Jones and Campbell

Larbert Ironfounders

James Jones

Jones and Campbell’s Torwood Foundry, whose partners were James Jones (pictured) the sawmill owner, and Dermont Campbell, the former cashier of Dobbie, Forbes and Co., was ceremoniously opened on the afternoon of Tuesday 10th February 1888. After the cupola furnace was tapped by young Tom Bruce Jones, the guests all adjourned to the Commercial Hotel where dinner was served. At first, the foundry consisted of two brick buildings, which stood at an angle to each other. One of the buildings was a moulding shop, catering for twenty workmen, the other, a two-storey building, 45 feet by 33 feet. In the latter, the ground floor was used as a fitting shop (drilling, grinding and other machinery), whilst upstairs there was a pattern shop and a warehouse. The masonry work of the buildings was carried out by John Reid of Larbert, who was also responsible for the front office building at Carron Works. A cupola was erected for smelting purposes, and was fed coke and pig iron by a crane. A “Schiele” fan connected to the neighbouring (Jones’s) sawmill engine, conveyed a powerful blast via a twelve inch pipe to the two tuyeres in the cupola. Later on, the premises were expanded to the opposite side of what became known as Foundry Loan.

Early products included the Rosebery, Tor and Rob Roy ranges as well as stoves and fireplace work. In the early hours of the 4th October 1911, a disastrous fire occurred at the foundry. The grinding and engineering departments (the second building described above) were completely destroyed, and the fire even spread to Jones’s woodyard. When daylight came, the extent of the damage could be seen. Girders were twisted and bent by the heat, and grinding wheels and tons of red hot metal were strewn everywhere.

As a result of the fire, between 30 and 40 men, principally fitters and grinders, were made idle. By 1913, the number of employees was 300. Dermont Campbell died in 1914, and his place as a Director was filled by his son, Donald. During the 1st World War, the Company was asked to supply grenade and trench bomb cases and more. Employment was gradually built up after the war and new appliances brought out. By 1929, one year after the death of James Jones, 500 people were employed making solid fuel ranges, water heaters, pipes and gutters. At the time, the Belle portable range was the main line. During the 2nd World War, Jones and Campbell again supplied the Ministry of Supply and the War Department with stoves and ranges as well as artillery shells, despite the difficulties of staff shortages, as many of their workforce were serving in the armed forces. This was the busiest period in the company’s history. After the war, production continued on ranges, pipes and gutters and gas cookers, the latter produced nearby by a subsidiary of Jones & Campbell called the Scottish Enamelling Company Ltd. In the 1960s, castings were made for Albion Motors and BMC amongst others. Jones and Campbell outlasted most of their competitors in the Falkirk District, but inevitably succumbed to closure in the Spring of 2003, leaving 250 people unemployed.

Small stove designed to be used in an air raid shelter. Manufactured by Jones & Campbell of Larbert. The stove can be seen in the Grangemouth Heritage Centre. Photo: Charles Taylor

Brian Watters (2006)