Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

(Summerlee Heritage Park)

The Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life is a major visitor attraction located in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire. Extending to 9 ha (22 acres) and formerly known as the Summerlee Heritage Centre, it occupies the site of the former Summerlee Iron Works 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 from time to time, 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.

The museum reopened in 2008 after a two year redevelopment costing £10.5 million and is now run by CultureNL, on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council.

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