Finlayson ironworks and metallurgy factory was established in 1820 by the Scottish industrialist James Finlayson when he was noticed the energy potential of the free rapids in Tampere. Machine business was not very profitable and Finlayson started to manufacture and weave cotton yarn and textiles. James Finlayson sold the factory to Carl Samuel Nottbeck and Georg Rauch already in 1836. Oldest still existing building, "Kuusvooninkinen" or the "Old Factory", was completed in 1837. It was the first modern industrial building in Finland including for example an automatic sprinkler system.

Finlayson factory extended quickly. In the 1850s it was already the largest factory site Nordic countries. In 1900 Finlayson had nearly 3300 employees and it was a “town inside the town”. Finlayson had its own church, school, ships and electric railway. First electric light in Finland was also turned on in a building called Plevna (1882). Nottbeck family built two magnificent palaces near the factory area.

During the Finnish Civil War in 1918 Tampere was the center of red army. Poor living conditions turned Finlayson and near Tampella factory labour to support the socialism and many of them were joined to red guards. Heavy battles were fought in the factory area and city centre. Plenty of Finlayson workers were died in battles of executed when the white army conquered Tampere.

Finlayson textile business was downsized seriously since the 1980s and manufacturing ended in Tampere in the beginning of the 1990s. Today there are museums, offices, movie theater and shopping centre in old factory buildings. The rapids together with old red-brick factory buildings make the area one of Finland's national heritage landscapes.

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Risto (SpottingHistory admin) said 5 years ago
Thanks Mari, very good clarification. I updated the description.

Mari from Switzerland said 5 years ago
In your article you mention that James Finlayson is English industrialist, however, I need to correct that he is Scottish.


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Väinö Linnan aukio 4-6, Tampere, Finland
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Founded: 1820-1920
Category: Industrial sites in Finland
Historical period: Russian Grand Duchy (Finland)

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