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Discover Prestongrange

The Winding Engine

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If you look up the slope at the grassy bank you will see some of the mine's old railway wagons. These would carry coal out onto the main east coast line. A different type of wagon was used take coal down to the harbour where they would be side-cowped or tipped on its side into the hold of the collier boats.

Next to these is the silent presence of a large steel Drum on a brick foundation. This is the remains of a steam Winding Engine typically used at East Lothian collieries. The Drum carried a cable that passed over a Headgear and into the shaft. Its cables lowered and raised cages of men and lifted coal from the blackest depths of the earth.

A little way further down the hill from here, at the other side of the car park you can see a head gear still stands.

In front of the Winding engine is the ghostly presence of the miners cage (or lift) standing amid the foundations of the shaft house. It sits directly above the shaft. Notice its two tiers. Holding up to twenty miners it was a kind of double-decker bus. Although this one is modern, for ninety years open cages like this ran from the surface to the Pit bottom - eight hundred feet below.

© 2004 East Lothian Council