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Work
Carron: Scotland's Forge

Carron Iron Works
© Scran
The catalyst for the development of the iron industries in the Falkirk area, as in many of the burgeoning industrial areas, was the arrival of the canal network. It was natural, that with its position between Scotland’s two main cities, Falkirk could not fail to have a canal beside it. The construction of the Forth and Clyde canal was authorised by a 1768 Act of Parliament and construction began the following year at Grangemouth, under the charge of engineer John Smeaton. This canal opened in 1790, connecting Falkirk with the rapidly growing commercial hub of Glasgow and, in 1822 the Union Canal opened, providing a link to Edinburgh.

The Carron works had actually been founded in 1760, but with the coming of the canal, Bo’ness, at the mouth of the River Carron, became a natural port to export the wares of the company to the rest of the nation and beyond and gave the Carron works a major opportunity to become a major player in the newly burgeoning iron industry.

The original founders of Carron were: John Roebuck, a doctor from Sheffield; his two brothers, Thomas and Ebenezer Roebuck; Samuel Garbet, a merchant from Birmingham; William Cadell, Senior, a merchant from Cockenzie, in East Lothian; William Cadell, Junior; and John Cadell. These visionary men realised that Falkirk had all the prerequisites for a successful ironworks: good local supplies of iron ore, coal for power and an easily controllable supply of water in the form of the River Carron.


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