INDUSTRY

Probably the oldest of the traditional industries to succeed in Bridgeton and Dalmarnock was coalmining. The Dalmarnock tollhouse collected toll on coal waggons going to Glasgow from the Rutherglen pits, but coal was also mined fairly extensively in the areas themselves from early times, witness the revenues allowed to Lady Walkinshaw in 1715.

 

14) Handloom Weaver.

 

Earlier business ventures depended on a nearby river or stream for the power it could generate and the water required in their processes. Dalmarnock was particularly attractive because of its extensive river frontage and its proximity to Glasgow. It was along the banks of the Clyde that some of the first works were established. In addition, Bridgeton and Dalmarnock offered large areas of undeveloped land while Glasgow was starved of such a resource.

One of the first large enterprises was the Dalmarnock Turkey Red Works at Papillon St (later French St) established c. 1785. Turkey Red was a secret, new dyeing process introduced into the country by George Macintosh (of waterproof fame) and a Frenchman named Pierre Papillon. The works were later taken over by Henry Monteith - the Barrowfield Dyeworks - and remained in that family until 1873. It was this Monteith who became Lord Provost of Glasgow and had Monteith Row named after him. Another personality involved in this works was David Dale. One of the original Bridgeton streets was named after him.

Glasgow had accumulated a great deal of capital from many immensely successful years in the tobacco trade. Bridgeton's foundation coincided with the American War of Independence and the subsequent collapse of the tobacco trade. Entrepreneurs sought other ventures in which to invest and the one they determined upon was cotton. Textile trades had existed for many years, creating an available skilled workforce. The merchants arranged for the importation of raw cotton and as the 19th century dawned the new business grew and initially provided a good living for the workers in hand-loom weaving - a trade largely conducted in the workers' own homes.

Mechanisation in cotton-spinning encouraged the establishment of large mills, but with the introduction of steam power a boom in the building of spinning and weaving mills occurred. No longer dependent upon water power, they could also locate further away from rivers. Associated trades such as dyeworks and bleachworks also thrived. The latter required large areas of land for the natural bleaching of the cotton products by sunlight before the invention of a bleaching agent. When this compound was introduced, the last of the open green areas vanished beneath brick and stone.

 

15) Bridgeton from Rutherglen c.1850.

 

Within a few decades Bridgeton was practically submerged beneath the buildings of the new industry and the housing for the workforce. In the 1830s Bridgeton still had over 2,000 hand-loom weavers but the great influx of people seeking work had resulted in a drastic drop in their wages. The cotton industry thrived until the 1850s then faltered due to increased competition and few new mills were built after this time. The death knell of the new enterprise was again rung out by America. Cotton from the southern states had become a substantial portion of imports and with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860 this source was cut off. The many mills and sheds which had been constructed did not go to waste however, for the industrial base had continued to expand into a bewildering range of products. The empty premises provided ready made and much needed accommodation for the new businesses to grow.

The environment of the once clean and pleasant village was devastated. The smoke pall from the towering forest of chimneys killed many trees on Glasgow Green. Crystal clear burns were turned into open drains. One burn which ran past Hussey's Mill in Dale St was renamed the Tarry Ditch because tar from gas production at the mill was allowed to run straight into the water. It was during this time, with the Industrial Revolution in full, barely controlled spate, that those wealthy enough to do so fled the area for the still open lands to the west of Glasgow. the ordinary folk were obliged to remain and make do as best they could.

Industrial growth continued as did the need for land and even more rural Dalmarnock was swallowed up. Houses and factories were crowded in a press which created quite abject conditions in some areas, as Bridgeton and Dalmarnock became a powerhouse of the British Empire's Second City.

The textile trades did not die out. The skills were transferred to the carpet weaving business and by the end of the 19th century the names of companies such as Templeton's and Lyle's were famous.

 

16) The Templeton disaster. On November, 1889 during its construction, the elaborate facade facing Glasgow Green collapsed killing 29 women in the sheds beneath.

