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UK's first National Mining Memorial Centre opened at National Mining Museum Scotland

The UK's first single central facility for understanding and commemorating the mining industry has opened at the National Mining Museum Scotland. Scotland's coalfield communities now have a new place to remember the victims of their dangerous industry in a new space which will allow people to join remembrance ceremonies or stage their own private remembrances.

The new centre was opened by Midlothian MP (and former miner) David Hamilton on 7 September 2013, the anniversary of the  Knockshinnoch Castle Colliery disaster, one of the most significant in Scottish mining history.  On that day in 1950, an inrush of moss and peat trapped 129 mean underground for several days while rescue teams worked desperately to reach them.  Although 116 men were eventually rescued, using breathing equipment, 13 men were lost. 

Museum Director, Rowan Brown said: 'The Friends, staff and volunteers at National Mining Museum Scotland have long held aspirations to create a facility that commemorated an industry which changed our culture, landscape, and economy at immense personal cost.

'We owe a huge debt to our funders, without whose generous support, the project could not have been realised. It is with great pride that we open the National Memorial Centre today, a resource dedicated to serving our mining communities, past, present and future.'

Senior Architect, Scott Lindsay from Purcell, who carried out the work on the museum, said: 'The new Memorial Centre is a fitting tribute to Scotland’s mining past and has reinstated a category A listed washer building that has stood empty for 30 years

'Our design complements the industrial character of this brick building, creating new displats and archive areas which explore the dangers faced by miners, leading up to a tall reflective space in the roof.'

The Mining Memorial Centre project has been funded by The Association of Independent Museums, BIFFA National Heritage Landmarks Scheme, The Mining Institute of Scotland, The Mining Institute of Scotland Trust, The Scottish Coal Industry Special Welfare Fund and the Friends of National Mining Museum Scotland.

It will span three floors of the old washer building in the museum’s home at the former Lady Victoria Colliery, revitalising space that has lain derelict since the Lady Vic closed in 1981.

The National Mining Memorial Centre will be open from 10am until 5pm (4pm in winter), seven days a week.

National Mining Museum Scotland, Lady Victoria Colliery, Newtongrange, Dalkeith EH22 4QN; tel: 0131 663 7519. Visit the National Mining Museum Scotland website.

Keep up to date with the latest history news, discoveries and research in every issue of History Scotland and Scottish Memories magazines, available in print and digital versions.


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