Abstract

The industrial and residential expansion of south Glasgow from the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century onwards, required enormous volumes of dressed stone, paving, setts and bricks for building construction. Most quarries and clay pits dating from this period now lie buried beneath the modern urban Glasgow landscape, cut off from the scant documentary evidence of the quarrying and supply of these materials. Petrological and geochemical studies of the stone and construction bricks recovered from archaeological excavations of the remains of nineteenth-century buildings, carried out in advance of construction of the M74 completion project in Glasgow and south Lanarkshire, provide evidence of the locations from which these materials were extracted. The sites investigated comprise the locations of former industrial and domestic buildings. The results indicate that the raw materials for the bulk of the dressed stone and stock bricks were extracted from quarries and clay pits in underlying Upper Carboniferous strata in the Glasgow area. Four poor quality Upper Carboniferous ‘blonde’ sandstones from early nineteenth-century buildings are similar to variants described previously, but sources have not been identified. Better quality ‘Giffnock’ sandstones, derived from Upper Carboniferous–Upper Limestone Formation (Clackmannan Group) quarries south of Rutherglen and present in later buildings, demonstrate that the quarrying and supply of these sandstones became progressively more centralized, probably due to the expansion of the railway network. A more specialized set of worked stone materials (paving slabs, setts and roofing), recovered from nineteenth-century tenement blocks and a Mill Owner’s House, show that this group was brought in from further afield (Caithness and the West Highlands). Construction bricks have geochemical signatures comparable with those of the underlying Coal Measure mudstones. Analyses of bricks with known brick stamps provide a template with which to compare the geological fingerprints of earlier ‘1830–60’ unstamped stock bricks. Discriminant analysis matches many of these with early local brick manufacturers, although some remain ‘unknown’. The tradition of using local construction materials, first in freestone and then in construction bricks, demonstrates that the economic potential of the underlying Carboniferous strata was fully exploited both in an independent industry and in parallel with coal mining, fireclay and iron-ore extraction.

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