Leadhills in the Lowther Hills near the border of the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. This area was where lead mining was the main industry dating back to Roman times. The Miners opened the first subscription Library in Britain in 1741. Library members who were all miners except the minister met once a month to exchange books. By circa 1900 the library had over 3800 books. Both of the neighbouring villages of Wanlockhead in 1756 and Westerkirk in 1792 open reading societies (libraries).
Also to be seen in Leadhills is the grave of the oldest lived man John Taylor. On his sons tomb stone that is next to John Taylor’s the inscription refers to John Taylor being 137 years. Also the Obelisk of William Symington the inventor of the first steam boat.
John Taylor the World’s Longest Lived Man Leadhills
John Taylor died in 1770 at the remarkable age of 137 years old. He moved to Leadhills in 1723 when he was already 90 years of age and worked as a labourer for another 19 years.
Records were poor at the time of John’s birth, but he could remember working as a young lad in the mines at Alston in Cumbria and being brought out of the mine to witness the total eclipse of the sun in 1652. To be working underground John must have been at least 15 years old the minimum age for working below ground at the time.
It is said that when he was over 100 years old he was put outside his door one night in case god had forgotten him Another tale is that at 116 years old he went off into the hills in winter on a fishing trip, got lost in a blizzard and had to be rescued. When he was well again he returned to the spot where they found him to recover his fishing rod. John Taylor lived just outside Leadhills and was still walking the two miles into the village at the age of 128. A walking stick believed to belong to John Taylor hangs on the wall in Leadhills Miner’s Library
William Symington Inventor of the Steam Boat
There is also a miniature railway that runs from Elvanfoot and Wanlockhead passing through Leadhills. The railway which is Britain’s highest narrow gauge railway in operation at near to 1500 feet. The Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway runs a summer passenger service on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at Easter through to the last weekend of September.
Also in Leadhills is the Mining Bears gift shop and Fairy Village which must be the highest Fairy village in the World.
If you are a golf enthusiast Leadhills Golf Club which is the Highest Golf Course in Scotland is a must (9 holes).
Allan Ramsay Scottish poet and literary antiquary was born in Leadhills in 1686 and died in Edinburgh 1758. A statue of Allan Ramsay stands in West Princes Street Gardens at the Floral Clock. Ramsay Garden named after him is directly behind the Statue, the white and red Buildings. see Ramsay Garden.