The first significant group of workers in the village of Salsburgh were weavers, stonemasons and other craftsmen.    However, with the opening of the first coal mine in the Salsburgh area in the Glebe at the east end of the village in 1816 and the development of ironstone mines around the village some years later, mining became the main source of employment for the residents of Salsburgh and this continued to be the case for the next 150 years.


During this period numerous privately owned coal and ironstone mines opened in the immediate vicinity of the village providing an on-going source of employment for the majority of the villagers.


The demise of Salsburgh’s connection with the mining industry can be traced to the election of the Conservative Government in 1979 and the Maggie Thatcher instigated attacks on the mining industry and the National Union of Mineworkers by means of the mine closure programme.   


The closing of Polkemmet Colliery in 1984 left the village with only  Three miners who continued to ply their trade at Longannet for several more years.   





Main Collieries in the Salsburgh Area.



Duntilland:                    Original owner               -    Coltness Iron Company Ltd.

                                    Began production           -   1896 ?

                                    Closed                           -   1951

                                    Coal type                       -   manufacturing, anthracite and steam

                                    Average work force        -   just under 200


Fortissat:                      Original owner  -   Shotts Iron Company Ltd.

                                    Began production         -   1870

                                    Closed                         -   1949

                                    Coal Type                    -   house and steam

                                    Average work force      -   just under 300


Ardenrigg:                    Original owner  -   Ardenrigg Coal Company Ltd.

                                    Began production         -   1926

                                    Closed                         -   1963

                                    Coal type                     -   anthracite

                                    Average work force      -   just under 300


Dewshill:                       Original owner  -   Coltness Iron Company Ltd.

                                    Began production         -   1896 ?

                                    Redeveloped                -   1923

                                    Closed(for production) -  1943            

                                    Pumping shaft sunk     -   1957

                                    Coal type                     -   anthracite

                                    Average work force      -   ?


Hirstrigg:                       Original owner  -   Hirst Coal Company, Edinburgh

                                                                             then Garscube Coal Co. Glasgow 

                                    Began production         -    ? (after 1880)

                                    Closed                         -    ? (1940’s)

                                    Coal type                     -    ?

                                    Average work force      -   between 200 and 300




Coal from Duntilland, Dewshill and Hirstrigg Collieries was moved by rail using a branch of the Caledonian Railway Company’s Airdrie and Newhouse line.   This branch left the main line half a mile south-west of Hareshaw and moved north-east along the Drumbowie section to Turdees junction where the Dewshill branch went east, first to Duntilland Colliery then onward to Dewshill Colliery pit No. 3 where a tramway connected to pits No. 1 and 2.    Hirstrigg Colliery was connected to this line via a mineral railway across what is now the M8 motorway.


Coal from Fortissat Colliery was also moved by rail using a spur of the Monklands Railway company’s Westcraigs to Shotts line which opened in 1863.


Anthracite from Ardenrigg Colliery was moved by aerial ropeway two miles to Stepends Colliery at the eastern end of Plains for processing and onward movement by rail.


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