal Co Ltd with a share issue of £10,000 in £1 shares. This was increased by a share issue of £11,000 in 1930. The Coltness Iron Co Ltd, coal and iron masters and steel and brick manufacturers, Newmains, South Lanarkshire, acquired a 95 per cent share in the company as part of its policy to acquire small pockets of undeveloped coal in the area. By 1946, the company had two mines sunk – the Upper and Lower Drumgray seams. The company was nationalised as part of the National Coal Board in 1947 under the terms of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946.
Below – 1935 – Stepends Brickworks, Plains, Airdrie.
Below – 1935 – Showing the relationship between Stepends Brickworks and Ardenrigg Colliery. Click on the 1935 link and note the ‘aerial cable’ joining the two sites.
c.1937 – c.1947 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests that the Ardenrlgg Coal Company operated the works during this period.
12/06/1937 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – New brickworks for Plains Airdrie and district are sharing in the brick-making boom caused by an unprecedented demand for building material which is being made at the present time. The Airdrie Brickworks are extending their works in order to double their present production, and a new brickwork, to cost about £15,000 is being constructed at Stepend Colliery, Plains. At Rawyards Brickworks, the oldest brickworks in the district, Messrs Alex. Frew and Co., Ltd., are working to capacity to meet orders from many parts of the country. The Plains Brickwork is being constructed by the Ardenrigg Coal Company and will make use of pit refuse at Stepend Colliery. When completed, the works will be able to produce as many as 20,000 bricks per clay. It is expected that the new works will give employment to about 50 men. Builders are at present engaged the construction of the kilns and other plant, but they will not be ready for use for a few months yet. Mr A. S. Smith. manager of the Airdrie Brickworks told an “Advertiser” reporter what the effects of the extension being made to the works would be. At the present time, there are 26 kilns in operation giving a weekly production of 16,000 bricks. The extension, which includes extra milling plant, will provide 18 more kilns and it is estimated, will bring the weekly production up to 320,000 bricks. The Airdrie Brickworks were only started about 17 months ago and production was not commenced until four months later. When the extension is completed two or three months hence about 65 men will be employed at the works. The clay brick process is used at those works and it is considered that there is sufficient pit refuse at the Howlet bing to supply them with material for about 20 years. The works are at present busily engaged fulfilling contracts for Newcastleton, Perth, Edinburgh, Dundee and other parts of the country. A number of exceptionally good contracts have been secured by Messrs Alexander Frew & Co., at the Rawyards Brickworks. Their capacity of 170,000 bricks per week is fully taxed, and the hundred men employed there are likely to be kept busy for many months yet. The Rawyards Brickworks specialises in the making of clay facing bricks used in the construction of schools, housing schemes, and factory buildings. At Dumbarton, two monuments of their work are being built in the Blackburn Aircraft Factory and the distillery being erected for Messrs Hiram Walker & Co., Ltd. More than three million bricks are required to those two contracts. The firm has also supplied bricks for the building of the new engineering shop of Messrs Hastie, Greenock. They have also secured contracts front the local authorities of Glasgow, Airdrie, Greenock, Port Glasgow, Gourock, West Lothian, Bathgate and the County Council. The works are equipped with a battery of Hoffman’s Kilns, eight Newcastle Kilns, and four round downdraft kilns.
22/11/1937 – The Scotsman – Another brickwork for Lanarkshire – Lanarkshire is to have another new brick-work. The Ardenrigg Coal Co Ltd, Glasgow have intimated to the County Council that they propose to establish a brick making plant in the Bracco district and they will, in consequence, be transporting large quantities of materials over the Duntilland and Bracco highways to and from the site of the proposed Works. The County road surveyor, after a meeting with the Company, reported that they were prepared to make a lump sum payment of £500 towards the cost of repairing and maintaining the highways and in full discharge of any future liability. The offer has been accepted. In recent years brickworks have sprung up in many places in Lanarkshire. The bricks made are mainly composition manufactured from pit debris. A new plant at Leland is expected to commence production by the new year.
30/07/1938 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – An article on Lanarkshire coalfields … Far away to the north on the other edge of the whin, at Stepends, the Ardenrlgg Coal Company are working both the Upper and Lower Drumgray in an anthracite condition. The pit was opened in 1915 and re-equipped with a long aerial ropeway: a brickworks to turn out 25,000 bricks a day is due to opening shortly …
12/01/1946 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Brickwork nightshift foreman wanted immediately for a brickwork at Plains near Airdrie. State previous experience and wage required. Ardenrigg Coal Co, Ltd, 87 Union Street, Glasgow.
02/03/1946 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Social Welfare Department fraud. The accused was employed by the Ardenrigg Coal Co Ltd at their Stepends Brickworks, Plains.
c.1947 – c.1964 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests that the Coltness Iron Company operated the works during this period.
05/08/1949 – Motherwell Times – Motherwell, Wishaw and Bellshill firms on parade at Exhibition … Among the largest of the county exhibitors is the Coltness Iron Company Ltd., Newmains, which will display steel and iron castings, bricks and cement … The firm’s display will let the public and manufacturers see the various castings done at Newmains, the bricks produced at Mayfield and Stepps Brickworks (Stepends?!), and cement from the Newmains Works.
c. 1964 – Survey of Scottish Brickmarks suggest c. 1964 as a closing date for the works?
Many thanks to James Kerr for much of the information contained on this page.