 

Campbeltown born James Templeton (1802-83) opened his first Glasgow factory in King St (now Redan St) in 1839 after having obtained a patent on the production technique for a Chenille carpet. After initial financial difficulties the firm thrived. Indeed, only two years later the venture was famous enough to have provided the carpet used at the baptism of the infant who became Edward VII. When gas became available locally in 1843, gas lighting was installed. On Christmas Day, 1856 a weaver accidentally started a fire when using his gas burner, and the factory was destroyed. Perhaps the workforce should have been given that day off! In January, Templeton bought the McPhail cotton mill sited in William St (later Templeton St) which had been built in c. 1823. This proved to be a nucleus around which grew an ever expanding and successful company which by 1959 had not only outgrown its original site, but had spread throughout Bridgeton with factories in Crownpoint Rd, Kerr St, Brookside St, Tullis St and Fordneuk St.

 

17) This row of ten weaving sheds was built in David St in c.1862 for George Grant & Sons, cotton spinners and weavers. These sheds are typical of those which blanketed Calton, Bridgeton and Dalmarnock in the heyday of the trade.

 

In the late 1970s Templeton's and Lyle's were absorbed by larger firms and ceased carpet production in Bridgeton. the various factories still standing are used for other purposes. The main Templeton complex was acquired by the Scottish Development Agency and opened in 1982 as the Templeton Business Centre. The central factory area was cleared, including the remnants of McPhail's old mill, and the other buildings converted to offer a variety of small business offices and workshops. The ornamental facade, which was built to a design based on the Doge's Palace in Venice, remains an east end landmark. Templeton's name is also commemorated in a small area of parkland at the junction of Tobago St and London Rd, which was originally set aside for the use of retired employees.

 

18) Hand loom weavers in Templeton's Tullis St factory towards the end of the 19th century, producing Chenille Axminster carpets.

 

Besides the textile trades, there were many other businesses the variety and scale of which were truly remarkable. Sir William Arrol's extensive Dalmarnock Works at Dunn St were founded in 1872. From its beginnings in boiler making, the firm later became renowned for its achievements in the field of structural engineering. Amongst the many bridges constructed throughout Britain were the Forth Rail and Road Bridges and London's Tower Bridge. One of the cranes completed by the company in 1920 for the North British Diesel Engine Works in South St is the Quayside Titan which has been protected by being given listed status. Sadly, Arrols closed as recently as 1986.

 

19) John Lyle & Co was founded by Templeton' first foreman who left that company in 1853. The Fordneuk St factory shown here was one of several in Mile-End centring around Broad St.

 

20) As land became more scarce many small workshops utilised the space in the tenement backlands and provided services direct to the local community. Access to these businesses was usually via a pend. This small building complex was situated behind the tenement in Heron St shown in photo 63 and housed a bakery which supplied local shops with its produce.

 

21) The Milanda bakery was situated in the now-gone Wesleyan St. Small bakeries could no longer meet the demands made upon them in the 19th century, and this led to the building of factories for the purpose. This factory was built in 1880 for John MacFarlane & Sons to make bread, and later biscuits, and was known as the Victoria Bread & Biscuit Works. It was destroyed by fire in 1975 like so many other buildings in Bridgeton in the 1970s.

 

22) In the 19th century the transportation of goods and people depended literally on horse-power. Huge numbers of horses were required for the smooth functioning of an increasingly complex society, and they required to be fed and stabled. Stables large and small abounded. This small granary and stable in Boden St was built in 1890, with the dwelling house itself built for a cartage contractor in 1873.

 

Before moving to their famous Clydebank base in 1884, Singer manufactured their sewing machines in James St from 1869. This was the first location outside of the United States where Singer produced the complete machine. The factory stood at the south-west corner of Landressy St and James St.

 

 

23) An advert used by Mavor & Coulson's during the period when it installed electrical equipment.

 

One firm which has been in Bridgeton for almost a century is Anderson Tunnelling in Broad St, a division of the Anderson Group, formerly Anderson Strathclyde. It was founded in 1881 and specialised in electrical engineering, inaugurating the first public electricity supply in the country for Glasgow Corporation. Premises were opened in Orr St in 1892, where the old Olympia Cinema now stands, before the entire operation moved to the Broad St factory in 1897. At that time the company was known as Mavor & Coulson Ltd. Its work extended abroad and included the wiring and lighting of the world's largest woollen mill near St Petersburg. It was also one of the first British companies to resume trading with Russia after the 1917 Revolution - not a popular decision to make at that time! Mavor & Coulson also pioneered coal-cutting machinery and were innovators in the field of mine-working equipment. It is in this latter line of work, with various diversifications, that Anderson Tunnelling have continued to excel.

