TRTD presentation for the community exhibition at Glen Scotia Distillery April 2017

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Sandy Smith (Winding House), Willie Durance (Electrician) and Gus McDonald (Fire man) at Argyll Colliery. Photo courtesy of Willie Durance ©

A presentation/slide show was put together for The Road to Drumleman’s Community Exhibition which took place at Glen Scotia Distillery in April 2017 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of Argyll Colliery, Machrihanish. The slide show is effectively a digest of what is already here on the archive blog.

The presentation has since been updated and is now available to view online. It will also be possible to view it at Campbeltown Library and at Campbeltown Museum. I may update it from time to time but here is the current version

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to either add something to the slide show or to the archive.

Thanks,

Jan Nimmo

 

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Remembering Argyll Colliery in Machrihanish

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Members of the public, former mine workers and Ewen and Ian from Machrihanish Holiday Park, Machrihanish on 2nd Sept 2017, 50 years after the closure of Argyll Colliery. The banner was made by 3rd year art pupils from Campbeltown Grammar School. Photo Mark Davey ©

On the 2nd of September the current phase of The Road to Drumlemen project came to a close with an event at Machrihanish. Members of the public visited the former site of Argyll Colliery, now the Machrihanish Holiday Park, to hear former mine employees explain what used to be on the site. We are very grateful to Ewen and Ian of Machrihanish Holiday Park for allowing us to visit the site. Those attending met with others afterwards in Machrihanish Village Hall for refreshments and then watched the documentary film about Argyll Colliery, The Road to Drumleman, and this was followed with an opportunity to share stories from back in the days when the coal mine was functioning. It was a lovely evening, and at times quite an emotional one.

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Screening of the documentary, The Road to Drumleman, at Machrihanish Village Hall, 2nd September 2017. Photo: Jan Nimmo

We’d like to thank the funders, all those who hosted us, who participated in the sessions and who volunteered throughout the project. Whilst this marks the end of the current phase of the project Jan Nimmo will be continuing to update the archive blog so feel free to contact her with your stories and images.

More photos here

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Photograph of the late Willie McKinven brought to the event by his widow, Jenny McKinven. Photo: Jan Nimmo

 

Argyll Colliery Miners’ portraits by Jan Nimmo

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Portrait by Jan Nimmo of her late father, Neil Nimmo, a former Argyll Colliery worker. ©

Following on from the making of her documentary film, The Road to Drumleman, about Argyll Colliery, Machrihanish, 1947-1967, Campbeltown born artist, Jan Nimmo decided to continue working on gathering images and stories related to Kintyre’s mining past. For the TRTD community exhibition that was held at Glen Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown, she created 30 portraits. These large scale pencil drawings portray some of the men who worked at Argyll Colliery, including her father, Neil Nimmo. Two women were also portrayed: Agnes Rennie, who worked as head of catering at NCB (Scotland) in Alloa. Agnes was a regular visitor to Argyll Colliery. Agnes Stewart is also portrayed. Agnes sang her father, Willie Mitchell’s song, The Road to Drumleman, for the documentary.

As part of the exhibition, framed prints of the portraits, were given to the men and women or to their families, as some of the men, sadly, have died since the portraits were made.

More portraits and photos can be viewed here.

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Francis McWhirter with a portrait of his late brother, Dennis, who once worked at Argyll Colliery Machrihanish. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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Crawford Morans with his portrait at The Road to Drumleman Community exhibition at Glen Scotia Distillery, Cambeltown. Crawford worked at Argyll Colliery. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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Artist, Jan Nimmo, with former Argyll Colliery face-worker, Willie McIntyre, at The Road to Drumleman exhibition. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

The Road to Drumleman at Machrihanish

SKDT/TRTD present:

A Community Celebration of Coal Mining Heritage in Kintyre. Saturday 2nd September 2017 

