Scottish shale Scottish shale

Drumcross pits

Bathgate, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
West Lothian
post 1855
Regional overview:
Pits - in shale districts

Pit in the lands of Drumcross

No workings are show on the first edition OS maps surveyed c.1855, but reports of an accident at Drumcross colliery in 1866 indicates that fireclay was being worked, while reference to "old workings" suggests that the operation was well established by then. The Drumcross Coal Co. Ltd was established in 1872 and presumably associated with new investment in the operation. The company failed, and the pits and mine plant were advertised for sale in 1875.

There were two pits, presumably to the two-foot coal. A small bing survives at one of the pithead sites where the shaft was 15 fathoms deep to the two-foot coal. Little trace remains of a pit to the south of this, where the shaft to the Houston Coal was 19 fathoms deep.

  • Location map and boundary of the Drumcross lands.

    Shaft to the Two-Foot Coal

    Shaft to the Houston Coal


    Bathgate—Pit Explosion—Four Persons Injured

    Yesterday morning, at a quarter past six o’clock, an accident happened through an explosion of foul air, at Drumcross Colliery, near Bathgate, whereby four persons were severely burned. It appears that on the morning in question, James Gray and John Gray, his son, John Johnston and John Johnston, father and son, had gone to the colliery to work for fireclay, but previous to descending the mine had asked if all was clear. They were answered yes—but only that a little foul air existed at unused road leading to old workings, which they were to be careful of and watch in passing. Accordingly, they went down the pit, and got past the place in safety, and entered the face where the fire clay was to be wrought. The Johnstons, this being their first day in the mine, having heard that the roof of the working was not in good condition, the father held up his lamp to ascertain if such was the case, and had no sooner done so than an explosion of foul air followed, and the consequence was, that the whole four of them were all severely burned about the head, face, and arms. Dr Doig, Bathgate, surgeon of the works, being in immediate attendance, and having prescribed the usual remedies, found that the two men were not so seriously injured to prevent them walking home, but the two boys had to be conveyed home in a cart.

    Edinburgh Evening Courant, 1st August 1866



    There will be SOLD by Public Roup, within the Faculty Hall, St Georges Place, Glasgow, on Wednesday 21st July 1875, at Two o'clock P.M. ( If not previously disposed of by Private Bargain) . THE WHOLE COAL, MINERAL &c In the LANDS of DRUMCROSS near BATHGATE, together with valuable PIT PLANT , ENGINE . MACHINERY and Others, in possession of the Exposers. The supply of Coal &c in the lands is believed to be extensive, and in the hands of an energetic party would yield a very profitable return . The Lease is for 19 Years from Whitsunday 1873 . Private Sealed Offers to be addressed to the Liquidators , at the Registered Office of the Company 4, North Court Royal Exchange, Glasgow ; and the articles of roup will be exhibited by the Subscriber

    The Scotsman, 16th July 1875


    CONTRACTORS Wanted to Drive Dook in No 1 Pit Drumcross Colliery— For particulars apply to Robert Binnie, 5 Marjoribanks Street, Bathgate. Offers to be lodged by Tuesday first.

    West Lothian Courier, 28th February 1885