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In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Prestongrange Colliery

Railway Siding (19-20th Century)

Site Name Prestongrange Colliery

Classification Railway Siding (19-20th Century)

Canmore ID 290645

Site Number NT37SE 279

NGR NT 37360 73720

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Prestonpans
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT37SE 279 372 736

See also NT37SE 78.

NT 372 736 The results of the 2005 excavation have brought to light the first 18th-century remains of a glassworks ever to be found in Scotland. Substantial stone or brick-lined flues were a crucial design feature of glass manufactories and the one at Prestongrange, together with recovered crucible sherds, slag and glass fragments, provides valuable information about this early period of Scottish glass production.

The pottery assemblage has provided a wide range of material that has not been found in this quantity before. The range of redware forms also appear to be new. The number and range of 18th-century lead glazed, slipware vessels is also immense.

Other finds include iron and copper objects, clay pipes, bottle glass and flint, and appear to be well distributed across the site, particularly in the upper layers where mixing has occurred as the site has been levelled over the years.

A robbed building found on the south side of the glassworks remains is also of archaeological interest.

Sponsor: East Lothian Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Michael Cressey, 2006.

NT 372 736 The Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project (PCAP) has completed its second season of work at the Prestongrange Industrial Museum (; NT37SE 271; DES 2004, 46; DES 2005, 57). A programme of ground-penetrating radar survey (GPR) was carried out by CFA, PCAP and Utzi Electronics in April 2006. Three areas were surveyed as part of on-going investigations to identify the remains of a Cromwellian Fort, tidal mill and pottery remains. The GPR failed to find anything conclusive that could be attributed to the remains of the fort and tidal mill. The sheer depth of demolition material within the target areas appears to have resulted to confusing radar signals. Towards an area previously investigated near the site of a glass works, the results appear more promising and were interpreted as possible building remains and enclosure walls, perhaps associated with the late 19th-century Gordon's Pottery. PCAP hopes to investigate the survey area in 2007.

Interim reports are lodged with East Lothian Council; archive to be lodged with NMRS.

Sponsor: Heritage Lottery Fund

M Cressey, 2006.


Excavation (June 2007 - September 2007)

NT 372 736 The Project (PCAP) has completed its third season of work at the Prestongrange Industrial Museum ( Work took place between June 2007 and September 2007. A trench was excavated on the N side of the 17th-century glassworks air-flue, found during the previous season (DES 2006, 62). The backfill of the air-flue was also completely removed to allow a full plan and elevation of the

surviving part of the flue to be produced. It was found to have a flagstone and brick floor. The wall footings of a stone building with a packed mortar floor were discovered on the N side of the flue but it is too early to say whether this is associated with the glassworks. The foundation trench for the air-flue has been excavated and the deposits which built up or were cut through by this structure have been excavated and recorded. 20th-century brick building remains were also present. The features in this trench had been damaged by the excavation of modern rubbish pits in various places, undermining the wall of the flue at one point.

Two trenches were also opened up to look for any remains surviving from the late 19th-century Gordon's Pottery, following good signal returns from the ground-penetrating radar survey in 2006. The remains uncovered were two track-beds from a railway siding that was used by the nearby Prestongrange

Colliery. Wooden sleepers and iron dogs for holding railway lines were found in situ. The track-bed rests above natural deposits of sand. No remains of the pottery were found.

Archive to be deposited with RCAHMS.

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund.

Watching Brief (April 2008 - September 2008)

The Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project (PCAP) has completed its final season of fieldwork at the Prestongrange Industrial Museum ( A Level 1 standing building survey was undertaken of the Customs House remains. A watching brief was carried out during the excavation of a trial pit at the location of the former salt girnal; this work revealed the footings of a possible substantial stone wall but further work to explore this was not possible. Walkover survey, including the foreshore, was undertaken, and this work will be

extended in 2009. Oral reminiscence work and historical research are ongoing.

Information from Oasis (cfaarcha1-66199) 16 January 2013


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