The Auchlochan Collieries
Auchlochan No. 9 Colliery.
Auchlochan No. 1 Colliery
In the background is Auchlochan No. 1 Colliery which was at the height of its production in 1907. Jim Hamilton, who chronicled Coalburn's history, reported that his father started work there underground at the age of 13 years and 3 months having been given exemption from attending school as the eldest of a family of eight. The building in the centre is Coalburn Inn.
Auchlochan No. 6 Colliery
Next to the colliery was a brick works which produced bricks which were widely used throughout the district. The collery closed in the early 1960s. Part of the area above is now the village green with the remainder taken over for house building.
During the 1914-1918 war when men joined the armed forces, women were recruited for surface work such as picking dirt from coal. These women from the brickworks worked at the colliery.
The Engine House at Number 6 colliery housed the winding engine which raised and lowered the "Cage" in which the miners travelled to reach the bottom of the pit. This could be two or three hundred feet from the surface. Once there, they would have to go on foot as far again to where the coal seams were, often in wet and dangerous conditions. Pit ponies were used to haul the "hutches" of coal to where it could be transported to the surface. These ponies were kept underground, only seeing daylight in the summer when the colliery was closed for rhe Glasgow Trades Holiday.
In 1988, part of No. 6 Bing was cleared to enable houses to be built. This photo was taken by Jim Hamilton in Sept 1988.
Auchlochan Nos. 9 and 10 Collieries
Here were two pits sunk adjacent to one another with two separate shafts. However, No. 9 was the one which was best known and this was the last deep mine to close in Coalburn on Friday 13th July 1968. In the 1950s, 600 men were employed between the three Auchlochan Collieries. The coal seams became less economic to mine and thus the Collieries were closed which was a blow to Coalburn.
The pits in the 1930s
1948. The locomotive ("Pug") at Auchlochan Colliery below the "weigh"s box when it was coaling up.
Group of workers with the Pug shown above
Ice cream van outside No. 9 Colliery in the 1960s. The colliers had finished their day's work and had washed and changed at the baths. They would be awaiting their buses home. Billy Hamilton, selling "Scotland's Finest Ices", is serving from his van the queue that has formed. First in the queue is Tam Knowles, second Wull McLaren, fourth Jim Aitken, sixth Jim Menzies and far right. Simon Fraser.
The remains of No. 9 colliery in 1991, photographed by the late Jim Hamilton from the top of the No.9 bing.
Auchlochan No. 9 bing in the snow of 1999. Photo: Jim Hamilton
Other sources of information
Page produced: 6th May 2018 DJH. Updated 6th August 2020 with more details supplied by Peter McLeish of the colliery workers in the queue at the ice cream van.