Prospective New Coalfield, 1905

In October 1905, the Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News published a report, which rumoured that a new colliery was to be sunk in Blantyre. This was one, however, which did not come to pass.

It said, “Should the report which we publish today be true regarding the opening of a new coalfield in Blantyre, it is a certainty that the undertaking will be welcomed as one of the most pleasing bits of news that has startled Blantyre for some time back. The rumour has been gaining ground in the locality within the last few days, and it seems quite probable that such a thing will take place. In the meantime it is premature to state the name of the company, but circumstances lead us to take an optimistic view of the rumour, and we can only hope that such a new venture will take place. We need scarcely add that the sinking of a new shaft would come as a veritable blessing to Blantyre at the present moment. Considering the fact that the mining industry of Blantyre has for some time put been in a most unsatisfactory condition, and this state of affairs has been further caused through the closing down of Bardykes Colliery.”

“For some time back a rumour has been current in certain circles that a new coalfield is about to be opened up in Blantyre, and we learn that there is some ground for believing that there is some truth in the report. The company whose name is associated with the new venture has already a large interest in Blantyre, and the object in sinking the new shift is for the purpose of taking the coal from beneath the Caldergrove estate. The colliery, it is stated will be erected in the field adjoining the Clay Road (Victoria Street), the ground of which belongs to the trustees of the late J. Clark Forrest. The route underground will be along the Glasgow Road, past the Livingstone Memorial Church for a distance of three or four hundred yards, and across to the district known as the Paton Toll, and from this point Caldergrove estate will be entered. The new coalfield is said to be an exceedingly rich one, and, needless to say, the report that a new coalfield is to be opened up has given general satisfaction in Blantyre. We learn that if no obstacles should come in the way, a start will be made soon.”

But obstacles clearly did come in the way. This colliery would have been positioned in the middle of what would become the Crescents Housing estate, and clearly did not happen after all. The scale of the endeavour is touched upon, spanning quite considerable distances below ground. Instead however, John Clark Forrests land was given over ultimately to public buildings. The Police station, Calder Street School, the Children’s & Health Welfare and even the Miners Welfare itself all built upon land of those Trustees. Probably just as well too, otherwise Blantyre would have had a massive bing in the centre and housing estates built outwards, perhaps on land which is currently still green.

Auchinraith Colliery Bing is pictured during the 1930s to illustrate just what could have happened!

1930 Poultry Farm at Springwell, Auchinraith Bing (G Cook)

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