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Grangemouth Docks Time Line

Follow this timeline to learn about the history of Grangemouth docks, and enjoy trying to figure out how the dockworkers got their nicknames, listed below.





Formation of the Forth and Clyde Navigation Co.


10 July 1768  

Sir Laurence Dundas cut the first spadeful of earth of the Forth and Clyde Canal. He purchased Kerse Estate in 1752 and invested £10,000 in the project.



Sir Laurence laid the foundation stone of the first house in the village, then known as Sealock, which later became Grange Burn Mouth.



Sir Laurence died.



Sir Laurence’s son Thomas took over and renamed the settlement Grangemouth.



Construction of the Canal Basin, the Old Harbour and straightening of the River Carron and Carron Wharves.


28 July 1790              

Forth and Clyde canal complete.



Grange Burn rerouted to make way for the Sea Lock. 



Agreement reached to construct a Wet Dock with a Locked Entrance from the River Carron plus a junction canal to the Forth and Clyde Canal. Dredging of the River Carron and the Grange Burn rerouted again.


12 July 1843  

Wet Dock officially opened. Timber was the major import and 2 timber basins were constructed.



Creation of the Junction Dock by expanding the Junction Canal and linking to the Old Harbour.



Forth and Clyde Company opened a railway branch line for goods and passengers.


28 May 1866  

Caledonian Railway Company took over the Forth and Clyde Navigation Company.



Construction of Carron Dock, due to overcrowding of the Old Dock and Junction Dock – beforehand ships sometimes had to lie out on the river for several weeks.


15 Jan 1884                

Grangemouth Docks were the first to install electric lights.



Shipping still on the increase; more expansion required.  



Parliament approved expansion plans to give direct access from the River Forth, involving more dredging to reclaim land.



Controversy caused by the export of work-worn horses to Germany for human consumption as horses here were being replaced by machinery.


1898–8 Oct 1907       

The Grange Dock: construction took 3 years longer than anticipated and included the building of 40 additional miles of new railway sidings, a hydraulic swing bridge, rapid, loading electric cranes and coal hoists; the Grange Burn was rerouted again. Many local companies had to relocate including the Grangemouth Iron Co, and Brownlee’s and Muirhead’s Saw Mills.



Traffic continued to grow and a second railway line was opened. Grangemouth continued to trade in coal, timber, iron ore and steel as well as customised pit props from the Baltic. Regular services were maintained with all major ports in Northern Europe.


28 June 1914              

War declared.


06 July 1914  

Military Guard was set up at Grangemouth Docks; no entry without a military pass.   


13 November 1914    

Port was taken over by the Government; no merchant vessels allowed within 1 mile of the Forth Bridge without permission and then only with an authorised pilot on board. Grangemouth Dock was then known as HMS Rameses. 



Establishment of Mine Manufacturing and Training School, staffed by both civil and naval personnel. Women were found to be particularly adept at assembly of the intricate parts of the mine.


25 Dec 1918               

Port reopened to trade.



Dockers queued to be selected for jobs as day labourers.



Anglo Persian Oil Co. became Scottish Oils Ltd; imported Crude Oil from the Persian Gulf, coinciding with the reduction of Shale Oil Production.



Coal no longer the largest cargo; overtaken by timber and oil. Caledonian Railway Co. taken over by London and Midland Scottish Railways.

Docker’s Nicknames 1950+


Lots of the men working on the dockyards had nicknames. See if you can figure out how they got them!


