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Monkland Canal, Coatbank Street to Paddock Street, Coatbridge

A Scheduled Monument in Coatbridge South, North Lanarkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8585 / 55°51'30"N

Longitude: -4.0118 / 4°0'42"W

OS Eastings: 274171

OS Northings: 664639

OS Grid: NS741646

Mapcode National: GBR 00FP.7R

Mapcode Global: WH4QJ.B0VN

Entry Name: Monkland Canal, Coatbank Street to Paddock Street, Coatbridge

Scheduled Date: 16 December 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11342

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: inland water

Location: Old Monkland

County: North Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Coatbridge South

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of part of the Monkland Canal. This section of the canal is around 1.7km in length and is now culverted and infilled. It runs N and then NNW from Paddock Street for about 700m until it meets the dismantled railway. After an interval of some 200m, it recommences on the W side of Locks Street and runs roughly westwards for 1km to the E side of the bridge over the canal at Coatbank Street. The monument includes the route of the canal, the visible embankments, and the visible and buried sections of the towpath. It also includes the swing bridge and abutments from a now dismantled railway line, 230m E of Coatbank Street; the site of the former Sheepford Locks, immediately W of Locks Street; and the site of Rochsolloch Basin on the NE bank of the canal, just N of Paddock Street. This monument is one of five that together constitute the known remains of the Monkland Canal. This part of the canal lies about 80m OD.

The scheduled area is linear in plan, 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 specifically excludes: the Coatbank Street bridge and the Paddock Street bridge. It excludes all drainage features and access hatches and the above-ground elements of all electricity poles, fences and gates; all signage, seating and other modern additions; and the upper 300mm of all access roads, paths and in-filled sections of the canal.

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 has been infilled and culverted, but is in a stable condition and retains its form to a significant degree. The line of the canal and the S embankment are clearly visible along most of this length, and the N embankment is well-preserved in places. In general, the archaeology of the Monkland Canal is represented chiefly by the embankments and the navigable channel, even where these have been buried or altered by successive alterations and repairs. There is good potential for the survival of buried remains of the Rochsolloch Basin and the Sheepford Locks, which were completed in 1792 as part of the work to extend the canal to Calderbank. Although the Sheepford Locks were demolished in 1962, examples from elsewhere suggest that important evidence of these structures may survive below ground. There were originally two single locks at Sheepford, which had the effect of raising the canal 21 feet.

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.

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.

This infilled section of the canal is now a public footpath and has high amenity value for the communities of Coatbridge and Airdrie today.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, particularly the design, construction and use of Scottish canals. As part of the Monkland Canal, it represents an excellent example of Georgian civil engineering. This section is particularly valuable because it includes Sheepford, where work on the canal began in 1770, and may contain the remains of the Sheepford Locks. The earliest sections of the canal 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 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. 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 NS76SE 64 and NS76SW 84.

References

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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