By Ross Thompson
November 4, 2017 - A memorial to Allanton, Scotland's rich mining heritage has been unveiled.
The sculpture honoring the lives of the miners who worked in the three Kingshill Collieries was revealed at a ceremony in the village on Friday.
Ex-miners David Armit and Willie Martin, both in their 80s, unveiled the stunning sculpture, created by John McKenna, as residents, school pupils and politicians looked on.
The memorial was driven forward by members of Allanton Tenants and Residents Association (ATRA).
Association secretary Margaret McLean said: “The sculpture is a truly inspirational piece of work and I have no doubt that everyone who has a family member associated with mining will be filled with admiration and pride when they see it.
“We are grateful for the support we have had from our local councillors and various staff at North Lanarkshire Council for their support and guidance.”
The first two Kingshill mines were owned by the Coltness Iron Company with number one opening in 1919 followed by Kingshill Two in 1952.
There was also Kingshill number three, which was the first NCB colliery in Lanarkshire; it opened in 1952.
As the mining industry declined, pits in the Shotts area began to close with number three being the last to shut its doors in 1974.
There were 10 ex miners at the unveiling including former North Lanarkshire Provost Jim Robertson who spoke about how his early life going down the pit stood him in good stead in later life.
Jim said: “There was a certain amount of camaraderie and everyone was equal.
“It was a good life.”
David Armit, who unveiled the statue, worked at Kingshill for 20 years.
He said: “I was extremely sorry to see the pits closing because there’s still plenty of coal there.
“All the guys I worked with were great. We were a real family.”
Margaret McLean added: “We would like to express their thanks to everyone who came along on a beautifully sunny October morning to the unveiling.
“It was an emotional day for many in Allanton at the unveiling ceremony to the Kingshill Miners.
“The statue is a testament to the men who worked deep underground in sometimes very dangerous conditions.
“Never forget this industry kept the nation warm, lights on, fed the iron and steel foundries that fuelled the industrial revolution across this nation.
“We especially salute the wives, partners and the widows of these men whose job was also very hard during very austere times.
“The day was made even more special for everyone by the presence of the cheering pupils from the Allanton and St. Patrick’s Primary Schools.”
Miners David Armit and Willie Martin unveil the sculpture
Photo by Jacqui Bradley, North Lanarkshire Council