Living in Ayrshire, in the South West of Scotland, we are surrounded by relics of our country’s industrial past. Amongst other industries, the coal mining industry was a major source of employment, which, in turn, was a great financial help to the local economy. In Ayrshire, like many other areas of Britain, there were generations of families who were all employed by the coal mining industry. Our family was no exception. On some occasions grandfather, father, and son we all working together alongside uncles, cousins, etc. This was not merely a man’s world, there were many roles for women within the facilities of a colliery also, canteen staff, office workers, cleaners etc. In fact, in times gone by, many woman were employed down coal mines in order to carry the coal in baskets up to the surface.
The photograph above was taken of the Barony A Frame, Auchinleck, Scotland. This impressive structure is what remains of the Barony Colliery which operated from 1907 until 1989. This pit was the first large scale modern pit in Ayrshire when it was modernised in the 1950’s.
As you can see this photograph was taken on a typical dreary November day. Here in Scotland we have the perfect word we use to describe such a day:
Dreich – wet, dull, gloomy, dismal, dreary, miserable or any combination of these.
When looking at the photograph again we thought that it was lacking some of the sense of atmosphere you feel when visiting the monument.
What do you think? With the addition of some texture to the background, and darkening the outer edges of the image we believe that this adds to the primary subject, the A Frame itself. We also took time to highlight and sharpen many edges and features of the A frame to draw attention to them. We believe that now this image refers back to the structures past as it echoes some of by-products of the industrialisation process, dust, smoke, pollution etc.
From the 1950’s onwards the British coal mining industry was in a rapid state of decline. Over the decades pit closures occured on a regular basis, it is believed that the number was excess of one hundred pits were closed in this time. In 1984, the Conservative government of the day headed by Margaret Thatcher, sanctioned the closure of a further 20 pits which inevitably led to the UK miners strike of 1984. After the miners were defeated further closures happened until the coal industry was privatised in the early 1990’s.
Sadly since the closure of the coal mines in various areas in the country,whole communities were left without of work, and the local economy was hard hit. Some communities have never recovered, and are still feeling the loss to this day.
One year after the Barony Colliery in Auchinleck closed, in 1990, the A Frame, the former winding engine houses, generating station and water treatment works, were given listed building status, as category B listed structures. The A Frame is the only remaining example of its type left standing in the UK.
The Barony A Frame trust was set up in 1997 by the local community, and with help from East Ayrshire Council, they began the process of restoring it. Receiving funding from various sources, including Historic Scotland, and the Heritage Lottery Fund, over £1 million was spent and it was official reopened by Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay (Prince Charles official title while in Scotland) in January 2008.
Today the A Frame stands as monument to our industrial past. Surrounded by villages and miles of agricultural land, this structure is quite an iconic one. Instead of existing only as a piece of industrial machinery, it now sits in the landscape as a piece of sculpture, making all who see it think of our local county’s past and of those who worked in places like the Barony Colliery.
The location of the A Frame lies just 1.2 miles (2 km) west of the village of Auchinleck, East Ayrshire. If you are ever visiting the local area, we highly recommend visiting it asit is certainly a sight to see. If you would like more information on the A Frame you can visit the Trusts website – http://www.baronyaframe.org/.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any images like those displayed above you would like given similar treatment, please contact us with your image at firstname.lastname@example.org or please visit our website http://www.reclickphoto.co.uk for more information.
Thanks for reading!