 

24) Mavor & Coulson also aided in development of the armoured car.

 

A company which has been in Dalmarnock for many years is Begg, Cousland & Co. Ltd. in Springfield Road. This wire-weaving factory was built from 1881 on part of the lands of Springbank. During its history the firm provided products for a wide variety of purposes. It manufactured special wire for Lord Kelvin when he conducted his experiments in electricity at Glasgow University, and provided materials for Clyde-built shipping, including the Queen Mary.

 

25) Cotton Spinning Mills, 101, Carstairs St. built 1884-89.

 

26) The Eagle Pottery at Boden Street, founded 1869, demolished 1989.

 

Dalmarnock seems to have attracted an inordinate scale of public utility provision, taking up a large area of land. The water supply was the first utility to be taken over by the Corporation for the benefit of the citizens. At the turn of the 19th century water was still largely drawn from the river, burns, springs, public and private wells and pumps. The increase in demand caused by the growth of industry and population resulted in the establishment of the Glasgow Water Works Company in 1806 off Springfield Rd. The water was drawn from the still relatively clean upper reaches of the Clyde at this point for sale to those who could afford it. Due to the pollution of the lower reaches of the river, the Cranstonhill Company moved its operation to Dalmarnock in 1819, and eventually these two companies united in 1838 despite municipal opposition.

 

27) Gas holders at Swanston St.

 

There were problems with the private water supply. Water was not constantly available - the supply was actually cut off at a certain time each night. This was particularly dangerous in the event of an outbreak of fire. Epidemics of typhus and cholera had hit the city hard in 1832 and increased the municipal resolve to provide an abundant source of pure water. With the later excavations for the gasworks gasometers, many local springs and wells went dry. This exacerbated an already deteriorating situation. The Corporation eventually took over responsibility for supply and with the historic introduction of the Loch Katrine supply in 1860 the Dalmarnock works were closed.

In 1843 the City & Suburban Gas Co. was built on part of Morgan's Farm, which has been continuously occupied by the gas industry for the 146 years since. The site was extended in 1856 and 1871 to supply the ever growing demand for its product. The company was acquired by the Corporation in 1869 and by the time of its closure in 1904 it produced 7 million cubic feet of gas daily. Other works had been built which rendered Dalmarnock unnecessary, but demand grew to such an extent that it was re-opened in 1911. The works were later nationalised but gas production finally ceased in 1956. Three gasholders once dominated the skyline, but only one remains. Part of the site is still used for other industry-related operations, and part is given over to housing at Finnart Square.

Sewage disposal is an unsavoury topic, but its efficient disposal is fundamental to the good health of any community. Disposal was very primitive in the early 19th century. Bridgeton is described as having but one sewer which ran from the middle of Main St down to Rutherglen Bridge. Many forms of waste were simply discarded into the streets, river and burns and as such constituted a health hazard. As the number of people grew, so did the dangers of disease. At times the Clyde itself was so badly polluted it was basically an open sewer. Provision

remained grossly inadequate until the Caledonian Railway Company obtained permission to construct tunnels beneath the streets for its new lines. Since the Company offered to reconstruct the sewers, the Corporation was more than willing to agree as it was thereby relieved of spending the money to remedy the situation itself. Consequently, as part of the project, the Dalmarnock Sewage Works opened in 1894 and has continued in operation ever since.

 

28) Dalmarnock Power Station from the opposite bank of the Clyde.

 

The great challenge to gas came of course from electricity. The Corporation was authorised to supply electricity in 1890. By 1910 it needed to expand its generating capacity and purchased 11 acres of land next to the river in Dalmarnock for the construction of a new station. The Dalmarnock Power Station was eventually commissioned in two stages, in 1920 and 1926, with various extensions in later years. It too became a victim of the bulldozers and the site now lies vacant.

The upheavals of the 1970s saw a great many famous companies depart and Bridgeton and Dalmarnock shared the fate of other inner city areas with the decline of traditional industries. It was hoped that the Glasgow Eastern Area Renewal project would encourage more companies into the district, and for this purpose the Scottish Development Agency built many new workshop units, in Nuneaton St for example. The success of this goal is debatable and unemployment in the area remains at one of the highest levels nationally. Where GEAR has been more conspicuously successful is in housing.