Gothic Iron Works

Glover & Main

Main, R. and A. Ltd.

Glover & Main Group of Companies

Illus 1947 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Sites & Monuments Record

Glasgow Road, Camelon                  SMR 706NS 865 807


The company was founded in Glasgow as the Argyle Ironmonger Co.  In the 1870s the restaurateur Mathew Wadell and Robert B Main helped to form the new company of Waddell and Main.  In 1884 Waddell left to concentrate on catering and Robert’s brother A P Main took his place.  In 1897 they amalgamated with Thomas Glover and Co, forming the parent company of Glover and Main Ltd.

1898:  Work began in February on the 10 acre Camelon site for the Gothic Foundry.   At the same time a 19 acre site was purchased at Edmonton.  Work on patterns started immediately.  The first stage included a large moulding shop of six roofs for 100 men, a dressing shop, passing shop, grinding and glazing shops, engine house, sand and coke stores, a pattern store and shop.  The loading shed besides the railway siding was over 200 ft long.  James Strang was the architect.  Demand was so high that the first cast was taken in October 1899 using a temporary cupola and temporary moulding shop whilst building work continued.

1900: Gothic Foundry started production and work was transferred from Glasgow.  Alex Bower, the manager, had learned his trade at Gowanbank Foundry.

Illus: Perspective Drawing of the Gothic Foundry with Glasgow Road in the foreground and the Midland Junction Railway at the back.

1903: A fire in the electro-plating and enamelling shop caused £1,000 worth of damage.  This was recovered from the insurance, but the loss of the dynamo meant that a number of men were put out of work for a short time.

1905: Alex Bowers died in September.

1900-1911: Additions in this period included an enamelling shop, electric shop, chimney stalk, paint and Berlin Black shop, and the plating shop was rebuilt.

1923: Robert B Chalmer, works manager, died.  He had been with the Company as an engineer since 1915.

1926: In December, the cupola exploded when part of a sea mine was put into it as scrap metal.  James Harrison was injured.

1947: Sections of the foundry closed due to lack of coal for fuel.  James R Duff, general manager.

1960: An explosion in the welding shop on 28th March killed Andrew Small.  He had been using aluminium spraying equipment. In September the press shop closed, 18 girls and 5 men were given work in other departments and 26 men were laid off.

1961: All 400 production staff went on a 4-day week for several months due to low orders.  Office and maintenance staff were unaffected.

1964: In February the company announced that the Falkirk foundry was to close and production concentrated on the Edmonton site in England.  650 people became redundant.

Later the site of the Wrangler jean factory.


  • 1901: 200
  • 1911: 350
  • 1913: 350
  • 1964: 650

G.B.Bailey, 2021