Aindow L. – Scouse

Alexander George – Crow

Anderson J  – Sheeter

Baird John  – Jonah

Balloch Adam  – Keek

Balloch M Young  – Keek

Barnham G Durham  – Duck

Beattie Jimmy  – Beaties Bread

Bell Eddie  – Acker

Bell John  – Majority Jock

Binnie Jock  – Boomer

Boyne Derek  – Pa Pa

Brown Alex  – Hen Broon

Brown Jock  – Peacock

Brown Steve  – Goo Goo

Brown  – Wum

Bryce Jock  – Puddock

Campbell Donald  – Hiram Holiday

Campbell Ian  – Scunner Campbell

Campbell M  – Gogs

Carson Willie  – Kit

Clarke W  – Zulu

Clason  – Hooky

Coleman Jock  – Brickets

Collins D  – Dog

Collins Ronnie  – Rolland Rat

Cook A  – Cookie

Cowan I  – Cowboy

Craig Jock  – Early Bird

Crawford Willie  – Chow Crawford

Croy D  – Crocket

Cummings D  – Smiler

Curtis R  – Gutty

Curtis R  – Tony

Davidson R  – Tricky Dickie

Day Jock  – Doris Day

Dickie Willie –  Sunny

Dickson Jim  – Jinky

Doig I  – Foghorn Leghorn

Dow Jim  – Ginger

Ferguson Peter  – The Snake

Forrester Kenny  – The Farmer

Frazer A Palmers  – Monkey

Gardiner R  – Karate

Gatons Peter  – Sneaky Pete

Gemmel J  – Monny

Gibson J  – Gibby

Gillespie D  – Fiddes

Grant Jock  – Black Jock

Grassie J  – Peem

Hamilton R  – Hammy

Hardie J  – Helmet

Harley Paul  – No Hope

Hector John  – Brush

Howarth Jock  – Welshman

Imrie John  – Tin Milk

Jack Archie  – Jaffa

Jack Jimmy  – Jelly Heels

Jamieson Ian  – Piper

Jenkins J  – Jinky

Johnston Charlie  – Secret Squirrel

Johnstone Charlie  – Charlie The Red

Johnstone W  – Piper

Kennedy Neil  – President

Kusk Ronnie  – The Bo'ness Bus

Laing Wilson  – Knocky

Lawless Jack  – Faither

Lawson Ken  – Fat Controller

Learmonth Peter  – Sheriff

Leslie  – Chucks

Liddell Andrew  – The Goat

Main D  – Gas

Malcolm Stewart  – Magoo

Marshall Ian  – Teeko

Marshall Jock  – Shaft

Martin D  – Wee Mickey

Martin John  – John Boy

McDonald Joe  – Jerky Joe

McGee G  – Tumsh

McGregor Tam  – Chapati

McGuigan Jimmy  – Gougs

McIntyre Jock  – Teuchter

McKay Rab  – Gies A Slug

McKerracher Jock  – Heather

McKinley Jimmy  – The Rat

McKinley Peter  – The Count

McNab Russ  – Blue

McNab Tom  – Chesty

McRae Ian  – Po Po

Mentiply W  – Minty

Millar G  – McShiftie

Mitchell Peter  – Mr Wonderful

Monaghan Tam  – Rinty

Montgomery Joe  – Monty

Morrison George  – Mo

Mulrany  – Spotty

Ness Jack  – Elliot Ness

Nicol Tam  – Nasty

Nimmo Sandy  – Maverick

Orr Stuart  – Oscar

Orrock J  – Ockie

Osborne Hugh  – Daisy

Parker Gus  – Nosey Parker

Paton Peter  – Pod

Robertson Andrew  – Pinky

Robertson George  – Sugar

Robertson R  – Ting

Robertson  – The Gub

Robertson  – Tiger

Robertson Tom  – Blackie

Rodger Willie  – Jolly Rodger

Rutherford Joe  – Rubber Legs

Simpson Jimmy  – Iron Man

Smith John  – Granny Smith

Sneddon Tam  – Seldon

Stewart Archie  – Crunch

Stewart Ian  – Flipper

Stewart Rab  – Sturdy

Stewart W  – Gary

Stirling A  – Stargazer

Stirling J  – Policeman

Tierney Ronnie  – Inch High

Tollins Mick  – Black Mick

Walker Charlie  – Ear Plug Charlie

Wallace Duncan  – 4 O'Clock Fiddler

Wallace Jock  – The Ghost

Watt I  – Badger

Welsh Robert  – Budgie

Woods Jock –  Timber

Wright Joe  – Sexy Joe

Young A  – Cutty

Young Tam  – Sailor


By Maureen Burns, Great Place volunteer 2020.

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  • References & Bibliography
  • Images and information courtesy of Grangemouth Heritage Trust. The negatives were found in an old box and worked into positives by Trevor Griffin. Unfortunately there are no captions or dates for each of the images.

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