Scottish Coal Collections

For information about the oral history workshop in February 2013, please see the News section.

Coal Mining Collections are held in museums, libraries and archives throughout Scotland.
In 1913, the peak year of coal production, the Scottish mining industry employed over 140,000 men and women, who with their families, made up ten percent of the Scottish population. With such large numbers of people having been involved it is not surprising that the coal mining industry has left a significant mark on Scotland today. Throughout the twentieth century coalmining declined until, in 2002, with the closure of Castlebridge colliery, Scotland’s last deep mine shut. Throughout the coalfield areas of Scotland the infrastructure of mining has been almost entirely removed. Today there are many mining communities with nothing left in their immediate surroundings to remind them of their industrial heritage and these collections of coal mining material are, in many cases, all that remains of this proud industrial past
In 2005 a partnership project was created to gather collection level descriptions for as many of the collections related to mining in Scotland as possible.  The outcome of that project was a website providing a single point of reference for the many researchers interested in this important aspect of Scotland’s industrial past, as well as for professionals working with coal mining collections.
The project provided a unique overview of Scotland’s coal mining collections held in museums, libraries and archives throughout the country. Over thirty collecting organisations have provided information about their public facilities and contact details, and many of them have also given detailed collection level descriptions of their coal mining material. This enables you to explore these collections through a single portal for the first time.