ALF Index

Industry / Coal

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The main mineral associated with Aysrhire is coal, and there is hardly a parish in the county where coal has not been won. In medieval times the monks of Kilwinning actively exploited the coal within their estates, and it is probable that other landowners did likewise.

Before the Industrial Revolution coal would have been used purely for domestic heating. With the discoveries of the 18th Century and the development of steam-powered machines and manufacturing lead to an ever increasing demands for coal. The introduction of new inventions within coal mining such as the beam engine allowed deeper pits to be dug, and greater quantities of coal to be brought to the surface.

From the late 18th Century landowners and a new breed of entrepreneurs developed the coal industry throughout Ayrshire, following the seams of coal. Early centres of production were Galston, Saltcoats, Stevenston and Ayr. With a coastline of harbours and the proximity of Ireland, a land deficient in coal, Ayrshire developed a thriving export trade, supplying coal to Irish ports from Ayr, Saltcoats, Irvine and Troon.

Advances in engineering allowed deeper pits to be sunk, enabled the industry to expand into areas previously unexploited, such as Cumnock and New Cumnock, Annbank, Coylton and Dalmellington. The small coalfield at Dailly also began to be developed.

The coal industry continued to expand until the 1950s, when new super pits were sunk at Killoch (Ochiltree) and Barony (Auchinleck). Unforeseen geological problems at these pits coincided with changes in both industrial and domestic energy policies. Slowly the deep-mining industry contracted, and today in Ayrshire coal is extracted only by open-cast mining.

Images have been allocated into the following categories and subcategories.


- Coal

- Electricity

- Emergency Services

- Rescue

- Construction

- Bridges

- Railway

- Building Construction

- Roofing - thatch

- Dam

- Demolition

- Docks

- Harbour

- Housing

- Roads

- Ship Building

- Yachts

- Manufacturing

- Aircraft

- Brickworks

- Computers/IT

- Curling Stones

- Engineering

- Explosives

- Fuel

- Furniture

- Furniture/aircraft

- Hone stones

- Ice

- Ironworks

- Leather

- Tannery

- Mills

- Animals

- People

- Motor Vehicles

- Printing

- Railways

- Salt

- Shoes

- Textiles

- Carpets

- Knitwear

- Lace

- Water Pumps

- Whisky

- Mining

- Barytes

- Canteen

- Coal

- Rescue

- Minerals

- Processing

- Animal Slaughter

- Meat

- Quarrying

- Service

- Ship Building