Camlachie for Barrels

Camlachie for Barrels

Industry fast Dying

Goods go All Over the World

The East Ender who has a casual walk in some of the side streets of Camlachie will discover a veritable forest of barrels. In Janefield Street there are thousands of them, stacked up to perilous heights, occupying every available inch of space.

A Standard representative elicited some interesting information. Camlachie it appears is the main centre of the cooperage industry in Glasgow, and indeed for a great area in the West of Scotland.

Barrels come from America to Camlachie, and thence go to India, China, Belgium, Iceland, Australia, and indeed all over the world.

There is a historic reason why Camlachie has been associated so intimately with the coopering industry.

Formerly the greatest users of barrels were oil, paint and tallow manufacturers. Those Industries for many years centred in Camlachie, and so cooperages also came to be near to their best customers.

Wooden barrels are not generally made in Camlachie, as the price of a new barrel is now prohibitive.

The barrels are brought from America and sold second hand to the Camlachie cooperages, where they are made like new, air tight and watertight. Camlachie coopers are at the departure of every boat carrying cargo contained in barrels, just in case a barrel may need a last minute repair done on the spot.

Many of the original barrels from America contain butter and lard. They are cleaned in Camlachie, and then sent to Denmark and Belgium, filled with the self same commodities, and re-exported to Britain.

Coopers have a long and arduous apprenticeship

, but the increasing use of machinery has resulted in the depressing but irrefutable fact that the industry is a dying one.

Steel drums are now replacing barrels, while oil is now pumped into huge tanks of lorries and then direct into tanks on board ship.

Forty years ago there were nine large cooperages in Camlachie, now there are only a third of that number worthy of the name.

Taken from the Eastern Standard 1934