Joint Meeting of the Scottish Branch
with the Scottish Association for Metals
Tim Whittaker Branch Vice President, Justin Parkes, curator and Professor Allan Davidson, President of SAM.
Justin Parkes, Industrial Museum Curator of the Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life in Coatbridge gave a potted history of the newly opened centre. The museum reopened in 2008 after a two year redevelopment costing £10.5 million.
Summerlee Heritage Centre is a major visitor attraction located in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire. Extending 22 acres, it occupies the site of the former Summerlee Ironworks which operated from 1836 until 1926. The ironworks was demolished in the 1930s to be replaced by the Hydrocon Crane plant in the 1950s. Their engineering shed now forms the main exhibition hall.
Opened in 1987, this award-winning museum is located along a section of the old Monkland Canal. The exhibits at Summerlee are predominantly looking at the industrial and social history of Lanarkshire, the centre of Scotland''s industrial revolution. Exhibits explain the pre-history and geology of the area, how the geology directly led to the establishing of industry and the contribution made by companies and workers based in this area to the World in terms of engineering. The centre is also home to Scotland''s only working electric tramway, a recreation of an Adit Mine and a row of miner''s cottages, together with a winding wheel once installed at the former Cardowan Colliery at Stepps.
Special events are held at the centre, ranging from steam fairs to cinema organ recitals.
The Summerlee Iron Works was established by John Neilson, the elder brother of James Beaumont Neilson (1792 - 1865) who developed the hot-blast smelting process in 1828, which the Summerlee works used.
After a question and answer session where Justin thanked the members for giving him answers to some of his questions Professor Allan Davidson, from Napier University and President of the Scottish Association for Metals, gave the vote of thanks.