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The Whifflet


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This is a view of Coatbridge looking towards the Whifflet - The Front Row of the infamous Rosehall Rows is on the left.  

Rosehall Rows looking North towards Whifflet along Back Row

The Rosehall Rows were built for the workforce of Rosehall colliery, which was owned by Robert Addie and Sons. Rosehall was one of the largest collieries in Lanarkshire and just before the Great War had over 1300 underground workers. The coal mine clearly had a long life surviving well into the 20th Century.

On Saturday about 12.30, James McNeilly, 40, a brusher residing at 17 Middle Row, Rosehall Coatbridge, while employed in No 12 Pit Rosehall Colliery, putting five loaded hutches on the rope, something struck him on the chest, knocking him down. By the fall he sustained a simple fracture of both bones of the right leg at the ankle. He was taken home in the Coatbridge ambulance waggon, and after being attended by Dr Taylor, was removed to the Alexander Hospital. [from the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser 20 February 1915]

Five men were killed following an explosion at the Rosehall Colliery complex on 14th August 1934. In 1938 the workforce had declined to 232 with 168 working below ground. The pits closed in 1945.

Extracts from The Lanarkshire Miners (1979)
by Alan B. Campbell


In 1842, Thomas Tancred, a mining commissioner, was assured that, in Coatbridge, some families with only two rooms took in as many as fourteen single men as lodgers, while the Clerk at Dundyvan Iron Works claimed that some one-roomed houses there had up to eighteen occupants, half working by day and half by night.

This may well have been an extreme case, but at Rosehall the houses were also reported to be very cramped and overcrowded. The rooms there were only 8 feet high and from 10 to 14 feet square, yet it was estimated in 1854 that no room in the village was occupied by fewer than six persons each night.

Thomas Tancred, who visited houses at a number of the works around Coatbridge, blamed such overcrowding for the 'absence of all domestic comfort or attention to social duties. The garden ground usually lay a mere waste, unenclosed and not a spade put into it; the children, in rags and filth, were allowed to corrupt each other, exempt from all the restraints of school or of domestic control.


Coupled with poor housing was even worse sanitation. In 1864, under the headline 'The filthiest puddle in the world', the local newspaper drew attention to the open cesspit near Rosehall:

This drain on both sides of the public road receives all the filth from Rosehall Colliery houses and from the other houses in that direction, and in that state it is allowed to lie and stagnate, and decompose ... till the stench is absolutely intolerable; while there are a great many families immediately above its brink who, during the day, while obliged to look upon its odious and unsightly appearance, must have their bedrooms filled with its miasma during the night.


Housing in the Whifflet had improved a little by 1875, when a reporter of the Glasgow Herald found examples of the best as well as the worst types of miners' housing in the district. In the village of Rosehall, three rows of substantial, stone-built houses had been constructed, divided by regular streets, and the newest houses were of the 'first- rate room and kitchen' type.  
(The Rosehall Rows - when new!)

In contrast, the neighbouring village of Calder contained 'the most wretched hovels ... dark and dirty and smelling vilely

These may even have been the same dwellings which the Mining Commissioner had condemned as 'old and dirty' over thirty years earlier.


[Extract from evidence presented to Royal Commission, 25th March 1914]
"The rows are the property of Addie & Company, coalmasters. They are a wilderness of single- and double-(mostly single-roomed houses. They cannot be described justly, and to do so unjustly would flatter the owners. They consist of four long parallel rows of single-storey hovels; most of them have not even rhones to carry the rain from the roofs. Rain-water simply runs down the roof and then runs down the walls, or falls off as chance or the wind decides. There are no coal-cellars; coals are kept below the beds. There are no washhouses. Water is supplied from stands in the alleys. The closet accommodation is hideous. The closets outside are not used by the women. In some of the rows 7 or 8 people occupy a single room. The sanitary conveniences are in a state of revolting filth. A number of these hovels are built back to back. Rents for single apartment, 3s. 9d. per fortnight, deducted at the office of the colliery. The whole place is an eyesore, and positively disgraceful. Surely the Commission can find time to see this place."

