Oldest surviving Monktonhall miner unveils new Danderhall sign

The oldest surviving miner in a Midlothian village has unveiled a new welcome sign paying tribute to its mining heritage.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 2:55 pm
Former Monktonhall Colliery miner Jack Smythe unveiled the gateway sign for Danderhall.

Former Monktonhall Colliery miner Jack Smythe (91), was invited to launch the gateway sign for Danderhall which was created using a pit wheel and shaft. Funded by Midlothian Council, the sign is the first of three being made for the community after calls from Danderhall and District Guerilla Gardeners.

At the weekend Mr Smythe, who still lives in Danderhall with his son, unveiled the gateway sign at the entrance into Danderhall watched by representatives of the Retired Miners Union, including former MP Sir David Hamilton, and the local community.

Helen Graham, from the Guerilla Gardeners, said Mr Smythe had been delighted to be asked to unveil the sign admitting it was an emotional moment.

She said: “We all shed a tear at this ever lasting gift to our beautiful community.

“It was a lovely morning, and something for the next generations to appreciate and remember from where they came.”

Helen said the sign was designed by Derek Flynn and son to capture the green shoots coming out of the shafts to symbolise the growing community as the new development of Shawfair, next to Danderhall, builds on top of the old pits.

She said the guerilla gardeners helped choose the flowers symbolising the community at the top of the sign, including “bluebells that grew wild around Woolmet pit and amongst the fields at Shawfair”.

Similar signs will be installed in the coming weeks at The Wisp entrance to Danderhall and at Newton Village.