Almond Iron Works

Russel & Co

Illus: Ordnance Survey map of 1863 (National Library of Scotland).

Sites & Monuments Record

Causewayend, MuiravonsideSMR 672NS 961 763


1854:  In June Messrs Russel & Co obtained a feu from Forbes of Callendar of part of Almond Estate at Causewayend for erecting an ironworks.  Work on the foundations began immediately.  The site was seen as the centre of a communications network with the Union Canal, Slamannan Railway and the Bo’ness Railway all in very close proximity.  The company was already working iron ore at Tippetcraig Mine on the Callendar Estate and iron ore fields in Bathgate were leased from the Earl of Hopetoun.  Russel had been mining coal on his own land of Blackbraes for some time.  Limestone was available and had been worked within a mile by the Gartsherrie and Dundyvan Works. Owned by James Russel, writer, Falkirk.  There were two blast furnaces until 1858, when a third was constructed.  The works were occasionally referred to as “Cawseyend” or Almond Bank.

1862:  Work restarted early in 1862 producing pig iron only.   There was a direct link to the Slamannan Railway with wagons being hauled by winch.  Wagons were pulled to the furnace by horses in 1871 when James Young was killed in an accident there.

1881: Closed after a short but very profitable period of trading.  All of the fittings were sold by roup in 1885 and a detailed inventory made in July of that year includes everything on the site, even an old paint brush used to dust the office and described as “done” (Falkirk Archives a1800.9/3).  Each department is listed separately – office and weigh house, blowing engine, No. 3 engine, clay mill, locomotive, bull dog, mixer, engineers, high smiths’ shop iron cellar & outside shops, bar smithy, joiners, pattern shop, engineers’ store, warehouse, oil & stores 1 & 2, roasting ovens, lights, receivers towers & stalks, retort, furnaces, bellows pipe store, bank tool house for general labourers, no. 3 pig bed store, railways, general works, and building. 

No. 1 furnace had already been dismantled and removed, whilst No 2 was more or less dismantled and No. 3 was under repair.  The pattern shed contained the patterns for beams, wheels, doors, machinery, and plugs used at the works and so were kept if any replacements were required and not for the casting of items on site.

Illus: top of the blast furnace buried under later debris with the date 1854 on the keystone of the arch.



The railway lines were extensive and the rails brought in a considerable sum – only to be lifted once everything of a large size had been removed by rail.  There were two locomotives – an Airdrie Iron Company engine with a 10 1/4 ins cylinder and a 16ins stroke (£50), and a Barclay’s No 2 locomotive with 10 1/8 ins cylinder and 18ins stroke (£150).

The Buildings Department has care of Almond House, offices (valued at £200), 2 workmen’s houses of two apartments each with shops beneath (£30), 6 such houses of brick (£140), 1 workman’s house with three apartments (£15).  At Causewayend it also owned 6 workmen’s houses of two-apartments (£72) and 2 of three-apartments (£30).  A letter of 1901 notes that there were in fact 25 houses owned by the company.

1890: Works demolished.

G.B. Bailey, 2021