Herbertshire Print Works

Herbertshire Printfield was established by William Morehead, the laird of Herbertshire in 1783, and was the first in the area.  It was leased to Thomas Shiels and Co of Glasgow which also had a printfield near Dumbarton on the Water of Leven.  The managing partner at Denny was Neil Carnie and it was he who built Carronvale House adjacent to the works as a private residence.  By 1831 Charles Carnie was the sole surviving partner of Thomas Shiels & Co.

Illus: 1861/63 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

The number employed at Herbertshire Print Works in September 1836 was recorded as:

Block-printers, journeymen, 16; apprentices, males, 44; females, 40.  Tierers, one to each printer, and a few called paper-layers, 110; print-cutters, dyers, colour-mixers, labourers, & c. from twelve years of age and upwards, 100; girls employed in sewing and fringing, 80.  Total number employed, 390. A great quantity of goods are printed here by machinery. Some of these machines put in four different colours almost at the same instant.

(New Statistical Account).

The technology connected with the printing of cloth became more complex and required substantial investment in new machinery.  By the late 1840s the once prosperous printfield at Herbertshire was struggling.  In August 1848 Thomas Shiels & Co was declared bankrupt and its assets were sequestered.  The property of Charles Carnie was also sequestered.  The printfield and Carronvale House were sold to pay off the creditors:

“HERBERTSHIRE PRINTFIELD, & c FOR SALE.  There will be Sold, by Public Roup, within the Royal Exchange Sale Rooms, Glasgow, on Wednesday the 28th day of February next, at Two o’clock, pm., ALL and WHOLE the Lands, Estate, Mill, Printfield, Printworks, Water Courses, Machinery, Houses and others, as lately belonging to and possessed by Thomas Shiels and Company, Calico Printers at Herbertshire, as the same are more particularly described in the Title Deeds, including the Mansion House of Carron Vale, Ground and Garden adjacent, and Offices, the Mill and Mill Lands, Lands of Herbertshire with the multures and sequels thereof, and whole pertinent and privileges.

This desirable property is situated at the Village of Denny, in the Parish of Denny and County of Stirling, is bounded by the high-road from Glasgow to Stirling on the North West, and the river Carron on the South.

The premises have been long known as an extensive manufacturing establishment, and are most suitable for carrying on the business of calico printing, dyeing, and bleaching, on a large scale…”

(Glasgow Herald 22 December 1848, 3).

Charles Carnie managed to retain ownership and continued to live at Carronvale.  He died on 10 June 1859 and more sales ensued, first the contents of the house, then the mill, and finally the house itself:

“FOR SALE, BY PRIVATE BARGAIN, THE PRINTWORKS of HERBERTSHIRE, situated in the immediate vicinity of Denny, Stirlingshire, lately possessed by Charles Carnie & Co, with the STEAM ENGINES and STANDING MACHINERY therein.

The Works, which are situated on the Carron, consist of Printing Shops, Dye Houses, Colour Houses, Bleaching House, Calender House, and other Buildings.  The Machinery includes two Steam Engines and three Water Wheels, with Gearing.  A Warehouse and Counting House are attached, along with a Manager’s House and Workmen’s Houses.

The Denny Branch of the Scottish Central Railway runs into the Works, and the Station is within half a mile…

(Glasgow Herald 9 December 1859, 3).

The new owners were Messrs P & J Henderson, Drysalters, Glasgow. The number of workers employed at the printfield declined to about 70 and the firm dealt almost solely with the Indian market.  William Campbell seems to have been the manager, resident in Carronvale.

Not even the Indian trade could keep Herbertshire printfield in business and before long it was on the market again:

 “FOR SALE, BY PRIVATE BARGAIN, THE HERBERTSHIRE PRINTWORKS, situated in the immediate vicinity of Denny, Stirlingshire, presently possessed by Messrs Campbell, Laing & Co, with the STEAM ENGINES and Standing MACHINERY therein.

The Works, which are situated on the Carron, consist of Printing Shops, Dye Houses, Colour Houses, Bleaching House, Calender House, and other Buildings.  The Machinery includes Two Steam Engines, and Three Water Wheels, with Gearing.  A Warehouse and Counting House are attached, along with a Manager’s House and Workmen’s Houses…

The House upon the Lands, called Carron Vale House, contains Two Public Rooms, Six Bed Rooms, One Dressing Room, Kitchen, and other accommodation – and there is a large Garden with Lawn and Shrubbery.  The Offices consist of Coachman’s House, Coach House, Five-Stalled Stable, Byre & c. & c.  The House is quite detached from the Works, and the Garden and Grounds are tastefully laid out, which make it a very quiet and desirable Residence.

The Land extends to 17 ½ Acres, and there is no Feu-duty…”

(Glasgow Herald 8 June 1866, 3).

It was bought by John Miller of John Miller & Co who already had the Collinton Paper Works and he quickly established a lithographic print work on part of the site of the old printfield.  A year later he bought Carrongrove Paper Mill and moved into Randolph Hill House.   Before long he sold Carrongrove Paper Mill on.  John Miller & Co was described in the 1877 Scottish Post Office Directory as :

paper makers, paper dealers, merchants, wholesale, retail, and export stationers, paper stainers, bookbinders, printers, lithographers, engravers, die sinkers, account book, envelope, and paper bag manufacturers.” 

It had the papermill at Collinton and the lithographic works at Carronvale.

“FOR SALE, CARRONVALE, near DENNY, extending to fully 21 Acres.

This property, bounded on one side by the River Carron, is admirably adapted by Situation and Water-Power for Extensive Works.  There are at present Two Water-Wheels on it, used in connection with a Lithographic Print Work and Dyewood Mill respectively; and by throwing both Falls into one a Motive Power of great importance and value would be obtained.

The Caledonian Railway intersects the Lands on a level most convenient for a Siding, and the Denny Station is in the immediate neighbourhood.

There is a commodious Mansion-House, with extensive Garden; also 26 workmen’s houses…” .

(Dundee Advertiser 27 March 1883, 1)

In 1886 the property was bought for £2,620 by John Luke of Headswood Paperworks.  Late in 1892 work began at Carronvale on the erection of a new mill for fine paper named the Anchor Paper Mill after the adjacent stream.

Sites and Monuments Record

Herbertshire Print WorksSMR 1177NS 8111 8325

G.B. Bailey, 2022