Grange Iron Works

Illus: 1947 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Sites & Monuments Record

Grangemouth Iron Co LtdSMR 702NS 932 824
Grange Iron Co.SMR 702NS 868 806

Timeline

1883:  Established in Grangemouth by James McGrouther and Peter Muirhead, the former becoming the first manager. The first casting took place in August 1883.   The works lay beside the Grange Burn, adjacent to the hospital and nearly opposite to the newly constructed dock gates.  It was joined to the dock’s railway system.  “Entering at the east gate the first building to the right is the pattern shop and fore­man’s office on the lower flat, while the upper flat is occupied as the pattern store.   Following the railway into the works beyond the pattern shop, it is seen that the rails skirt the boundary wall on the south side, and terminate at the sand and blacking houses.  The coke shed and pig iron yard are also on the edge of the railway, so that all raw materials coming into the works only re­quires to be tipped over the edge of the waggons.  The cupola is supplied with blast conveyed in pipes from a No 4 Root’s Blower (1883 patent).  The pig iron and coke for the cupola are raised from the ground level by a hoist capable of lifting a ton [fitted by Blackadder Brothers].  The moulding shop is quite close to the cupola, and appears to be well lighted and ventilated.  The proprietors have made every  arrangement for  extension of moulding space, so that even were the present  area  extended three  times more, the workmen would still have the advantage of the cupola  as their  centre,  thereby saving a deal of manual labour in carrying  the  molten iron.   Between the moulding shop and warehouse are situated the  dressing  and fitting  shops,  the former having rumbler and emery wheels  for  fettling  and dressing castings, while the latter shop contains smiths’ fires driven by small fans, boring machines, emery wheels, grindstones, & c, all the machinery being driven  by power supplied from Messrs Dow & Co’s saw-mill adjoining.  The last building on the way out is the warehouse, having a platform (level with the waggons) from which the goods will be dispatched by rail.  Immediately to  the back  of  the warehouse are the offices and gatekeeper’s  house,  communication with  offices  and  warehouse being established by means of  a  speaking  tube.  Every detail about the works appears to have been planned with a view to the quick manufacture and dispatch of goods.”

1899-1900:  Works removed to Camelon because the land was required for an extension to the docks.  The new site was acquired from William Forbes of Callendar in 1898 in the names of the Muirhead family – Peter, George, Frank and Peter Drummond, all timber merchants in Grangemouth and measured 7 acres 3 roods and 37 poles.  It lay immediately east of the property of Messrs Glover & Main and had previously been used by the Camelon Football Club.  Business restructured with a nominal capital of £25,000 divided into £10 shares.  James McGrouther became the first manager and secretary of the new company, with a salary of £500 per annum.  Peter Muirhead still a director, as also James McGrouther the timber merchant.  The main entrance was from Stirling Road where there was a two-storey block containing offices on the first floor and the gatekeeper’s office and engineman’s dwelling below.  The offices were fitted with electric lighting and telephones – very modern for the time.  The first building nearest the gate was the warehouse, which was a substantial one storey building some 220ft long by 193ft wide.  It was fitted with shelving and racks for storing manufactured goods.  The passages were of cement, laid with rails for ease of removal of castings to the loading bank, which was on a level with the warehouse floor. A siding taken from the North British Railway, which lay to the north, measured 300 yards long.  The loading shed was all under cover and lit with Lawrie’s patent moveable electric lights.  It was capable of holding 16 wagons.  The engine room and boiler house were next to the warehouse.  The engine was a double cylinder compound one of 150 hp, fitted with a dynamo to provide electricity.  To the west was the cupola with a self-contained direct driving set of No 6 “Roots” blowers.  The blast was conducted by steel piping 120ft long and 20 inches in diameter.  The furnace was under cover and constructed so as to permit further expansion of the works to the west.  The cupola was capable of melting 14 tons per hour and had a steam hoist.  Adjacent too this was the moulding shop and mineral line that brought coal direct to it.  The moulding shop was 180ft by 229 ft, having five spans of 36ft.  At one end of it was the foreman’s office.  A dressing shop was attached to the north side, providing a space 80ft by 36ft for the accommodation of rumbling and emery wheels.  Near by was the grinding shop, and on the other side the fitting shop and Berlin Black shop.  The pattern shop was 60ft by 36 ft.  Adjoining it was the pattern store.  This was a fire-proof building with an iron roof, cement floor and iron columns and shelving.  The plans had been produced by A & W Black, the machinery and steam hoist supplied by Blackadder Brothers, and the electric lighting by Thomas Lawrie & Co.

Substantial blocks containing two, three and four room apartments were built fronting Glasgow and Stirling Roads as workmen’s dwellings.

1906: Purchased by Sir Frederick McLeod.  New moulding shops. Peter Muirhead retained the land fronting Glasgow Road.  T Waugh appointed manager.

1913: Private limited liability company formed by McLeod who brought his four sons in as directors.

James M Primrose managing director?

1925-7: Extensive rebuilding at The Grange Foundry.

1929:  McLeod took over Watson Gow and Co Ltd in Etna Road.  These works were demolished and new ones built alongside the Grange Iron Works.   Both became limited companies in Jan 1935.

1935: Grange Iron Co Ltd had a share capital of £65,000 divided into £1 shares, with Sir Frederick L Macleod, George T MacLeod, John M MacLeod, James HC MacLeod, Frederick C MacLeod & James M Primrose as directors.  Sir Frederick had 64,500 shares and the remainder had 100 each. 

1935: One-off castings weighing over 20 tons for the iron casing of an automatic lighthouse on Siol Gorm, one of the outer Western Isles.

1936-37: The Grangemouth Iron Co Ltd and Watson Gow and Co Ltd incorporated into Federated Foundries.  The Solona fire sold well.

Illus: An automated Lighthouse.

1938: Camelon Ironworks, also part of Federated Foundries, moved their clerical staff to the offices of the Grange Foundry.

1944: Much of the foundry closed down and the workforce was taken on by British Aluminium at their new works in Bainsford.

1954: Went into voluntary liquidation and closed in 1964?

Now the site of the Mariner Centre and the neighbouring recreation complex.

Workforce

  • 1883: 25
  • 1900: 90
  • 1911: 105
  • 1964: 500

G.B. Bailey, 2021