This year is the 50th anniversary of the closure of Argyll Colliery. Following on from the exhibition, The Road to Drumleman, at Glen Scotia Distillery in April and the presentation at Campbeltown Museum of some of the work made/gathered throughout the last year, we are organising a wee celebration of our coal mining heritage, in Machrihanish. There will be a brief walk round the site, with some former miners, where the colliery once stood. This will take place at 6.30pm at the Machrihanish Holiday Park (Thank you Ian and Euan!) and then we’ll be meeting at Machrihanish Village Hall at 7.30pm where there will be an opportunity to see a digital presentation of all the material gathered throughout the last year. We will the screen the film, The Road to Drumleman, and have an informal sharing of stories with some of the men that worked at the mine and some refreshments. We can provide teas and coffees but if you wish to bring a bottle of wine or some snacks to share that would be most welcome. Spread the word just in case anyone slips through the net!
Hope to see you there!

Link to the event details on Facebook

Jan Nimmo

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Argyll Colliery Trade Union Banner Made by 3rd year art pupils from Campbeltown Grammar School. Here, the banner is being displayed at the Road to Drumleman exhibition which took place in April 2017 at Glen Scotia Distillery. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Drumlemble excavations – 1982

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Article in the Campbeltown Courier, 2nd April 1982. Courtesy of Campbeltown Library.

Following on from the article by Elizabeth McTaggart about the Drumlemble Diaspora  here is an extract from a conversation I had with someone who was involved in the excavations.

Jan Nimmo

“I was involved in the NCB (National Coal Board) investigation of the old mine workings at Coalhill, Drumlemble, in I think it was in the early eighties.

“I was employed at that time with McFadyen’s Contractors, and was tasked with excavating an area of ground in the gardens of number 19 Rhudal Cottages, and 30 Rhudal Cottages. Mr and Mrs Beattie (nee Flo Brown) lived at number 19, and Flo’s mother Mrs Mary Brown occupied number 30. So, mother and daughter lived directly across from each other. 

“Two representatives from the NCB were present and explained to me what the excavation entailed: I was to dig down until I hit rock, which they expected to be fairly deep below the surface.

“I started digging roughly midway between the two houses, and there was a huge heap of spoil by the time I actually reached the predicted rock. At one point, I was beginning to doubt whether or not I would have enough reach with the digger to actually hit rock. It was eventually exposed, and after a good deal of measuring the depth, it was located. The men from the NCB had maps and documents that they were checking and, after some deliberation, I was instructed to burst a hole through the rock, as they were certain that the area I had exposed was the roof of one of the old mines said to be in that area; so off with the digging bucket, and on with the rock breaking attachment. The first few thumps from that brought Mrs. Brown running from her home in fright! She said the banging from the breaker made her house shake, and she was scared it would fall around her. After some banging away at the rock, I managed to break through. The hole was made large enough for one of the men to go down into with, if I remember correctly, a ladder. I had lowered him into the excavation with the digger. He took some photographs down there, and said that it was indeed an old mine working. It wasn’t all that deep or wide, and the direction it seemed to go in was roughly between 22 and 23 Rhudal Cottages, and across the road and under 8 or maybe 9 Rhudal Cottages.

“The hole in the roof of the shaft was covered over, and the entire area was filled and levelled. In a matter of weeks there was very little sign that anything had been done there”.

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Looking north towards Drumlemble. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

 

Fatal Accident at the Coal Pit – Charles Armour

Further to the other blog post about the death of Charles Armour – here is an other extract from the Argyllshire Herald (1875) about his death.

Fatal Accident – An accident occurred in the Trodigal Coal Pit on Tuesday to one of the miners named Charles Armour, which we are sorry to say, terminated fatally on the day following, although at first serious consequences were not apprehended. It appears that while at work in the pit on Tuesday forenoon a mass of coal became detached from the roof or side of the pit and fell upon Armour crushing him severely against one of the hutches. The injured man was promptly rescued and brought to the surface. He was afterwards taken home and Dr. Cunningham sent for, however, gradually sank under the injuries, which were found to be of a very serious nature, and expired on the Wednesday forenoon. He was married and leaves a wife and five of a family.

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Extract from the Argyllshire Herald, 1875 on the death of Charles Armour, coal miner, Trodigal. Courtesy of Campbeltown Library and with thanks to Angus Martin.