Whitehill Collieries and Brickworks, Rosewell, Midlothian

Whitehill Fireclay Works, Rosewell, Midlothian.

Scottish Mining


01/02/1861 – Glasgow Herald – The Whitehill Colliery fire clays, of excellent quality, will be let in connection with a suitable site for fire clay works on the Peebles Railway and within six miles of Edinburgh. Further particulars may be learned on application to Archibald Hood, Whitehill Colliery, Lasswade and offers will be received up to March next by Messrs Mackenzie, Innes & Logan, W.S, 23 Queen Street, Edinburgh.

26/12/1864 – Dundee Courier – Fatal accident in coal pit engine room – On Thursday morning, Thomas Cunningham, a miner, aged fourteen, residing Rosewell, Parish of Lasswade, was entering the engine-room at Whitehill Brickwork for the purpose of trimming his lamp, when he was caught by the flywheel which drew him round several times, and so severely injured him that he died within an hour afterwards.

1868 – Archibald Hood, Whitehill Colliery and Brickworks, Lasswade.

1869 – Whitehill, Dalhousie & Gorton, coal & brick depot, St. Leonard’s Station, & at Leith Walk Station. Allan Old, agent.

1869 – Archibald Hood, Whitehill & Dalhousie Collieries.

1870 – 1871 – Archibald Hood, coal master, Whitehill Colliery Brick and Tile Works, Lasswade. p.53.

07/04/1877 – Glasgow Herald – For sale one of Carr’s Disintegrators, 6ft 3in. diameter, also a double pair of clay crushing rolls manufactured by the Patent Brick Machine Company, Middlesborough; both as good as new, and will be sold at a bargain. Archibald Hood, Rosewell, near Edinburgh.

1878 – William Reid, brick and fireclay manufacturer, Rosewell, Lasswade. (Note – SBH – If this entry refers to the Whitehill Works then Reid may have been the manager).

10/01/1878 – The Scotsman – The Moorfoot Water Works at Gladhouse on the waters of the South Esk, Edinburgh. The aqueduct at Gillygubdean is constructed of brick … The bricks which are of extra size being 12″ x 6″ were obtained from the Whitehill Fireclay Works.

19/02/1884 – Glasgow Herald – Fire at Midlothian Brickwork – Damage to the extent of about £600 was caused to plant and machinery by a fire which broke out on Sunday morning at Whitehill Brickwork, in the parish of Lasswade. The fire engine and brigade from Polton Paper Mill and the Midlothian Asylums engine and brigade rendered good service in subduing the fire. The Dalkeith engine was also despatched, but the fire had been got under before its arrival at the scene. It is not known how the fire had originated. The loss, we understand, will fall upon the proprietor, Mr Archibald Hood, as the brickwork was not insured.

28/07/1884 – The Scotsman – Rosewell. Accident at the brickworks. A young man named Peter Munro on Saturday morning was in the act of raising the knives of the brick machine when the chain broke and the knives came down upon his hands. Three fingers of the right band and the thumb of the left hand were destroyed. He was sent to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

05/05/1885 – Glasgow Herald – Court case – Peter Munro V Archibald Hood. On 26th July last, the pursuer was a labourer residing at Rosewell and engaged with the assistance of two other men in repairing the pug shaft of a brickmaking machine at the defenders Whitehill Colliery and Brickworks. While so employed he states the slinging chain broke and the shaft fell, bringing down with it the plumber block which fell upon the pursuer and severely crushed hands.

09/10/1885 – Edinburgh Evening News – Accident at a Brickwork. While employed setting bricks for a kiln at Whitehill Brickworks, Rosewell, Wednesday afternoon, M. Regan, 26 years age, a labourer, had his right leg broken in two places below the knee and his body severely bruised by a large quantity of bricks falling on him. Another, labourer named Archibald McMurray was also bruised about the body and legs by the bricks. Regan was removed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary yesterday afternoon.

Below – 06/06/1887 – The Scotsman – The Edinburgh Association of Science and Art – The third excursion of the season took place on Saturday when 100 members visited Mr Archibald Hood’s Collieries and Brickworks, Rosewell, Hawthornden.

28/01/1888 – Huntly Express – An action has been settled which was raised in the Court of Session, before Lord Traynor. The case opportunity was brought by Archibald Hood, Whitehill and  Dalhousie Collieries, Brick and Mineral Oil Works, Rosewell, near Edinburgh, against George Sandison, contractor, 8 East Park Street, Huntly. Pursuer sought to recover £328 7s 7d as the balance of the price of pipes supplied last year. In consequence of defender’s failure to pay monthly, the supply of pipes had been stopped and in consequence of this breach of contract, the pursuer claimed £100 as damages The defence was that the pursuer had not supplied the goods specified in the account. The action had been settled on the footing that the pursuer abandons his claim for damages and otherwise the defender bars the claim.

