Scottish shale Scottish shale

Benhar Colliery

Whitburn, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
West Lothian

A group of early coal pits in the land of Polkemmet.

"A Coal Pit out of which is taken common Coal, it is worked by a Steam Engine of 7 horse power; being 8 fathoms in depth, and the thickness of Seam 15 inches: leased and worked by Mr Simpson of Monkland and the property of the Trustees of the late Mr Philip Russell Fauldhouse."

OS Name Book OS1/34/66/12 c.1852

  • Location of pit, and boundary of the lands of Polkemmet


    LINLITHGOWSHIRE ROADS BILL. The Committee resumed the inquiry upon this bill on Tuesday. The examination of Mr. Chalmers was proeeeded with The witness stated that the bill proposed to divide the county into districts, which were not defined, and he believed that the settlement of their division would cause great difference in the county. …...
    Mr George Simpson stated that he was the lessee of the Benhar Colliery, in the parish of Whitburn, from which he raised 70,000 tons annually. The Coal was sent by private railroad to the public railway, and did not pass along the road. He believed that if he were assessed upon the number of horses employed, he would contribute a sum fully adequate to the use he made of the road. Cross-examined—He kept two horses present. It was usual for mineral owners to hire horses.

    Falkirk Herald, 8th June 1865


    Railway Accident. On Saturday, an accident occurred the Benhar Colliery branch of the North British Railway, whereby 13 coal waggons, partly the property the coalmasters and the railway company, were almost totally destroyed. The Benhar Colliery branch was constructed some years ago by Mr Simpson of Benhar. but has since been purchased the North British Railway Company, and to save expenditure, no doubt, was made as short possible. The ground upon which it is formed, forms the ridge of hilly ground, and at one part of the line the gradient is about 1 in 15. The traffic is worked by tank locomotives, and the load is regulated to the peculiar nature of the gradients, the engines not being allowed to take more than 8 full waggons down a time with iron snibbles put into the wheels of several of them, to assist in retarding their motion. On Saturday, it appears, 15 large waggons, containing coal, were brought to the top the incline, and the guard having put in one of the snibbles, and supposing the wuggons would not run further, went with the engine which takes in water at pit the side the branch. Gradually, however. the weight of the train overcame the resistance presented by the snibbled waggon, and gaining momentum, dashed headlong at fearful rate to the bottom of the incline. The consequence was that 13 of the waggons were smashed, being literally piled one over the other. On Sunday, a large staff of men with sufficient engine power, was brought from Morningside for the purpose of clearing away the wreck, and we learn that six or seven of the waggons are beyond repair. The damage will exceed £400

    Hamilton Advertiser, 11th April 1868