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Iron Works (19th Century), Museum (20th Century)

Site Name Summerlee

Classification Iron Works (19th Century), Museum (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Coatbridge Heritage Centre; Summerlee Museum Of Industrial Life

Canmore ID 45764

Site Number NS76NW 14

NGR NS 729 655

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council North Lanarkshire
  • Parish Old Monkland (Monklands)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Monklands
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS76NW 14.00 729 655.

NS76NW 14.01 72975 65174 Gatehouse

'The excavation of the site of Summerlee Iron Works being undertaken as part of an open air museum development at Coatbridge, is now in its second season.

The iron works were founded in 1836 and eventually had a maximum of eight hot blast furnaces. The works closed in 1930 and were demolished in 1939. The site was then backfilled to a depth of about 5m. The dumped overburden has been removed by machine and excavations to date have revealed a series of Lancashire boiler bases, the foundations of an engine house and a blast house, five heating stoves (for heating the air blast to the furnaces) and the remains of four furnaces. These all show two phases of iron smelting. A network of underground flues and ducts has also been exposed as well as surface drainage channels leading to the nearby branch of the Monklands Canal.

Finds include hand tools, a pair of iron workers clogs, a leather jerkin and many types of bricks.'

T Ward 1986

A third season's work included two rescue excavations. One, in advance of development of the tramway, exposed a three-walled rubble infilled foundation with facings of mortared Summerlee Brick, Summerlee Brick being the product of the Prestongrange Brick and Fireclay Works, East Lothian, dating between 1907-1947. The foundation walls c.1.7m thick and penetrated at regular intervals by a series of metal upright tie rods were intersected by a pair of sumps. The structure set on concrete and aligned EW may have been associated with a working engine.

Secondly, in advance of the reconstruction of Hudson's Boiler Works Office Building, work continued to the east of Furnace 5 where at least three structural phases were established, the earliest being a refractory block setting located c.0.5m below the latest 19th century casting levels.

M A Clark 1988

Further excavations took place at Summerlee Ironworks during April 2000. This concentrated on the around the secondary chemical processing area, the southern engine house, blast furnace number 6 and the area of the pig beds. The work revealed that primary deposits on this site appear to be intact. Considerable amounts of cultural material was recovered from the trenches, and sampling of soil and archaeo-metallurgical sampling work also took place (results of which are in Photos-Jones forthcoming).

The four trenches indicated undisturbed archaeological horizons, and indeed have the potential to add to the understanding of the site.

J J Atkinson, 2000

NMRS MS/725/288

NS 729 655 During April 2000 small-scale excavations were undertaken on the site of Summerlee Ironworks (NMRS NS76NW 14) following on from an earlier excavation at the site (as part of a Manpower Services Commission project) between 1985-87. Four trenches were excavated, combined with archaeo-metallurgical sampling and analysis. The excavations were targeted around the secondary chemical processing area, the southern engine house, blast furnace no. 6, and in the area of the pig beds. The results suggest that primary deposits at the site remain intact and have not been compromised by the earlier excavations. In all four trenches substantial material cultural remains were encountered, including pottery, bricks, iron fittings, timber members and glassware. Sampling and analysis of soil and archaeo-metallurgical waste was undertaken. (GUARD 848).

A full report has been lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: North Lanarkshire Council.

J A Atkinson 2000.


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