Caledonian Pottery Ltd.

The Caledonian Pottery factory was in production in Rutherglen from 1872 to 1929 and is now considered to be of national significance due to the variety of its products, its massive output, and its extensive international export trade.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Caledonian Pottery and its ‘Ru’glen Broon’ teapots were famous all over the world but, after the factory closed in 1929, this flagship factory lay buried and largely forgotten.

Then, in 2007-2008, the factory site was excavated as part of the M74 Completion Project. In one of the biggest single excavation projects in Europe, a team of archaeologists investigated a number of sites along the proposed route of the motorway. The Caledonian Pottery was one of the three largest sites to be excavated and revealed industrialised pottery production on a massive scale. It also revealed evidence for the first continuous gas-fired kilns anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUTHERGLEN. Caledonian Pottery. The “Caledonian Pottery” at Rutherglen, near Glasgow, was established at Glasgow about 1780 by a joint stock company, and from the company was acquired, about 1825, by the grandfather and father of the present head of the firm of Murray and Co., by whom the manufactory is carried on.

 

In 1870 the works were removed from Glasgow to Rutherglen, about a couple of miles from that city. At first fine porcelain and china were made ; then cream-coloured printed ware, with Rockingham and salt-glazed wares. In 1851 the demand sprang up for stoneware ale and other bottles, and this has become one of the staple trades of Glasgow and the surrounding district. The goods now produced are the usual classes of ” Bristol ” glazed stoneware, salt-glazed stoneware, cane ware, and Rockingham and Egyptian black wares. In these classes of goods all the usual domestic articles are very extensively made, both for the home and continental markets.

 

The quality produced is much above the average in excellence, and the goods of this firm are in much repute. A speciality of Messrs. Murray and Co. is their patent ” spongy iron filter ” which has been officially recommended by Royal Commission and has been awarded a medal. It is one of the most perfect and useful of filters, and its principle of construction is thoroughly good. The mark used by Murray and Co. is a lion rampant

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Above, the Caledonian Pottery works photographed around 1912.

Image credit: South Lanarkshire Museum Service.

The photograph shows the three-storey main pottery building, and, behind it, the rows of kilns surrounding the large square chimney which removed fumes from the kilns.

Below, Heritage Society photographs of some Caledonian Pottery products and of the M74 excavations.

Caledonian Pottery bottles
Caledonian Poeery excavations
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Caledonian Pottery excavations
Caledonian Pottery excavations
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