Summerlee Iron Works

Location type


Name and dates

Summerlee Iron Works (1836-1930)


This iron works, constrained between the Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway (to the west) and the Gartsherrie Branch of the Monkland Canal (to the east) was opened by Wilsons and Co and John Neilson.

Summerlee House was a short distance off to the west (it has not survived).

The works were built with a row of blast furnaces alongside the canal (opposite Howes Basin).

The Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway served the works from both north and south, from essentially a loop on its east side running from Gartsherrie Iron Works Signal Box in the north to the north end of Coatbridge Central (and its goods yard) in the south. Sidings to the blast furnaces ran from the south with works buildings on the west side of the loop.

The Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway also served the works. The connection ran south from Sunnyside Junction Yard before crossing the Monkland Canal by a swing bridge. Approach was by reversal (alongside Coatbridge Central).

In addition to the works, the company owned coal and ironstone mines all over the Scottish Lowlands, notably Prestongrange Colliery, Stepends Colliery, Kerse Pits (Kerse Incline (Summerlee Iron Company)), Blackhill Ironstone Pits, Drumpeller, Kirkwood, Knightswood, Shieldmuir and Summerlee itself.

In the 1870s Summerlee Iron Co (led by John Neilson, took over when Wilsons and Co was wound up.

The company became Summerlee and Mossend Iron and Steel Co when John Neilston's Mossend Iron Works company was merged with the Summerlee works in the 1880s.

The iron works closed in the late 1920s and was demolished 1930s - except the works buildings. These became, after 1948, the National Coal Board's Central Workshops.

With electrification the road bridge over the Garnkirk line which gave access to the works was removed.

The former iron works site was redeveloped as an industrial museum in 1987. It is now the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life .

The site includes:
- superb museum
- portion of the lower foundations of the works has been uncovered
- National Coal Board Scottish North Area 0-6-0T No 9 (ex of Bedlay Colliery
- 'Blue Train' unit 311103
- Beyer-Garratt 4112 ex of South African Railways (built by North British Locomotives)
- short length of working tramway
- Lanarkshire Tramways Company No. 53
- miner's row (not originally here)


Iron works


  /  /1828Monkland Canal
Gartsherrie, Hornock and Summerlee Branch of canal opened, to serve the under construction Gartsherrie Iron Works, Summerlee Iron Works (after 1836) and Howes Basin.
  /  /1844Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway
Extension to Summerlee Iron Works and Whifflet authorised, connection with Wishaw and Coltness Railway authorised, alteration of gauge authorised.
  /  /1859New Monkland Line (Monkland Railways)
Opened to minerals from Calderbank Junction to Stepends Junction (continued by separate line to Stepends Colliery, of the Summerlee Iron Works).
  /  /1988Summerlee Heritage Park
Established on site of Summerlee Iron Works.