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Old Bellshill...
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IBrown
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:58 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

I started researching the pits in and around the Bellshill and Mossend area around 2011. I couldn’t complete it because The Coal Authority wanted £80 an hour for technical information I needed on Orbiston Pits (see below) that it might have held, and I couldn’t find it elsewhere. Here is a summary, as short as I can get it!

The Local pits (ordered furthest east to furthest west) were:-

1. Mossend – Thankerton, Milnwood.

Thankerton: was on the Holytown side of the present day Coatbridge Central to Motherwell railway line, at the Coatbridge end of Mossend Marshalling Yard, and connected to it by the old Woodend branch. It had its own Row at the pit and was connected by a pit lane to Holytown Road at the Holytown side of old Mossend railway station.

Milnwood: was on the present day Bellshill to Holytown railway line, at the site of present day ‘Sandy’ playing fields. Miners lived in Coltness Row on Calder Road opposite Mossend Public School, and another Row on Holytown Road near Mossend Cross.  

2. In or near Bellshill - Hattonrigg, Orbiston, East Parkhead, Bothwell Park, Douglas Park and  Bothwell Palace (Pailis).

Hattonrigg: was off Hattonrigg Road, behind Bellshill Academy’s old Playing Fields. It was connected by two branch lines: one running east to the Motherwell end of Mossend Marshalling Yard on the present day Motherwell to Coatbridge Central railway line, and one running west to the old NB Bothwell Branch at old Bellshill station (NB), crossing the North Road by bridge. It had its own Row at the pit, which lay just beyond the Academy’s old Annexes off Hattonrigg Road. Hattonrigg Terrace was only demolished in the 1960s.

Orbiston: was actually 3 pits, connected by a branch line crossing the Hamilton Road near Crossgates by bridge to the present day Bellshill to Uddingston railway line just west of Bellshill station, and also to the present day Motherwell to Uddingston railway line near where Bothwellhaugh Road crosses it by bridge. The 3 pits formed one colliery complex. Miners lived in a pit village* on Hamilton Road, Bellshill near Crossgates. Orbiston pits closed in the 1930s.

East Parkhead: was at the top of the Bogs Brae (now A725 / Hamilton Road) on the left looking towards Bellshill. It was connected by short branch lines to both the present day Motherwell to Uddingston railway line, and the old NB Bothwell Branch. Miners lived in a pit village* on Hamilton Road, Bellshill near Crossgates.

Bothwell Park: was also on the left looking towards Bellshill, but sat near the bottom of the Bogs Brae (now A725) just on the Bellshill side of the present day Motherwell to Uddingston railway line. It was connected by short branch lines to both it and the old NB Bothwell Branch. Miners could travel to it by train on the NB line - a special platform was provided for them.

There were two other pits near the bottom of the Bogs Brae (now A725) both were on the right looking towards Bellshill, and sat on the Hamilton side of the present day Motherwell to Uddingston line:-

Bothwell Palace: was on a branch originally connected to both the old NB Bothwell Branch and the present day Motherwell to Uddingston line, laterally the Motherwell to Uddingston line only. It had its own pit village at Bothwellhaugh (The Pailis).

Douglas Park: was rail connected to the present day Motherwell to Uddingston railway line. Miners lived in a pit village* on Hamilton Road Bellshill, near Crossgates.

*Mine Owners housed their workforce in Rows called New Orbiston, East Parkhead, and Douglas Park Rows. These were laid out as a small village which lay between the top of the Bogs Brae and the Orbiston Pits Branch line embankment at Crossgates, on what later became the present day Hamilton Road.

http://maps.nls.uk/view/82892430

The 1899 map shows all the pits in the Bellshill and Mossend area were working at the turn of the 20th century. A serious decline followed - the 1914 map depicts a lot of dereliction. Official statistics show by 1920’s, 25% of the male workforce in the area was unemployed.
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DavidMcD316
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Wow. Fantastic info there!!
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The Bellshillian
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

I could look at old maps for hours, I have the 1939 Bellshill edition and combined with the Britain from above website it gives a fantastic window into the past. I need to get some of the older maps as I prefer paper copies. It’s interesting all the names of farms and areas which have been kept alive with street names in the town although there are a few I do not recognise at all.  