Below – 01/07/1889 – The Scotsman – East of Scotland Engineering Association visit to the Whitehill Fireclay Works.

1889 – 1890 – Archibald Hood, Whitehill and Dalhousie Collieries, brickworks and Oil Works, Rosewell. p 675.

01/08/1889 – Dalkeith Advertiser – A workmans claim for wages. In the Edinburgh Sheriff Small Debt Court yesterday John Hughes, Preston Street, Rosewell, sued Archibald Hood, proprietor of Whitehill Brickworks for 15s 7d, being one week’s wager due to him up till 24th June last. From the evidence it appeared that Hughes left his work on Monday 24th June without any notice, and went to work at Roslin Gunpowder Works, Mr Hood declined to pay the sum sued for on the ground that Hughes had committed a breach of contract and left without one day’s notice in violation of the rules of the work. He also stated that he had suffered considerable damage in consequence of Hughes’ conduct. Sheriff Hamilton, after hearing proof, decided that Hughes was entirely in the wrong in leaving his work without notice and granted a decree of absolvitor in favour of Mr Hood with of expenses. Mr Hood, in the view that this would be a lesson to the workmen in future, intimated that he would not press his claims for damages against Hughes.

10/03/1890 – Glasgow Herald – The Lothian Coal Company Limited – The subscription list will open tomorrow and close on or before 14th.

Directors include – Archibald Hood Esq, Colliery Owner (President of the Mining Association of Great Britain), Managing Director.

The purchase is to consist of the whole plant including 700 cottages, 600 waggons, buildings, locomotives and machinery of every description, also the extensive and valuable brick and fireclay works successfully carried on for many years at Whitehill.

Below – 11/03/1890 – Dundee Advertiser – The Lothian Coal Company Limited has been formed. The full prospectus.

12/04/1890 – The Scotsman – Brick moulders wanted at Whitehill Brickworks, Rosewell.

25/07/1890 – Edinburgh Evening News – Lord Traynor and a jury sat in the Court Session today to try an action at the instance of Alexander Blair, road repairer, residing at Duke Street, Rosewell, against Archibald Hood, colliery owner, Rosewell. A decree was asked for £500. Pursuer sues on behalf of his son, Henry, 12 years of age, who was injured in defender’s brick and works on 6th  March last, being crushed between a waggon and an engine. The leg has since been amputated as a consequence of the accident. The defective condition of the plant was the fault averred. This was denied by the defender, and it was said that the railway was worked with care and that the accident could not have been foreseen. The action was settled, the defender having agreed to pay the pursuer £100 and expenses.

19/10/1891 – Glasgow Herald – Wanted 2 brick moulders. Whitehill Brickworks, Rosewell, near Edinburgh.

1893 – 1896 – Whitehill Colliery – Brick and Mineral Oil Works, Rosewell, Mid Lothian. Lothian Coal Limited. TO Hawthornden Station.

28/09/1894 – Midlothian Journal – The coal strike … Rosewell … At the brick and pipe making between one and two hundred persons are employed, the majority of whom are connected with the miners on strike, and consequently keeping the pot boiling. The manager pointed out how if the masters went just as far as the men in this struggle, that destitution which appears not to have reached Rosewell would have seized upon the village. He said it was perfectly well known to the management who of those employed in the brickwork were related to the strikers, yet these had not been dismissed. No rent had been demanded from the strikers since the commencement of the struggle, and no notices to quit the houses had been served. Since the men went on their own initiative to Messrs Archibald and James Hood about a month ago, asking for Federation terms, which were refused, there has been no communication between masters and men in regard to a settlement. A walk around the works showed the various workshops apparently in full activity, the joiners and smiths being hard at work getting necessary repairs executed. In the brickwork there was no evidence of a strike whatever, as all the kilns were in use and the workpeople engaged in the processes of moulding, stamping, trimming, &c …

26/11/1896 – The Scotsman – New chimney at the Edinburgh Gasworks – The new chimney at the Edinburgh and Leith Gasworks, New Street, which has been in course of construction since November 1895, will be completed tomorrow … The chimney is 250 feet high … At the base, the brickwork consists of fifteen footing courses built solid for a height of four feet in cement mortar with first quality Whitehill composition bricks except in the centre and under the flue openings where fire bricks bedded in fireclay were used … The outside of the chimney is faced with red bricks made by the Scottish Terra-Cotta Company, Braidwood, and this gives it a perfectly uniform and handsome appearance, forming a pleasing contrast with the Prudham stone …

02/06/1899 – Midlothian Journal – The coal and brick-making industries at Rosewell are extraordinarily busy just now.

