Govan Iron Works

Location type


Name and dates

Govan Iron Works (1839-1958)

Served by the Govan Iron Works Railway.
Open on the William Dixon Ltd.


This iron works, initially for bar iron, was established by William Dixon (Junior) at Hutchesontown in Glasgow to the south of the River Clyde. It was known as 'Dixon's Blazes'. It was built near the Govanhill Colliery (owned by Dixon's father) on the south bank of the River Clyde near Glasgow and the Port Eglinton Basin of the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal.

The Govanhill Colliery was already linked to the River Clyde by the Govan Waggonway but with the iron works now in development the heavier duty Polloc and Govan Railway was planned to link the iron works to the growing colliery, Port Eglinton Basin and Windmillcroft Quay.

Initially there were five blast furnaces.

By 1857, the layout of the works was:

South east - brickfields, coke ovens
South - Foundry (with moulding shop, fitting shops, pattern shop, boiler shop and smithy)
Centre - Malleable Iron Department (with large forges building and separate finishing shop building)
North - engine house and six hot blast furnaces, running east-west

In addition there was staff accommodation on site, the Alexander Row and Urrie's Rows.

The Polloc and Govan Railway was to the south of the works and approach was from the east at Polmadie Bridge. Further mineral lines (Govan Iron Works Railway) ran south under the railway and east to collieries at Govan and Rutherglen. Gushetfaulds Goods (a coal depot) was laid out nearby, just across Cathcart Road.

A Bessimer plant was installed here by Henry Bessemer.

By the early 1890s the malleable iron works portion had closed with the emphasis of the works now being the blast furnaces.

Following another rebuilding of the blast furnaces a range of modern coke ovens were laid out to the east of the furnaces.

Closure came in 1958 with demolition in the 1960s. The site became an industrial estate. Nothing now remains of this important works.

During preparation works for the extension of the M74 motorway the industrial estate was cleared and the remains of former internal railway lines were uncovered and recorded before the motorway construction across the southern part of the site.

There is now further construction over the northern part of the site.


Iron works


Dixon^s Blazes

External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

  /  /1837Govan Iron Works
William Dixon [Junior] opens the Govan Iron Works ('Dixon's Blazes'), for bar iron. It was built near the Govanhill Colliery on the south bank of the River Clyde near Glasgow and Port Eglinton Basin of the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal.
  /  /1845Clydesdale Junction Railway
Act receives Royal assent. The line was authorised from Glasgow, using the Polloc and Govan Railway to reach Hamilton with a branch to Motherwell [1st], the forks dividing at the later Newton station. The line would bring coal from pits in the Hamilton area, owned by the Dixons amongst others, to the Govan Iron Works. The Motherwell branch was authorised to not to be opened until the Caledonian Railway reached the Wishaw and Coltness Railway.
  /  /1872Govan Iron Works Railway
Dixon's Private Railway or Govan Iron Works Railway authorised to pass underneath the Polloc and Govan Railway on a new alignment (replacing an older alignment) west of Polmadie Shed, running from Govan Iron Works (north) to the colliery (south).
  /04/1873William Smith Dixon William Dixon Ltd
Forms limited liability company William Dixon Ltd with John Mann Thomson as chairman. Owns the Govan Iron Works and Calder Iron Works and various mines.
20/06/1904Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway
Westburn Junction to Kirkhill Junction opened to goods. This was probably largely opened to carry imported iron ore for Govan Iron Works (Dixon's Blazes) and the Clyde Iron Works.
  /  /1958Colvilles Ltd
Govan Iron Works ('Dixon's Blazes') closed.