Skip Navigation / Jump to Content



The Rising Burgh: 1560 to 1770s

Industry and Technology

Fuel and Power

By John R Hume

Glasgow from Monkland Canal Wood was probably still used as a fuel until the late 17th century, but it seems likely that coal was becoming the dominant fuel well before that time. The peat in the Glasgow area had probably been worked out much earlier. There was certainly extensive working of coal in the Partick and Kelvinside areas in the 17th century, and in the Calton, Bridgeton and Camlachie areas in the 18th century. Among the coal masters in the East End was David Dale. Even before the completion of the Monkland Canal (started in 1772) it was being used to bring coal from the Monklands to the city. The Govan and Knightswood collieries were also being developed, the latter as a source of coal for the Dumbarton Glassworks. Both were linked to wharves on the Clyde by wooden wagonways by the 1770s.

Paper Mill Water remained the only alternative to human and animal power for most purposes throughout this period. The only other options were wind and steam power. A windmill was erected on the south bank of the Clyde in the late 17th century to grind corn, but it was disused by the mid 18th century. Steam pumping engines were used in Scotland to drain coalmines from about 1720 and were installed in Shettleston and Carntyne in the 1760s. The existing water-power sites were developed more intensively during this period and some new sites were exploited, such as one on the White Cart at Langside, used for a paper mill from 1686. There were other water-powered paper mills at Woodside and Dawsholm by the 1770s.

Quick Search

Photo Album

You have 0 images in your photo album.

View Photo Album

Log-In (Optional)

Not a user? Register now for FREE!

Other Options