1901 – Directory of Clayworkers – Lothian Coal Co Ltd, Rosewell, Midlothian.

30/10/1902 – Dalkeith Advertiser – The late Mr Archibald Hood, Rosewell. A well-known figure in the industrial life of the Scotch coal trade passed away suddenly on Monday morning, in the person of Mr Archibald Hood, of Rosewell and Cardiff. For some time it had been known that the deceased gentleman suffered from valvular heart affection, but as he exercised the utmost care it was hoped that his life might still be spared for a few years. On Thursday he travelled to London and returned on Friday evening when he complained of what he believed to be indigestion. He grew worse on Saturday and his medical adviser was called in. He appeared to be rallying on Sunday, but during the night be lamed away. Mr Hood was born in 1823 and was the youngest son of Mr Donald Hood, colliery manager, Kilmarnock. Essentially a self-made man, he commenced life in the pit, it being on record that ere he was 16 he was in charge of an engine worked by atmospheric pressure and was at work for 12 hours each day. This left him but few opportunities for improvement, but by observation underground and general research he made himself thoroughly familiar with the geological formation of the district, and began to qualify as a mining engineer. At Glasgow, whither the family subsequently removed, Mr Hood continued his studies, and when 22 years of age secured an appointment as chief mineral agent and engineer in the firm of Dunlop & Wilson, on whose behalf he sunk several shafts for the development of the “Black Band” coal area of Ayrshire. A few years later Mr Hood became a partner with the late Mr James McNaughton, railway contractor of a colliery near Glasgow, but disposed of his interest in it after acquiring a substantial colliery connection in Midlothian. It was in 1856 Mr Hood first became associated with Whitehill and other collieries in the Lothians which were then being worked by the late Mr Wardlaw Ramsay of Whitehill. In those days the development of the district was hampered by lack of sufficient railway communication. In point of fact, up till 1855, the output of coal was in some cases taken away by horse and cart. No one was more active than Mr Hood in the furtherance of the schemes for the Polton and Penicuik railways, which proved an immense convenience to the collieries and paper works in the locality. Mr Hood took a lease of Whitehill Colliery, which he conducted with much success, adding to it the Eldin, Carrington and Polton mineral fields, as well as carrying on an extensive brick and tile work at Whitehill. In 1890 these works were united with the extensive colliery at Newbattle, carried in by the late Marquis of Lothian, and formed “The Lothian Coal Company, Limited,” with a share capital of £500,000. Mr Hood joined the Board of Directors and ever since he has taken a large and leading interest in developing and extending this great mineral industry. The coalfield worked by this company extends to over twenty-two square miles and in one of the most extensive mineral holdings in the kingdom. There are eight seams of coal which can be worked to advantage, while other seams are available for future working. The management and direction of this undertaking lay largely on the shoulders of Mr Hood. Ably assisted he no doubt was by mining engineers and managers of undoubted ability, still, the planning and responsibility of these great undertakings lay largely upon his own shoulders. One of the most important works connected with the Lothian Coal Company was the sinking of the Lady Victoria pit at Newbattle the shaft of which in over 280 fathoms in-depth, and is one of the deepest working coal mines in the country. The pithead works and machinery are of the latest and most improved description, and the mine gives employment to over 1200 miners. As a wise employer, Mr Hood saw the advantage of providing comfortable house accommodation for his workpeople, and the Company have erected extensive rows of good dwelling-houses, suitable to the wants of working miners and others. At Newtongrange alone over 300 houses have already been built, and others are in course of erection. At Rosewell and Poltonhall other extensive erections of new cottages have taken place. Another matter to which Mr Hood gave a little attention was the provision of outdoor amusement for his workpeople. In June 1901 an excellent bowling green was opened at Rosewell, the cost of which, some £600, was provided by the Lothian Coal Company and the local Co-operative Society, conjoined with the liberality of Colonel Wardlaw-Ramsay who gifted the ground. In May last Mr Hood took a prominent part in the opening ceremony of a new bowling green at Newbattle for the use of the workers there and took occasion to refer to the opening of a Gothenburg public house in Newtongrange. The Directors of the Company, he said, had provided the public-house with the view to promoting the morality of the district. As a keen bowler, Mr Hood was delighted to see a green established in the village, but as bowling was a form of recreation that could only be pursued during a few months of the year, he suggested the appointment of a small committee to consider and report to the Lothian Coal Company (of which he was managing director) as to securing a reading-room, a recreation hall and a library which would be available throughout the whole year. Mr Hood was presented with a silver jack on a handsome stand by the Newbattle Bowling Club, and in acknowledging the gift he said it would be handed down to future generations as an indication that in his day he had been of some use to his fellow men. While a resident at Rosewell Mr Hood interested himself in the welfare of the village, and from time to time took a leading part in helping forward any scheme of local usefulness. In conjunction with the landed proprietor of the district, Colonel Wardlaw Ramsay, he helped in the erection and endowment of a quoad-sacra parish church at Rosewell. A chapel for the benefit of Roman Catholic miners was also erected in the village. Mr Hood married a daughter of the late Mr Wm. Walker, Cumnock, and survived is by one daughter and three sons. Mr Hood, in 1889, turned his attention to Wales and became director of a new styled “The Glamorgan Coal Company” on whose behalf he opened the large collieries at Llwynypia, in the Rhondda, Valley. With the phenomenal increase of the export trade of South Wales, Mr Hood became associated with the late Mr D Davies, Llandinam, and Mr Lewis Davies, Ferndale, in the promotion of the Barry Dock and railway scheme. The bill for the construction of that dock, the largest in the Bristol Channel was obtained in 1884, and the dock was opened in July 1889. Mr Hood became deputy chairman of that company, a position which he occupied up to the time of his death. Mr Hood was also a  Magistrate for Glamorgan, a member of the Commission on Mining Royalties and only last week was placed on the Royal Commission to inquire into the use of electricity in mines.

