Walkinshaw Brick Works, Paisley

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WALKINSHAW – Walkinshaw Brickworks, Renfrew, Renfrewshire

Available evidence indicates that Merry & Cunninghame (coal and iron masters with extensive mineral interests in the west of Scotland), began working ironstone at Walkinshaw (No.1) pit during the mid 1850’s. The first edition OS map (surveyed c.1857) shows the engine house buildings of the pit, but no rail link. An 1862 newspaper account (see snippets below) indicates that by that date a mineral railway had been constructed to serve the pit. An 1874 newspaper account describes the pit as 65 fathoms deep and employing upwards of 60 miners. Operation of the pit seems to been taken over by the Walkinshaw Oil Co. c.1881 to supply their new Inkerman oil works. In 1885 the Walkinshaw oil company is recorded as working both shale and ironstone from Walkinshaw pit, under the management of Robert Gibb

In c.1891, follow demise of the Walkinshaw Oil Company, Merry & Cunninghame opened Walkinshaw No.2 pit to the north east of the original Walkinshaw pit, and extended the mineral railway to serve the new site. The second edition OS map, surveyed c.1895 shows a substantial complex of pithead buildings with an associated brickworks. The third edition OS map (c.1914) shows the pit buildings intact, but a new set of brick kilns in place if the original. In 1914 plans were submitted for the abandonment of ironstone workings at Walkinshaw No.2 & 3 pits. The brickworks seem to have continued in production at least into the 1940’s, under the ownership of the Walkinshaw Brick Company. OS maps, published c.1950, shows an aerial rope-way was used to transfer pit waste for brick making from the site of Blackstone pits to the Walkinshaw brick kilns. Source

It still produced bricks from mud and clay during the 1960’s however was closed in the early 70’s and later demolished.

Canmore

14/12/1882 – Glasgow Herald  – Walkinshaw Oil Company Limited – The 2nd annual general meeting of the shareholders of Walkinshaw Oil Company Limited was held yesterday afternoon in the Religious Institution Rooms,Glasgow. Mr John Wilson, Hillhead House, the chairman of the company presiding ………. As to the company’s brickwork during the last summer and indeed up until the frost set in, it had been in full operation. The directors had found that the process of drying in operation when the work was taken over was of a very antiquated description and the fuel consumed in heating was very considerable. The directors thought it wise, under the supervision of their manager,Mr Neilston, to erect a large new stove in which they could utilise the waste steam, and he was glad to say it had been a very great success. The directors were considering the propriety of erecting kilns for burning brick with the waste gases from the oil retorts and this would be a further great saving……….

12/12/1889 – Glasgow Herald – Walkinshaw Oil Company Limited – The annual meeting of shareholders of the Walkinshaw Oil Company Limited was held in the Religious Institution Rooms, 377 Buchannan Street, Glasgow yesterday – Mr John Wilson MP in the chair. The report which has already been published, having been held as read. The chairman moved its adoption. He said the Company had been doing a little more in the way of brick making, in order to endeavour to meet current expenses and to keep the place as a sort of going concern. They were also maintaining a surveillance of the works. The litigation which had been going on with Messrs Merry & Cunninghame for the last 2 years in the court of session has now been happily and satisfactorily settled, the contention of the company having been in a great measure correct. The result of the settlement was that they received £7295 in full of all claims and gave up all the plant connected with the mineral subjects. The company had made a slight alteration on their line in order to run the trucks right into the brickfield and the Caledonian Company had agreed to perform the work. The restoration of East Fulton had now been completed and the whole affair taken off the company’s hands. Of course it could hardly be expected that there would be any profit arising from the operations of the company, the only thing they had to depend on being the farms. On these they had obtained a slight deduction of rent and they were now able to clear themselves.

Mr Beckett seconded the motion.

In answer to a shareholder, the chairman explained they were getting a profit of 2s to 3s per thousand on the bricks and that output was about 12,000 per day. It was possible that a better price might yet be obtained.

The report was then adopted.

Messrs James Hamilton and Tomas McLiddell were re-elected directors and Mr Muir was re-elected auditor.

25/03/1930 – The Scotsman – Merry & Cunninghame – Directors report …….The brickworks at Walkinshaw were carried on steadily throughout the year, but business in bricks was very slow and prices fell considerably……

09/11/1934 – Dundee Courier – Mr John Clegg, (60), Morton Terrace, Bridge of Weir died yesterday. He was a partner in the Walkinshaw Brick Co

1939 – 40 – Walkinshaw Brick Co Ltd, brick manufacturers. 250 Alexandra Parade. Tel nos Bridgeton 1125 and 3163

This is a link to my Walkinshaw bricks

Below – 1895 OS Map – Walkinshaw brickworks at Inkerman

Walkinshaw brickworks 1895

Below – 1910 OS Map – Walkinshaw brickworks at Inkerman – Disused by  1910

1910 walkinshaw inkerman brick works

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Below – 1895 OS Map – Walkinshaw Brick Works at the No2 Colliery Pit

1895 walkinshaw brickworks at pit no 2

Below – 1939 OS Map  – Walkinshaw Brick Works at the No2 Colliery Pit

walkinshaw brick works pit 2 1939

…….Evidence suggests that mining operations continued at Blackstone until at least 1900. At the same time a brickworks was constructed, presumably to consume the waste of past mining operations. This passed to the ownership of United Collieries c.1905. OS maps of the 1940’s show the Blackstone site cleared of buildings and an aerial ropeway in operation to supply waste from the Blackstone bing to Walkinshaw brickworks.

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……. That was when I first saw the gloomy Walkinshaw Brickworks.

