John Lyle & Coy. Ltd.


A Story of Progress


John Lyle & Company Ltd., Carpet Manufacturers, Fordneuk Street, Mile End was established in 1853 by John Lyle.  The founder of the factory originally came from Kilbarchan and was closely associated with Mr James Templeton, the founder of Templeton’s Carpet Factory.

The fortunes of both firms can be said to be bound together, for the first Chenille Axminster carpets were manufactured by these two pioneers of carpet making.  Before chenille was used in the manufacture of carpets it was principally used in curtains and derives its name from its appearance.  The word chenille is French for “hairy caterpillar.”  The foundation of the material is cotton and wool.

The original carpet factory was very small and was situated at the corners of Fordneuk Street and Crownpoint Road.  At the beginning a few hand looms were used.  With the expansion of the business, due in great measure to the excellence of the carpets manufactured, the factory was extended and the section adjoining Bloomvale House was added.

Exports to the U.S.

About this time a great number of carpets were imported into the United States of America and Bloomvale Factory was working night and day in order to supply the great demand.  The growth of carpet imports into America caused what was known as the McKinlay Tariffs to be introduced.  As the taxes were intentionally prohibitive, the imports fell and only carpets of a special type were permitted to enter U.S.A.  This new tariff did not affect Bloomvale Carpet Factory, however, for attention was then directed towards the home market, and the continued expansion of the factory necessitated a change in the type of loom used.

Power looms were substituted for the old wooden hand looms and entirely superseded the old fashioned machine.

It is of interest to note that one of the original hand looms in still in daily use and is used for pattern weaving.

A Further Extension

As trade developed and conditions changed which increased the demand for Bloomvale products, a further extension became necessary.  The whole block from Fordneuk Street to the Episcopal Church, Crownpoint Road, with one exception was taken over by John Lyle.

The exception is Bloomvale House, once the mansion of a family, McAuslan by name.  The house was situated in what might be termed a pleasant prospect, for green fields sloped down to the banks of the River Clyde.

Time and industry have changed the scene somewhat since those days, and Bloomvale House stands as a relic of Glasgow’s early days and is now a rather pathetic reminder of the time when there were green fields in the Mile End.

In this connection it may be of interest to note that Brook Street and Greenvale Street derived their names from the once pleasant scene.

Brook Street

The brook can still be seen in Brook Street, but it is in rather a polluted condition compared with the once clean sparkling water.

In 1888 the founder of the firm died.  He was a likeable man with a kindly nature and proved his business abilities by setting up the industry at an opportune moment and having maintained the reputation he first earned as a manufacturer of carpets.  The son of the founder, Mr John Lyle junior and the father of the present owners took command on the death of Mr. Lyle.

The war period was a searching test of the abilities of the manager, but he proved his worth by successfully guiding the business through these years while the younger members of the family served with the colours.

Loss of Mr. John Lyle

When Mr. John Lyle died in 1921, the employees lost a friend and good employer, for he was deeply respected by all.

The present managers of the business, Mr. John E. and Mr. James Lyle have succeeded in following family traditions.  The aftermath of the war and subsequent trade depressions was passed successfully.  When many concerns were in a precarious position, Lyle’s Carpet Factory was as stable as ever, due to careful handling during the lean years.

The results of such fine management have been steady employment with very little short time and an unusual absence of unemployment for the employees of the firm.  It is of interest to note that one of the original winders in the factory died very recently in Stobhill Hospital at the very advanced age of 104 years.

Colonial Export

The chief products of Bloomvale Carpet factory are seamless Axminster squares and rugs, and the markets supplied are the Home and Colonial markets.

The relations between employers and employees have always been of the best.  Due credit must be given to the employers as well as to the employees for this state of amicable affairs, and, in spite of trade depression and high manufacturing costs, the firm of John Lyle and Coy., Ltd., continues to flourish and be a source of constant employment to East End carpet weavers and long may it continue.

Glasgow Eastern Standard 20 August 1927

18 thoughts on “John Lyle & Coy. Ltd.

  1. Jim McCann

    Happy days In John Lyles, I left school at 15 and worked till I was made redundant in 1975. Great memories starting as a barrow boy then with Davy Wright and can’t remember his first name surname was Ferguson, when he left John Convery joined us at the startching department. I went on to work in weaving before I left in 75.

