Balgonie Colliery Brickworks, Markinch, Glenrothes, Fife.

Balgonie Colliery Brickworks, Markinch, Glenrothes, Fife.

BALGONIE Colliery (also known as JULIAN PIT)
Location: Thornton
Previous Owners: Balfour and Balgonie Estates, later the Balgonie Colliery Company
Types of Coal: House and Steam
Sinking/Production Commenced: 1883-5
Year Closed: 1960
Year Abandoned: 1960
Average Workforce: 448
Peak Workforce: 490
Peak Year: 1952
Shaft/Mine Details: 2 shafts, No. 1 147m, No. 2 119m deep
Details in 1948: Output 470 tons per day, 123,262 tons per annum. 445 employees. Baum-type washer [equipment using water and compressed air to clean and separate coal from stone and shale]. DC and AC high tension electricity, none bought from public supply. Report dated 06-08-1948.
Other Details: Re-organised by National Coal Board (NCB) in 1954. M K Oglethorpe 2006.

Info – The Julian Pit lay a few miles to the north-east of Thornton, not far from the Lochtyside Pit, Balgonie Colliery, which lay to the west and just south of Coaltown of Balgonie. The pit was sunk to the Dysart Main Coal at a depth of around 82 fathoms.

09/01/1886 – The Scotsman – New coal pit in Fifeshire. During the past two years, sinking operations have been going on uninterruptedly on the Balgonie estate, near Thornton Junction. The property belongs to Mr Charles Babbington Balfour. The shaft has been sunk to the depth of 80½ fathoms or 483 feet. The sinking has been attended with the utmost success, and a number of seams of coal have been passed through.

1902 – James Ross Gillespie, architect, designs a drying shed floor for the Balgonie Brickworks, Thornton.

1903  – Charles Barrington Balfour (Neil  Ballingal, agent), Balgonie Colliery,  Markinch; T N 901; T A  Ballingal  Markinch.

02/11/1905 – Leven Advertiser – … Julian Pit, near the railway at Thornton … For more than 20 years a feature has been made of bricks at the colliery. The entire output of bricks was for years drawn from a Hoffmann kiln, but recently the brickwork has been extended and two Newcastle kilns built. The operatives are housed at Coualtown of Balgonie, Milton of Balgonie and Thornton. Mr Neil Ballingall is at the head of the management, and the works are under the immediate control of Mr Jamieson.

06/06/1907 – Leven Advertiser – Mr Hill questioned Mr Dewar if the addition to the slaughterhouse was being carried out according to specifications. Were the bricks to be Balgonie or Lochside? Mr Dewar said he could not recollect if it was specified. Mr Hill – And were rent linings to be put in. Mr Dewar—Vent linings were never put in at boilers. He could not say at the moment if that was included in the specifications. Mr Wilkie – It is a twopenny-halfpenny business at any rate. Mr Hill hoped it would not be a threepenny-halfpenny business. Mr Dewar— Very often they could not get Balgonie brick. Mr Wilkie—You cannot keep men sitting picking their fingers if they could not get Balgonie brick. Mr Aitken agreed with Mr Hill. If the work was not according to specification, it was not fair to other contractors. Mr Dewar was deputed to see into the complaint.

11/02/1911 – Leven Advertiser – Markinch. The following are the successful contractors for new offices at Balbirnie paper mills for Messrs H. W. Dixon: Mason work, Peter M. Henderson; joiner work, David Grieve; plumber work, Wm. Spittal; plaster and slater works, Archibald Mitchell—all of Merkinch. The architect is Mr Alex. C. Dewar, Leven. The building contains private office, general office, sampling room, laboratory, &c., and a large attic for storage purposes. It will be built of Balgonie bricks pointed white, and with Locharbriggs red-stone facings around doors and windows. All the interior woodwork is to be of pitch pine. The roof will be covered with light sea-green slates from Birnam Quarry, and finished with red tile ridgings.

10/04/1914 – Dundee Courier – New Scottish Company … Balgonie Colliery Co., Ltd., Markinch (private company), to take over the colliery and brickwork business at Markinch carried on under the name of the Balgonie Colliery Co. Capital, £55,000, in £10 shares.

1923  – Balgonie – Chairman was Capt C J Balfour.

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