Portdownie Ironworks

Walker Turnbull & Co                        1875-1884

Walker, Hunter & Co                          1884-1950

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

Sites & Monuments Record

Portdownie IronworksSMR 1058NS 866 799


The ironworks was originally built in Camelon by Crosthwaite, Miller and Company in 1845 as the Camelon Foundry.  Around 1872 this firm, now known as Smith, Fullarton and Company, moved to the new Camelon Foundry down the canal bank at Bleachfield.

1875: The old foundry was purchased by Alexander Walker, an Edinburgh glass merchant, William Mathew a Glasgow merchant, with him Andrew J. Turnbull and George Turnbull established the firm of Walker, Turnbull and Co.   The name of the works was changed to Portdownie Iron Works.

1883: Products consisted entirely of ranges and Berlin black stoves, including Shaw’s patent range, Kinnaird and Simplex.

1884: Andrew Turnbull died and George Turnbull retired.  Thereafter Robert Hunter from Carron Co became managing director, with himself and Alexander Walker as partners.

1895: New showroom.

1896: Purchased the adjacent site of the old Union Foundry.  The road that ran between the two foundries was transferred to the east side of the Union Foundry and the works amalgamated.    Over the following years the firm extended the moulding shop and built a new grinding and polishing mill built on the site.  The mill could accommodate 18 grinding stones and 12-15 double polishing machines.  Walker Hunter & Co formed into a limited liability company.

1900-11: Additions in this period included Berlin Black stores and an extension to the offices.

1924: Hunter died.  Alexander Walker’s son John became manager.

1928: A three-storey brick and steel building covering 1,800 square feet erected at a cost of £30,000.

1930: John Walker died.

1940-45: Site used as a goods store and by Cork and Seal to make plastic buttons for the army.

1950: Closed


  • 1879: 100
  • 1890: 200
  • 1892: 200
  • 1901: 240
  • 1911: 240
  • 1913: 200
Illus: The last buildings of the Portdownie Works used by Cork & Seal in the Second World War.

G.B. Bailey, 2021