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Ballantine Bo'ness Iron Company Limited, Warehouse, Pattern Shop, Office and Caretakers Accommodation Only, Links Road and Stark's Brae, Bo'ness

A Category B Listed Building in Bo'Ness, Falkirk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0164 / 56°0'58"N

Longitude: -3.5983 / 3°35'53"W

OS Eastings: 300462

OS Northings: 681534

OS Grid: NT004815

Mapcode National: GBR 1S.STVV

Mapcode Global: WH5R2.P1RM

Entry Name: Ballantine Bo'ness Iron Company Limited, Warehouse, Pattern Shop, Office and Caretakers Accommodation Only, Links Road and Stark's Brae, Bo'ness

Listing Date: 2 December 2005

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398161

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50202

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Bo'Ness

County: Falkirk

Electoral Ward: Bo'ness and Blackness

Traditional County: West Lothian

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Description

1856 to 1877 with later alterations. 2 ranges of iron foundry with some classical detailing and linked by large sliding metal doors, fronting Links Road and Stark's Brae. Range to west (at NT 00511 81510): 2 storey, 12 bays, L-plan, stepped roofline and currently used as pattern shop, offices and caretakers accommodation. Range to east (at NT 00462 81534): 2-storey, 11 bays, rectangular-plan and currently used as warehouse. Predominantly harled brick with band course, cill course at 1st floor and dentilled eaves course. Some lined out render to corner section. Segmental-headed openings. Some openings at ground with boarded timber shutters and iron hinges. Irregular fenestration to Stark's Brae elevation (caretakers accommodation).

Variety of glazing styles. Predominantly multi-pane glazing to metal-framed windows of harled ranges (warehouse and pattern shop). Metal-framed casement windows at ground floor and non-traditional windows at 1st floor to south elevation of rendered corner section. Piended roof, predominantly corrugated material. Predominantly truncated, banded brick stacks to stepped west range and truncated cylindrical brick stack to rear of pattern shop.

The interiors of the warehouse, pattern shop and offices were seen in 2013. The warehouse and pattern shop have timber floors supported on slender cast-iron columns and some lifting equipment remains.

Statement of Interest

Ballantine Bo'ness Iron Company Limited is the only remaining iron foundry in Bo'ness and a very rare survival of a Victorian foundry in Scotland. The 2-storey, piended roof ranges are known to be the earliest surviving buildings on the New Grange Foundry site (as it appears on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map), and were constructed between 1856 and 1877. Unusually the warehouses and pattern shop have not been modernised internally and retain their original cast iron and timber structure, as well as some lifting fitments indicative of the function of these buildings. Fronting a principal street in the town these ranges make a significant contribution to the streetscape with good classical details such as the dentilled eaves course and cill course, and an important reminder of the town's industrial past, much of which has been demolished.

There have been at least six foundries in Bo'ness, however A Ballantine & Sons Ltd remains the only one with built elements surviving. Starting as a general iron foundry in the early 1820s it was formally established by 1856, since which time it has been in continuous production and owned by the Ballantine family. In 1987 the name was changed to Ballantine Bo'ness Iron Company Ltd. The company specialises in ornamental castings ranging from gates, railings and street furniture to bridges and bandstands. Their first contract was for seven miles of railings at Regent's Park in London. The company donated to Bo'ness a clock and lamp standard, situated in North Street and built Roman House at 26 Grange Terrace (see separate listings).

The 2-storey ranges facing Links Road and Stark's Brae are known to be the earliest surviving buildings of the foundry and may date from 1856 when the firm was established; however documents in Falkirk Archives suggest these buildings were completed in 1877. The ranges are not evident on the 1st edition OS Map, which was surveyed in 1854 and published 1856, but this area of Bo'ness was already associated with industry, with a gas and chemical works in the vicinity. The footprints of these buildings are first evident on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Map (1894-6). The harled ranges were originally exposed brick and were harled in the second half of the 20th century (Hume, 1976).

Bo'ness was an important sea port for hundreds of years and in the nineteenth century the town became well-known for its industry, which included shipping, shipbuilding, potteries and iron foundries. By the twentieth century there was a gradual decline in Bo'ness and the harbour closed to commercial traffic in the Second World War. Once famous for its industry there are few buildings related to these industries left now in Bo'ness.

From the foundation of the Carron Ironworks in 1759 to the heyday of iron ship building on the Clyde in the 19th century, iron has helped to transform industry in Scotland. Scotland became a world leader in both the smelting and founding of iron and as Scottish ores were particularly suitable for making fine castings Scotland established a reputation for decorative cast iron, 'providing iron street furniture, shop front and architectural embellishments for most of Scotland's towns and cities' as well as exporting internationally (HS Guide, p59).

Carron Iron Works (now demolished), was the first integrated coke-fired ironworks (HS Guide, p3) and provided the impetus to develop a light castings industry in central Scotland. Iron production significantly increased from the early 1830s because of increased demand, the introduction of the 'hot blast' method by James Beumont Neilson of Clyde Ironworks and the exploitation of blackband ironstone, (HS Guide p17). Central Scotland was the natural place for iron foundries because essential raw materials, such as water, iron ore and limestone were all readily available nearby and the large and heavy material could be easily transported to and from the foundries via good canal, sea and rail communications. At its peak between Bonnybridge and Bo'ness there were around 100 foundries and it was one of the most significant concentrations of the light-casting industry in the world. Prolific and internally known Scottish iron foundries, such as the Carron Company in Falkirk, George Smith & Co's Sun Foundry and W MacFarlane & Co. Ltd's Saracen Foundry both of Glasgow, have all long-since closed and only fragments of these sites remain.

List description and statutory address updated in 2013. Previously listed as 'Links Road, Ballantine Bo'ness Iron Company Limited, Links Road and Stark's Brae including Boundary Walls'.

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