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OLD GLASGOW FILMS
MEMORIES OF DIXONS IRONWORKS

BLANCH TINNEY

14/10/2013

Dixon’s Ironworks I remember the big, all the flames coming out and if you were naughty when you were little you were told you would go to the bad fire, and when you were young you listened to anything you were told. So, and of course you kind of looked at it, you didn’t know what it was, not when you were little anyway, that was it, that was the bad fire.

Dixon’s Blazes that’s what they called it, and they made big steam engines….

http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/projects/m74-completion/m74-dig/govan-iron-works  

..and they were huge, when you stand at the side of a road and you are level with them and their coming along, their massive! You know you’re sort of looking up, they were enormous big things, lovely things, beautiful things, you wonder how, I don’t know how to put this, I wonder how folk could build things like that.

Because you know they were so solid and strong, but that was Dixon’s Blazes. They used to cross into the railway yard where they were filled up with hot coal with the wee, don’t know what you would have called them, the wee shunting things going backwards and forwards, had two wheels, the big thing at the back of the engine that held the coal.

It wasn’t a trailer, this was part of it, it was just like a big coal bunker on the train where it must have had a wee peep hole thing that you could shovel into the engine. It didn’t keep you awake all night because you were used to it.

CROSSING AT POLMADIE ROAD

They had two big swing arms, you could use it like a see-saw, if you were at that end and I was at that end, it would go like that. It just seemed to be on one pivotal thing and when there was an engine coming they closed it off. One arm went down to keep people from, well, traffic from coming up and the other arm came to stop them from coming down, much like a level crossing except there was two of them. It just went like that with the railway line in between.

THEY CALLED IT THE BAD FIRE

That was just what my gran used to say you would go to the bad fire, you know, if you were misbehaving and of course you saw this, this wasn’t something you could imagine, this was something you saw and it was just like it was there.
If it wasn’t there you could think, Uch! No bother, but you saw this big flames filling up the whole place, it was a huge thing.
I don’t know, you thought they would have had a chimney of some kind, it didn’t seem like that.

REMEMBER HOW BRIGHT IT WAS-IT LIT UP THE SKY

Filled up the whole, I mean it filled the sky up, it was flames it wasn’t sort of smoke or anything, it was like red and flames like you see in your fireplace. All I know was it filled up the sky, and I don’t even know how they managed during the war years with it, cause a landmark, had to be.    

It was a big work, when they had the Alcan Foil, Dunn and Moore, they had a saw mill there did they not.

Must have employed loads of folk, I mean it was an engineering place, it was big. Maybe with the, as you say, the entrance being at the other end you must remember we worked from the back end of Polmadie Road and up to Batson Street, I think Grandma stayed in Govanhill we were sort of round the back of it rather than at the front at Aikenhead Road maybe where the entrance was.

WOULD YOU THINK IT WOULD BE SAFE TO SAY THAT DIXON'S WAS KIND OF LIKE, SIMILAR TO WHAT THE SHIPYARDS WOULD BE IN GOVAN, FOR GORBALS ?

Yes, yes, the Railway was, I say it was a huge employer that, and the Cleansing, because the Cleansing burned things it wasn’t just collecting things and taking to the coup. They had two great big chimneys, they burned things and it was more or less, which was very handy, they had more or less the ashes. See if how your so isolated in the winter months, the ground, ashes were scattered everywhere, they had probably the people to do it.
But the roads and pavements, it was the Cleansing work that you got it from, don’t think they burn now do they?

SO IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT ONE OF YOUR YOUNGEST MEMORIES OF DIXON'S WOULD BE GETTING USED AS A WARNING YOUR GOING GO TO THE BAD FIRE ?

Threatened !! You saw it, it was something that you heard about, heaven and you heard about hell, and that was the bad fire. I mean it was sitting in the corner of the street, there was no reason to argue with anybody. I know it sounds daft now that your adults, but when your little and passing by, you never think about it, that’s the whole thing about it, and it was, it seemed to be there for as long as I can remember.

BASICALLY THE RECORDS SAID IT CHANGED HANDS A FEW TIMES BUT IT DID CEASE, IT SHUT DOWN IN 1960.
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