South Lanarkshire

A small industrial hamlet and former estate now located amongst plantation forestry in South Lanarkshire Council Area, Wilsontown lies a mile (1.5 km) north northeast of Forth. Wilsontown was the site of the first modern iron works, founded in 1779 on a green-field site by brothers John, Robert and William Wilson. Despite its somewhat remote location, it operated until 1842. Coal mining here continued until the 1950s. The iron works, mines and estate were purchased in 1824 by William Dixon (1788 - 1859) whose father (also William) had made a fortune from iron works in North Lanarkshire. About this time, James Beaumont Neilson (1792 - 1865) worked as a consultant here and realised the benefits of blowing hot air through the furnace, and idea that led to development of the development of his novel hot-blast process. Wilsontown was served by a branch of the Caledonian Railway which closed in 1963. Little of the iron-works remains, despite its listing as an ancient monument in 1968. Wilsontown House was demolished in 1954.

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