Gartsherrie Ironworks, early 1830s

This print of "Gartsherry" (sic) Ironworks gives us a glimpse into the early evolution of both Lanarkshire's iron industry and its railways.

The group of buildings on the left is William Baird and Company's Gartsherrie Iron Works, at this stage with just two blast furnaces (the ridged structures). The earlier furnace resembles in shape much older charcoal-fired furnaces with it's square sloping sides and ore shed in front. The second furnace is of a new type, narrower and slightly conical. No.2 furnace would set the template for blast furnace design for decades to come. Behind it is what appears to be a casting house, roofless so presumably either under construction or being taken down to allow further expansion of the works. To the left of the furnaces is an ore shed served by a branch of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway with runs across the image. The railway had opened in 1826 with its first steam locomotives put into service in 1831, the year after the ironworks opened.

To the right we can see two of the mines which supplied coal for the ironworks, essential as a raw material in making iron and also for fuelling the steam engine that powered the blast. It was through coal mining that the Bairds, previously farmers, had made their fortune, giving them the capital to set up their ironworks.

Museum reference:
On display:
In Storage: Archives
Associated with:
William Baird and Co · Gartsherrie Road, Coatbridge, Scotland
Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway · Scotland
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