Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Carron Iron-works

Carron Iron-works, a seat of vast iron manufacture in Larbert and Falkirk parishes, Stirlingshire, on the river Carron, 1¾ mile NNW of Falkirk, and 2¾ miles W of Grangemouth. The establishment was founded in 1760 by Dr Roebuck of Sheffield, and, on his selling out in 1773, received a charter of incorporation, by which its capital was fixed at £150,000- Long famous as the greatest foundry in Britain, it still, though surpassed in extent by some other works of its kind, continues unrivalled in the production of numerous kinds of iron goods. It was for some time closely identified with the manufacture of cannon and shot; it originated and brought to perfection the kind of ordnance called from it ` carronades; ' it all along manufactured also agricultural implements and articles of domestic iron-work, of smith-work, and of machinery; it ceased in 1852 to produce implements of war; and it now is engaged mainly in the production of stoves, grates, cooking-ranges, boilers, pots, rain-pipes, and similar articles. The works are very extensive; they employ 2500 hands on principles of division of labour, and on terms which range between 15s. and 24s. a week; they include 4 blast or smelting furnaces, 4 cupola-furnaces, 20 air furnaces, a splendid beam-engine with cylinder 6 feet in diameter, boring cylinders, grinding mills, and other appliances; and, together with the smaller Almond Works in Linlithgowshire, they made 41,343 tons of pig-iron in 1878, and 29,814 tons in 1879. To a stranger approaching them under shade of night, they present a very curious and striking appearance. The sky above them red with a fiery light, the roaring of huge bellows, the rush of water, and the resounding clang of weighty hammers on great anvils suggest to the imagination Vulcan and the Cyclopes busied with fashioning thunderbolts. Two kinds of iron ore are used, the one a decomposed hæmatite, the other an argillaceous ironstone, and are blended in such proportions and worked in such a manner as to yield an iron equal, if not superior, to the best imported from Russia. The company hold and work for themselves extensive mines of iron ore, coal, and limestone, owning property in nine parishes of the county to the annual value of £8890; they bring in the raw material by a railway which approaches close to the furnaces; they have also a canal, extending from the centre of the works to Grangemouth; they possess about 16 canal boats, and 6 magnificent screw-vessels which sail from Grangemouth; and they have, as dependencies of their works and mines, the villages of Carron, West Carron, Carronshore, Stenhousemuir, Cuttyfield, and Larbert. Important alterations, by which a large additional space would be gained for new workshops, were undertaken in 1880, at an estimated cost of £100,000. The main entrance is now surmounted by a clock-tower, bearing the Carron arms, crossed cannon, with the motto Esto Perpetua. A U.P.. church, Early English in style, and containing 540 sittings, was erected (1880-81) at a cost of £2000; and a school, with accommodation for 216 children, had (1880) an average day and evening attendance of 178 and 56, and grants of £184 and £28,14s. There is also a friendly society connected with the works, with over 700 members; and a co-operative store has been in existence for upwards of 50 years. Among episodes in Carron's history may be noticed James Watt's connection with Dr Roebuck, the visits of the future Emperor Nicholas (1821) and the Prince of Wales (1859), and Burns's fruitless tirling at the door one Sunday, as told in his verses inscribed on a window of Carron inn. See chap. xxxviii. of Nimmo's Stirlingshire (3d ed. 1880).

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a seat"   (ADL Feature Type: "residential sites")
Administrative units: Falkirk ScoP       Stirlingshire ScoCnty
Place: Carron

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