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Parkhead Forge

Glasgow City Archives, Deposited Collections

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Keywords: armaments, engineering, First World War, forges, industries, iron, ironworks, marine engineering, market halls, markets, munitions, Parkhead Forge, retail parks, Second World War, shipbuilding, shopping centres, steel, steelworks, The Forge, warships, William Beardmore & Co

An aerial view from the north-west of the vast iron and steel works of William Beardmore & Co at Parkhead Forge, 1950.

Parkhead Forge was established by Reoch Brothers & Co c 1837 and acquired by Robert Napier in 1841 to make forgings and iron plates for his shipyard. William Beardmore became a partner in the business in the 1860s and was joined by his brother and son, William Jr, who became sole partner and then founded William Beardmore & Co in 1886. By 1896 the works covered an area of 25 acres and was the largest steelworks in Scotland, specialising in the manufacture of armaments and armour plate for warships.

Parkhead Forge was a major employer in the East End, the number of workers reaching a peak of over 20,000 during the First World War. There was a slump during the 1920s and 1930s, a revival during the Second World War and then more hard times as the world-wide demand for warships and armaments declined. The Parkhead Forge finally closed in 1976. The Forge shopping centre was later built on the site, opening in 1988 and subsequently joined by a retail park and a market hall.

Reference: Glasgow City Archives, TD1271/2/164

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning



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