Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Stolen Auchengeich statue replaced

Mine disaster memorial 1959

Auchengeich memorial statue © Robert Murray

Back in November, we noted a particularly disgusting theft: Mining disaster memorial statue stolen weeks after unveiling

Likened by one commentator to stealing from a grave, the bronze statue had cost £35,000 and been unveiled by First Minister Alex Salmond only a few weeks before it vanished. The statue remembered one of Scotland’s worst mining disasters, when 47 men died after being trapped by an underground fire at the Auchengeich Colliery in North Lanarkshire, on September 18, 1959. Only one miner survived the fire, caused by an electrical fault 1,000 feet below ground.

Now, an exact replica of the original memorial has been unveiled on the same site, and the replacement statue has been fitted with a tracker and will be monitored by CCTV.

As with the original, the new statue was also unveiled by First Minister Alex Salmond, who said:

Today is about a community overcoming adversity. The Auchengeich miner has been restored to its rightful place thanks to the determination of all of those who were not beaten by this act of theft. I share the outrage and anger of the local community, who lost so many husbands, fathers brothers and sons half a century ago, and who have suffered yet more heartache as a result of this senseless crime.

Following a massive public outcry over the theft, North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire councils provided the £25,000 needed to replace the statue. The new statue contains the latest state-of-the-art technology allowing it to be continually monitored by police and council officials.

Speaking at the unveiling, Councillor Tom Curley, Provost of North Lanarkshire, thanked the First Minister and said:

When I was told about the theft my emotions were a mixture of sadness and disbelief. This is something that should not have happened. This went beyond theft. This was playing with grief, a grief I shared.

Despite extensive police enquires, no trace of the statue, or those involved in the theft, has been found, and it would seem likely that it is gone forever – probably turned into nothing more than scrap by people who have no conception of the word ‘respect’.


June 5, 2010 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | 1 Comment


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