Fauldhouse Miners

Fauldhouse Miners

The men of Fauldhouse worked in trades, in shops and pubs, in the Moss Litter (peat) works at Eastfield, at the quarries at Levenseat and Braehead – but by far the biggest industry was mining.

Fauldhouse was a mining village; it was surrounded by coal and ironstone mines.

Mines and miners in the Fauldhouse area, 1914

Mine

Underground

Surface

Coal company

Crofthead Nos. 5 and 7

141

39

Peter Thornton, Crofthead Collieries

Greenrigg

321

86

United Colleries

Braehead Nos. 1 and 2

51

19

Hirst Coal Company, Edinburgh

Fauldhouse No. 1

55

17

Barr and Thornton

Fauldhouse men also worked at others pits in the area - Knowton, Greenrigg, Starryshaw, etc.

The rush of miners to enlist at the start of the war led to a shortage of labour for the coal industry, and the Government had to impose restrictions on their joining up.

On the introduction of conscription in January 1916, miners were ‘badged’ or ‘starred’ men, exempt from conscription.

However, as the war continued the army’s demand for men became ever more insistent. On 25 May 1917, the West Lothian Courier reported that the Government had ‘decided that it is necessary to release more men from the coal mines for service with the Colours'.   At first this was done by calling for volunteers, but this did not produce enough men. A ‘combing-out’ of the mines and factories then took place, mainly of the fittest men and those aged between 19 and 24.

The mines, however, were far from being a refuge for cowards and shirkers. Life below and even above ground could be as dangerous and risky as life on the front line. See the attached PDF with its accounts of just some of many pit accidents in Fauldhouse during the war years.

©1914-18: Fauldhouse Remembers Group

For more information on any aspect of West Lothian and the First World War, contact localhistory@westlothian.gov.uk.

http://www.westlothian.gov.uk/article/2055/Local-History-Library

More info: 

Shale Miners (West Lothian Local History Library)