Argyll Colliery closure commemorated in Machrihanish

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‘I remember my grandad cycling home from the pit black with coal and stopping to say hello,’ reminisced a visitor to the Argyll Colliery walkabout at Machrihanish Holiday Park, ‘Now I realise he was stopping to get his breath.’

Amid the events to mark 50 years since the mine’s closure, in 1967, she said that it is worth remembering that health and safety was not the same and many miners suffered respiratory illnesses.

This anonymous visitor’s comments were not meant to detract from the enormous effort Glasgow based, Kintyre born multimedia artist. Jan Nimmo, has put into building a body of work commemorating the closure and leaving many million tons of coal underground.

Mrs Nimmo’s work is ongoing and she still welcomes contributions to the blog at: www.jannimmo.com

On Saturday night a group of former miners many aged 80+, friends and relatives met at the holiday park but blustery winds curtailed a planned tour of the former working areas.

Later the group reformed at Machrihanish village hall where Mrs Nimmo, herself the daughter of a miner, showed the 50 minute film the Road to Drumleman which she produced in 2008.

Mrs Nimmo had decorated the hall with pennants made by primary school children at Drumlemble and Dalintober as well as S3 art pupils at Campbeltown Grammar school.

In addition she had provided a buffet spread of sandwiches and cakes, teas and a selection of drinks.

Mrs Nimmo said: ‘I made the film nine years ago and wanted to find ways to keep the project alive.

‘Councillor John Armour suggested contacting South Kintyre Development Trust and it has funded this extension to mark the anniversary.

‘One of the best parts of the project was seeing primary children at the Heritage centre trying on miner’s helmets and lamps.

‘The banner will be back on display at Campbeltown museum along with an updated presentation, displayed at the exhibition in April. There will also be a PDF of the presentation available at Campbeltown library.’

Council environmental worker, Malcolm Chatwood, travelled down from Lochgilphead as he has been intrigued by the project and fondly remembers his own days working in mining nearly 20 years ago.

Mr Chatwood said: ‘It has been great to meet the miners and brings back the camaraderie of working in a mine – it was work from a different era.’

Former miners and friends with Jan Nimmo front left and a union banner recreated by Campbeltown Grammar pupils.  25_c36miners02_formerargyllcolliery_miners

Former Argyll Colliery workers from left: Willie Durance, Jim McKinven and George McMillan. 25_c36miners10_George_McMillan

A miners’ pennant recreated by primary school children. 25_c36miners12_pennant_two

Jan Nimmo explains a point to Councillor John Armour. 25_c36miners15_jan_nimmo