Bonnyrigg is a small ex-mining town in Midlothian a little over six miles south east of the centre of Edinburgh. It forms the south eastern part of a larger settlement created when it merged with Lasswade and is a little over a mile east of Loanhead, and a similar distance west of Dalkeith.
Bonnyrigg, or its name at least, tends to be displaced to the west on current Ordnance Survey maps, making its exact location a little obscure. Its centre actually extends outwards from the crossroads where the B704, which forms High Street and Dundas Street meets the A6094, which forms Lothian Street and Polton Street.
Bonnyrigg appeared, as "Bonnebrig", a tiny hamlet around a cross roads, on William Roy's Military Survey of Scotland undertaken in the years either side of 1750. The name has also at various times appeared as "Bannockrigg" and "Bannocrig". The name became fixed as Bonnyrigg in 1855 when a station opened here on the Peebles Railway, a branch of Edinburgh and Hawick Railway.
Coal was being mined from the area around Bonnyrigg from the end of the 1700s. In 1865 the four mining villages of Bonnyrigg, Red Row, Polton Street, Hillhead and Broomieknowe combined to form the town of Bonnyrigg. Broomieknowe, was lost to neighbouring Lasswade in 1881, and in 1929 Bonnyrigg and Lasswade were joined to form a single burgh, Bonnyrigg & Lasswade.
As well as coal and railways, from the mid 1800s Bonnyrigg became a centre for carpet manufacturing. Carpets continued to be made until around 1980. The railway line was closed in 1951.
Coal mines came and went, and in the years since WWII eight collieries have operated in this part of Midlothian. They have all since disappeared, almost without trace. Whitehill Colliery at Rosewell employed around 550 men until it closed in 1961. Arniston Colliery at Gorebridge employed around 980 men until it closed in 1962. Burghlee Colliery at Loanhead employed around 770 men until it closed in 1965. Ramsay Colliery at Loanhead employed around 350 men until it closed in 1965. The Moat Colliery at Roslin employed around 750 men until it closed in 1969. Lingerwood Colliery at Newtongrange employed around 730 men until it closed in 1982. Lady Victoria Colliery at Newtongrange employed around 1,400 men until it closed in 1982: it has since become the Scottish Mining Museum. And last, but certainly not least, Bilston Glen Colliery at Loanhead, which began operations in 1963, employed around 2,200 men until it closed in 1989.
In more recent times Bonnyrigg has thrived because of its proximity to Edinburgh. Its centre is less than two miles by road from the Edinburgh bypass and this is one of the factors that has caused significant amounts of new housing to be built around the edges of the town in the last decade. There are also very good public transport links with Edinburgh and, looking ahead, nearby Eskbank will regain a railway station when the Waverley Line from Edinburgh to the Borders is reopened, something currently planned to happen in 2013. Just over a mile south east of Bonnyrigg is the excellent Dalhousie Castle Hotel.
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