Shining a light on Fife’s mining history

The spotlight will be on Fife’s mining history tomorrow (Saturday) when a conference brings together historians, former miners and family members for a day of reminiscence, learning and reunions.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 9:56 am
Fife Miners
Fife Miners

The event, organised by ONFife, is a must for anyone who worked in coal mining in Fife or had family members in the industry.

Sara Kelly, ONFife local studies officer, has been delighted at the response to the Fife Mining Conference, both from people who want to take part and from others who want to attend the one-day event at Adam Smith Theatre.

The opening keynote speaker will be Charles Wemyss, a family name synonymous with mining in Fife, while also taking to the stage in the morning will be Chris Sparling, speaking about Fife Pits; Iain Chalmers, giving a talk on Slavery in Scottish Mines 1606 to 1799, and Fiona Eadie, talking about Alex Eadie: From Coal Face to Coal Minister.

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Cowdenbeath Pit No7

In the afternoon Yvonne McEwen will give a family perspective with a talk on Coal, Caring, Cards and Christmas – The Pit Sister’s Story; Sharron McColl and Dr John Burt will shed light on The Valleyfield Pit Disaster, and finally Trevor Brady will share his expertise on Mines Rescue – The Bridgadesmen.

Just as interesting as the speakers are the organisations who have signed up to attend with displays at around 20 stalls.

They include the Scottish Mining Museum, Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society, Benarty Heritage Preservation Trust, Fife Mining Preservation Trust, WEA, Quoits, Mines Rescue, ONFife Archives and Libraries, and Mining Memorial Book.

There will also be considerable time allocated for question-and-answer sessions to allow plenty of interaction between audience and speakers.

The Valleyfield Pit near Dunfermline

“The idea for a day dedicated to mining came out of discussions at the end of a WWI conference we had last year on what people would like to know more about,” said Sara.

“For centuries mining was one of the most important parts of the economy in Fife and life was lived around mining – it really was King Coal.

“The conference is going to be a great opportunity to reminisce, learn some new facts and see some old ‘well kent’ faces.”

The Fife Mining Conference is from 10am-4.30pm on Saturday at the Adam Smith Theatre.

Tickets are £10 (lunch not included).