No documented history has previously been compiled about the story of Greenfield Foundry, so following many days worth of work, I hope you enjoy my efforts. The Greenfield Foundry, later known as ‘Greenfield Foundry & Engineering Work’s was a former large iron foundry business located to the east of Springwell, Low Blantyre, at the boundary with Burnbank during the late 19th Century and into much of the 20thCentury. The foundry was fairly unique as it represented one of the only buildings that spanned two Parishes, parts of the business latterly on either side of the boundary.
However, it didn’t start off like that, its beginnings focused on the Burnbank side of the Park Burn boundary. It was the arrival of this business in the 1870’s, the nearby Robertson’s Aerated Mineral Water Factory, and sthe 1880’s inking of nearby Greenfield Collieries, that would help grow the detached Blantyre hamlet of Springwell, which prior to that was simply a farm and a couple of small houses.
In 1877, the year of the Blantyre disaster, Taylor & Henderson, ironfounders of Hamilton were the engineers and smiths who ran the business, “Taylor & Henderson Foundry”. Buying a plot of unused land, a field around 1 acre in size adjacent to the Parkburn, the partners construted a moderate sized foundry, where they intended to manufacture items, including rainwater goods, kitchen ranges, stoves, furnace pans, stable fittings, railing bars, balcony panels & general castings. The land was suitable as the railway spur to the south and Parkburn to west and north formed enclosures, protecting somewhat against intruders and theft.
The business first appears up and running in 1878, according to Naismith’s Directory. At that time, the manager of the foundry was Mr. James Dunlop of Springwell. The foundry was a private endeavour and it opened with the official name, “The Greenfield Foundry Company” and does not seem to be tied to the collieries, the name taken from the nearby Greenfield Farm, whose former land it had been built on.
It is said that the owners tried to do well by their employees and in 1880 they built the Greenfield Foundry Square, a row of 24 small, terraced homes for their workers to the north end of their site, immediately beside the ParkBurn. The homes were well built, but small, double storey (12 up, 12 down) with only one room and a kitchen in each. Small outdoor washhouses and toilets were located on the west side of the square and formed an enclosed perimeter separating the foundry to the south and west. Steps on the south elevation of the foundry house accessed upper storeys.
To the south of the square were the managers and office staff homes with private outdoors toilets at the back. Mr. Lachlan Taylor, one of the business owners who also owned nearby shops and another brass foundry, was fairly “hands on” and lived at 23 Foundry Square, in one of the manager’s homes.
Workers entered the foundry from Glasgow Road, the gated entrance to the foundry being straight ahead and the open entrance to foundry square homes leading off to the north. The premises consisted of the offices near the entrance, the main foundry located in the middle of the plot and workshops and pattern rooms at the far west.
From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road- The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017