1903 – Lothian Coal Co Ltd, Whitehill & Polton collieries, Rosewell R. S.O. Midlothian; T A “Lothian, Rosewell; T N 6 Lasswade.

24/02/1904 – Edinburgh Evening News – Man killed at Whitehill Brickworks. Henry McGregor, an employee engaged at the brickworks of the Lothian Coal Company at Whitehill Rosewell, was fatally injured yesterday afternoon while at work there.  The deceased was unmarried and lodged at Carnethy Street, Rosewell.

09/01/1906 – The Scotsman – Reference to Mr C. T. Robertson, manager, Whitehill Brickworks.

1910 – Fireclay in the Coal Measures was being used in 1910 at Whitehill Colliery near Roslin to make firebricks and sewage pipes.

12/05/1922 – Midlothian Journal – A visit was paid on Saturday afternoon by the students and associates of Edinburgh Architectural Association through the courtesy of the directors of the Lothian Coal Company, to the Whitehill Brick and Fireclay works at Rosewell. The party were shown over the works by Mr Thos. Murray and the complete process of the manufacture of bricks was demonstrated. from the mining of the clay to the stacking for dispatch. Great interest was shown in the modern Hoffman kiln, which burns continuously for years and has an output of half a million bricks each month. The process of making fireclay pipes and glazing was also shown and after tea, the party descended the pit and viewed the underground workings and the mining of the clay and coal

22/12/1923 – Foreman wanted for Whitehill Brick and Fireclay Works. Apply by letter, stating age, particulars of experience and wage required, to The Lothian Coal Co Ltd, Rosewell, Midlothian.

13/02/1926 – The Scotsman – Timekeeper wanted for Whitehill Brickwork. Apply stating experience, age and wage required to The Lothian Coal Co Ltd, Rosewell.

01/11/1929 – The Scotsman – In presence of a large and representative attendance, the funeral of Mr James Hamilton, a director of the Lothian Coal Co. (Ltd), and general manager of the Whitehill and Polton Collieries and Brickworks took place yesterday from his residence, Rosedale, to Hawthornden Churchyard.

Below – c. 1930 – Whitehill Colliery Brick and Fireclay Works, Rosewell.

03/07/1930 – Dalkeith Advertiser – Serious accident occurred at the Whitehill Brickwork on Monday, when James Hill, brickyard foreman, Dean Terrace, Rosewell, wars caught on a pulley wheel which he was fixing a belt. He had his left arm fractured in two places and was taken to the Edinburgh Royal infirmary.

1940 – 1941 – Lothian Coal Co Ltd, The Whitehill and Polton Collieries, Brick and Fireclay Works, Roswell. Telephone 36 Roslin.

Below – 1944 – 1963 – Whitehill Collieries. The Fireclay Works are not notated but I believe they were located at this site.

1947 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests that the National Coal Board took over the works at this time.

