Archibald Hood

1823 - 1902

Mining engineer and entrepreneur. Born and brought up in Kilmarnock (East Ayrshire) by his widower father, who was a colliery foreman. Hood had a limited education and was working in the local mine by the time he was a teenager. When his father became a manager of a colliery close to Glasgow, this gave Hood the chance to study and qualify as a mining engineer.

Hood was to make his mark, initially, in the Midlothian Coalfields. In 1856, he leased Whitehill Colliery at Rosewell from Archibald Primrose, the 4th Earl of Rosebery (1783 - 1868), and went on to greatly modernise and extend the workings. Eventually he operated pits at Carrington, Eldin, Gorton, Polton and Skelty Muir. He improved social conditions for the miners, realising that a happy work-force were a productive work-force. He built and ran the village of Rosewell, owning everything except the school and churches. He also extended the Polton and Penicuik railways to service his pits.

He saw that an amalgamation with the Newbattle pits owned by Schomberg Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian (1833 - 1900), would be mutually advantageous and together they formed the Lothian Coal Company (1890). In the same year they began sinking the shaft for the show-piece Lady Victoria Colliery, in the deepest part of the coalfield. The village of Newtongrange was greatly extended to service this pit, which now forms the Scottish Mining Museum.

In 1862 Hood began operations in the Welsh coalfields, establishing the Glamorgan Coal Company, modernising and extending old pits while opening new ones. By 1867, he had moved permanently to Wales, becoming a leading citizen in Cardiff. He extended his commercial interests building an enormous brick-works and state-of-the-art coking plant, yet still carefully managed his Midlothian interests.

Hood died in Cardiff, where he is buried, and is remembered by a statue at Llwynypia, the site of his Glamorgan Colliery. He was succeeded in the business by his son, James (1859 - 1941).

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