Tradeston Engine Shop to the West Indies


Walking Tour

Bench by the river Junction of Clyde Place/Commerce Street (opp. Remnant Kings) G5 8AQ


You may know Tradeston [MW1] from the motorways that zip past the south side of the Clyde. Now take a closer look from ground level.  Do those towers belong in Venice? Bologna? No, this is Glasgow. Discover landmark gothic towers by WF McGibbon at a grain mill and a paint works, and look for the stag brand.  Look behind a great phalanx of Victorian industrial architecture on West Street, functional and exuberant, and on towards a ‘road to nowhere’ that was aimed at it for decades, and the dome of the Co-Op warehouses. Tradeston’s grid also has some obvious gaps and place-making potential for development into a new quarter. See the landmarks stand out before that potential is exploited.

See how A&W Smith’s engineering works has been transformed to apartments and yet still is readable as a series of boiler and engine erecting shops on brick arcades and cast iron stanchions. From here, and from other engine works on Scotland Street, steam-driven rollers to crush sugar cane were despatched to West Indies plantations, and vacuum pans went to Greenock refineries, and beyond.  The sweet tooth of the Scots fostered a demand supplied at first by slaves, their muscles replaced later by the increasingly powerful mechanical kit that was sent from here to warmer climes. Eglinton Engine Works, now “West Bridge Gardens”, factored by Speirs Gumley, was founded in 1855 and was the last to close, when Tate and Lyle was the parent company. Photos show it in 2002 before conversion © Historic Scotland

For European Year of Industrial Heritage (2015) the walk concludes with a short account given by the Scottish Industrial Collections Knowledge Network (STICK) of its project on machine tools in Scottish Collections.  This follows the success of its “Old Tools-New Uses” project for hand tools. End point: West Street Subway Station, or walk back to George V Bridge if preferred, allowing 90 minutes for the whole walk

Discover Glasgow’s Industrial Heritage: Adaptive re-use of Industrial Buildings

Number in Brochure: 115


Tour Times

Fri 2pm; 1  1/4 hours



Restrictions on Access: Some busy roads, so please obey pedestrian crossing instructions

Full Disabled Access


Getting Here

Nearest Train or Subway Station(s): start: Central Station; finish West Street Underground

Parking: On Street Parking Available – Charges Apply



STICK -Scottish Transport and Industrial Collections Knowledge Network; Scottish Industrial Heritage Society & Historic Scotland



Tradeston Engine Shop to the West Indies

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Tradeston Engine Shop to the West Indies
55.855189, -4.260800