After Auchengeich: Resilience in a Mining Community

Bronze statue of a miner photo taken by Ralph Kelly

(Photo credit: Ralph Kelly) 

In our inaugural episode of 'Recovering Community', Professor Anne Kerr explores how public remembrance of the Auchengeich mining disaster fosters community in the former industrial town of Moodiesburn. 

Episode Description

For this first episode of 'Recovering Community', we’re focusing on Moodiesburn, a former mining town about eight miles north of Glasgow. Moodiesburn was home to the Auchengeich colliery. The danger of mining left its mark on the area. Six men died in an explosion in 1931. And then, in 1959, the community was struck by disaster when there was a fire in the mine. 

It claimed the lives of 47 men, and Auchengeich became one of the UK's worst mining disasters of the 20th century. 

But during the miner's strike of 84 and 85, striking miners and local people put up a memorial to commemorate the disaster, and they come together each year to mark the anniversary. 

To find out more about how the community has recovered from tragedy, deindustrialisation, and austerity, Head of School Professor Anne Kerr and Professor Jim Phillips visit Auchengeich Miners Welfare Club to meet Pat Egan, Willie Doolan, Ian Lowe and Danny Taylor. Together they drive much of the community activity to commemorate the mining disasters which are marked annually on 18th September.

With thanks to the Auchengeich Miners Welfare Club.  Thanks also to staff in the School of Social and Political Sciences and the College of Social Sciences who helped with this project.

All the songs featured in this episode were written by Bill Adair. They have been taken from the album ‘Along The Miners’ Rows’ by Bill Adair and the Bridgend Sessions Band and are used with kind permission. 

Professor Jim Phillips is the author of Scottish Coal Miners in the Twentieth Century, published in 2019. Community is also strong theme in Coal County, Dr Ewan Gibbs’s 2021 book on deindustrialisation and memory in Lanarkshire.

Recovering Community is produced by Freya Hellier.