Scottish shale Scottish shale

Murieston Limestone Mine

Midcalder, Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
James Hood
Robert Baird and William Cunningham
William Cunningham & Son, Blair works, Dalry, Ayrshire
Quarrying began 1820's, mining at a later date.
Mining abandoned 1886?, quarrying finished c. 1900
Current status of site:
Quarry workings flooded and landscaped as Campbridge Park

Quarry and underground workings in the lands of Murieston, working the Burdiehouse limestone. The limestone seam outcropped in an area between the western approach to Murieston house, and the Camps bridge, and seam dipped towards the south. Quarrying seems to have began in the 1820's. There was no mention of limestone working when the Murieston estate was put up for sale in 1828, yet a sales notice of 1830 describing Dresselrigg farm and Blackstone-ford limework, states:

“On the farm there is a lime-post, with two drawkilns of the most approved construction, the sales from which have been very considerable of late years, and are much on the increase. One of the beds of rock is of such a texture as to admit of a fine polish, and produces blocks of bronze-coloured marble fit for chimney pieces and marble slabs. The yearly value of the premises, including the rent of the limework, and a moderate rent for the house, garden, and appurtenances, is estimated at upwards of L600”

The 1855 OS map shows a small quarry with two associated limekilns, and is described in the OS name book as “A limestone quarry on the estate of Murieston. It is at present wrought by the proprietor, J Hogg.- this name also applies to the kilns & other works connected with the burning of the lime.” Valuation rolls of 1855 record the tenant of the limeworks as Thomas Thornton, coalmaster of Crofthead who had a wide range of mineral interests. No further reference to limestone workings is found until the 1880's when the limeworks were operated by the Baird and Cunningham families, who had various limestone interests around Dalry, in Ayrshire. During this period it appears that limestone was worked underground to the south of the quarry, with a small area of stoop and room workings that seem to have been abandoned in 1886.

A much extended quarry, labelled “Murieston mine” seems to have still been active when mapped in 1893 for the second editon OS maps, and is shown linked by a tramway to a siding on the Caledonian Railway's Midcalder and Cleland line. The 1893 OS shows a branch of tramway serving a shaft a little south of Newpark station, close to the boundary with the Westfield estate and Westfield No.1 pit. The extent of these workings is not know. The site of the shaft is now marked by a fenced-off concrete pad.

  • Location of mine, and boundary of the lands of Murieston

    On Thursday the employees at the Murieston Lime Works at Bellsquarry met in Mr Henderson’s Inn for the purpose of presenting Mr Robt Baird jun with handsome testimonial on the occasion of his marriage. The presentation, which consisted of a beautiful marble timepiece for Mr Baird and a silver service for the bride was made by Mr James M'Beth. Mr Baird replied in suitable terms and a happy evening was afterwards spent.

    Hamilton Advertiser, 4th February 1888


    A young man, named John Baird, employed at Murieston Quarry, fell a distance of 40 feet off a ledge of rock on which he was working and was seiously injured

    Linlithgowshire Gazette, 6th February 1892


    WEST CALDER. Accident at West Calder.—A serious accident occurred at Murieston Limeworks. West Calder, on Friday forenoon. The manager, Mr Campbell, and two of the workmen were firing a shot with gelatine when the accident took place. The first charge went off all right, but just as they were putting in a second charge it exploded. Mr Campbell had his left hand blown off, while Baird, one of the workmen, lost both his hands. The other workman had a marvellous escape.

    Linlithgowshire Gazette, 5th June 1897