Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Glasgow, Dawsholm Road, Garscube Chemical Works

Chemical Works (Modern)

Site Name Glasgow, Dawsholm Road, Garscube Chemical Works

Classification Chemical Works (Modern)

Alternative Name(s) Maryhill; Dawsholm Chemical Works

Canmore ID 44129

Site Number NS56NE 63

NGR NS 55750 69450

NGR Description Centred NS 55750 69450

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Glasgow (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS56NE 63 centred 55750 69450

Location formerly cited as centred NS 5568 6934.

For adjacent gasworks (centred NS 56000 69200), see NS56NE 64.

Garscube Chemical Works [NAT]

(centred NS 55750 69450)

OS 1:1250 map, 1971.


Publication Account (1949)


The Tar and Ammonia Liquor produced during the process of gas manufacture is dealt with in the Chemical Works , which adjoins each of the four Gas Works (Provan, Temple and Dawsholm, Dalmarnock and Tradeston).

When Dalmarnock Gas Works was reopened for gas making late in 1915, the manager there superintended the working of the chemical works, the other three were leased to private firms, to whom the tar and liquor was charged at a price fixed monthly by an independent arbiter, and based o the tons of coal carbonised. ..ultimately...decided not to renew the contractor's leases then they expired in 1920.

On May 1st 1919, the first manager of the Chemical Works was appointed ...The total number of employees on 31st May 1948, was 286.

Description of Processes in the Chemical Section


The liquid by-products from the carbonisation of coal consist of ammoniacal liquor, tar, and the crude benzole extracted from the gas. The liquor and the tar are delivered by the several Gas Works into large underground tanks, called 'wells', of which the total capacity in the department is one and a half million gallons. Here a natural process of separation of the two liquids takes place, following which they are pumped to storage tanks, to undergo further separation by settling, and to await subsequent treatment. The Department can store 4,600,000 gallons of crude tar and liquor.

Ammoniacal Liquor

From the liquor is produced sulphate of ammonia for fertilising purposes.

Sulphate of Ammonia Plant

The original plant at Provan Chemical Works for the production of sulphate of ammonia had a guaranteed production of 25 tons of sulphate of ammonia per day. A new plant will shortly be in operation with a guaranteed output of 40 tons per day.


All four of the Chemical Works are fully equipped for the production , from crude tar, of refined road tars...but Provan Works alone can also deal with distilled products with the object of producing motor benzol, refined naphthas, , pyridine, phenol, ortho- and meta/para cresols, xylenols and high boiling cresylic acids, creosotes, black varnish etc. A very large quantity of mixed tar and bitumen is also prepared for road surfacing purposes at Dawsholm and Provan Works.


The crude tar is subjected to distillation in stills, the capacity of each being 17 tons. The fuel used is coke breeze, and the residue remaining in the stills at the end of the operation is pitch. During the distillation the volatile products are separated into 'cuts' or fractions in accordance with thei composition of the use to which the fractions are to be put. The first 'cut' is the source of motor benzol and the naphthas, the second, of naphthalene and tar acids, whilst the later 'cuts' give the high boiling tar acids so highly prized as disinfectants.

Tar Acid Extraction

The condensates are naphtha or light oil, middle oil or heavy oil or creosote. When not required for sale as such, these liquids are treated for the removal of their tar acid content, and in the case of the naphthas , for their pyridine content as well. The oil from which the acid has been removed is known as 'spent' oil. That from the naphtha 'cut' goes forward for treatment for the removal of pyridine and subsequent rectification., that from the middle oil cut 'cut' is allowed to settle in pans to allow naphthalene to separate, while that from heavy oil is available for immediate use or sale.

The recovered tar acids are distilled, under vacuum, to yield the phenols and cresols used in 'plastics' manufacture and xylenols and high boiling point tar acids used in preparing sheep dips and disinfectants.

Pyridine Extraction

The tar -acids-free-naphtha fraction is washed with dilute sulphuric acid to form pyridine sulphate solution from which the addition of ammonia sets free the pyridine bases. These are dried and the dry bases distilled to give the commercial qualities of pyridine.

Naphtha Rectification

The tar acid and pyridine base free naphthas as well as the crude benzole from the coal gas are treated with concentrated sulphuric acids to destroy ...unsaturated bodies present, and are rectified by distillation through the fractionisation columns. Owing to the highly inflammable nature of the substances the when distillation is effected by steam. The products are motor benzol, tolulol, solvent naphtha, xylol, and high flash naphtha, all of which find application in industry.

Despatch of Products

Facilities are provided for the efficient handling of finished products. Sulphate of ammonia , naphthalene and agricultural lime are despatched in bags, ..[the lime] also in rail wagons and carts.; pitch goes out in bags, casks or rail wagons., while the remainder of the products being in liquid form leave in barrels, drums and road and rail tanks. The Department itself owns railway tank wagons which are used to transport material from the smaller works to Provan for further treatment, and also for the delivery of tar, creosote, tar acids, etc t customers. For the transport of tar and tar bitumen compounds to quarries etc. , the Department operates four motor road tanks each of 1,000 gallons capacity."

Glasgow Gas Department, 1949


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions