OUR recent Thanks for the Memories article on Glasgow’s famous carpet factories prompted a few warm responses from former employees.

Big companies like Templeton’s on Glasgow Green, and Lyle’s just up the road in Bridgeton looked after their staff.

May McPherson worked at Lyle’s Carpet Factory from 1962 to 1964.

“I was a spooler and my brother Bill and brother-in-law Robert McColl were weavers,” she told us.

“It was the best paying job available, as it was piece work - the harder you worked, the more money you earned.”

She recalled; “My shift started on a Wednesday. The first week, I started at 6am and finished at 2pm; then the next week, I went straight into 2pm until 10pm, then the third week I had to clock in from 6am until 2pm again.

“It was hard work – but I was only 16 then, so it was fine.”

May laughed: “I am 73 now, so those shifts would be a bit of a struggle for me now….”

May left Lyle’s after two years to get married, and she moved down to Harrogate where she lived for the next few years.

“I loved my time at Lyle’s,” she said.

“Learning to spool the wool from patterns sent down from the design department took six weeks as it was highly skilled work.

“But to this day I can look at a carpet and have a good idea how hard or easy it would have been to spool….”

Ken Lawton also got in touch to say he had recently enjoyed a talk from former Templeton’s worker Graham Clark at East Kilbride Probus Club.

“It was fascinating – Mr Clark told us all about the history of Templeton’s which was set up by a farmer’s son in the 1830s,” said Ken.

“As a youth, James Templeton came to Glasgow from Campbeltown to work in a draper’s shop and after a spell in Liverpool he worked in Mexico, where he earned enough money to come back and start his own business.

“Initially he opened as a shawl manufacturer in Paisley, famous for its thread mills and Paisley pattern shawls.

“Then, he and William Quigley decided that a new process, invented for processing chenille, would be ideal for carpet manufacture.

“Templeton’s was established in Bridgeton in 1839 - the original factory was on King Street (now called Redan Street) but it burned down in 1856.

“In 1857 a new factory was built on William Street (later renamed Templeton Street) and it specialised in “picture carpets”, such as the Twelve Apostles Carpet which they exhibited at the Paris Exhibition of 1867.

“They were also known for their patented spool Axminsters and Wiltons.”

The famous building on Glasgow Green might never have happened, says Ken, as Mr Clark explained the original design was refused by the Glasgow Corporation.

“It bordered on the fine homes of Glasgow’s merchants,” explained Ken.

“But finally, Templeton engaged William Leiper who modelled the building on Doge’s palace in Venice and construction began in 1888.”

In 1889, during construction, strong winds caused the factory façade to collapse, killing 29 women in the adjacent weaving sheds.

The building was finally completed in 1892. At its height, Templeton’s employed 7000 staff and their carpets were seen in almost every ship built on the Clyde, as well as in Westminster Abbey, the White House and government buildings in New Zealand and South Africa.

In 1983, James Templeton & Co merged with A F Stoddard and Henry Widnell & Stewart to form Stoddard Carpets.

The company closed down in 2005 and the factory was turned into a business centre and small brewery.

“It was a very interesting talk by Mr Clark, who did his engineering apprenticeship in 1954,” added Ken. “In May 1960, he was called up to do National Service in the Royal Air Force and he was in France until he was demobbed in 1962. He returned to Templeton’s and worked there until 1981.”

WE would love to hear more of your Glasgow memories - where did you grow up?

Where did you work? What are your favourite memories of your old neighbourhood? Can you remember the old theatres, dance halls and shops?

Through our regular library drop-in events, which have now taken place all over the city, and our letters page and email banks, we are compiling a fantastic archive of stories and pictures, all dedicated to the city we love.

Please write to Ann Fotheringham, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB or email ann.fotheringham@heraldandtimes.co.uk with your stories and photos. Don’t forget to include a contact email address or telephone number.