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Mining Memorials in Scotland
Jim Henry
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Memorials - Photographs - Page 24

Cowie

Main Street, Cowie, Stirlingshire  (opposite Community Centre)

Cowie Street

Cowie Stone

Wheel

Fishcross

Fishcross, Clackmannanshire  (In Park at Lawswell, east of Alloa Road)

Fishcross 1

Fishcross 2
Dedication plaque is illegible

Fishcross 3

Wheel

Townhill Park, Dunfermline

Notices (All bar one) Education, About Mining

Townhill-Notice 1

Extracts from the Report to the Children's Employment Commission 1842 on working conditions for children in the 19th century in the East of Scotland District:-
Townhill and Appin Colliery - Parish of Dunfermline, County of Fife – (Dunfermline Coal Company).

No.354 Mr. A. Hopper, manager’: ....Thirty-three individuals put of the 84 come under the denomination of children and young persons and their hours of labour are from three and four in the morning till three and four in the day; 21 are females, who are generally employed at wheeling the tubs or carts of coal from the workings to pit-shaft bottom; the youngest females keep the trap-doors, below; their ages do not exceed 9 or 10 years. . .
No.355. Helen Spowart, 17 years old putter. Began to work in mines when nine years old and has done ever since. "It is very coarse, heavy, cloughty work, and I get enough of it, as am never able to do muckle after hours from the fatigue.

No. 355a. Andrew Erskine, 14 years old, hewer; Hews coal; has done so four years; works for father. Has four brothers and one sister below. Three of the five read and can sign their names. “1 can read some; not write”.

In the 17th and 18th centuries coal miners in Scotland; and their families, were bound to the colliery in which they worked and the service of its owner. The colliers were owned by the mine owners and could be sold just like any other possession, even loaned to other mine owners. Prior to an Act of Parliament In 1775 the custom of “arling” children to the coal master was common practice. Miners’ children were bonded to the coal-owner by their fathers when they were baptised. This was a formal contract, witnessed by the minister and meant that to all intents and purposes, the child was sold, bound for life to the coal owner in exchange for "Arles" which could be money or goods, sometimes as little as a few shillings.

At ten years old a boy was considered "a quarter man" and paid a quarter of the wages of a man. He was expected to produce a quarter of the adult quantity of coal, at fourteen he was then “a half man," at sixteen "a three quarter man," and at eighteen "a full man" his wages and workload increased accordingly.

In the 19th century small children continued to be taken down the pits as they were able to crawl into the narrow seams to remove coal inaccessible to their parents. The low jagged roof often cut their backs and their feet and legs were regularly covered in sores from wading through the foul water. Here are some of the jobs that children were expected to carry out in very difficult conditions.

Trappers Girls as young as four years old began work in the pits as 'trappers’ sitting all day in the dark, opening and closing the trap doors to ventilate sections of the pit.

Pumpers Boys and girls were employed as ‘pumpers,’ working in the deepest part of the mine with water up to their waists or higher, pumping the rising water up to the level of the engine pump so that the men's work rooms were kept dry.

Putters Girls worked as 'putters,' dragging or pulling loaded coal carts, weighing up to 10 cwt to the surface.

Strappers Girls also worked as ‘strappers’ and were ‘harnessed over the shoulders and back with a strong leather girth’ with an iron hook chained to the coal cart. The Putters and Strappers all had to struggle up through deep mud, over rough ground and up steep slopes.

Coal Bearers The 'coal bearers' carried loads of coal up to 3 cwt on their backs, up and down ladders or steep slopes. A large piece of coal was placed on their necks to keep her head down.

Townhill-Notice 2

Townhill-Notice 3

Townhill-Notice 4

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