In 1984, when Polmaise 3&4 Colliery was threatened with flooding through non – use, four miners went underground to prevent this, through a three day sit-in. A press photographer, given access by the National Union of Mineworkers, went underground and took this photograph.
Left to right are miners Jim O’Hare, Alex McCallum, Jimmy Graham and James Rennie, who between them had 96 years’ service. When they returned to the surface, they were sacked without any hearing and black-listed, preventing them from being employed elsewhere.
Jim O’Hare, who has loaned this photograph for the Smith’s Polmaise exhibition, went into the pit straight from St Modan’s School, at a time when the National Coal Board advertised mining as “A Job for Life”. Jim still considers the experience to have been “the best job, working with the best men, ever.” It was halted by the miners strike and the victimisation, which was challenged without success for many years afterwards.
Polmaise was an award – winning pit, where records of driving new shafts and seams were broken.
The memorabilia can be seen in the Smith exhibition which runs until July.