Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Skilled engineering workers at the Cowlairs Locomotive workshop in Springburn, 1916

image from Red Clydeside collection

Although primarily involved in the manufacture of steam locomotives, the Cowlairs works, like the majority of engineering works throughout Britain, quickly diversified into the manufacture of munitions shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in 1914.

Many ordinary workers and those on the left were cynical of employers who quickly accepted government orders for the manufacture of munitions.

Huge Glasgow based engineering concerns like Weirs of Cathcart and Beardmores of Parkhead were very public about helping the war effort and in performing their patriotic duty whilst at the same time being less forthright about the massive profits they were making from government orders.

Source: Springburn Community Museum, Glasgow Digital Library