Giant clubmoss (Lepidodendron) fossil from Garscube Colliery, Maryhill.
The west of Glasgow had abundant coal reserves which were laid down during the Carboniferous Period (360-290 million years ago), when this Lepidodendron lived. In the 1850s the writer Hugh MacDonald had this to say about the areas around Anniesland: "From the number of coal-pits in this vicinity, it is obvious that the valuable black diamond abounds to an extraordinary degree in the bowels of the land over which we are now treading. Carboniferous districts are generally anything but attractive to the lover of landscape beauty. The country around us, however, is an exception to the rule."
Mines closed as coal deposits were exhausted and by the 1950s Garscube was the last working colliery in Glasgow, finally closing in 1966. As Glasgow expanded houses and tenements were built over the disused coal mines, resulting in the sorts of subsidence problems for which some areas of the city are notorious.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
Carboniferous Period, coal mines, coalfields, collieries, fossils, Garscube Colliery, giant clubmosses, Lepidodendron, subsidence