Callendar Iron Works

Callendar Iron Co.                                               1876 – 1933

Callendar Abbot’s Iron Co. Ltd.                          1933 –

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

Sites & Monuments Record

Scotia Place, Stewart Road, FalkirkSMR 689NS 893 802


1876:  The field known as the “Old Orchard”, measuring 3.5 acres, leased from William Forbes of Callendar (hence the name).  It lay on the north side of the railway east of Grahamston Station.  £4,000 of capital raised as £2000 from the coalmaster Mathew Hay of Nappiefaulds near Slamannan, £1,500 from William Graham of Larbert, and £500 from George Binnie of Sunnyside.  Works erected the following year to a design layout by George Binnie, the managing partner, who resigned his partnership in the Camelon Iron Co.  William Graham had been a partner in the Parkhouse Iron Co. and became the commercial manager.  The main products were rainwater goods, railings, grates, ranges and stoves.

The first part to be erected was a wooden building against the north wall of the Orchard, which served as a pattern shop and office.  The first pattern made was a column to support the roof of the moulding shop, while the first pattern for the market was an arched top register grate “No. 10”.  The moulding shop consisted of three “roofs”, sufficient for 50 men.  Blackadder Brothers carried out the engineering part of the work.

“A railway siding has been begun, which enters the enclosure at such a level that the embankment will be on a level with the mouth of the furnace, into which the mineral will be discharged direct, thus saving the cost and trouble of mechanical power for raising it.  The furnace itself is about 32 feet in height and 6 feet in diameter, and cased with malleable iron.  Only one is at present erected, but it is intended to build a duplicate when the increased operations of the firm require it.  A line of stores for coal, coke, sand, and other materials will extend along the railway on one side of the building, so that the enginemen, moulders, & c will not require to be exposed when taking in the raw material.  Next to these come the moulding shops, from which the manufactured articles are conveyed successively through the dressing-shop and stocktaker’s shop into the warehouse; goods requiring to be fitted, ground, & c first going through those processes.  In the warehouse they are packed ready for the market, and loaded from covered sheds into the trucks on a separate siding.  The offices are in a two-storey building on the side nearest the railway.  Motive power obtained from a horizontal engine of fourteen inch cylinder, from the Bon Accord engine works, Glasgow; the boiler, which is 20 feet long, being fitted with Galloway tubes, and the latest improvements in valves, & c.  The blast is obtained from a Root’s Patent Blower, No. 4 size, and is expected to be amply sufficient for the work even when extended.  The chimney stalk is 90 feet in height – high enough, it is believed, to prevent any injurious effects from the smoke, and ten feet higher than the engagements of the company required.  A complete system of drainage has been constructed, water having been obtained within the works at a depth of about a hundred feet.  Urinals & c have also been erected in the works.”

1879: In October William Wood, merchant of Slamannan, became a co-partner.  Capital increased to £6,700.  .  He died in 1917.

1887: Bath moulding shop built and a hydraulic hoist added at the cupola.  George Binnie retired and William Graham took over as general manager.  Thomas Scott became works manager until he retired in 1925.

1880: William Graham, managing partner, presented with a writing desk by the workforce on his marriage.  Graham died in September 1894 at the age of 44 years.

1891: Fire in paint and oil storeroom.  Professor Mathew Hay succeeded his father as chairman.

1892: Another acre of adjacent ground purchased for future expansion.  There was still 2.75 acres of the original feu clear of buildings.  In 1893 a new moulding shop was erected to accommodate 30 moulders.  William Robb took over as manager and later became a partner.

1895: The Callendar range introduced.  New pattern shop, moulding shop, warehouse and railway siding

1897: Fire in the engine house and blacking shop caused £1,000 worth of damage.  With the engine not functional 350 men were temporarily out of work.

1898: New furnaces built to cope with demand for new types of ranges, moulding shop extended.  Warehouses enlarged the following year.

1900-1911: Additions in this period included a moulding shop and tunnel, ware­houses, pattern store, office, and a grinding shop.  A small fire occurred in June 1910.

1912:  Became a limited company with a share capital of £85,000 divided into 3,500 preference shares and 5,000 ordinary shares at £10 each.  The number of members of the Company (excluding those employed by it) was limited to 50 and the public was not invited to subscribe.  The first directors were Professor Mathew Hay of Aberdeen (chairman), Elizabeth Reid or Graham widow in Falkirk, William Wood of Falkirk, and John Thomson Wilson of Bothwell.

1924:  Voluntarily wound up and a new company with a share capital of £100,000 formed under the old name.  The first directors were Mathew Hay, engineer; Robert Kidston, ironfounder; Geoffrey Moore, paper manufacturer of Aberdeen.  The Commercial Bank held 45,000 shares, William Langlands Pattullo of Dundee 24,000, Robert Kidston 9,000, Mathew Hay 500, etc.  The assets included Wellacre Cottage and the site of the Dundas Iron Works, Falkirk, both adjacent to the Callendar Iron Works.

1929:  Incorporated with Allied Ironfounders.

1930s:  Robert Kidston resigned in March 1930.  Hay’s grandson, Major Mathew Hay became Chairman with WH Smith as Managing Director.  Barclay’s Bank was now the major shareholder.

1933:  Incorporated with Abbot’s to become Callendar Abbot’s.

1936: Callendar Iron Co. went into voluntary liquidation.

1937:  Callendar Iron Co. Ltd. set up with £100 capital in £1 shares.  William H Smith and Captain HJK Kennard directors.  This appears largely to have been an accounting exercise as the company did not trade under its own name.

1959:  Incorporated with Dobbie Forbes and production subsequently transferred to Larbert.

1963:  Voluntarily wound up.



G.B. Bailey, 2021