Estate, History, Kinneil Colliery, Kinneil House

Centenary of public heritage at Kinneil _ Part 2

Last month we featured the fact that 2022/3 marks the Centenary of Kinneil House and Estate first becoming public heritage assets. We’ll try to continue to look back at some of the stories of 1922-3 which still resonate and have relevance to today.

One hundred years ago today, on 26 May 1922, the Linlithgowshire Gazette ran a feature highlighting the centuries of history of the estate, in connection with the recent announcement that it was to be sold by the Hamilton family, along with many other significant landholdings in Central Scotland.

From the Linlithgowshire Gazette, 26 May 1922

Along with other news in that day’s paper announcing the appointments of the retinue and all the other characters for the forthcoming Bo’ness Fair, the paper also reported that sales of some of the land belonging to Kinneil Estate were starting to be agreed. “We understand that the farm of Kinneil Mill, on the Hamilton Estate, at present in the market, has been purchased by Mr Hugh Fleming, who succeeded the late Mr Abraham Addison as tenant. Mrs Laird has purchased Kinneil Gardens, cottages, and large park adjoining. For over 40 years the late Mr Laird, and latterly Mrs Laird, have successfully carried on the large market garden on the Kinneil Estate“. Does anyone know more about the story of the ‘large market garden’?

Unfortunately, a terrible tragedy had also struck the town the day before, but must have happened too late for the story to be published in that day’s Gazette. Instead the Edinburgh Evening News, also of 26 May 2022, reported it as follows: “In the warm weather of last night three boys from Castle Loan were bathing in an old quarry hole on the estate of Kinneil, a mile to the west of Bo’ness. The pond, from which water is run regularly, is very deep but the boys, who were good swimmers, had nearly crossed when the eldest, William Cowan (17), was seized with cramp and went under. His companions, schoolboys both, gallantly tried to save him, but the effort was too much for them, and he was drowned. The deceased lad was employed in the pits belonging to Kinneil Coal Company and was the son of Mr Samuel Cowan [of] Castle Loan.” The Gazette mentioned the tragedy in their following week’s edition, adding that the “distressing drowning fatality” had occurred “in a small service pond to the north-west of Kinneil House”.

~ In memoriam RIP ~.