Auchinraith Coilliery was sunk in 1872, when owners Messrs Merry and Cunningham followed up on their business acquisition of the mineral rights for that land, drawing coal as early as 1875. The colliery was located near the middle of Auchinraith Road, adjacent to its junction with Craig Street.
To accommodate the influx of miners to the immediate area, James Merry, (one of the owners) also built a row of homes (Auchinraith Row) in 1874. This particular row was located immediately in front of the pit, near the later Auchinraith Primary School site.
The pithead was located behind where the Timber houses are today.
As the extraction of coal got underway, the company also built a more significant array of homes nearby in 1876, at Merry’s Rows, or known locally as “Murrays Rows”.
James Merry, one of the original owners of the company, like many early proprietors in the mining industry, blatantly broke mining regulations to suit his own ends. He really did exploit over 1,000 men who worked in his collieries and iron mines throughout Scotland participating in what was known as The Truck System, where miners had to use their wages in colliery shops.
On 30th August 1930, a terrible accident occurred at the colliery resulting in the death of 6 miners. It was difficult for the colliery to recover. Just a year later on 16th August 1931, the miners at Auchinraith Colliery found a notice posted at the pithead advising them to collect and remove their belongings and the company was closing down that evening at the end of the day, with just a shifts notice. At that stroke of a pen, 350 miners employed at the colliery lost their jobs.
Merry’s Rows were demolished and renamed as Elm Street. The site of the colliery and it’s coal bing extended from Auchinraith Road to the ground at the rear of the former Alex Inglis Factory on Main Street, which recently closed.
The bing itself was spread out and removed in 1975, to make way for the next phase of the A725 East Kilbride Expressway which followed a couple of years later.
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