Quarries

Giffnock was one of the main places in the area known for its quarries. Sandstone was first quarried in Giffnock in 1835. The principal workings for Giffnock sandstone lay to the east of the present Fenwick Road and consisted of four separate quarries: Braidbar, New Braidbar, Orchard and Williamwood. West of the present Fenwick Road there was another group of quarries which stretched towards Thornliebank Station. These were known as The Giffnock Quarry, New Giffnock Quarry, English Quarry and Flag Quarry but are also sometimes referred to as the Burnfield quarries.

The quarries produced two types of rock known as "liver rock" and "moor rock". Liver rock was very popular with quarrymen, masons and sculptors due to its lack of stratification, making it easy to work. Moor rock was harder, more porous and less valued as building stone.

In 1854 the Glasgow coal-mining firm of Baird and Stevenson took over the quarrying operations at Giffnock and in 1864 the Glasgow-East Kilbride railway was built, thus enabling the transport of stone by rail. The quarries were worked by excavating the liver rock, forming walls and pillars, while the moor rock above formed roofs. This has been referred to as the "stoop and room" method. Some older residents of Giffnock have memories of playing as children in the cavernous tunnels of the disused quarries.

Quarry workers travelled from Busby, Thornliebank and Pollokshaws, but not from Giffnock itself. They worked on average for ten hours a day, six days a week and earned two shillings a day. The main customer for the stone was, not surprisingly, Glasgow and Giffnock itself. Well-known buildings made of Giffnock sandstone included: the older part of Glasgow University; the eastern side of the former Post Office in George Square; Glasgow Savings Bank (now the TSB) in Ingram Street; the Scottish Co-op Building in Morrison Street; and the interior of Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Alexander "Greek" Thomson also used the sandstone in some of his villas, for example "Holmwood" in Netherlee. Some trade was done with Belfast and as far away as America and South Africa. Some sources say the stone was carried to Australia as ballast in trading ships and that the Australian Government buildings are partly built of Giffnock stone.

Competition came in the form of the red Triassic stone of Dumfriesshire, which was extremely popular at the time. However, quarrying in Giffnock continued until 1912 when, due to flooding and the increasingly high cost of extracting the stone, work ceased.

In the intervening years the quarries have been intermittently used for tipping slag from the production of steel, for scrap metal extraction and latterly for the mining of coal.