  2. Jim McCann

    I had many good times at John lyles, I left school at 15 and started working there as a barrow boy in the finishing department all the girls were lovely. I moved to the weaving Department but was made redundant in 1975, I wonder where a lot of workers went, I was friends with Tam McLaren, John Convery and many more, the girls were all great with me I remember Sadie Mulheron Anne McGuiness, Sally can’t remember her second name, our boss was Margaret Duncan son. I wonder where they are now.

  3. Jackie love

    I worked in. Lyles as a spooler, left in 1975 to go season work i remember sandra Moffat we had a good few nights out together a loved working thete we worked hard but we all. Had a great laugh and made many freinds a remember sandras dad too

  4. Graham Bleakley

    I came across this by sheer accident – probably thinking about my dear old dad. Wondering if anybody remembers him?
    John Bleakley. He was brought up in Malcolm Street. He worked in Lyles Carpets for a long time – unsure of dates but late 50’s all the way to the mid 70’s. Dad had a number of roles but was essentially a tool maker / fitter / machine maintenance man. He moved with the factory to Cumbernauld but was made redundant soon after. He went on to work in an oil industry offshore valve factory in Wardpark, Cumbernauld until he retired in Banknock. Sadly he is no longer with us but I’d love to hear if anybody knew him. I remember visiting the factory as a kid and being welcomed and shown round when I did a school project on carpet making. I was given samples of the materials at every stage including a bottle of liquid latex – remember so well. I’d have been 15 (1972).

  5. Sir Wilton Shagpile, BMK

    My grandfather Archibald Wilson and his wife Isabella Muir (Wilson) worked at Lyles in the nineteen twenties, He was a power loom operator and she was a lace curtain darner. They lived at Yate Street off Great Eastern Road (The Gallowgate) My mother Isa Wilson (McIvor) and her sisters Marion Jenny and Martha also worked there in the nineteen thirties. My mother spoke very highly of the workmates and conditions. She had a soft spot for Lyles all her life.

  6. david learmonth

    I Started in 1961 working in the tinsmith bench eventually became a weaver working along with Steven bloomer Laurie Clark Arthur Niven Andy Wright Jacky Stryke and many others made redundant in1975 THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

  7. may mcpherson

    I worked in Lyle’s as a spooler from 1961 until 1964 and absolutely loved it. It was piecework and if you had a reallyj intricate pattern to spool you didn’t make much money, however if it was a simple patter you could make great money if you were a “hasher” the shifts were murder polis but when you are young it was not bother.

  8. donna

    I remember around 71 they had a big sale, not sure if the factory was closing down but I got three massive rugs really cheap. and great quality, I lived in Fordneuk st and was waiting for an offer of a house as the building was being demolished…Eddie Brollie was the man who worked there and got us the bargains..

    1. Margaret logan nee graham

      Hi, just wondering if thats the same brollie’s as my school pal june brollie. They stayed around fordneuk st . I was at barrow field primary school in 1957 to about 1958/59 then annefield.
      my surname was graham then.. we moved to crownpoint rd near big jacks bar facing lyles carpet factory. My uncle john turner was a boiler room stoker. Me and my cousins got free run of the factory at nights and loved playing hide and seek among the big rolls of stuff that looked like white candy floss.

  9. Jim McCann

    I worked with John Lyles after leaving school in 1971, I remained their till factory closed down in 1975. Anyone wheo remembers me please get in touch

    1. Sandra moffat

      yes i remember you my dad Jim Moffat worked their for a long time and i joined in 1972 at 15 ,my dad passed just before chistmas aged 83 and still talked about all his mates at lyles, John Curly,Jimmy maxwell,Ester Bamford

      1. Jim Airlie

        I remember loads of the workers, Sandra & Jimmy Moffat , lovely people, jimmy maxwell, Peter the forklift driver, great place, great job, my dad got our family into lyles
        Alex Airlie, great memories. Jim Airlie.

    1. jimmy brown beaming dept 1964/67

      lyles did open in c/nauld,and manufactured for a few years was mainly tufted carpets,i also worked in burroughs factory for 4/5 years.


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