Sinking commenced in 1924 and was completed in 1928 with two shafts both to a depth of 626m. The original owner was James Dunlop & Co.Ltd.

The NCB undertook a major modernisation scheme at this unit which included the sinking of a third shaft serving two horizons  and saw the original shafts converted to ventilation and pumping duties with all coal and materials using the new No.3 shaft. A new coal preparatioin plant was constructed at the same time . Gas, manufacturing, house and coking coals were produced. This colliery was one of the gassiest mines in Europe and methane gas was sold to Scottish Gas Board and Buchanan Distillers.

The mine at Cardowan was the site of several accidents including the explosion of 1927 in which on the 1st of August at 3:50pm 3 men were killed. (John Kilpatrick, Maurice Mc'Bride, George Jackson) A further explosion occurred in 1932 on November 16 in which 11 men were killed. (William Bradley, Michael Flynn, Peter Frati(formerly Jacobelli), William McAlister, John McNab, James McVey, Richard Maroney, George Mullen, James Reynolds, John Watt, John Whiteford) Then again in Jan 1982 there was another explosion at some 1700 feet underground and 2 miles from the pithead, resulting in 41 injuries. The mine finally closed at the end of 1983 and was abandoned in 1984.This was the last operational deep mine in Lanarkshire.

More information about the Cardowan Colliery can be found on the Scottish Mining Website.