Wilson and Clyde Coal Company
The colliery was sunk in 1895 and started producing coal the following year until 1966 reaching its peak production in 1950 being the main employment in the area, employing various numbers up to 1,500 men during its seventy years working.
The True Cost of Coal
Mining is a dirty dangerous occupation and over the years claimed many lives in Glencraig Colliery, the only records I can find are from 1900 to 1936
1900 James Brannigan
1902 James Crichton, Robert Wilson, Andrew Marshall, Peter Adamson and John Parker.
1903 David Carver,
1904 William Murray.
1905 Bernard Hulskramer and James Gilchrist,
1906 David Brown.
1911 William Hughes.
1914 Frank Murphy
1915 Thomas Paterson.
1916 John Dowds, Anthony Kelly,
1929 John Finlater.
1930 James Moore.
1933 Alexander Westwater
1938 James Connelly
Others from memory after 1936 were Sandy Coombe, Sandy McGregor, James McKinnon, William Adams and Peter Chalmers.
What Value A Life...
In 1930 Mr. James Moore sued the Colliery for the death of his son James Junior he was awarded £400.00 which amounted to three years wages at that time.
In 1938 the widow Mrs Connelly was awarded for the death of her husband the princely sum of six hundred pounds in the Kinross Sheriff Court to keep herself and raise twelve children.
William Aird, John McKean, John Bremner, Mick Connie, Ronnie Ewans, Davie Ritchison, Jimmy Smith, John King, John McNeil, John Duff,
In the late 1920s early 30s carbide was still in use in several collieries and as boys we would place some carbide in a syrup tin add some water clamping the lid on a run as fast as possible before the explosion burst the tin, I don’t know if we were lucky or fast runners.
Although providing employment it was also a hard taskmaster the strike was a great hardship to the entire village with many even landing in jail for their part of the 1926 strike such as George Armstrong and James Holland sentenced to one year, Thomas Malcolm, Peter Aird and James Ogle to nine months and Michael Coney, Joseph Stewart, Charles Marcinkowitch (Mitchell) James Moffatt, Donald Fraser, John Hunter, Robert Fleming, James Keicher, Augustus Keicher, William Maguire and William Menzies to eight months.
After the 1926 strike the Coal Owners did not restart many of the strikers to their jobs and of course with no income were unable to pay rent for their homes the sum quoted in one case was £15.6d. The court was asked for the eviction from their homes to be delayed, that the then MP David Adamson was still negotiation with the coal company but the degrees were granted.
One miners leader addressing striking miners said the streets were a washed with blood earning him six months in jail but a colleague continued to use the same terms but used the alleged and saved himself from prosecution.
An early recollection as a boy it was the frightening sight of policemen with large batons on their shoulders and steel helmets parading through the streets.
The miner is always conscious of his work mates as his life may at anytime be dependant on them in an emergency and this creates a strong bond between them to my knowledge that only exists in the armed services during war.
This bond also spills over some times bringing rifts within families, one case to my personal knowledge was a family with three brothers working in Glencraig Colliery prior to the 1926 strike one brother worked one day during the strike, immediately the strike ended the three sail to New Zealand on the same ship but the two brother would not recognise the brother who had worked.
Although settling in the same town they never spoke during their lifetime, in 1960s a sister on a visit was on the opposite side of the street would not cross to speak to her brothers’ widow. Only at the turn of this century the families got together again after seventy years.
Tune “When Mexico gave up the Rumba”
Way down in Glencraig pit in the high bottom,
striking is the thing.
You can find them drinking over in the Club, or gambling round the bing.
From the Delegate there comes a frantic shout come on boys we’ll go down the face.
Before you know what’s cooking their up and their looking at the runners in the two o-clock race.
Chorus “One two and then Strike
It’s the story that we all know
The week that the High Bottom
Was always stopping to try and get more Dough”
When the backshift comes, big Peter he’ll run
He’ll pick up the telephone.
But he’s not scared when he sees Wullie Aird
And the rest of the boys going home
From the canteen thre comes a frantic scream
Come on boys we’ll all make a stand
Before you know what there about,
Their up at the Tute
Playing Housey and Coo-can.
WhenFriday comes you’ll see them run,
Just to get their dough
To pay the wife, and pay the rent,some to pay big Joe, when its Monday you’ll hear them say,
Whether its hail, snow or rain
If we don’t get satisfaction we’ll have to take action
There out on strike again.
William Simpson, Cyril Forbes David Farmer Norman Stewart, Heriot Nunn
Made by Jim Spence a Blacksmith at Glencraig Colliery, now in the museum at Kirkcaldy.
Sally Page, James Feely, Sarah Melon & Jeannie Moffat
Opening of Colliery Baths
Messers Parr, Potter, Tuper, Crow
The pit baths opened but prior to that the miner had to travel home where he had to wash in a bath probably made of tin and his wife had to heat the water on the top of an open fire in crowd confines of a small house. Some of course had to travel by public transport much to the worry of a lady with her Sunday dress.
Opening of Colliery Baths
John Carson, William Black, Patrick ?, Frank Shaw, William Telfer, John Duncan, William Howden, Col. Holdworth, W.A. Wilson, James Brown and J.K. Par
The make was Alldays & Onions, in the front seat John Duncan and James Melvile, in the rear seat Guy Gordon and William Strang
Before going down the pit each man was given his checks one being collected by the banksman before going under ground the other for identification so that in case of accidents they knew exactly who was underground.
Glencraig Jolly Beggars
Number 2 Shaft
J. Conway, H. Curry, T. McIntosh M. Geddes, P. Connelly.
J. Hunter, J. Rowan, J. Clark.
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