The Barony A-Frame

The A-Frame can be seen for miles around standing out against the clear blue skies of East Ayrshire. A reminder of the coal industry that once dominated the area.

The A-Frame is all that is left of the Barony pithead and mine workings that once stood on this site. It is the support for the winding gear that brought men and coal up 635m from the bottom of shaft 3.

The 4 legged frame is of a unique welded steel construction and is 45m tall. It spans a 6m shaft. The frame supports 2 sets of winding gear. It is the only remaining example in the UK and is a B listed structure.

It was built in 1954 as part of the modernisation of the Barony Colliery. It was in service until 1962 when a disaster at the nearby shafts 1 and 2 killed 4 men. With just a single shaft remaining operational that meant that the pit had to be closed. A new shaft was dug and opened in 1966 meaning that there was ventilation and an escape route and the pit could operate again.

Following the decline in demand for coal and a move to open cast mining techniques the pit was closed in 1989 and the site was cleared. The A-Frame fell into disrepair until 1997 when the Barony A-Frame Trust was set up and set about restoring the frame. They opened in 2008 to fireworks and a Royal visit from Prince Charles.

There are a few other artefacts on the site such as coal wagons and a pit prop. There are also numerous information boards explaining life working in and around the pit, the history, the miners’ strikes and the accidents. A heavy metal cutout depicts one of the miners who worked there.

Further from the A-Frame there have been other developments on the site, there is a small nature reserve with a number of bird feeders providing for the friendly robins and bluetits. A mountain biking track incorporates bumps, burms, a starting hill and a tunnel. There is also an adventure playground and numerous trees have been planted on the site.

A headstone and tagboard act as a memorial for those who lost their lives on this site and at other coal workings in the area.

The A-Frame obviously means a lot to the locals and features in local artwork and in the logo of a local school.

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