Scottish shale Scottish shale

Westfield No.1 pit

Midcalder, Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
William Baird & Co. (William Baird & Co. Ltd. from 1893)
c 1876

A pit to the Burdiehouse Limestone in the lands of Westfield. Limestone working began in about 1874 when William Baird & Co. leased the minerals of the Westfield estate. Bairds were proprietors of the Gartsherrie Ironworks and a number of other Scottish ironworks, and worked coal and ironstone in many parts of Scotland and northern England. No.1 pit lay close to Caledonian Railway's Cleland and Midcalder line, and was linked by a short siding. There are early references to the limestone being quarried, however No.1 pit was sunk prior to 1878 , reaching the Birdiehouse seam at 25 fathoms (45m) below the surface. An air pit ventilating the workings was sunk a little east of No.1 shaft, close to the Murieston road. Workings followed the dip of the seam to the south west, and extended eastwards to the boundary with the lands of Murieston, coming close to the underground limestone workings in these lands. Workings were extended south westerly until a fault was encountered in about 1904; a stone mine was then driven through unproductive land until the Birdiehouse seam was reached south of the fault. Workings in this area continued until closure of the pit in c.1924, ultimately extending to the south of Westfield farm.

The workings around No.1 shaft, and northwards to the outcrop, were subject to significant subsidence during the working life of the pit, and have continued to cause problems. Substantial subsidence occured close to the site of the air pit in c.2015.

  • Location of pit and boundaries of the lands of Westfield


    John Alexander, Robert Angus, Alexander Fleming, Andrew Kirkwood M'Cosh, James Baird, Thorniecroft, and William Laird, all ironmasters, of Glasgow, claimed to be put on the roll as joint tenants of a limestone quarry at Westfield, Mid-Calder.—Mr William Weir, of Kildonan, and Mr Alexander Whitelaw, M.P., were enrolled for the same subject last year. Mr Richardson said he objected to the whole of them on the ground that they had not sufficient length of occupation. The claimants with the two gentlemen on the roll, formed a company, but although the draft deed of the copartnery dated from May last year it was not in existence until February of the present year. Mr. Thorniecroft, one of the claimants, said the deed was executed on the 14th February, 1878. It had not been finally agreed upon for more than fortnight previous to that date, but he and the other partners then assumed were responsible for their share of the wages and rents from the May previously.—The Sheriff said that co-partnery did not exist until February this year, and therfore the partners who were claiming to be put on the roll had not been in actual occupancy for a sufficient time to qualify them. Their clauses must be refused. —The names of Mr Weir and Mr Whitelaw would stand the roll as they did last year.

    Edinburgh Evening News, 9th October 1878


    PROSECUTION OF A MINING CONTRACTOR.-At the Mid-Lothian J.P. Court on Tuesday, John Campbell, mine contractor, Beechwood Cottage, Mid Calder, pleaded guilty to a charge of having in his use or possession, on 4th April, in Westfield Lime Works, a weighing machine, need for weighing limestone, one cwt. off the balance against the miners, who are paid according to the weight of mineral brought up by them. The bench characterised the case as a serious one, and it was the business of the accused to act justly to those working under him. A fine of £2 was imposed, the option being seven days' imprisonment. The prosecution, it would seem, is the first fruits of the Mines Regulation Act passed by Parliament last year

    Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 28th April 1888