It was said that some houses were occupied by 2 families - usually related - one family worked the day shift and the other worked the night shift.


They were eventually cleared in the 1920s and replaced by the current housing between Coathill Street and Whiffiet Street.

4 March 1924
Rosehall Clearance Scheme - In connection with the Rosehall clearance scheme, the Board of Health have informed the Coatbridge Town Council that the 200 new houses to be erected must be in accordance with the housing standard, as recently decreed. To meet the wishes of the working-class clement, the Coatbridge Town Council prepared plans with bed recess accommodation to bring the houses within the reach of people with large families and whose circumstances would not permit the renting of three-apartment houses. The Coatbridge request will now be brought to the notice of Mr Wheatley, M.P

Description of Rosehall???
There are in all four rows of substantial stone houses, which are divided by regular streets, and three of them have been built for a number of years. These are all single apartments, with the inevitable two beds; the rent being 1s 6d a week. For the first time in my experience, I found tenants speaking well of their landlord. They did not admit that the houses were all they could wish, but they spoke of Mr Addie as willing to do all he could to keep them in good order, and were especially grateful to him for having last summer put down wooden floors in the old tenements. There is a want of ashpits, but those for which space has been found are well kept. The supply of water is ample and of good quality. The fourth row is quite new, some of the houses, of which there are 24 in all, not being finished. Those ready for occupancy are tenanted. At the back are large coal-houses for all the tenants, a closet for every three, and a wash-house with boiler for every six. The closets are kept locked, each occupant being furnished with a key, and the wash-houses are large enough to admit of four women working at one time.

Shawhead Pits
These pits were run by Robert Addie & sons - most of the miners who worked there lived in the Rosehall Rows. 

Map showing the Rosehall Rows
The top of the Map is at the Big Tree bar

Calder--A Memory

Janet Hamilton

Sweet Calder! on thy flowery marge

When life was young I roamed at large,

With heart that owned no care, no charge,

Save for my tiny flower-fraught barge

Launch'd on the dancing stream.


On thy green banks I loved to lie

When high the sun and blue the sky

Thy silver waters gushing by

Watching the trout and minnow fry

O'er pearly pebbles gleam.


By fair Rosehall, through greenwood glades,

Thou glid'st through rose and hawthorn shades,

By hyacinth banks, where Monkland's maids

Unbind their dark or golden braids

And lave their snowy feet.


Oh! many a lone and lovely scene,

By Enoch's Hall and holms so green,

Within thy winding course is seen,

Where, rippling 'neath thy woodland screen,

Thy murmuring voice I greet.


Here would I dwell in rustic cot,

Where primrose tuft and cowslip knot,

Fox-glove, and sweet forget-me-not,

So richly gem the sylvan spot,

And sweetest fragrance shed.


Again beneath thy bordering trees

I walk, and breathe the scented breeze,

'Mid song of birds and hum of bees,

And still the scene each sense can please,

Though youth and joy have fled.



Robert Addie & Sons

Rosehall Mine - Situated near Whifflet
Persons employed underground 1320, above ground 320, total 1640

  • The employees reside in the following localities:-
    In mine owners' houses, situated at Coathill and Whifflet (Burgh of Coatbridge) 358, Rosepark 12, Addies Square and Muirpark, Bellshill 70
    In rented houses, situated at Coatbridge Burgh, Airdrie Burgh and Bellshill 1200

  • The mine owners' houses situated in the County area are described as follows:-
    Rosepark Cottages
    8 Two-apartment houses Rental 8
    4 Three-apartment houses Rental 10 10s

  • Built under the Building Bye Laws - Single storey, brick built - Damp-proof course - Hollow walls - Wood floors, ventilated - Internal surface of walls and ceilings in good condition
  • No overcrowding - apartments large
  • Garden ground - wash houses and coal cellars provided
  • Privies and ashpits -one privy provided for every 3 tenants - doors to lock
  • Sinks inside, with gravitation water
  • Scavenged regularly at owners' expense





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