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Monkland Canal, 200m east of Cuilhill Road to West Canal Street

A Scheduled Monument in Coatbridge North, North Lanarkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8639 / 55°51'50"N

Longitude: -4.0558 / 4°3'20"W

OS Eastings: 271436

OS Northings: 665325

OS Grid: NS714653

Mapcode National: GBR 003M.QS

Mapcode Global: WH4Q9.NWV1

Entry Name: Monkland Canal, 200m E of Cuilhill Road to West Canal Street

Scheduled Date: 16 December 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11339

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: inland water

Location: Old Monkland

County: North Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Coatbridge North

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of part of the Monkland Canal, including the canal itself (now culverted in places), the embankments on either side and the towpath running along the S side of the water-filled sections. This section of the canal is 3.1km long and runs from 195m W of Drumpellier railway viaduct to the W edge of the railway bridge at West Canal Street, Coatbridge. This monument is one of five that together constitute the known remains of the Monkland Canal. The canal lies at about 70m OD.

The scheduled area is linear in plan and in two parts, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling includes: the abutment of the bridge N of Home Farm Court, Drumpellier; and the lower masonry walls of the quays lying on the canal bank in front of the 'Time Capsule' leisure centre. The scheduling specifically excludes: Drumpellier railway viaduct; the railway bridge at the E end of the monument; the road bridge at Blairhill Street (Merrystone Bridge); and the Blair Road bridge. It also excludes the above-ground elements of all electricity poles, fences and gates; all signage, seating and street art; the above-ground elements of all sluices, sluice crossings and drainage features; and the upper 300mm of all paths and in-filled sections, to allow for their maintenance.

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The original planned extent of the Monkland Canal was completed in 1794 and it remained in use until the 1930s. It was built to connect the coal-mining areas of Monkland in North Lanarkshire to Glasgow and ran for a total distance of 19.6km (12.25 miles). This section of the canal is in a stable condition and retains its form to a significant degree. The archaeology of the canal is represented chiefly by the embankments and the navigable channel, even where these have been buried or altered by successive alterations and repairs. Nearly all of the original embankments survive, as do the abutments of the bridges that crossed it from an early date in its use. Today, the well-preserved sections of the canal constitute a major amenity for the communities of Coatbridge and Airdrie, as in this case.

Contextual characteristics

The Monkland Canal was constructed in the late 18th century, specifically as a means of transporting fuel from the North Lanarkshire coalfields to the rapidly expanding city of Glasgow. Work on the canal began at Sheepford, near Coatbridge, in 1770, and by 1794 its route extended from Calderbank to Port Dundas, Glasgow, to link with the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Monkland Canal has fewer locks and is shorter and narrower than the better-known Scottish canals (the Forth and Clyde, Union and Caledonian Canals).The Monkland Canal had shorter feeder sections to Dundyvan, Langloan, Coatdyke and Gartsherrie, all in or near Coatbridge.

During the 19th century the trade in fuel was supplemented by the addition of iron from the many blast furnaces established adjacent to the Lanarkshire coalfields, and traffic reached a peak in the 1850s and 60s, with over one million tonnes of iron and coal being transported each year. The locations of collieries and ironstone extraction sites are still visible adjacent to the canal, illustrating the relationship between the canal and these formerly significant industries. Eventually, most of the canal's trade was taken over by the network of railways servicing the industrial areas of Lanarkshire and Glasgow. The canal fell out of use by the mid 1930s and was abandoned as a navigable waterway in 1942. Large sections of the waterway have since been filled in, and most of its length through Glasgow now lies beneath the M8 motorway. However, sections of the canal have survived elsewhere, either as water-filled or culverted features, and some parts have been actively maintained as an amenity, as in this case.

Associative characteristics

The earliest sections of the canal from Sheepford Locks to Blackhill (constructed from 1770 onwards) are the work of the celebrated engineer and inventor, James Watt.

The amenity value of the canal was recognised from its early years, with canal boats ferrying day-trippers into the town of Glasgow. This section of the Monkland Canal is now part of a well-used local heritage trail, celebrating the industrial heritage of Coatbridge.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because, as an integral part of the Monkland Canal, it represents an excellent example of Georgian civil engineering. The earliest sections, constructed from 1770 onwards, are the work of the celebrated engineer and inventor, James Watt, and the canal took 24 years to complete. As the main means of transport between the North Lanarkshire coalfields and the rapidly expanding city of Glasgow, the canal epitomises the interdependence of 18th-century Glasgow with the coalfields of North Lanarkshire, which led to the region becoming the most important industrial centre of 19th-century Scotland. The canal itself played a significant role in the development of both coal and ironstone extraction, and facilitated further development of ironworks in the Coatbridge area. The surviving remains of the canal include rare features such as basins, landing stages, possible wharfs and quays. This section is particularly valuable because it comprises a surviving length of more than 3km of the canal, much of it water-filled, and the essential character of the original canal is still evident. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the importance of the Monkland Canal and its contribution to the industrial success of the west of Scotland in the 19th century.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as NS76NW 68, NS67NW 143 and NS76SW 84.

References

Hutton, G 1993, Monkland, the canal that made money, Lanarkshire Heritage Series.

Lindsay, J 1968, The canals of Scotland, Newton Abbot.

Thomson, G, 1945, The Monkland Canal: A sketch of the Early History, Monkland Library Services Department.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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