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

 

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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 ©

SKDT’s The Road to Drumleman Community Exhibition at Glen Scotia Distillery

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Alex McKinven, former Argyll Colliery worker. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

The Road to Drumleman, an exhibition celebrating Kintyre’s coal Mining Heritage  was held at Glen Scotia Distillery in April 2017. This year is the 50th anniversary of Argyll Colliery, Kintyre’s last coal mine.

The exhibition was the gathering together of information and images, which started in October 2016 with drop-in sessions at Campbeltown Library. The information here on the archive/blog was digested into a slideshow of almost 400 slides which can be seen here as a PDF – it may take a wee while to load so please be patient.

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Robert Martin. Cross stitch embroidery portrait by Karen Forbes (née Hunter). Courtesy of Nanette Campbell ©

The project took former miners and coal mining into locals schools and the result of these creative workshops with artist, Jan Nimmo, at Dalintober and Drumlemble primary schools was shown at the exhibition in the form of colourful mining-themed bunting which was reminiscent of Miners’ Gala Days in Kintyre. Campbeltown Grammar School also worked with Jan to recreate a trade union banner for Argyll Colliery which was also prominently displayed at the exhibition.

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Argyll Colliery Trade Union banner recreated by 3rd year art pupils at Campbeltown Grammar School, with artist, Jan Nimmo. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

The final component to the exhibition was a series of large framed pencil drawings made by Jan Nimmo. Jan’s father, Neil, was a shot-firer at Argyll Colliery and it was he that inspired her to make the documentary The Road to Drumleman and to continue to explore Kintyre’s coal mining past through this current project with SKDT.

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Portrait of Neil Nimmo, shot-firer at Argyll Colliery. Drawing by Jan Nimmo ©

Part of the project was to give a framed print of the drawings to either the subjects or their families. You can view photos of the exhibition and some of those who attended here.

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Willie McMillan, former Argyll Colliery worker with artist, Jan Nimmo. Photo: Paul Barham ©

We would like to thank everyone who has supported to the project to date and to all of you who came along. A special thanks also to our hosts at Glen Scotia Distillery who worked hard to make the Kiln Room an excellent venue.

Here is an article published about the exhibition and project in the Sunday Herald

There is a forthcoming opportunity to view the trade union banner and the slideshow presentation, including the drawings, at Campbeltown Museum, who will set this up alongside a related display of their own artefacts. This will run from mid-May till the end of August.

The project will end with a community celebration/screening at the beginning of September at Machrihanish so look out for further information here on the blog or the Facebook page for details of that.

In the meantime we are still looking for any information, photos or stories you may have for the archive/blog so please feel free to contact us.

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Jim Kelly, and Margaret Kelly (née Morans) – both their fathers, Jim Kelly and Cawford Morans, worked at Argyll Colliery. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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Glen Scotia and SKDT’s The Road to Drumleman Exhibition

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Glen Scotia Distillery: The venue for SKDT‘s The Road to Drumleman Exhibition. Jan Nimmo ©

As many of you already know we will be holding SKDT’s The Road to Drumleman exhibition (dates here) at Glen Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown. The project is very grateful to Iain McAlister and his team at the distillery for all their support and hard work –  it’s been great to see what they have done to transform the Kiln Room in preparation for the exhibition. We are looking forward to setting up!

And now a word from Iain…

It is a great pleasure and indeed privilege to host the forthcoming  SKDT’s The Road to Drumleman Community Exhibition at Glen Scotia Distillery, which is due to mark the 50 years since the closure of the Argyll Colliery at Machrihanish. The lead artist of this project, Jan Nimmo, has put in considerable time and effort to make this exhibition a success and this is in part due to her desire to recognise the history of the mine and all the miners; past and present, who worked at the colliery and the arduous conditions that they had to endure. Historically, Glen Scotia Distillery itself has utilised this local coal mined at the colliery and this power source undoubtedly created many a fine dram around the wee toon!

Best wishes to SKDT and Jan, and to the success of the exhibition.  

Iain J McAlister

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Iain McAlister, distillery manager at Glen Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown. Photo: Jna NImmo ©

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The Kiln Room at Glen Scotia Distillery last year… Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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The Kiln Room at Glen Scotia Distillery last year… Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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The Kiln Room at Glen Scotia in February 2017. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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Paul Barham – The architect measuring up for SKDT’s TRTD exhibition plan. Photo; Jan Nimmo ©

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Iain McAlister, Glen Scotia, Calum McKinven, builder and Paul Barham. Photo: Jan Nimmo

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The new disabled toilet being built in the Kiln Room by Calum McKinven. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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The exhibition layout – plans by Paul Barham ©

 

TRTD – fourth and final last drop-in session

A massive thank you to everyone who came along to SKDT’s Road to Drumleman fourth and final session at Campbeltown Library, on 22nd February, 2017! Thanks, as always, to the staff at Campbeltown Library.

Originally we had only planned three such sessions but because we knew there were more people to meet and more stories to unearth we decided to hold an additional public drop-in day. The session was well attended and we had lots of photos to scan, some artefacts and memorabilia to photograph and stories to share.

Although there will be no more public sessions you are still welcome to submit stories, images of memorabilia and photos via email and these will be included in the blog as that will be being added to until the end of August. If however, you wish to have an image included at the digital slideshow at the exhibition in April the deadline is the 7th of April.

How to get involved

Contact

The next event that we will be holding will the “The Road to Drumleman Community Exhibition” in April, at Glen Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown, which will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of Argyll Colliery. Watch this space!