Forth & Clyde Iron Works

  • Rosebank Foundry Co
  • Baird Cowie & Co
  • Forth & Clyde Iron Co
  • Forth & Clyde & Sunnyside Iron Co Ltd
Illus: 1898 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Sites & Monuments Record

Lock 16, CamelonNS 876 807
CamelonNS 876 807


1870: James and John Brown founded the Rosebank Foundry on the bank of the Forth & Clyde Canal near Lock 16. They feued 2 acres with a canal frontage of 180ft. The first cast took place on 6 August 1872.

“The warehouses will be built next the canal, between which and the moulding shops – which are intended to be erected on each side of the road running up the centre of the ground – are the dressing shop and the stocktaker’s department. Immediately behind the principal moulding shop the cupola has been erected, the situation of which will be of great advantage to the workmen, standing as it does almost in the centre of the work, thereby saving a considerable amount of labour in carrying the molten metal. Close to the furnace is the engine house, containing a fine engine of 10-horse power, while to the rear of this again are the blacksmiths’, turners’, and patternmakers’ workshops, shafting to which is supplied from the engine-house.”

It operated unsuccessfully for several years.

1874: Foundry, consisting of 2 acres of land at Lock 16 for sale at £1,500. The following year Peter Baird and James Cowie took over the Rosebank Foundry Co for £1,000 and changed the name to Forth & Clyde Iron Co. Henry Hastings and Andrew Cockburn as co-partners.

1876: Firm of Baird, Cowie & Co dissolved. Foundry for sale at the upset price of £1,500. Alexander Brown (father of the original founders), James Liddell and David Dickson bought the Forth and Clyde Iron Works. At this time the firm melted only 1-2 tons of iron per day.

1890: William Dickson, Manager and partner. New moulding shop. The main products were ranges, rain-water goods, toilets, baths, skylights, etc. The Economist range did well. The daily melt had increased to 30 tons per day.

1895: New moulding, fitting and pattern shops erected.

1898: Forth and Clyde merged with Sunnyside Iron Co. (By 1912 the old site was used by the Cross Chemical Co) to form the Forth and Clyde and Sunnyside Iron Co Ltd. The partners of the Forth & Clyde at the time were Alexander Brown, James Liddell and William Dickson with 3.133 acres of land at Lock 16 and a business valued at £45,500. The directors of the Sunnyside Iron Co Ltd were Robert Millar Wilson, James Brown and David Dickson with three parcels of land measuring 7 acres 2 roods 9 poles, 3 acres.1.1 and 1 acre.21.22, which with the business was valued at £31,500.

The new capital was set at £90,000 divided into 10,000 shares of £5 each bearing cumulative preferential dividend, and 8,000 ordinary shares at £5 each. Shareholders, of whom there were a staggering 74, included John Wilson MP – 120 shares, George A Mitchell – 300, David Kater, clergyman – 300, Andrew Lamberton, engineer – 200, George Clow – 200, John Paterson, minister – 100, George King – 100, Jessie Millar Wilson – 190, Thomas J Burton – 190, James Scott – 100, Jeanie Watt – 210, Isabella MacAndrew – 200, William Baird – 200, Eleanor Dickson – 200. The new directors were Robert Millar Wilson, Alexander Brown, James Liddell, James Brown and David Dickson. Alexander and James Brown became the managing directors.

The Forth & Clyde Foundry had little room for expansion and over the following years the business was transferred to the Sunnyside site.

1929: Became part of Allied Ironfounders Ltd.

1950: New bath building opened in June at a cost of £5,000.

1963: Closed and most of the labour force moved to Larbert.


  • 1879: 80
  • 1892: 300
  • 1890: 400
  • 1892: 300
  • 1901: 560.
  • 1911: 580
  • 1913: 600

G.B. Bailey, 2021