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Arniston Colliery, Emily Pit

Colliery (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Arniston Colliery, Emily Pit

Classification Colliery (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 132482

Site Number NT36SW 42

NGR NT 3358 6198

NGR Description Centred on mining activity area

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Midlothian
  • Parish Cockpen
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District Midlothian
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT36SW 42.00 3358 6198

Re-numbered - originally mis-numbered as NT36SW 146

See NT36SW 42.01 3391 6142 Arniston Colliery, Gore Pit Coal Mine


Location: Gorebridge

Previous Owners: Arniston Coal Company

Types of Coal: Gas, House and Steam

Sinking/Production Commenced: 1858

Year Closed: 1962

Average Workforce: 980

Peak Workforce: 990

Peak Year: 1951

Shaft/Mine Details: 2 shafts, Emily 302m deep, sunk 1858, and Gore (NT36SW 42.01).

Details in 1948: Output 950 tons per day, 237,500 tons per annum. 964 employees. Norton washer [equipment for the wet cleaning of coal]. Baths, first-aid room, canteen. Electricity from SE Scotland Electricity Board. Report dated 15-07-1948.

Other Details: Emily dated originally from the 1860s, and its timber-lined shaft was 293m deep, said to be the deepest in Scotland at the time. Arniston Coal Company was established in 1874. The two pits (Emily and Gore) were subsequently known as Arniston Colliery. At one stage, Emily had its own power station. A re-organsisation was planned for the pit in 1948.

M K Oglethorpe 2006.


Field Visit (26 March 2010 - 30 March 2010)

A desk-based assessment and walkover survey was carried out in advance of a proposed development at Redheugh, near Gorebridge, Midlothian. The study area included a well-preserved 19th century courtyard farm (Redheugh) and an upstanding stretch of the Edinburgh-Dalkeith Railway (Arniston Branch).

It also incorporated, along its western edge, the former site of the Prestonholm Mill. Founded in the late eighteenth century, the Prestonholm Mill had once represented an extensive flax mill with mill buildings and a number of ancillary structures which would have included workers’ accommodation. Also associated with the site was Prestonholm House (NMRS NT36SW 137).

A ‘subterranean passage’ recorded in the NMRS in the vicinity seems likely to have been a lade or culvert associated with the mill – a similar feature is shown on Roy’s Map of 1747-55, suggesting that the there had been an earlier mill structure here prior to the founding of the flax mill.

The mill buildings may have been demolished following their acquisition by the Earl of Dalhousie in the late nineteenth century Since that time, late twentieth century coal mining activities and subsequent landscaping appear to have obliterated all trace of the earlier structures, though a dump of worked stone near the site of Prestonholm House could still be seen and an isolated stretch of walling was identified elsewhere.

Two structures (Rathmell S4 and S5) were recorded to the N of the location of Prestonholm Mill. S4 was described as a low rectangular feature measuring roughly 28m by 19m in extent overlain by a large bund at the W side. It survives as an earthen bank upstanding to a height of 0.4m. S5 was described as the remnants of a stone structure, comprising short length of walling measuring 6m in length and upstanding to a height of 0.6m. It had been rebuilt in recent times in places. At this location on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map are two roofed structures within two small enclosures. Although in the report they are suggested to be modern features, due to their location and the associated structures visible on the map, it is likely these are 18th century structures associated with the nearby mill.

A rectilinear structure or enclosure measuring 64m by 15m in visible extent, represented by low, grass-covered footings was recorded (S17). It occupies a terraced platform and may represent the precursor of Redheugh farmsteading, shown on Thomson’s map of 1832.

Information from Thomas Rees and Louise Turner (Rathmell Archaeology), 20th April 2010

OASIS ID: rathmell1-74951


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