Coal Mining in the Lochore Area
- Evidence of coal mining goes back to Roman times in the Lochore area.
- In 1291 the Pittencrieff Charter first organised coal mining in Fife in 1291. William de Oberwill, of Pittencrieff, allowed the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline, to open a coal pit at Pittencrieff.
- 1710 - Coal was being worked on a small scale in Ballingry
- 1804 - Thirteen people were employed at Lochgelly Pit
- 1826-1867 – Small coal works commenced in Lumphinnans, Capeldrae, Crosshill and Lochore
- 1870’s – The Largest coal seems were discovered and deep shafts pits created at the Lindsay Pit 1873, Nellie Pit 1880, Aitken Pit 1895, Lumphinnans Pit 1896, Glencraig Pit 1896, Mary Pit 1904 and the Benarty Pit 1945.
- The mines in the Lochore area closed between 1959 and 1966
- 1967 – Fife County Council acquired the land from the coal board for reclamation. The process of reclaiming the land was completed in 1976.
The Mary Pit
The Mary Pit was opened in 1904. The huge reinforced concrete winding gear was the first to be built in Scotland in 1921. The structure is 34m high and served a pit shaft that was 600m deep, transporting both men and coal to and from the surface. The railway engine situated beside it is known as a pug, this particular engine came from the Michael Pit in Kirkcaldy.
Mary Pit Facts
- Shaft – Over 610m (2000ft) 8.5m x 3.4m.
- Pumping Engine – Drew 1,500 gallons per minute and could pull a cage(carrying 8 x ½ ton hutches) up in 45 seconds.
- Production – 200,000 tonnes of coal per year.
- Underground Links – The Mary was linked to the Aitken, Benarty and Glencraig Pits.
- Workforce – 350 men were employed.