J. & A. Law

Iron work contractors

J. & A. Law of Glasgow, general ironfounders, were established by James (c. 1810–1887) and Alexander Law (c. 1822–1881), joiner's sons from Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire. Both had practical experience as moulders and followed the example of their ironfounder brother John, who had set up the firm of John Law & Co., by establishing their own business at Port Dundas around 1851. 1 From 1858, they ran the Rae Street Foundry, and later added Pinkston Foundry (built 1871; extended 1877 and 1891). 2 Work around this time included supplying the ironwork for North Woodside Free Church (Corrie & Craig, 1875) in Raeberry Street, Glasgow. 3

James Law retired in late 1878 to his home in Lenzie, named 'Pinkston Villa', and other relatives, including his brother David and later their sons, continued the firm. Their activities in the mid-1880s included brassfounding, iron casting and metallic enamelling. 4 The partnership was restructured in 1901 by John, James and John Junior, probably children of the original Law brothers. The firm continued until voluntary liquidation in 1961, and was finally wound up in 1963. 5

The attitude to workplace conduct at Laws' foundries appeared in the press: in 1874 they sought to recruit a grinder, with the proviso 'no grievance in shop', suggesting either union activity was prohibited or that work relations were good and activism unnecessary; a decade later, they attempted to establish discipline by fining youths for playing during working hours, but a court ruled against such financial penalties. 6


1: Death and census information, www.ancestry.co.uk and www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 20 June 2012]; Glasgow Post Office directories, 1848–53.

2: John R. Hume, Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow, Glasgow and London: Blackie, 1974, p. 169, no. C70; Glasgow Post Office directories, 1857–60.

3: Glasgow Herald, 17 May 1875, p. 4.

4: Edinburgh Gazette, 14 February 1879, p. 155; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1880–1, 1885–6.

5: Edinburgh Gazette, 19 July 1901, p. 816; Edinburgh Gazette, 19 December 1961, p. 787; 6 September 1963, p. 626.

6: Birmingham Daily Post, 9 September 1874, p. 8; Glasgow Herald, 14 February 1884, p. 6.