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Mining Memorials in Scotland
Jim Henry
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Memorials - Photographs - Page 12

Wheel

Lochgelly

Lochgelly

On East Side of B920 North of Lochgelly, Fife at Farm Road to Inchgall Farm

Wheel

In memory of the lives lost in
--------- Glencraig Pit ---------------

Glencraig

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JOHN GLIDDEN December 1897 ROBERT WOOD August 1928
THOMAS OSWALD December 1898 ROBERT FLEMING August 1928
THOMAS WOOD April 1900 THOMAS REILLY August 1928
JAMES BANNIGAN October 1900 THOMAS LIVINGSTONE October 1928
JOHN MUIR December 1900 JAMES McGOWAN October 1928
JAMES BELL May 1901 WILLIAM BERRY April 1929
JOHN WILSON August 1901 JOHN MITCHELL April 1929
JAMES CRICHTON April 1902 JAMES MOORE February 1930
ANDREW MARSHALL April 1902 THOMAS STRACHAN May 1930
PETER ADAMSON April 1902 DAVID WEBSTER June 1930
ROBERT WILSON April 1902 GEORGE RATTRAY December 1930
DAVID CARVER May 1903 HENRY HUTCHISON March 1931
PATRICK O'ROURKE January 1904 PATRICK WHELAN May 1931
JOHN FRAZER April 1904 JAMES DONACHIE May 1931
JAMES HENDERSON June 1904 JOHN McKENZIE September 1932
WILLIAM MURRAY November 1904 JAMES NUNN June 1933
BERNARD HULSKRAMAR February 1905 ALEXANDER WESTWATER July 1933
ALEXANDER ERSKINE September 190S ALEXANDER WALKINGSHAW September 1933
DAVID BROWN December 1906 PETER HOGG July 1934
ROBERT ALLAN September 1907 CHARLES STEWART July 1934
PATRICK COLLINS September 1907 WILLIAM McANDREW January 1935
THOMAS McCORMACK May 1908 ROBERT PEDEN May 193S
MICHAEL EARLY September 1908 ANDREW SCOTT June 1935
JOHN MURRAY March 1910 THOMAS O'NEILL October 1935
MICHAEL WOODS March 1910 ANDREW PEATTIE November 1936
THOMAS BELL September 1910 GEORGE ALLAN August 1937
JOHN PROUDFOOT March 1911 WILLIAM WHYTE May 1938
WILLIAM COX March 1911 JAMES CONNOLLY June 1938
WILLIAM HUGHES December 1911 JAMES DUNCAN April 1940
THOMAS NICOL December 1911 CHARLES DEMSPEY May 1941
PATRICK SHERRIDAN July 1912 JAMES DUNCAN July 1941
ROBERT MUIR November 1912 PETER KIRK May 1942
FRANK MURPHY January 1914 JOHN HUTCHISON July 1943
ADAM WALKINGSHAW April 1914 ANDREW CLARK November 1944
ALEXANDER GRAY January 1915 JAMES O'HARE March 1945
WILLIAM REILLY March 1915 WILLIAM McCANN June 1945
LAWRENCE DUFFY October 1915 JOHN REID March 1946
JOHN McCUDDIN October 1915 ALEXANDER FAMHURST July 1948
THOMAS PATERSON December 1915 ALEXANDER McGREGOR November 1948
JOHN DOWDS October 1916 JOSEPH DOCHERTY December 1948
ANTHONY KELLY November 1916 JOHN COUTTS February 1950
MICHAEL LYNCH May 1917 JOHN DONACHIE June 1950
BIRRELL DAVIDSON May 1918 FRANCIS WINSBOROUGH July 1950
CHARLES SCHOOLBREAD January 1919 JOHN RYCE July 1950
MICHAEL GILMARTIN July 1921 PETER CLARK February 1951
JOHN GRAHAM October 1922 JOSEPH POTTER February 1955
JAMES GARDNER October 1922 FELIX GREIG March 1956
JOSEPH MURDOCH August 1923 JAMES McKINNON November 1956
JOHN CUNNINGHAM June 1924 ANDREW STUART November 1957
ROBERT CARR May 1925 ROBERT PURDIE December 1058
ANDREW GUTHRIE February 1926 KENNETH MUNRO October 1059
EDWARD DOCHERTY September 1927 ROBERT LISTER October 1063
JAMES HARROWER December 1927 WILLIAM ADAMS April 1065
JOHN DUNCAN January 1928 PETER CHALMERS April 1965
WILLAM WHYTE January 1928 JAMES WEBSTER June 1065
SIMPSON MITCHELL January 1928 - - - -

 

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A Brief History of the Village of Glencraig

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Above Photographs

South Glencraig from Pit Bing
View of South Glencraig from Pit Bing - c1930. Note the tram driving up the main street and the two storey tenement houses in the background. This is one of the remaining photographs showing these tenements.

Shops at Glencraig
Contle Rows c.1905. Dr Dixon's can be seen parked outside the chemist. The Lochgelly Co-operative building is in the middle right of the photograph.

South Glencraig
This photograph was taken near the Lochgelly Co-operative building looking south towards Lochgelly and was probably taken in the early 1920s.

