Broomside Foundry

Bonnyside Foundry

Puzzle Foundry

Broomside Foundry Co (1922) Ltd

Illus: 1961 Ordnance Survey Map showing the “Works” on the north side of Broomside Road (NLS).  The other works in the area were for making bricks.

Sites & Monuments Record

Broomside Road, High BonnybridgeSMR 542NS 830 791

Timeline

1922:  In 1922 a new company was formed at the Camp Foundry in Motherwell, called the Broomside Foundry Co Ltd.  The partners were Robert Smith Anderson of Polmont (550 shares at £1 each), Andrew Auld of Stirling (owner of the Broomhill Inn – 400 shares), and Alexander C Anderson (200 shares).   Robert Anderson had been a sales representative with the Stirlingshire Iron Co, and when that company went into liquidation in 1922 he persuaded his partners to buy the Bonnyside Foundry from the liquidators for the upset price of £1,500.  They preferred the Bonny­bridge location and moved there under the new name of the Broomside Foundry (1922) Co Ltd.  This then became their registered office, and the following year the Camp Foundry was sold.

£200 worth of repairs was undertaken immediately.  More capital was required and Andrew Auld increased his shares by 1,700, William Smith Anderson acquired 150 shares, and John Smith Anderson 150.  The following year they were  joined by  Robert  Turnbull with 500 shares, Donald Cameron 200,  Jean  Morrison  200, Alexander  Mitchell  Duncan Ferguson 100, Thomas Neilson 50, and  Edmund  Logan 200.   Robert S Anderson was appointed managing director, and the firm concen­trated upon the production of ranges and stoves.  The 1920s were not an auspi­cious time to start a foundry, as there was a general depression in trade.

1927:  New lavatories required by the Sanitary Authorities.

1928:  Suction plant installed to extract carborundum dust from the grinding shop as necessitated by the Factory Act Amended Regulations 1925.  Andrew Auld purchased another 1,000 shares to cover the additional expenses of these altera­tions.

1929: Cinema and theatre chair standards began to be made and sold well.

1930:  Works converted to electricity as the old steam engine obsolete.   Land acquired to the east for an expansion.  W S Anderson died and his shares were transferred to his wife, Daisy Anderson.

1932: The depression now very deep, Andrew Auld tried to sell his 2,600 shares to the company for only 1s each.  They refused and the shares were transferred to his son, Andrew Bisset Auld.  The main products were portable kitchen ranges, Yorkshire and kitchener ranges, bedroom mantle grates, tile register grates and a series of independent fires such as Rosy, Clutha, Duke and Rellim.  The portable ranges were painted with a tarry black paint, the mantle grates with an undercoat of grey, and the tile registers and fires were ground, polished and finished in Berlin Black.

1933: The company bought Ashbank House in Polmont from David Robertson for £250 for the managing director.  A new product, the Beta Combination Grate, was introduced and required the building of a new kiln for Berlin Blacking.   New offices also added, and a new bay to the moulding shop.

1934: Warehouse built costing £500.

1936:  Andrew Auld resigned due to ill health (died Jan 1939) and his son became a director.  Alexander C Anderson died, his shares transferred to Elizabeth Inglis Anderson.  Murray Hudson became a director.  New buildings added to the fitting dept.

1937: Moulding shop extended.

1938: Summer holiday pay introduced.  Fire in a storage shed. 

A description of the works at this time has been contributed by John Duncan:

“The office was a brick building with slated roof approximately 30 ft long, and contained the office, and boardroom at one end, and at the other end the Berlin Black shop and the kiln.  The fitting shop was formed by two low roofed buildings with brick walls 4 ft high and wooden walls with a red tiled roof and heavy beam rafters.  It had an earth floor.  The east end provided the dressing shop and blacksmith’s smithy.  The grinding mill had been added onto the fitting shop, but it was much higher than the fitting shop and was the only building built with corrugated iron and plenty of roof lights.  It also contained the electricity substation.

