The Memorial to Mining and the long history of
minings and the miners of Bo'ness, past and present, was unveiled
at a ceremony today Saturday 26 May 2007 at 11.15am.
First proposed in 1992 by provost and long-serving
politician, Charlie Sneddon, the long awaited day finally arrived.
The event was heralded by a procession headed
by Bo'ness Pipe Band and the Kinneil and Unisor Brass Band to the
site on Union Street, just north-east of the Seafield Place car
Kinneil and Unison Band
The project was orginally undertaken by Bo'ness
Community Council with the current chairman, Bill Bruce, being a
long term supporter.
Joint Community Council & Bonnie Bo'ness Project
With the addition of representatives from Bonnie
Bo'ness on the Community Council it became a joint project and the
search for funding was started.
The design is representative of a mine winding
wheel and although in an upright position as part of the memorial
it would have been used in a horizontal position in operation.
Some of the waiting crowd
Encouraged by the weather being kind in only threatening
to dampen the proceedings with only a hint of a shower, a good crowd
was in attendance to hear Guy Goodwin, Bonnie Bo'ness representative,
open the proceedings with a history of the project leading up to
Long history of coal mining in Bo'ness
Guy Goodwin, Bonnie Bo'ness gives outline of history
of the project
He described the long association with coal in
Bo'ness dating back 900 years to the monks at Carriden collecting
it from exposed outcrops and the industry and mines that developed
and in operation until very recently.
He acknowledged the support of the funders including
BP and Falkirk Environment Trust.
He also thanked Falkirk Council for both their
support and the help received both in financial terms and advice
from various departments without which the project could not have
been realised and Fiona Fisher the project designer.
Art contribution from local schools
He thanked Yvonne McBlain, Falkirk Council Education
Art Support, for the contribution she made in organising the art
works the local children from Bo'ness schools had done which were
now on display as part of the memorial in the form of plaques representing
the long history of coal mining in Bo'ness.
The five plaques were chosen from a range designed
by children from the Bo'ness primary schools as scraperboard artworks
and etched into polished granite blocks.
They are embedded into the low wall surrounding
the memorial wheel.
Local Historian Ian Scott
then invited local historian and Bo'nessophile, Ian Scott, to say
a few words about the importance of coal in the Bo'ness area.
Ian Scott confirmed the historical importance
of coal and said that the 900 years mentioned was only the earliest
recorded reference and that it had probably been used by earlier
settled people going back much further in time.
As an indication of the importance of coal in
the develpment of Bo'ness he showed a map with over 200 mines of
various types spread throughout what is now the town of Bo'ness.
Its historical contribution was emphasised by
the history of Bo'ness harbour which at one time was the most important
port on the Forth both for the export of coal and the import of
pit props to 'support' the growing mining industry.
The unveiling of the Mining Memorial
Bruce, chairman of Bo'ness Community Council then invited the oldest
able resident miner of Bo'ness together with the Bo'ness Children's
Fair Festival Queen to perform the unveiling by removing the Saltire
flag from the commemorative display board.
The Fair Queen then proceeded to lay a floral
tribute in front of the memorial wheel.
The Rev. Albert Bogle of St Andrews Church, gave
commemoration speech, followed by a short prayer and led the singing
of a hymn by the assembled crowd to complete the ceremony.
It was left to Bill Kelly, chairman of the Mining
Memorial sub-group of the Community Council to thank all those who
had participated, helped and contributed to the success of the project
both in the past leading up to the commemoration and on the day
thanked the children for their valuable input and hoped that the
Memorial to Mining in Bo'ness would stand as a monument to the past
history of the contribution of coal in the development of Bo'ness
and as a reminder for the community both now and for future generations.