Hood Family and Coal Mining

Coalmining - Horse Gins

Scotch or Whim Gins at Coal mines in Scotland

ghkhkghkgHorse gins were one of the two main methods of bringing coal to the surface in the east of Scotland, the other being coalbearing.
There were two types of gin, the earlier type known as 'Cog and Run' and the type known as either a 'Scotch' or 'Whim' gin. The cog and run type had many disadvantages; the horse circled round the pit shaft and if cogs were missing or broken, winding could be very jerky. The whim gin had the advantage of the horse being sited away from the mouth of the pit and was easier and cheaper to build.
In both cases, the expence of buying a horse or horses and the cost of feeding was considerable; someone also had to be paid for looking after the horses and driving them round.
To compensate the colliery owner for the expenses of building and running the gin, he would pay the colliers proportionally less for their coal than if it was brought to the surface by bearers.
This illustration from the 1842 Children's Employment Commision Report show a typical one horse scotch gin in action, showing how the coalworkers were lowered and raised from the mine in the same tubs or baskets as used for the coal.


Filling coal at the bottom of the shaft

hjkghkghkgjAnother illustration this time taken from a map of Gilmerton Coalworks in 1786, shows a view at the foot of the shaft.Two men fill tubs with coal to be drawn up by the gin where they will be unloaded at the top by banksmen. A small boy sitting behind the man on the left holds up a candle for lighting.
(image © SCRAN - www.scran.ac.uk)

© 2012   A Russell