The machinery in the fitting shop comprised of a drive shaft about 40 ft long, fitted with a series of drive wheels about 2 ft in diameter.  It extended through the wall of the dressing shop, where it drove the tumbler, which was enclosed in a large cupboard like structure as there was no dust extraction in the works, and a set of carborundum wheels.  The shaft ran parallel to the wall between the grinding mill and the fitting shop.  This wall had a series of openings cut in it and the drive belts passed through into the grinding mill to drive a set of emery polishing wheels and a set of beeswax polishing wheels.  In the fitting shop it provided power to three drilling machines.  Each machine was fitted with a fixed and a free pulley and guide controlled either by hand or foot to stop and start the machine required.  It was powered by a heavy electric motor, and it was a strict rule that this motor would only be switched on by the electrician, to avoid accidents.  It also drove a set of carborundum wheels here; one of which was used for cutting bricks.  This one was fitted with a water tank at the rear to catch the brick dust.  In the SW corner there was another motor and a high shaft to drive another drilling machine and a set of carborundum wheels.

The warehouse and packing shop was a hut about 40 ft long and it was floored with railway sleepers.  It was located on the north side of the fitting shop.

The pattern shop was a hut of about 30 ft and ran parallel to the warehouse.  It provided pattern storage, and in one corner there was a small office about 8 ft by 6 ft.  It was used as a despatch and time office.

The moulding shop was two low bays running north to south, with brick end walls and wooden sides.  Roofed with red tiles, it had heavy wooden rafters.  A third bay was built and when this was done the roof of the two bays was raised about 4 ft and fitted with asbestos sheeting.  The furnace was located at the west side of the moulding shop.  To feed it there was a two stage ramp.  It was wooden, fitted with straps of wood to provide grip for the men as they pushed the wheelbarrows up the ramp.  It also had a cast iron wheel track for the wheels.  The ramp was later replaced by a small crane.  All incoming materials were delivered by rail and stored on the railway siding.  Coke, pig iron, limestone and coal.”

During the first year of the war the company made a loss due to shortage of materials.  However, they changed production to war supplies and made a modest profit for the duration.

1945: Towards the end of the war it was decided to rebuild the fitting shop at a cost of £2,000, with a further £1,000 for fittings.  A large open sided shed was built parallel to the railway siding to accommodate the finished goods.  At one end there was a paint shop for the chair legs, which were finished in gold gilt.  At the other end was a magazine for the storage of nuts, bolts and screws.  The time office and the dispatch office became part of this shed and a time clock was installed.

A new pattern shop was built on the south side of the moulding shop and the old pattern shop was moved to the south side of the grinding mill, where it was used as an engineering shop and a pattern store.  The old office was developed into the Berlin Black shop and the boardroom into the kiln.  This was required due to increased sales of the Beta combination.

1947: Joined the National Light Castings Ironfounders Federation.

1948: New furnace and hoists installed.   Portable ranges were becoming obsolete, so an air-controlled cooker, the Beta No 2, was introduced.

1949: Two bays added at the east end of the moulding shop with space for storage of rock sand.  A new furnace was constructed in the extension.  It had a higher melting capacity and was fitted with an overhead travelling rail crane for loading.  Forklift trucks were introduced to handle the bins used for feeding the furnace.  They were also useful for other incoming material and despatches, all of which were now palletised.

Vitreous enamel replaced Berlin Black as the finish for grates.  The Berlin Black shop was then converted into an engineering shop and the grinding mill into a pattern store.  A rotary wheelabrator sandblast table machine with its own dust extractor was installed in the dressing shop to do away with the steel brushing.

1960s: Chrome steel bottom grates made for customers including Grahamston Iron Co, Smith and Wellstood, Jones and Campbell, and Baxi Ltd.  Three small oil furnaces (later converted to gas) set up in the bay at the SE corner of the moulding shop.  These were also used to produce aluminium mould boxes, which were lighter than those in use and so make the work easier.  A bath unit and showers were built in the box yard for use of the employees.

Much of the later work of the foundry was through sub-contracts.  Thus, manhole covers were supplied to Bo’ness Iron Co, gas cookers to R & A Main, post office cabinets, pillar boxes and telephone castings to Carron Co, stoves to Allied Co in Larbert, electrical junction boxes for Pirrelli Ltd in Southampton, engineering castings to Rollo Industries, and ornate ironwork to Classic Garden Furniture.

1982: Robert Prince managing director.

1984: “Grey iron castings to grade 180 (12), Ni-hard and chromium alloy, max. wt. 60kg.  Aluminium also cast.  Both jobbing and repetition work.  General engineering castings.  Employment range 50-100.”

1994, November: Went into receivership.  Specialised manufacture of decorative ironwork such as Victorian fireplaces.

1995: Closed with the loss of 33 jobs.

Workforce

1913: 60.

1994: 56.

1995: 33.

Products

1980s.  Solid fuel stove components, street furniture, reproduction items.

G.B. Bailey, 2021