Mauricewood Pit

Location type


Name and dates

Mauricewood Pit (1875-1909)

Served by the Glencorse Extension (Edinburgh, Loanhead and Roslin Railway).
Served by the Shotts Iron Co.


This mine was sunk by the Shotts Iron Co in the 1870s, originally for iron ore for the Shotts Iron Works and later coal. It was the site of a disaster, a serious pit fire, which resulted in the deaths of 63 miners. This pit disaster is considered the worst in Lothian mining history.

The mine was sunk south east of Mauricewood House and north of Penicuik. It opened around 1875, connected underground with the Greenlaw Colliery. Coal initially was transported to Kevock Siding (near Polton) on the Esk Valley Railway. (This was due to an agreement between the North British Railway and the Shotts Iron Co prior to the Loanhead line being opened.)

It was to be served by railway on the opening of an extension of the Edinburgh, Loanhead and Roslin Railway in 1877. Housing was built to the south in an area still known as Shottstown.

The mine was served by an inclined double track gravity operated hutchway which ran uphill from, and at 90 degrees to, a siding. The tramway passed under Mauricewood Road to reach the mine. The looped siding ran north east to join the railway a little south of Glencorse station. The siding was on the west side of the line. South of Glencorse the line was minerals traffic only.

The Penicuik Railway and Edinburgh, Loanhead and Roslin Railway had a receipt pooling arrangement for traffic from mines in the area. This came to an end when the North British Railway took over the lines in 1876 and 1877 respectively.

A fire started on the 5th of September 1889 at the lowest level of the pit. The fire was so severe that it was sealed and allowed to flood. Six weeks later fire still raged and it was March 1890 before all the miners' bodies were recovered.

Scottish Mining - Mauricewood Fire Inspector of Mines Report

The mine was reopened and some additional sidings laid at the loading point. It continued operation on-and-off until 1909. After closure a mill operated at the site of the loading pad. The line survived the closure as it still served the Eastfield Colliery siding and Penicuik Gas Works . It closed altogether in 1959.

The site of the railway siding is landscaped and is on the west side of the A701 just south of Mauricewood Primary School. The incline cannot be traced and is partly covered by housing. The mine's surface buildings, on the west side of Mauricewood Road, are long gone and the site is now wooded.

A monument to those who died in the Mauricewood Pit Disaster was erected at the site in 1989. The monument is in the pleasant grassed area on the east side of Mauricewood Road.



External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67


Vanished Railways of West Lothian