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Auchengeich Mine Disaster
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Moodiesburn and Bridgend

Moodiesburn was once known in the 17th century as Mudiesburn. Its origins are unknown but it was probably named after a local burn which flowed through land owned by Mudie?
In 1841 the population was 220 persons from 35 occupied houses which were situatedto the east of the present crossroads.   Towards the end of the century the population fell to 150.  At that time many of the inhabitants wer fireclay miners or sand quarry men.  Around that time was established a lodging house or inn.  This is now part of the modern hotel and leisure centre on the site.

The growth of the present Moodiesburn started with the timber houses of Gartferry, so named because they occupied what was once part of Gartferry estate.  Gartferry House was built in the early 17th century, it was used as a Jointure House by the Robertsons of Bedlay. 

Most of the house were built after the war.  Some very recently to provide for the workers at Devro.  The population is now over 7000 (and growing?).

BRIDGEND

Bridgend was originally a hamlet on the banks of the Bothlin Burn.  In the the 1830s there was a lint mill but in the last half of the century it converted to a flour mill. This was owned or tenanted by White and Criukshanks.  This gave rise to the cluster of houses being commonly known as "Cruikies Town" 

In the 1900s James Nimmo & Co started mining for coal. They sank 2 shafts to form Auchengeich Colliery.  They built some 104 houses for their workers, mainly of the one room and kitchen type.  They were unusual at that time because of their modern construction.  They were brick built with damp proof course, wooden floors and good ventilation.  They also had an inside toilet and a scullery with a water supply laid on! 


In 1923 the Auchengeich Miners Welfare Hall was opened - providing a very necessary place for social activities. 

On 22nd January 1931 five miners were killed and six injured in an explosion.  The explosion took place about four o'clock in the morning in the Auchengeich colliery of James Nimmo & Co.(Ltd.) at Chryston, on the north-eastern outskirts of Glasgow. Several men escaped injury in the explosion, but returned immediately to the danger zone in an effort to assist their comrades, and were overcome by gas fumes.

On 18th September 1959 a second disaster occurred at the colliery, when 47 miners lost their lives, brought an end to mining at Auchengeich. 

Ronald Parker, Scottish Chairman of the National Coal Board, told the waiting crowd of 1200 people that it had been decided to flood the mine to put out the fire even although men were still missing..

The mines were flooded to quench the fire and 47 men lost their lives in the Auchengeich Colliery that day.  No further production was possible and the workforce was dispersed to Cardowan and Bedlay and other nearby collieries. 

Within 6 years the families had moved out to more modern housing estates nearby.   The houses fell into disrepair and were demolished.   Just east of the hall is a memorial to the disaster - recalling the close-knit community of Bridgend - and its tragic end.

Auchengeich Memorial

"In memory of the 47 men who lost their lives in the Auchengeich Colliery Disaster 18th Sept 1959"

 

With thanks to Neil Kidd - The Story of Chryston

 

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