The amount of times I walked down the path from Hamilton Road to the Jewel Scheme/Liberty Road by the tennis courts not realising it was the line of the old railway. I often wondered about the cottage that sat behind the wall with the very long drive from Hamilton Road, as it seemed totally out of place. Did not realise it was called Gardenreach Cottage which is curious as the senior citizens centre across the way is Gardenside. It must have been a very long time ago when there were gardens there. Next to Gardenside running parallel to Strachan street was a row of garages for part of Strachan Street backing on to the Bowling club. Behind the garages running down to the Orb was a high wall I believe this was part of the Parkhead Rows houses. As kids we would climb up on the garages and walk the length of Strachan Street on the wall, which was pretty high to a twelve year old and at the end slide down the light pole, the top of which was just higher than the wall.

I had a chat with my mother about your post. Her father served his time at Knackerty Pit in Birkenshaw, her grandfather worked at Hamilton Palace Colliery (the Pailis) from at least 1901 (he is on the census there) until it closed, and my mother worked for a short time (in the offices not at coalface!) at Bothwell Castle before moving to Thankerton and when it closed to Blantyre Ferme. I always thought of Thankerton as where you described but my mother says it was further into Holytown, where the football pitches are now and behind the Whitehouse Pub. Looking at the old maps though this was Thankerton No6 where as the pit at Mossend was Thankerton No4, there seems to have been a few Thankerton shafts around Holytown. I do not know if you are interested in genealogy, even if you are not the Rootchat site is worth a look there is a few threads with photos of Napier Square and Blair Square which I believe where the Thankerton Rows.
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IBrown
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

On Thankerton – yes, you are right, there was more than one Thankerton pit; we once walked the pit lane from Holytown Road onto the old Woodend Branch trackbed which ran east along the southern edge of Thankerton Forest towards Holytown before it split one line going ‘left’ under the then A8 to Calderbank, and the other swung back ‘right’ towards Holytown – we went left under the A8 towards Calderbank, ended getting caught in a cloud-burst in open country alongside the A8.

Long before my time, but that line swinging back went into a tunnel under Holytown Road near the ‘White Hoose Pub’ and ran to 2 or 3 pits that lay in the ground bounded by Holytown Road and the Bellshill / Holytown railway between Fullwood Foundry (originally a pit, maybes one of the Thankertons?) and Holytown station.

I can just remember just the one pit bing that sat on the Holytown Road side of Holytown station, with a steam pug sat on top of it. Not sure what pit that was, or where the railway line went to from it, but that bing was cleared in what seemed very short time afterwards because as a teenager I delivered milk to the houses built on the cleared ground. Coming down the road from the White House Pub towards New Stevenson, there were the derelict remains of Rows on the left hand side, my mum’s pal lived in one of them for while, before she eventually moved to a house in Mossend.

Yes, I like maps and can spend hours on them, and Britainfromabove is brilliant, pity the zoom is so poor though. I took a long time finding out where Nackerty was. Again, ‘the wandering child’ took me in what turned out to be an awfy big circle, walking north along the closed NB line from Uddingston – the rails were still there – to Broomhouse and Mount Vernon, then down onto and east along the live railway to Baillieston till I came to a place called Tannochside Junction, in the middle of nowhere, where I went up to the signal box and asked for a drink of water. I stayed there for a bit – no trains - then asked how far it was to Mossend. From memory, 10 miles, and when he told me that my face must have dropped, because the signalman then asked me if I knew where the Caterpillar was (Tannochside) and yes I did because my mum had worked in a factory there, and still visited old workmates. So I was given 2 shillings (10p) for my bus fare home and told to follow ‘the middle road’ through the yard which was a branch line that would take me out at the back of the Caterpillar Factory.

Aye, but what I wasn’t told was I’d to cross a wooden trestle viaduct without handrails or footpath, just the sleepers between the rails to walk on – and me terrified of heights.  But I obviously made it –“ just look straight ahead “ - and sure enough once across the viaduct the back of the Caterpillar lay straight ahead over ash ground. The line veered hard right (west) and split into 3 roads, and I headed hard left (west), first stop wee shop for a sweet, then the bus stop for the 43/44 bus home to Mossend, cost 6d (2 and half new pence).

That must have been about 1959/60 and I didn’t go back until 2000, when I visited my cousin in Viewpark who’d worked in the Caterpillar up until it closed. But in between times I’d worked on the railway and learned I’d walked the Nackerty branch all those years ago, and from maps had seen that the line had originally continued east on the Viewpark side of the valley before swinging through Kirkwood to the Monkland Canal. In 2000 in Viewpark, I was still able to find part of the original railway to the Monkland Canal, but everything else had gone, including the Caterpillar. After that I learned Nackerty wasn’t somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, as the railway lines heading west inferred,  it lay on the New Edinburgh Road at Birkenshaw, maybes just opposite the Bredisholm & Tannochside Miner’s Institute (?)
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