Components: Dispatch

Each foundry would have a packing department where wooden crates were made and the goods were packed about with straw.  Barrels were used for smaller items as they could be rolled making them easier to move by hand.  These small items could be packed by women. 

Illus: Goods ready to be transported at the Gothic Works, 1913.


The Callendar Iron Works had been deliberately sited adjacent to the railway, but at this point it was embanked.  This was useful for bringing raw materials in, but an obstruction to the removal of finished goods.  These were loaded at the high loading bank at the south end of the works, necessitating the use of bogies – two men pushing behind and one man drawing with a rope in front.  In 1894 a goods line was led off the mainline and warehouses with loading bays placed alongside it.

Illus: Loading gas cookers into covered wagons at the Gothic Works.

By 1900 most of the foundries had their own covered railway sidings and raised platforms meant that the goods could be placed in covered wagons using barrows.  Open wagons were cheaper but required more handling. 

Ships left Grangemouth frequently for London and the foundries booked space in these for the freight of their products.  Only one of the local foundries had its own ships, and that of course was the Carron Company.  The Carron Shipping Line was, however, also used by other foundries in the Falkirk area to get goods to the London markets.  From London they could be shipped abroad.

Illus: Loading the open railway wagons inside the sheds on the private sidings within Falkirk iron Works.

After the Second World War goods started to drift away from the east coastal traffic and even from the railways.  In 1947 the Broomside Foundry still sent most of its heavy ranges from its own railway siding and some were taken by horse-drawn lorry to the railway siding besides the canal bank at Bonnybridge.  On the other hand, the lighter combination grates were despatched by road transport which was considered more convenient for the customer as they went direct to his warehouse or shop.  It also reduced breakages resulting from double-handling.

Illus: Heavy Working Horses at Falkirk Iron Works.

Initially the haulage of the heavy castings had been dependent upon horses and all of the foundries included stabling and a small workforce to look after them.  Almost from its foundation the Carron Co constructed waggonways from the coal pits to its works and from there to the small harbour at Carronshore.  These railed tracks, originally made of wood, eased the task but were still reliant upon the brute force of the horses.  In 1810 a waggonway was used to connect the works to the Forth and Clyde Canal at the Burnbank Basin in Bainsford.  Horses also provided the motive power for the canals.

Illus: A heavily laden Barge on the Forth and Clyde Canal at the Columbian Stove Works, c1910.

Goods were loaded manually into the canal barges.  Before long, canopies were built alongside the storage sheds so that the loading could take place under cover.  Smith & Wellstood acquired a steam barge for use on the Forth and Clyde Canal, with a warehouse at Port Dundas and the Falkirk Iron Co. had two boats of their own, which carried the castings down to Grangemouth; their names were – the “Betsy” and “Advance.”  Long after the construction of the mainline railways the canals remained dominant with goods transported to Grangemouth where they were transferred to ships and taken down the east coast.  The closure of the Forth & Clyde Canal during the First World War meant that goods had to be sent by rail and after the war it retained the custom.

The next section under the “Components” heading is about the Office. Click here to read.

G.B. Bailey, 2021