Dock Foundry

Bo’ness Iron Co.

Bo’ness Ironfounders Ltd.

Illus: Dock Foundry adjacent to Dock Street in the 1916 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland)

Sites & Monuments Record

60-62 Union Street, Bo’ness/ Dock StreetSMR 686NT 001 817


1899:  Marshall’s Bo’ness Pottery,  which  had closed,   was  bought by Provost Stewart for £2,500 and a new  limited  company proposed,  to  be  called the Bo’ness Foundry & Engineering Co.  This was to combine the property and business of John Steele, ironfounder of the Bo’ness Foundry Co, and that of Messrs Marshall & Duguid, engineers.   The board of directors consisted of Provost Stewart, John Steele, Robert S Marshall, and James Duguid.   David T Stewart, secretary. Shares were offered to the public.  Capital of £25,000 of which only £18,000 being issued made up of 9,000 prefer­ence shares and the same number of ordinary shares.  The preference shares to carry 6%.   The flotation was poorly subscribed and consequently a private company called the Bo’ness Iron Co Ltd was formed instead with Provost George Cadell Stewart, James Drummond Moir, Eden Hill, and John Jackson Tweedie of Dunhalin in Polmont as the first directors.  Moir had been a patternmaker in Seaview Foundry and had worked at MacLellan’s Glasgow foundry.

1900: Old pottery premises converted.  Heavy moulding shop erected to west side of the pottery (on the site of the kiln house using materials from it) with stores and offices fronting Union Street.  Some buildings were converted for use and the previous offices used as dwellings.   The pattern shop, engine-house, fitting and blacksmith’s shops were in the former turning and jolly shops of the pottery.  The cupola was supplied by James Graham of Grangemouth and had a melting capacity of 10 tons per hour.  It was first tapped on 20th January, but the next nine months were spent moulding boxes and patterns.  The engine house contained a 12 inch cylinder steam engine for driving line shafting for blowers, lathe, drilling machines, etc.  The existing North British Railway access was im­proved by transferring the points from Union Street to inside the works and replacing the ugly boundary fence on this side with a wall.   A 5 ton hydraulic crane, one of the first in the district, was in­stalled.   Dock Foundry formally opened in October 1900.  It covered 2 acres.  At the time of the opening a range of light shops were being  made  out of the former straw and clay sheds, slip-house  and  flint mills.  Mr Moir appointed works manager, and Mr Gemmell the foreman moulder.  The old pottery office was converted into a dwelling for workmen.

1908: Offices built on the corner of Union Street and Dock Road to a design by Mathew Steele, architect.

1936: Bo’ness Foundry Co assimilated by Bo’ness Iron Co Ltd.  The land was bought for c£100.

1959: On 21st August an extensive fire destroyed the old workshops.

1975: The Company became a member of the Dorada Engineering Group, a subsidiary of Dorada Holdings Ltd.  New cupola installed.

Duncan Provan managing director.

1984: “Castings in all grades of grey iron and SG iron.  Max. wt. 750kgs.  Furane airset moulding process.  Specialising in municipal castings, general engineering and machine tool castings.  Employment range 75-100.”

1985: 14 cannon cast for Edinburgh Castle.  Manhole covers and gratings.

1987: Merger with A Ballantine & Sons Ltd.  31 out of the 69 workers became redundant, the remainder transferring to the New Grange Foundry.

1988: Works demolished.  Now Tesco’s supermarket.


  • 1985: 69

G.B.Bailey, 2021