End of Loanend Colliery

 

1950s Loanend3

1950s Loanend, looking westwards

A sad disappointment was in store for over 200 miners from Blantyre, Cambuslang, and Bridgeton, when they turned up at Loanend (Loanend) Colliery, near Cambuslang, and learned that the pit was closing down until further notice on 26th April 1930.

Many of these men had been employed there for some years and had a previous hint of the disappointing; news. An official of Archibald Russell & Co., Ltd. the owners, told reporters that the colliery had a prosperous run for years. No one guessed Loanhead Colliery was to close down,” he said, “and it has been great surprise to all of us. For long time the average output has been about 300 tons per day. Things became rather bad about the same time last year (1929), and the colliery closed down for four months, leaving the workers suspended.

However, matters seemed to right themselves and everyone considered that things were going ahead smoothly until this bombshell fell. There was no definite information from tho owners, and it was the opinion that the real reason dated back to the general strike of 1926. At that time the pit became flooded, as there was no one left behind to handle the pump. Considerable damage was done at that time and it had not been properly repaired. It took a long time with much hard work to get the colliery going again after 1926.

Another reason is that had trade seemed to have settled on the district. Coal was becoming considerably dearer to raise to the surface, as with many years of working it was now necessary to traverse miles before the miners come to the coal seams. This means that the cost per ton increased, and the price steadily went up. It was rumoured around the district that orders had been becoming scarce and several had been forced to close down. This state of affairs naturally reflected on the coal industry and the demand  slackened off for supplies. In April 1929 the colliery was forced to close down for four months, as, with the advent of summer months, less coal was required for domestic purposes. feel confident that the end of the summer the colliery will again in operation.

About 200 men lost their jobs. They came mostly from Bridgeton, Blantyre. and Cambuslang, and felt the pinch badly. The news was broken to them rather abruptly. When the men arrived to work they were puzzled to see a notice posted stating that the colliery would close down until further notice. For some time they could scarcely realise what it meant, but when the full impact dawned upon them they shouldered their tools and began the walk back home in downcast ‘groups. It was a sad sight as they passed the Loanend row of official houses near the railway line.

Everyone was sympathetic, but the blow had fallen too suddenly. Many of them confessed that it was cruel luck, and wondered if they would find work in the district. Though the miners lost their jobs, the brushers, engineers, and others were taken on  at Dechmont Colliery which was also owned by Russell & Co.

Unemployment was very high at the time, and I’m sure this would have worried the men immensely.

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