Local Area

(With thanks to James Hamilton, author of “Old Douglas & Coalburn”, for much of the content of this webpage. ISBN 1 84033 095 3, Stenlake publishing, 2000)

“The hamlet of Lintfieldbank [adjoining Birkhill] lay about two miles east of Coalburn and had been in existence for over a hundred years before its tenants began to be rehoused in Coalburn from 1939 onwards. With the exception of one villa, the houses were demolished around 1960. Lintfieldbank had a miners’ welfare institute (still standing but now a community hall) which opened in the 1930’s.”

Coalburn originated as a collection of rows of houses at Coalburn, Braehead, Bellfield, Bankend (or Brockley) and Auchenbegg, mainly built around the pits and lime quarries that were being opened up around 1850. The Auchlochan collieries at Coalburn provided at their peak around 600 collier jobs in 1950. However this quickly reduced as seams became unworkable. The last colliery, Auchlochan Number Nine, closed in 1968.

“Although about 800 feet above sea level, Coalburn has many arable farms, mainly along the course of the Poniel burn and in valleys of the River Nethan and Logan Water. The principle landowner to the south was the Greenshields family of Westoun Houseā€¦ In the early 1980’s the family sold their estate to Scottish Coal, which developed Dalquhandy (pronounced Dewhannie), the largest opencast working of coal in Europe. Two features of the land have been preserved. The first is a huge outcrop of rocks called Wallace’s Caves. The second is the private burial ground of the Greenshields family.

Life in the local tied cottages was very hard. Some rows were single apartment with a single front door. There was often no running water or services, and the dry closet and water pump were not always close. After the start of the second world war when coal production was nationalised, conditions started to improve.