DURING the 1930s, the Alloa Coal Company centralised their generating plant at the Devon Colliery.

Four electric turbines were installed pumping 4000 gallons of water out of the mines, with a steam turbine pump which dealt with 2200 gallons per minute.

Originally iron ore was mined as well as coal for both homes and industry to create steam to power engines. In 1948 output reached 950 tons per day and 237, 500 tons per annum.

There were 488 employees who had access to baths, which had been installed in 1931, and a canteen, built in 1942.

On site there was also a medical centre to deal with minor injuries. Over the years there were many serious incidents which resulted in loss of life, including not only falling coal or rock but explosions and incidents involving tubs which also proved fatal.

In one case a man was hit by a locomotive which, because he was hard of hearing, he did not hear while walking along a short section of track. Following this incident, the report into it recommended that no one who was deaf should work on the railway or sidings.

In 1946 the National Coal Board took over the mine.

Peak year for production was 1954 with the workforce rising to over 800, although the average was around 615. However, by the late 1950s production had fallen sharply and the mine closed on Friday, March 25, 1960.

The pumps were withdrawn, and girders salvaged. Engineers began to dismantle the surface plant on May 10 that year.

In 1962, Stirling scrap metal merchant W. M. Kerr, arrived at the site on September 6. He was met by the engine winding man and the sub-station attendant. There was no one else there. The winding man handed him a key and Kerr salvaged what he could, although no inventory or paperwork regarding what he salvaged was made for the numerous trucks that turned up. It was abandoned in 1963.

Many of the buildings remained and were catalogued by Central Regional Council in 1976 with a view to it being used as new industrial area.

The report stated that on 7.5 acres of site, many of the remaining buildings at the pithead were in very poor condition with poor access and the idea was abandoned.

Slurry was removed in August 1976 and used at the Methil power plant in Fife.

On April 19, 1979, the entire 131-acre site was bought by Central Regional Council from the National Coal Board. Land at the former colliery was then leased for grazing.