This page has been created by Jim Waugh, Friend of National Mining Museum Scotland and volunteer.
What has the story of a large iron producer in Lanarkshire, the Shotts Iron Co, and the small town of Penicuik got in common? I was brought up in Penicuik but it was not until I began to look at mining in Midlothian*that I began to see a connection.
The Shotts Iron Co was set up in 1801 and because of the ample supply of coal, ironstone and lime in the Shotts area the firm began to produce pig iron. However, as the century moved on the supply of raw materials for iron production began to decline. New sources of ironstone were located in Midlothian and as a result four pits were set up by the area between Penicuik and Loanhead. Mauricewood pit was sunk in the 1870’s. As miners moved into the area the Shotts Iron Co built houses on the edge of Penicuik and this was known as Shottstown. The houses were similar to the thousands throughout Scotland, usually called rows, basic and with few amenities. In 1889 63 miners were killed in the Mauricewood pit. The majority of miners lived in Shottstown and were buried in local cemeteries.
Two of the pits owned by the Shotts Iron Co, the Burlee and the Moat, were pits my father worked in but which were now part on the NCB. The other pit owned by the Company was the Ramsey in Loanhead.
*A talk by myself on the Shotts Iron Co and the association with Mauricewood was produced for the Friends of the National Mining Museum in Newtongrange.
Please find presentation on the history of the Mauricewood Pit and fire disaster here – Mauricewod PDF.
Sources for presentation here – sources.
Please note NMMS is not responsible for any third party material.