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Gaelic Gart is a field and Cos is a hollow -
so Gartcosh could be the field in the
In 1863 the
Gartcosh Fireclay Works was established by
the site where John G Russel had a container
base but is now a housing estate known as
Heathfield Park). Although mostly
concerned with firebrick manufacture,
during the early years its output was
much more varied, extending to garden
vases and pedestals, garden edges,
fountains, chimney cans, roof tiles,
cattle troughs, sewage pipes and other
products. It was one of a group of such
businesses in the area, with others at Cardowan, Garnkirk, Heathfield and
The village of Gartcosh owes its existence mainly to the steelworks that for so long dominated the local landscape. In the 1865 William Gray decided to take advantage of the railway and he started an Ironworks. The works were originally called Woodneuk Iron Works - it was probably built on the Woodneuk estate. William Gray was in partnership with Archibald and James Gray, all from Coatbridge. The firm who operated the ironworks were Grays and Watson. James Gray retired in 1865 but Archibald continued the partnership with William Watson.
In 1866 the works had 10 puddling furnaces, 2 heating furnaces and a rolling mill. However the firm got into difficulties and, in sequestration, was offered for sale at 4500 in November 1866. There were no takers but were re offered in 1867 and was bought by E & W Smith from Glasgow for 4250. The Smith brothers intended to exploit a new process for making steel from pig iron that had been invented by Robert Miller.
They formed the Gartcosh Iron & Steel Co. In 1871 this company went into sequestration and was taken over in 1872 by Smith & McLean under whose ownership it developed into an important steelworks. (Smith & McLean were merchants, manufacturers, galvanizers, steel and iron plate and sheet rollers. They owned Clyde Galvanizing Works at Mavisbank and Port Glasgow, the Iron & steel works at Milnwood and Gartcosh Rolling Mills and Iron & Steel Works.)
During the late 1890s and early 1900s Smith & McLean provided new brick-built houses for their workers in Lochend Road and plots immediately adjacent. Two of the terraces were named McLean Place and Smith Terrace, after the firm. To a large extent they were occupied by migrants from the Midlands of England, with a few from South Wales. Gartcosh was for many years notable for the number of English surnames in evidence.
Lochend Road and Hall
Gartcosh Steelworks eventually passed into the ownership of Colvilles Ltd, who opened a cold reduction steel strip mill at Gartcosh in 1963, in conjunction with their larger operation at Ravenscraig, near Motherwell. Despite a high-profile campaign to save it, Gartcosh Strip Mill was eventually closed by the British Steel Corporation in 1986. By that date the former Smith 8s McLean houses in Lochend Road had already gone, replaced by a new housing development in the Mowbray Avenue/Eastgate vicinity.
In the early 1870s warrants were issued for the arrest of a number of workers, at Gartcosh, for desertion of service. It appeared they had gone on strike because the owners had stopped the beer cart from delivering the usual supplies to the men. They had instead sent two barrels of sour milk!
By 1930 Colvilles had acquired the majority of ordinary shares in Smith & McLean Ltd. By 1953 they had acquired the whole share capital. In conjunction with their strip mill at Ravenscraig, Colvilles set up a cold reduction steel mill which went into production in January 1963.
By 1986 British Steel had closed the Gartcosh Steelworks.
In May 2005, Gartcosh railway station was built at a cost of approximately 3m. The station is on the line which is served by Glasgow's Queen Street Station to the West and by Falkirk to the North-east.
Lochend Road- Gartcosh C1900
the Old Co-op shop in late 1970s