View site in Scots
Flickr YouTube

Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Mining Songs

Scots songs about mining stretch back several centuries. The Collier Laddie, for example - sung here by Ewan MacColl - was already an old song by the time Robert Burns remade it in 1792.

More recently, the demise of mining in the 1980s is given voice in Davy Steele's song about Monktonhall Colliery in Midlothian, where his father worked. Davy sings The Collier's Way with the group Ceolbeg, on their 1993 album 'An Unfair Dance', CDTRAX058, used with kind permission from Greentrax Recordings:

The Collier's Way


Davy wrote in the album sleeve: "Monktonhall Colliery in Midlothian was the last pit my father worked in. It was closed down by British Coal / the Government as being uneconomical. The Miners decided to pool their redundancy money, and with outside financial help, plus backing by the same Government, they bought the pit and eventually started producing coal. This whole process took something like three and a half years, between the closing and reopening of the pit. The first order the Miners received, was for 185,000 tonnes of coal from British Coal."

Sadly, some of the best known mining songs are inevitably about disasters, such as those at Blantyre (1877) and Auchengeich (1959):