Three storeys tall and dominated by a smoky chimney stack, the slate-roofed factory loomed large among buttercup-bespangled meadows fringing the River Black Cart, near double-arched Barnsford Bridge.

The eerie edifice was an architectural manifestation of the soulless spirit of 19th century Industrial Revolution ‘dark satanic mills’.

Owned by iron-masters Merry and Cuninghame, the weird workplace employed men from nearby Ferguslie, Millarston, Gockston, Inkerman and Linwood.

It still produced bricks from mud and clay when we ran past it during our 1960s training sessions.

One worker revealed how labourers in the grimy factory resembled black slaves because they were encrusted from head to foot in dark stour.

Noise from manufacturing machinery reverberated so loudly that employees could only communicate above the din with hand and finger signs.

Intense heat from blazing kilns and furnaces caused workers to perspire sooty sweat.

A calamitous event unfolded in February 1912, when a gang of workers walked home one stormy night after a long day’s shift.

They’d turned off Greenock Road into Candren Road, near Paisley Racecourse, when they were struck by forked lightning.

James McCrudden, 52, received the full impact on his head and chest.

His cloth cap was shredded and he perished instantly.

His colleagues survived unscathed but severely shocked.

A police constable arrived but James lay by the roadside until a Doctor Gardner arrived from Paisley to confirm death.

It was feared witnesses would be electrocuted if they touched his frazzled body.

James, who had a wife and eight children, lived at 156 Inkerman Rows, beside White’s Bridge, between Ferguslie Park and Linwood.

Today, Walkinshaw Brickworks are no more and much of the surrounding countryside is buried below the M8 motorway and Glasgow Airport.

But on star-lit nights, rosy glows flicker across darkened fields from the derelict brickworks site.

Are they from lamps illuminating airport runways … or do phantom furnaces still burn at the old factory?

And are spectral shadows stealing over the countryside cast by low-flying aircraft or do ghosts of long-dead Walkinshaw brick-workers still stumble along Candren Road, where poor James McCrudden was blasted to death more than 100 years ago?

Below  – the area to the left of the road is how the Walkinshaw Colliery No 2 pit  / brickworks look in recent times.

Walkinshaw colliery - brickworks

THE WALKINSHAW OIL COMPANY LIMITED.
Incorporated under the Companies Acts 1862, 1867, and 1877. Share Capital £120,00. In 12,000
Shares of £10 each, of which 1764 Shares are to be taken by the Vendors.
Directors. John Wilson, Esq., Gorbals Tube-Works, Glasgow, Chairman. James Becket, Esq., Calico
Printer, Glasgow. James Hamilton, Esq., Iron Merchant, Glasgow. Archibald Russell, Esq., Coalmaster,
Glasgow. James Scott Esq., Distiller, Wishaw.
“The Walkinshaw Oil Company, Limited, ” is intended to be formed for the purpose of acquiring-
1. The existing Oil and Brick Works and Workmen’s Houses, situated at Inkermann, near Paisley, and
belonging to the Abercorn Oil Company, and also the Leases of the large and valuable Mineral-Fields
on the Estates of the Duke of Abercorn, Lord Douglas, and on the Walkinshaw Estate, belonging to
John Charles Cunninghame, Esq. of Craigends, situated near Paisley, in the County of Renfrew, held
by that Company.
2. The East Fulton Oilworks, situated in the Parish of Kibarchan, near Johnstone, belonging to Messrs
James Liddell & Company, with the Leases for working Shale Coal and Fire Clay held from the
Trustees of the late Thomas Speir, Esq. of Blackstone.
The present Oil and Brick Works have been valued by Mr James Clinkshill, Consulting Engineer and
Machinery Valuator in Glasgow as follows:- Abercorn OIl Company, £22,698 6 6; Fulton Oil Works,
£9,787 0 0: £32,485 6 6.
To which falls to be added the Stocks of Shale, Bricks, Farm stock and Crop of East Candren,
estimated at £3,000: £25,485 6 6.
The price fixed for the Vendor’s Interest in the whole Subjects, including Goodwill and Leases, Stocks
of Shale and Bricks, and Farm Stock and Crop of East Candren is £30,000, payable as follows:- 1. In
Cash £15,006. 2. In 1764 Ordinary Shares, £8 10s paid up, £14994.
The capital has been fixed at £120,000, of which it is proposed to call up £8 10s per share within the
next Eighteen Months, equal to £102,000 to meet- Purchase Price, in Cash and Shares £30,000;
Refinery, Retorts, Pits and Plant, Brickwork, &c. £53,000: £83,000. Working Capital £19,000:
£102,000.
Glasgow Herald, Monday 4th October 1880.

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3 Comments

  1. Dave Pratt 12/07/2015 at 2:38 pm

    The map is showing an earlier Walkinshaw Works which would appear to be where the huge rubbish tip was in the 50’s when I lived in Ferguslie Park just out on maps lower edge.
    The miners rows( shown bottom left) were still there in the 50’s but were replaced in later years by the Inkerman Bowling Club

  2. Raymie Gordon 29/03/2016 at 1:14 pm

    I agree with you Dave, the drawing is of the original Walkinshaw brickwork where Inkerman bowling club is . The modern picture is at the Airport ,where on Scotland’s Places you can see the old sheds of the Walkinshaw brickwork with the stables of the Walkinshaw House.

  3. James Patrick Harkins 17/11/2017 at 8:29 pm

    My grandfather Paddy Harkins worked in walkinshaw for sixty years. He lived at 41 Greenhill road Paisley and he was a .brickwork foreman. He died in 1961.We lived at the same address and me and my two sisters used to meet him when he came home from work as he climbed out the front cabin of a lorry.
    Jim Harkins

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