THE KNOCKSHINNOCH COMMEMORATIVE CAIRN MEMORIAL
This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Knockshinnoch Disaster where 13 men lost their lives after an inrush of peat and water engulfed Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery on the 7th September 1950. While we grieve for the lost miners and their families we also give thanks to the heroic efforts of selfless rescue workers that fought to bring 116 men, entombed underground for three nights, safely to the surface and into the arms of their relieved families.
Although Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery is long gone, a fitting memorial to the Knockshinnoch disaster and rescue has overlooked the scene of the fatal inrush for many years thanks to the hard work of the New Cumnock Community Council of the time with the support of key sponsors. The memorial was designed by local Secondary School children and is contained within a walled enclosure in the shape of a miner’s shovel. The pathway into the enclosure represents the shaft while a paved area represents the spade. The numbers “1” and “3” are boldly picked out with 13 red slabs either side of a cairn and within a bed of 116 grey slabs, signifying those that died and those rescued. To the rear of the enclosure is the main Knockshinnoch Commemorative Cairn which reads –
“TO REMEMBER KNOCKSHINNOCH 1950
THE PEAT VALLEY AHEAD BROKE THROUGH INTO THE PIT KILLING 13 MINERS & TRAPPING 116
WEARING OXYGEN MASKS THE TRAPPED MINERS WERE RESCUED ON THE 3rd DAY”
Presented to New Cumnock by Law Mining
Members of New Cumnock CC L. to R.: Jim Hastie, Nan Gracie, Billy Lees, Willie Goudie, Douglas Blackwood, Jim McCulloch & Jean Barr.
The memorial is well-loved and has been well-visited for many years now, from both far and near. In recent years an annual service has been held at the memorial, typically on the nearest Sunday to the 7th September. Regular attendees were two of the trapped men Andrew McDickens and William Lopez, pictured here at the 2016 service. Sadly, Mr. Lopez has since passed away.
The Knockshinnoch Commemorative Cairn