The Lost Villages

An Oral History of Miners' Rows and Deindustrialisation in East Ayrshire, Scotland.

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Sam Purdie

The following are audio extracts from a recent oral history interview with ex-Glenbuck resident Samuel Purdie, who was speaking to SOHC Director Arthur McIvor. Sam kindly shared his rich memories of his early years living in Glenbuck before its demolition. Sam (born in 1936) spoke at length about what it was like to live in the miners’ rows in Glenbuck in the 1940s and early 1950s. He brilliantly reconstructs schooldays in the village, recreation, local characters (such as the Coop store manager), living conditions, growing up in wartime, football (the village is famous for being the birthplace of the famous Liverpool manager Bill Shankly) and the social and cultural history of the community during the twenty year demise of the village after the local pit (Grasshill) closed in 1932. When asked, How did you feel moving out from Glenbuck? Sam said: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever quite got over it to be honest. We were torn out by the roots. Those were formative years … it was all we ever knew … It was a complete community’.

Extract 1: In this first section Sam reflects on the miner’s rows, on the Shankly’s and on football in Glenbuck.

Extract 2: In this segment Sam talks further about the housing conditions, amenities and environment, including the routines of miner’s wives. He concludes with an anecdote about the visit of Arthur Woodburn, Secretary of State for Scotland, to the village after the Second World War (around 1946).

Extract 3: In this part Sam reflects on the end of the village. He describes the move from Glenbuck miners’ rows to Muirkirk council houses in 1954 and the better amenities of the new housing, including electricity and gas. He also reflects on the loss of community and what it felt like to him to leave Glenbuck.