Bothwell Castle 3 and 4 Colliery, also known as Priory Colliery, was owned by William Baird and Company. Despite the castle name, it WAS on the Blantyre side of the river, but pits 1 and 2 were on Bothwell side. Priory Collier had two shafts, sunk in 1889 to a depth of 1,344 feet, and produced household, steam and gas coal.
This photograph around 1900, shows the headgear above the colliery’s two shafts, and the screening shed and tall washery (right) from which a line of hutches carried dirt across a gantry to the ‘bing’. Famously the bing partially collapsed into the River Clyde around the second world war, (frustratingly in the same position people had previously reported a tunnel to Bothwell Castle from the ruined Priory!). In the picture, wagons in the sidings wait to join the main railway line (left).
In 1943 the Government took over the management of Priory Colliery on the basis that its output of around 650 tons per day, as part of the ‘war effort’, was unsatisfactory. Under Government control it was closed for complete reconstruction. Flooded after closure, 1&2 collieries posed a threat to Priory which was shut as a precaution in 1951. A 7,000 named petition was raised in Blantyre to save the pit but the NCB wanted to use it as a pumping station to save Newton, Bardykes and Blantyreferme from being flooded. After months of discussion the Union agreed but persuaded the Board to continue working the upper coal. In 1959 this ended, the colliery remaining as a pumping station.