The Midlothian Coalfield - a very simple guide

 

 

 

 

A Guide to the Midlothian Coalfield of Eastern Scotland

 

The edge coals and flat coals

The most noticeable thing about the Midlothian coalfield are the 'edge coals' which got their name from the way the seams of coal come up to the surface at a very steep angle. They are found at the west side of the coalfield, and run in a southerly direction from the sea down through Niddry, Gilmerton and Loanhead. At the eastern end of the coalfield, the seams slope towards the surface at a much shallower angle.

In this central part of the field, around Craighall, Dalkeith etc were a number of thick seams known as the 'flat coals' from their relatively flat angle. At a much greater depth below these were the same seams that formed the edge coals.
section through the Midlothian Coalfield
 Section though part of the coalfield from the Pentland Fault on the left

 

Limit of the coalfield

The map below shows the limit of the coalfield which extended into East Lothian and down into Peebleshire at it's southern extremity.

Midlothian Coalfield
The parishes within the coalfield, along with some of the main collieries where members of the Hood family worked are shown here.
The family who were bound to the Dryden coalworks in the 18th century, seemed to prefer working in 'edge seams' when they were free to work elsewhere, so hardly went outside the parishes of Lasswade and Liberton until the 1780s

 

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