Coal Country

The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialization in Postwar Scotland

by Ewan Gibbs

This is the first book-length account of deindustrialization in the Scottish coalfields. The flooding and subsequent closure of Scotland’s last deep coal mine in 2002 brought a centuries long saga to an end. Colliery closures and job losses were not just experienced in economic terms: they had profound implications for what it meant to be a worker, a Scot and a resident of an industrial settlement. Coal Country draws on archival research using records from UK government, the nationalized coal industry and trade unions, as well as the words and memories of former miners, their wives and children that were collected in an extensive oral history project. It explains the deep roots of economic changes and their political reverberations, which continue to be felt as we debate another major change in energy sources during the 2020s.

Background image: Auchengeich Mining Disaster Memorial, Moodiesburn. © John O’Hara (2019).