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Buckhaven, Wellesley Colliery

Colliery (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Buckhaven, Wellesley Colliery

Classification Colliery (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Denbeath Colliery

Canmore ID 131548

Site Number NT39NE 59

NGR NT 3666 9875

NGR Description Centred NT 3666 9875

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Wemyss
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Kirkcaldy
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NT39NE 55 centred 3666 9875

WELLESLEY (also known as DENBEATH)

Location: Methil

Previous Owners: Bowman & Company, Wemyss Coal Company from 1905

Types of Coal: House and Steam

Sinking/Production Commenced: 1883-5

Year Closed: 1967

Year Abandoned: 1972

Average Workforce: 1,908

Peak Workforce: 2,603

Peak Year: 1957

Shaft/Mine Details: 2 circular shafts, both 481m. No. 1 shaft NT 3660 9877 (1883), and No. 2 shaft NT 3662 9879 (1885). Third eliptical shaft added in 1907. In 1938, two steam winders were in operation, fed by 14 Lancashire boilers.

Details in 1948: Output 1,700 tons per day, 440,300 tons per annum. 1,543 employees. First washer installed in 1904, later replaced by large Baum-type central washery (largest in Europe in 1938), which also served Randolph [NT39NW 226], Lochhead [NT39NW 149], Frances [NT39SW 25] and Michael [NT39NW 23]. Baths (extension completed by Miners Welfare Fund (MWF) in 1938, canteen (under construction), first-aid (hospital close by colliery). Steam and electricity, all generated at mine. Report dated 12-08-1948.

Other Details: Originally known as Denbeath Colliery, but the name was changed at the onset of the Wemyss Coal Company era in 1905. Major redevelopment in 1907, with addition of third shaft, production coming back on line in 1910. Pithead baths built by the Wemyss Coal Company in 1915 were the first to be built in Scotland, and the second in the UK. In 1947, second only to Michael Colliery [NT39NE 23] in Scotland in terms of annual output. New washery added in 1960. Closed in 1967 during period of major closures, within two months of another of Scotland's largest pits, Minto [NT29SW 44], and only two months prior to the diastrous fire that closed neighbouring Michael.

M K Oglethorpe 2006.

Fife Energy Park [NAT] (name centred NT 3676 9878)

OS (GIS) MasterMap, October 2010.


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