KW-14 Lion Foundry

Kirkintilloch’s excellent transport links in the form of the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway meant that it was the ideal spot for foundries. Coal could be transported to the foundries by the canal, and finished products could be taken away by rail.

There were many foundries in Kirky. The first, the Kirkintilloch Foundry was opened in the 1830s, just south of the Luggie Aqueduct. This foundry mainly made railway castings. It closed in the 1890s.
In 1861 the Star Foundry opened on Southbank Road. The foundry was later bought by the firm Cameron and Roberton and renamed the Southbank Iron Works, but local continued to call it the Star Foundry. This foundry functioned for 120 years, mainly making ‘rainwater goods’ such as drainpipes.

The Basin or Etna Foundry opened at the canal basin on Southbank Road in 1872. This foundry produced kitchen ranges.

Probably the best known of Kirkintilloch’s Foundries, the Lion Foundry, opened in 1880. They produced ornamental ironwork, such as gates, railings and lampposts. By the start of the 20th Century they were best known for bandstands, shelters, verandahs and architectural work such as building fronts. From the mid-twentieth century the Lion Foundry moved to producing more utilitarian products such as the K6 and K8 telephone kiosks used by BT. When ordered for phone boxes plummeted the business failed and the Lion foundry closed its doors in 1984.

Kirkintilloch’s only surviving foundry is Archibald Young Ltd, which opened in 1959. Archibald was the manager of the Forth & Clyde Steel Foundry, but left to set up his own business. Archibald Young make technical pieces for the marine industry from copper based aluminium and iron alloys.

Next Tale on the Trail: The Luggie

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