It is not so long ago that coal had a place in everyday life in Central Scotland. At its peak in the post-war period, the industry employed around 140,000 workers and met roughly 90% of the Nation’s demand for fuel. The local landscape of the colliery towns and villages were dominated by the bing, the headstock, colliery buildings, the railway sidings and the associated housing, clubs and bowling greens. Rapid decline from the 1960s brought closure, demolition and subsequent repurposing and/or redevelopment of the colliery sites that erased much of the industrial archaeology of one of Scotland’s foremost industries.
The aim of the project is to establish official and unofficial landscape biographies of these ex-colliery sites. How they have been re-purposed and redeveloped, how the industry has been remembered or commemorated, or not as the case may be, and how the sites have been understood, experienced and used by the local communities from closure to present day. It combines archival research, historic maps and images, oral histories, industrial archaeology and on-site observations.
Catherine Mills (History) and Ian McIntosh (Sociology) lead the project.
We need your help
If you currently live, or have previously lived, in an old colliery village/town and/or you have memories that you are willing to share, such as watching the demolition and/or landscaping of the bings; if you played on the sites as a youngster, you still visit the sites today or you simply miss the headstock in the landscape we would love to hear from you.
If you would like to participate in an oral history interview, please contact either Catherine or Ian (details below). Alternatively, if you have 10 minutes to spare and prefer anonymity, please complete our online questionnaire
Landscape Legacies of coal mobile app
Although often hard to discern, visible traces of coal mining do still remain in the landscape today, ranging from sunken hollows, patches of colliery waste and piles of building rubble through to communication networks, reclaimed bings and repurposed buildings.
We also aim to identify, record and celebrate this often hidden but valuable legacy in a series of heritage walks that narrate the story of coal through the physical remains left. These will be launched as a free mobile app focusing on two routes: Devonside; covering the Devon and Tillicoultry Collieries and the Meta Pit and Brickworks, and Polmaise; covering Millhall and Fallin.
Downloading the app will allow you to not only explore but to connect and engage with local and historic coal mining sites. Users are also encouraged to share their stories and images, discover additional features in the landscape for inclusion on the app and suggest ideas for new routes.
To download the app for free, visit your mobile store and search for Landscape Legacies of Coal
The app is dedicated to Alastair Ross who passed away suddenly and never saw the project fully accomplished. The app was generously supported by Macrobert Arts Centre as part of their creative community heritage project in September 2017 that was based around the theme of coal.