Summerlee - The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

Summerlee Museum reopened on Monday 26 April 2021. All visitors must book in advance. Find out more about Visiting Summerlee and Staying Safe.

Summerlee Museum has been awarded Good to Go status, designed by VisitScotland and recognised by the National Tourist Organisations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This Industry Standard mark confirms that we have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, have a Risk Assessment in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

A number of changes have been implemented to the museum and gallery experience. Everything you need to know is outlined here. Please ensure you read the information carefully.

Summerlee -  The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life is located on the site of the nineteenth century Summerlee Ironworks. 

The museum site covers 22 acres and has many attractions for all the family, including Scotland's only operational heritage tramway and recreated mine, with guided tours, miners' cottages, a great all-ages playpark and lots lots more. 

Admission is free.

You can also download a free treasure trail app and enjoy following the clues around the Summerlee site.

Facilities include:

Superb all-weather exhibition hall with working machinery

Electric tramway with heritage trams

Underground mine (Guided tours) and miners' cottages from 1840 to 1980

Great playpark for tots to teens

Café, shop and toilets with baby-changing facility.

A Brief History 

Summerlee was formerly one of Scotland's most important ironworks and the remains of its blast furnaces and other structures can be seen from the view pod and parapet at the north-east side of the main exhibition hall. 

Opened in 1836, it used the newly discovered 'hot blast' process. This was a process, patented by James Beaumont Neilson (the younger brother of Summerlee's founder John Neilson), that blew the hot gases of the production process through the furnaces. This resulted in much more iron being produced for the same amount of coal.

This made the smelting process much more efficient and led to Coatbridge becoming known as the 'Iron Burgh' of Scotland by the 1850s. However, the rise of the steel industry in the later part of the 19th Century saw iron's decline. 

Although heavy industry continued in Coatbridge for many years, strikes and economic depression in the 1920s saw Summerlee's furnaces go out for the last time in 1926. In the late 1930s, the site was demolished and the remains of the ironworks were covered over.

Post-war, light engineering companies operated on the site, the last being the Hydrocon Crane Company, whose engineering shed forms today's main exhibition hall - complete with overhead cranes. 
The museum you see today was opened in 1987.

why not Make a day of it?

Check out our ready-made itinerary which features Tinto Hill and incorporates the nearby Time Capsule also: 




Tel: 01236 638460

Location: Heritage Way ML5 1QD

Click to view dynamic map