Gala Day Parade, Glencraig
Miners children heading off for a days fun at the miners gala day. By the look of this march, however, they were on their way to the King George V playing field at nearby Crosshill rather than the Glencraig F.C. ground.

Prior to the purchase of “The Estate of Glencraig” by John Wilson, of Airdrie from George Constable in 1894, Glencraig was a small insignificant place consisting of four farms, the Mansion House and the stone built Contle Row. These houses consisted of the Village of Contle, whose name goes back to 1546, when the lands of that name were part of the estate called Cluniecraig.

John Wilson, in 1894, sunk test bores on his acquired land and justified his endeavour when he struck the rich coal seams of the Benarty Basin.

The following year The Wilson and Clyde Coal Company commenced sinking two shafts and established the Glencraig Colliery. Things then moved very rapidly, with North and South Glencraig being built for the colliery workers. It seems strange that the terms North and South were used to describe and perhaps separate Glencraig. This is because the estate of Glencraig at that time was in two separate parishes, namely the Parish of Ballingry to the north of the Fifty Burn and the Parish of Auchterderran to the South of the Fitty. The burn marked the boundary between the parishes.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the colliery was in production, and the population of Glencraig stood at 1,000 souls. This rapid growth continued until at the start of World War 1 when the population had grown to nearly 3,000. Those were the days when the colliery was at its peak with manpower reaching 1,100 underground and over 200 employed on the surface. The prosperity and prospects of the village are thus inevitably linked to the success of the colliery.

In 1900 the village of Glencraig consisted almost entirely of houses built by the coal company for the exclusive use (Rental) of their employees. Entry to South Glencraig “Raws” was between what became Hunters Cottage’s and Lochgelly Co-op building, which opened in 1903. Entry to North Glencraig was the present road to Clune Terrace, which is the site of the former Miner's Institute. A pedestrian footbridge linked the villages spanning the burn to the south of the Institute.

The single storey houses had two rooms, kitchen and bedroom with scullery and inside lavatory. Gable end houses in the rows had an attic. The double storey houses in South Glencraig had no scullery with the lavatory outside. The kitchen had a partition that acted as a screen between two beds (usually wooden boards) and a fire place, that was used to heat the house, cook and provide hot water to wash the miner on his homecoming (no pit baths then). One benefit was that water was pumped from a huge storage tank on the pit winding gear directly into all the houses and not as in Lochore, to stand pipes outside. This in 1900 was certainly not normal practise. As the colliery grew, private housing and business's were built mainly along what became the tramway. The Co­-op provided a butchers, bakers and grocers with a drapers across the road in Lofty View which also contained Joe Grizzie’s Billiard Hall and Norman the Newsagent. Across the road again was Hunter’s Building where John Hunter had a licensed grocery, David Gibson had a cobblers and Charles Keicher had his barber shop. The next block contained Charles Barclay's Chemist Shop. He was the advisor to the villagers concerning medication as a visit to the doctors was expensive. Across the road again was Hunter’s Inn, a public house. The adjoining building contained Nisbet’s Drapery, Scholar the Grocer and John Bayne's Butchers. Houstons Buildings In North Glencraig contained Flachert’s General Store, Dawson's Hairdressers , later James Nevay’s, Penman’s Chip Shop and Cannon's Drapery. Glencraig was well served by local business people.

Two churches were built and a Gospel Hall at Lofty View to provide for the villagers spiritual needs. In 1901 A Gothenburg was built in North Glencraig, followed in 1907 by the opening of Glencraig Miners Institute which became the social heart of the village until it finally closed in 1996. Glencraig School was built at the South entrance to Glencraig, to cater for the elementary education of the children. Glencraig had a roller coaster economic life after the first world war with the loss of Britain’s coal export market followed by the recession and depression in the 20's and 30's. This however, produced in these villages, a generation of men and women filled with resolve and determination to overcome these trials and tribulations.

In 1946 a decision was made to build a new model village in Ballingry. The housing stock in Glencraig was no longer adequate and the people were gradually moved to Ballingry, when new housing became available. This led to the gradual demise of the village. When in 1966, Glencraig Colliery dosed, the death knell also sounded for the village. Glencraig Village and its Colliery were married to each other and both died together.

Glencraig - The Village That Died

‘Twas 10am on an August morn
The sky was blue, the sun shone warm
To the “Meadows Park” I made my way
Yet! To the hill of Clune my feet did stray

I stood upon its summit high
Watched Fittys water flowing by
Twisting its way, first left then right
Under Clochrat bridge and out of sight.

So I spread my gaze past either shore
Remembering it in days of yore.
Where cattle now graze miners rows stood there
Like the "Double Blocks" and the Famous "Square"

The "Gaffers Row" and so many more
With Barclay's Chemist and Lochgelly Store
"Nevay’s the Barber", Joe Gizzies Club
"Wilson's Chip Shop” and "John Hunter's Pub"

Then I raised my eyes to a higher line
Where the colliery chimney spewed smoke and grime
And the winding engine with its awesome whine
Sent the cage a'plunging down the mine.
The burning bing with its sulphurous coals
The old pug engine, the fire holes.

But all have gone these many years
With lowered eyes now filled with tears.
Retraced my steps with a heavy sigh
It’s so sad to see a village die.

James Rowan.

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