East Lothian

Victorian Post Box, Tranent
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Victorian Post Box, Tranent

Located 9 miles (14.5 km) east of Edinburgh. A traditional mining town with coal deposits in what is known as 'the Great Seam', up to seven feet thick near Tranent and close to the surface. Mining began in the early 13th Century when the Lord of Tranent gave areas over to the monks of Newbattle (Midlothian). Coal was sent to Cockenzie via a wooden railway (1722) and subsequently an iron railway (1815), and to Haddington via a turnpike road in the mid-late 18th century. By the early 20th C. the coal here was exhausted and mining activity in East Lothian became focused around deeper mines at Prestonpans and Ormiston.

The 'Massacre of Tranent' followed the 1797 Militia Act requiring local military recruiting quotas; the miners resisted and a number were shot dead. Subsidence from mining has created noticeable hollows in the ground, and the remains of a large colliery are found at Fleets, south of Tranent. The old parish church has sections of a pre-Reformation church (c. late 15th-century) and also in Church Street are the remains of the 16th-century Tranent Tower.

Today Tranent is a business, tourism and market town with a modern Civic Centre and Square (1969). The headquarters of Inveresk Research, a controversial drug-testing and biotechnology company which lies on the site of the former Fleets Colliery to the south, provides significant employment.

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