Abbot’s Foundry

Illus: Ordnance Survey Map of 1897 (National Library of Scotland).
Abbots Foundry Co.
Burr & Co.            1867-1874
Orr, McLean & Co.1874 –
James Miller, Son & Co.    – 1919
Abbot’s Foundry Co. Ltd.   1919 –
Callendar Abbots Iron Cos. Ltd.1933 –

Sites & Monuments Records

Bankside, Bainsford.
Stewart Rd, Falkirk.SMR 664NS 897 815


1804-1810: Dalderse Foundry built at Bankside, Bainsford.

1810-1856:  Premises used for distilling and then as a sawmill.

1856:  A new company started founding on the same site now known as the Abbots Iron Works.  It was the 5th foundry in the district and produced its first casting on 5th March 1857.  The partners were Anderson and Baker.  Mr Rennie, foreman at the Phoenix Foundry in Glasgow, became the first manager.  He had previously been foreman at the Falkirk Iron Works and was a native of the town.

1860:  The foundry made decorative cast iron architectural pieces for London.

1867: Works acquired by DM Burr.

1873: James Maxwell, the manager, left after six years to manage the company’s foundry in London.  Followed the following year by Mr Taylor, the under manager.  Maxwell was replaced by Robert Orr.

1879:  There were three partners in the firm, Robert Miller, Robert Orr (Glasgow), and James Liddell.  Liddell had started as a clerk at the Burnbank Foundry in 1864 before being made a partner there.  He became managing partner at Abbot’s in 1875 and remained such until his death in August 1884.

Harry Smith was the Managing Director.

1884: New steam hoist installed by Blackadder Brothers of Garrison Place to take up to one ton of raw material up to the furnace mouth.  Previously this material had been lifted by hand.

1888: Site of the Gael Foundry acquired.  This lay adjacent to the works and allowed for future expansion.

1892: Forganhall Estate, consisting of some 21 acres next to the works, purchased.  Water mains connected.

1890s: The size of the foundry almost doubled in the years up to 1898.  In 1896 a new moulding shop of 6 roofs was constructed along with a new passing shop, a new dressing shop and a two-storey warehouse.

1900: Partners now Robert Orr of Westquarter and Alexander W Miller of Glasgow.

1900-1911:  Additions to the works included moulding shops, cupolas, engine house and chimney stalk, pattern shop and store, and a loading shed.

1911: Harry Smith’s son W.H. Smith became Managing Director.

Illus: Munitions workers at Abbots Foundry on 16 April 1916.


1919: Abbots Foundry Co Ltd became a limited company, taking over the business run by James Miller, Son & Co, Ironfounders, Falkirk, as the Abbots Foundry Co and the Parkhouse Foundry Co.  Share capital set at £50,000 in £1 shares.  The new directors were Alexander W Miller (10,000 shares), George S Orr (15,000 shares) and Douglas Miller (5,000 shares).  The other shareholders were Harry Smith (5,000) and William H Smith (3,000).

1929:  The  company  was  one  of the first in the  area  to  join  the  Allied Ironfounders light castings combine in Jan 1929.  At this time the Managing Director was W.H. Smith who became a Director with Allied Ironfounders Ltd.

1933:  Abbots took over and amalgamated with the Callendar Iron Co and became known as Callendar Abbots Foundry Cos Ltd.   The share capital was raised by the creation of 97,000 further shares of £1 each.  It moved its operations to the Callendar Iron Co’s site at Stewart Road, Falkirk, on the site later occupied by Bison Concrete (Scotland) Ltd (and now a multiplex cinema).   The Bankside premises were taken over by the brass work of Malcolm Cockburn and Co., which was also part of the Allied combine.  Captain HJ Kennard and Charles E Napier became directors.

1939: Moulding at the Abbot’s site ended in June 1939.  Moulders producing rainwater and general castings moved to Stewart Road, and those working on fireplaces were sent to the Falkirk Iron Works.

During the Second World War these premises were used for the assembly of incendiaries and hand grenades, but no moulding was done on the site.  After the war the Bank­side works were used by Abbots Engineering Co., but were empty by the 1970s though owned by Glynwed Ltd.

1959: Callendar Abbots Iron Co. amalgamated with Dobbie Forbes and Co. to become known as Callendar Abbots & Dobbie Forbes Ltd.  The works at Stewart Road closed and the buildings were demolished soon after.  John AM McOustra became company secretary.

1963:  Callendar Abbots & Dobbie Forbes Ltd went into voluntary liquidation.  Workers went to the rebuilt Larbert Foundry.


1879120 men employed

G.B. Bailey, 2021