1953 – Part and parcel of the pit is the brickworks, awarded a prize last year as the best-kept brickworks in Scotland. The plant produces some 58,000 bricks daily. They are ‘baked’ in chambers holding 11,000 bricks at a time. Fuel costs are low. Five tons of coal were used last July to fire the chambers. Since then the bricks have baked themselves on the gases they produce.

06/08/1953 – Dalkeith Advertiser – … It is not generally known that a flourishing brickworks exists there (Whitehill Colliery) as part of the pit. In fact, the brickworks were last year named as the best-kept brickworks in Scotland and awarded a prize. The plant produces some 58,000 bricks daily, bricks surely needed for the housing drive.  New Whitehill bricks are being used for the development of a new drift mine and screens there, expected to commence in 1954 …

10/07/1958 – Dalkeith Advertiser – Manager retires. After 57 years at Whitehill Brickworks, Rosewell, Mr John Scott, the manager, was presented with a chiming clock at an informal ceremony on Friday. Mr D. Harrison, Assistant Area General Manager of the NCB, handed over the gift. To Mrs Scott, he gave a musical jewel box and a necklace. Presiding was Mr R. Lawson, Group Manager. Mr Scott started as a surface worker at the age of 13. Later he worked underground at Whitehill Colliery before transferring to the brickworks in 1928. There he was the foreman for a number of years before being appointed manager. Mr Scott is well-known in Rosewell for his sporting activities. An expert masseur, his services were often in demand by clubs. His son Gerald was a champion boxer, winning the NCR middleweight title.

1968 – Records of Shirlaw Allan, Industrial auctioneers, Hamilton, Scotland. For sale – Calcium silicate brick making plant and machinery, Cochran Chieftain steam package boiler.. stationary air compressors etc at Rosewell Brickworks, Rosewell near Bonnyrigg.

1969 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests that the Scottish Brick Corporation took over the works at this time.

1977 – The 1985 publication ‘A survey of Scottish brickmarks’ suggests the brickworks closed around this time.

Below – Biography – Archibald Hood. Source

Archibald Hood was one of the mining engineers who transformed the coal industry in Europe in the course of the 19th century.

He was born at Kilmarnock, Scotland, the son of a colliery overman. His family moved to Glasgow where he was able to study mining engineering, and for a time he supervised the mining operations of Dunlop & Wilson, an iron-making company in South Ayrshire. In 1856 he took a lease from Archibald Primrose, 4th Earl of Rosebery (1783-1868) of Whitehill Colliery at Rosewell in the Lothian Coalfield, and developed the business by using a proportion of the coal raised in the manufacture of bricks and tiles. He sank a new shaft at the Rosewell pit in 1878, extended railways to serve his various enterprises, and developed the colliery village, building well-designed houses for the pitmen, encouraging a co-operative retail society, and adopting the “Gothenburg” system, by which profits from sales of alcohol were devoted to the creation of parks, libraries and other community facilities. He enjoyed the sport of bowls and laid out greens on which his miners could play in their leisure hours.

In 1890 he amalgamated his company with the mining interests of Schomberg Kerr, 9th Marquess of Lothian (1833-1900) to form the Lothian Coal Co, which in the same year began to sink the Lady Victoria pit, now the Scottish Mining Museum (& ERIH Anchor Point). The colliery came to employ 1200 men and had a 91-year working life. The company controlled 5700 ha of mine workings and accommodated its miners in 700 cottages, many of which were in the village of Newtongrange alongside the Lady Victoria pit.

Hood was also a prominent figure in the coal industry of South Wales. In 1862 he established the Glamorgan Coal Co, and from 1867 was resident in Cardiff, wherein 1876 he built a mansion called Sherwood in the Gothic style, on Newport Road. The centre of his operations was at Llwynpia in the Rhondda Valley, and he did much to expand mining in the upper parts of the Rhondda. One of his mines at Gilfach Coch was known as the Scotch Colliery. He did much to expand markets for Welsh steam coal, in particular through agreements with the Admiralty to supply the ships of the Royal Navy, and added value to the coal raised from his pits by building large brickworks and coke ovens.

He was a strong supporter of the Barry Docks & Railway Co, established to provide competition for the docks at Cardiff that were owned by the Marquesses of Bute, whose railway was opened in 1889. He encouraged the use of new technology in mines, particularly of compressed air and electricity.

He is buried in the cemetery at Cardiff and commemorated by a statue erected in 1906 on the site of his Glamorgan Colliery at Llwynpia.

Below – Unknown date – Advert for Lothian Coal Company Limited. Whitehill and Polton Collieries, Brick and Fire Clay Works, Rosewell, Midlothian. Manufacturers of bricks and every description of fire clay goods.


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