Ayrshire Towns and Parishes

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 Stevenston Coalfield


Also you will find other interesting details in the Will of Robert Reid Cuninghame of Auchenharvie 26th December 1814

Very interesting details of the family and the industry on Saltcoats and Stevenston at this time. Particularly in Will 2.



It is not know when they began to dig for coal in Stevenston, but the manufacture of salt in nearby Saltcoats was carried out using coal dug from the surface to evaporate the water in their little pans or kettles.


The Stevenston Coalfield extends from Saltcoats Harbour to Irvine Bar, and the coal seams 12 in number, are known to run in a westerly direction out under the Firth of Clyde.


The coal strata in the coalfield is intersected by several dislocations, the directions of which have been fully ascertained. The chief of these dislocations is a true mineral vein or dyke composed of greenstone intermingled with a light green coloured spar. It is know by the name of Capon Craig Gaw and is distinctly seen rising above all other strata on the Old High Road. It runs due west from here. Another dislocation is the Piperheugh Step which runs in a south westerly direction from Ardeer Mains Farm to the River Garnock. The coal seams in between these dislocations was know as the " West Field " of Stevenston Colliery. Further coalfields lay to the east and west of this field and it was important to these dislocations (barriers) unpierced to prevent water traversing between the adjacent fields.






Pits within the parish were:- ' Jenny Lind ' off the Boglemart. The ' Deep Shank ' between the Stevenston Burn in the Holm Green and the Mill Lade right-of-way. The ' Dip Engine ' shank was immediately behind the Ayrshire House of Refreshment in Station Road. The ' Georgie Pit ' (Royal George) was at the end of George Street. ' Redan No 1 ' was just off Garven Road. ' Redan No 2 ' was at the top of Limekiln Road.  The ' Prince of Wales ' pit was on the shore side of Trelawney Terrace. The ' Ardeer West ' or ' Shore ' pit. The ' Lucknow ' pit was in the Ardeer sand dunes and is now within Ardeer Factory. The ' Ardeer East ' or ' Bumbee ' pit or ' Hillside ' pit as it was better known was situated near to where the Nylon Plant was built. This was the last pit in Stevenston to produce coal and ceased production in 1926.


There were 6 Auchenharvie Pits all fairly close together. No 5 pit right on the shore front. The engine house remains can still be seen at Auchenharvie Golf Course.



Auchenharvie Disaster map.jpg (87089 bytes)

On Friday 2nd August 1895 a disaster occurred at No 4 pit in which nine lives were lost and five men were rescued after being entombed from the Friday morning until Sunday afternoon. This disaster was caused by the breaking through of water from the old workings to the east of the Capon Craig Gaw. This ' Gaw ' was supposed never to have been cut. It would appear, however, that at some former period it must have been pierced for about 3 p.m. on that day an outburst of water suddenly took place in the extreme rise of No 4. One of the sad features of the disaster was the loss it entailed on two families, one of which named Glauchan lost four members while the other, named Mullen, lost two.

The Deceased were:-

Robert Conn aged 16 of Grange Street, Stevenston.

Duncan Gallagher aged 32 of Schoolwell Street - brother -in - law to the Glauchans - left 5 children.

4 members of the Glauchan family of Townhead Street, Stevenston, John aged 30, William aged 26, James aged 19, and Henry aged 17. 

John McGee - aged 14

Brothers James 19 and Peter 14 Mullen both of Schoolwell Street, Stevenston

The miners that survived entombment were:-

Charles Clark, Station Square, Stevenston, age 21

William Hamilton aged 22

Alexander Macadam, Old Square, Stevenston age 38 brother in law of

Michael McCarroll, Ardeer Square, aged 40

Robert Park, New Street Stevenston


 Source: 'The Kernal of Cunninghame' by James Clements








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