There’s confirmed evidence that iron ore was mined in Auchentibber from the late 1700’s, but it was the mining of limestone that left a permanent indent on the hamlet of Auchentibber, on the south side of Blantyre.
From as early as the 1830’s limestone was mined from large holes in the ground, which eventually formed quarries. A good example is the one at Sydes Brae, directly across the road from the current crematorium. Mined for it’s stone, the quarry opened in 1835 and lasted well into the 20th Century. It provided much needed work for the people of Blantyre, right up to the early 1950s.
Getting the stone out of the quarry and to a railway line was made efficient by the addition of a tramway, a small rail line connecting the quarry to the junctions of High Blantyre. The tramway was not for people but used to get the stone quickly to other destinations by rail.
Today, there’s little sign of the tramway. The metal rails are gone, grown over or rusted away. The tramway led from the quarry, along a lane at the back of Newhouse Farm, past the old Craigmuir building and bending sharply in 90 degrees down the hill towards High Blantyre. The old 1897 map above documents this very well.
A recent Google Earth image (above) has been overlaid with where the tramway once ran. We’ve marked up the current features to put things in context.
The quarry itself today hardly exists. The large hole in the ground has grown over with grass, weeds and trees. The area is very green, but it is still possible to find the remains of stonemasonry and offcuts. The aerial photo shows a haphazard plan where the trees have struggled to grow over the stone.
The tramway is now a wonderful walkway connecting Sydes Brae to High Blantyre, but only for the fit when heading up the hill! A photo Jim Brown took a few years ago shows how the walkway looks these days.
If anybody has anything else to add, knows where the limestone was carted to or when the tramway was finally decommissioned, please feel free to let us know.