Falkirk’s own shipping line to be discussed at West Lothian History Society meeting

The next speaker at the West Lothian History and Amenity Society is recently retired Falkirk Council keeper of archaeology and local history – Geoff Bailey.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 1:00 pm
Carron company crest on 'Forth', the last ship built for Carron Shipping Company.
Carron company crest on 'Forth', the last ship built for Carron Shipping Company.

His talk is entitled ‘Ploughing the Seas: the story of the Carron Line. The shipping line was an offshoot of the famous Carron Iron Works at Falkirk, which, by 1814, with its 1,000 employees, was the largest iron works in the whole of Europe.

The firm aimed to control the whole supply chain of its products, from the raw materials to the consumer.

To this end, it owned its own coal and ironstone mines, railways, a shipping line, and shops.

It’s a story which includes privateers, heroism, disasters, ships, bad weather and perseverance – and all to get the goods to market.

The talk takes place on Wednesday, November 17 at 7.30pm, in the Chalmers Hall, Linlithgow Bridge. All are welcome. If you would like to join the society, head along on the night, or email [email protected]

There is a strong Linlithgow connection to the Carron Company: one of the other founding partners of the ironworks that became the Carron Company was William Cadell, an East Lothian merchant and industrialist.

He later became a coal and ironmaster at Cramond, and then at Grange near Bo’ness. His descendants built the present house of Grange on the Linlithgow side of Bonnytoun hill, and live there still.