The Slag Road

Slag Road – was the former name of Craig Street.  It first appeared during the 19th Century. At some point during the 1870’s, a track was formed along the edge of the existing farm field and upon expanding nearby population, became a small road, initially called, “The Slag Road.”

Perhaps due to the proximity to the Auchinraith Pit, the name may have been given from the pit ash used to form the rough road surface, an effort made to prevent the track being muddy. It was a quick route to get from Stonefield up to Auchinraith, most notably for miners who chose to settle on Glasgow Road.

By 1898, nothing at all existed either side of the Slag Road, not even at the corners of a busy Glasgow Road, with exception of the Congregational Church midway up the Slag Road, where it is today. At that time, the church sat isolated beside this track completely surrounded by empty fields. At the top of the Slag Road, at the junction with Auchinraith, near to Auchinraith Pit Rows, the road ran under the raised railway track.

Parish records show that by May 1906, the Slag Road was already being referred to as Craig Street. The change in name occurring after 1904. It connected Glasgow Road to Auchinraith Road and was initially prior to 1906, only a rough track and although a public thoroughfare, had been simply a shortcut for miners. The Parish Council debated in May 1906 if they could get the road taken over by the County Council, rather than being maintained by the Forrest trustees. There was good reason to do this. By that time, the School Board had already paid for and built kerbs and channels in front of the school to ensure the road was not a muddy mess. Mr James Kelly was against the motion thinking it would set a bad example for other roads in the area, and creating an unfairness to those who owned private roads, suddenly seeing the council being involved in their upkeep. He used the Oilworks Road at Forrest Street as an example. Mr Neil Douglas agreed, jesting that he was on the sub committee of the County Council and they would not adopt the road, until it had been put in good order by others!

The most radical change this road ever saw was in the short period from 1898 to 1910 which saw quality, well built homes built on either side from Glasgow Road up to the church, then up the eastern side towards the brand new Auchinraith School. These houses would have had a lovely, rural view across open fields before any of the Crescents were built. Such construction deserved the renaming of the road, for who would want to live on a road named after ‘dirty, auld shale deposits? The name ‘Craig Street’ was chosen after prominent former land owner, Mr. James Craig of Birdsfield, sponsor of the church, owner of the farm fields and constructor of some of the homes. With other property owners including the Smellie family, Craig Street had arrived and would have been a desirable place to live in the 1910’s by comparison to some of the nearby more populated and older, miners’ homes.

The bottom end of Craig Street (originally Slag Road) is pictured in 1979, which is now the Asda Car Park.

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