CUMNOCK and Doon Valley’s coal history is being dug up now that the Barony pit is investigated as part of a major national project.

Researchers are on the hunt for ex-miners, relatives of workers, and anyone who can tell them what life was like in the pit.

The huge project wants to remind the country the significant history of coal mining and preserve it.

The Barony pit, located near Auckinleck, is the only Scottish mine being investigated in the project.
Ex-miner Rab Wilson, 58, spoke to the Chronicle about why it is important to revisit this iconic time in the communities history.
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He said: “The idea is to look at daily aspects of working in the pit, so stories of friendships, memories, accidents, and even the miners strike so virtually anyone who worked or has connections they are really interested in hearing from.

“I worked there from 1977 to 1986, I was there for the strike and I stayed on after before leaving to be a staff nurse for the NHS.

“It was a great atmosphere there and I made a lot of good friendships down there. There were a lot of lives affected by the pit and it gave a lot of people happy times like it did for me.

“I think it was only Scottish mine picked because if you’re going to look at the history of mining in Scotland then the Barony pit is the ideal place to look.

“It was also virtually the last deep mine in Scotland, after that it was all finished a whole way of life, culture, social class of people, and bit of history disappeared overnight.”

“So now the project is really desperate to record these voices of the people who worked in the industry before it is too late.

“We have the big A  Frame at the pit to remind us of the industry but if I close my eyes I remember all the buildings, all the people, and all the happy times like they are still right there.

Researcher Andrew Pechard, said: “It is a big three year project and we are keen to get the message out to the local community. We have been interviewing people in the towns because we really want to hear their thoughts since it is part of their heritage.

“Mining has a really significant history and was such a huge industry. This project will highlight the legacy the pits created and remind people of its importance.

“It is slightly hard to gauge how much younger generations are aware of the history and that something we really want to work on.

“I want to explore the backstory of mining since it is a very complex one. It was managed nationally but each local pit has their own story which we really want to uncover.

“We plan on writing a book on it and articles as well. They will hopefully show how the rich history all links in. We really want to capture that.There will also a big museum exhibition on the project with pits from all across the UK.”

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