The museum's nationally significant collection covers the main heavy industries of Scotland, with an emphasis on iron, steel, coal and engineering. Objects range from tools, machinery, equipment and work wear to locomotives, trams, a colliery winding engine, as well as social history items relating to the communities that depended on these industries.
Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life
About the Museum
Summerlee Museum is built on the site the old Summerlee Ironworks Site and situated on the banks of the picturesque Monklands Canal.
The museum’s main exhibition hall received a £10 million redevelopment and offers an array of first class displays and interactive experiences making for an unforgettable family day out.
The main exhibition hall, created in the late 1980s from the former Hydrocon Crane Works now provides an excellent space for the museum’s displays and machinery. The hall offers a fascinating insight into the industries, life and people who put Lanarkshire on Scotland’s industrial map.
- Experience the sights and sounds of industry with our working machinery, including the impressive winding engine from Cardowan Colliery.
- Explore displays on coal, iron, engineering and steel industries and find out the important contribution working people made to Scotland’s industrial development and beyond.
- Act out the role of a furnace keeper, using raw materials to make molten iron metal in our large and imposing blast furnace interactive.
- Discover how a family of fruit famers set up one of the earliest manufacturing industries; moving from jams to sweeties, making world famous oddfellows, aromatics, soor plums and more.
- Social history also features; browse the products on sale in the Co-Op and find out how painful a visit to the dentist could really be.
- Find out what school life was like 100 years ago and why you’d get three strikes of the belt.
- Dress up and have a dance in the Leisure Pod, complete with glitter ball, disco lights and glamorous ball gowns.
- Find out what two jam jars could get you entrance to and why the local ‘itchy n’ scratchy’ was so popular.
- Marvel at the mighty 1930s Compton Cinema organ, see it light up in its full glory and hear tunes from the golden age of silver screen.
The exhibition hall also offers a range of interactive displays with hands on experiments for fun and learning as well as multi-media displays and interactives.
A high level walkway in the exhibition hall takes you to a viewing pod offering panoramic views of the site as well as the excavated remains of Summerlee Ironworks. The iron works site is of national importance as it is the only surviving mid Victorian Ironworks in Scotland. It has Scheduled Ancient Monument status due to its significance. You can see the main structures of the ironworks clearly from the pod or explore them more closely on the external walkway. In the pod you can discover what the site would have looked like in its heyday with a multi-media display and learn about the ‘Iron Burgh’.
Summerlee’s 20 acre site offers a number of other fantastic attractions and experiences for you to explore and enjoy:
- Take a ride on the tram for a modest fare which lasts all day. Summerlee runs both Edwardian and modern tramcars from Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Europe so sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Visit the miners’ row and see how families lived, from the basic conditions of the 1840s to the comforts of the 1980s.
- Going underground, take a guided tour of the coal mine to experience the dark and cramped working conditions miners worked.
- Explore the restored Summerlee branch of the Monklands Canal and visit the Vulcan passenger barge and learn about the world’s first iron hulled boat and life on the canal.
- Visit the playpark; from tots to teens, all ages can play and have fun - everything from sandpits and swings to climbing ropes and a flying fox.
- Learn about our nationally significant engineering collections in the outdoor Engineering Pavilion and hear stories about the people who worked in the industry.
- Visit the Farme Colliery Engine House and see our spectacular steam locomotives in action.
Summerlee also has a temporary exhibition space, offering a changing programme of inhouse and touring exhibitions. Look out for our special events too, from steam, classic car, truck and model boats fares to Halloween spooctaculars, Santa’s Grotto and Easter eggstravaganzas, there’s something for everyone!
Finally, there’s our friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff who are on hand to make sure your visit is an enjoyable and memorable one. We look forward to welcoming you to Summerlee and showing what delights a visit has to offer.