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In 1840, the completion of the Slamannan Railway opened the parish's rich coalfield to commercial mining. In 1869, John Watson opened Balquhatson Colliery, near Blackrigg farm and John Nimmo of Slamannan opened Limerigg Colliery, near Drumclair.

Aerial image taken in 1998 of the remains of Balquhastone Colliery. The black splodges are old mines. You can also see the miner's houses and old railway. The marks of the old rig and furrow cultivation is clearly visible running across the modern fields.

limerigg heritage

The remains of the old mineral railway, which transported coal across from the pits to the colliery.

limerigg colliery

Nimmo was the first of a coal mining dynasty in Slamannan; his company ended up owning many of the collieries in the area, including the Balquhatson mines.

The parish town of Slamannan grew, as well as Limerigg itself. Mining records show that John Nimmo rented housing in Limerigg to his staff.

However, working in the mines was not an easy way to make money. There were many accidents and it was often a difficult and dangerous job.

On 5 December 1882, The Scotsman reported one such terrible accident:

"A miner named Thomas Heaps, 23 years of age, belonging to the Limerigg Colliery Co, met with a shocking death. Deceased was engaged about the shaft-mouth when he slipped and fell down the shaft, a distance of 50 fathom."

At its peak, at the end of the 19th century, Balquhatson employed 253 people and Limerigg Colliery employed 172. The mining industry in Slamannan went into decline in the early 20th century.

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