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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

The Redding Disaster

24th January 2013

Author Janet Paisley has launched an appeal asking the public to support a new creative project. No Hope for Men Below is a short cine-film based on Janet Paisley's Scots poem, Watter, about the Redding Pit disaster of 25 September 1923, in which forty men died underground after the pit flooded with “watter fae auld workins.” Some drowned instantly. Others survived, trapped for at least 14 days with little food, before succumbing to coal gas poisoning. The rescue attempt ended on December 3 when the last body was brought up. A memorial stone was later erected near Redding Cross, Falkirk.

The film, directed by Adam Stafford, commemorates the tragedy, while the poem, parts of which provide the Scots voice-over, tells of the effects on wives and families. Together both speak to the continuing risks and danger to miners worldwide, which have not altered since. The producers would like to take No Hope for Men Below on a tour of the international film festivals during the period 2013-14. The company needs funding to do so. If you would like to become involved as a backer, then donations large or small are welcome on their website at

It is Janet Paisley’s intention that Watter will be included in her forthcoming collection of poems Daunder oan the Muin. The following is an extract from the poem reproduced with the kind permission of Janet Paisley:

Nine days brek ower the Reddin

wi nae word yit. Divers, stentit,

hing aboot. Pumps sook awa.

Yin wife prays fur twa, her man

an boy, kens in her watter.


Hear thon? Whit’s ‘at? A skraich.

Heids heicht tae the lift, lugs strain.

Someb’dy’s gotten! No yin, five

no droont nor gassed. Hauf sterved.

Droothy. Livin, but. Alive.


A mither gruppin breistit bairn

near smoors its braith, the faither

safe, won hame wi fower mair.

Hope, shairly, upsteers the thrang.

Day lichts oan three bodies, deid.