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Monktonhall Colliery Site

Former Monktonhall Colliery Site
©2020 Gazetteer for Scotland

Former Monktonhall Colliery Site

The site of the former Monktonhall Colliery lies a quarter-mile (0.4 km) north of Newton and a mile (1.5 km) northeast of Danderhall in Midlothian. Monktonhall was a large and modern pit, sunk in 1953 and opened in 1967, replacing the nearby Woolmet Colliery. Designed by architect Egon Riss (1901-64), this 'super-pit' comprised a distinctive glazed pit-head and two shafts that reached 930m (3051 feet) below the surface. It employed almost 1800 men at its peak. From the outset, it was plagued by flooding. The coal it produced was burned at the nearby Cockenzie Power Station. Like many other British pits, its viability was questioned following the extended closure due to the miner's strike in the mid-1980s and it was finally mothballed in 1987. It re-opened in 1992 as the UK's first large privately-run mine, run by a miner's co-operative. Despite miners investing sizeable sums of their own money, additional finance was required and the miners lost control. In 1997, it was once again declared uneconomic and finally closed. This was the last deep mine in the Lothians.

The surface buildings were all cleared but an automatic pumping and treatment station was built to control underground water levels. Alkaline iron-rich mine-water is extracted into two settling lagoons and then passed through ponds planted with reeds to permit natural water treatment before being discharged.

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