Scottish shale Scottish shale

Dumback No.1 mine

Whitburn, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
West Lothian
Current status of site:
Land subsequently worked by opencast, no surviving surface remains.
Regional overview:

A surface drift mine in the lands of Polkemmet, operated under licence but taken over by the N.C.B. in 1954 following a bitter 16 week strike.

  • The 1945 List of Mines records Dumback No.1 mine, owned by the Whitburn Coal Co, manager T.T. Meeks, employing 41 underground and 8 on the surface working Household coal and Ball Coal

  • Location of mine, and boundary of the lands of Polkemmet


    DUMBACK MINE DECISION - It officially announced that Dumback No. 1 mine. near Harthill, will be taken over and worked by the Scottish Division of the National Coal Board as from next Monday. Notice to this effect has been given to the Whitburn Coal Co.. Ltd.. under the terms of the licence. Mr Tom Munn, managing director of the company said on Monday: “I know nothing of the statement issued by the N.C.B. as I have not received any notification." “I have refrained from employing new men to keep peace with those who gave up their jobs on Union instructions, and I have a list of 47 names from which to make a selection. In my opinion this has been engineered by the N.C.B. who apparently to dictate the operating of the industry. When I receive official notice from the N.C.B. I will consult with my lawyers. and may give a statement afterwards."

    West Lothian Courier, 13th August 1954


    No N.C.B. Official At Dumback - Arriving at Dumback Mine. Harthill, on Monday, Mr Thomas Munn, managing director, and two workers, Peter Woodhead (36). deputy, of 10 Croft Road, Harthill and John Sommerville (48) machine-man, 2, Whittagreen Ave., Newarthill. were confronted by 21 ex-employees who have been idle for 17 weeks. The men reported for work and were waiting for an N.C.B. official to direct them to work, but none arrived. Mr Thomas Munn walked out from his office and told the men: "There is no work for you here, and I will give you two minutes to leave the premises.” At the mine gate stood Police Inspector A.Wood and a constable from Whitburn. As the men left the mine quietly, Woodhead and Sommerville went off to work underground. Mr Graham Munn. who remained at the mine and learned of the Court decision in Edinburgh, was disappointed.

    He said: "'We consider the N.C.B. has taken away our licence for no reason at all. We have been in the coal business for 20 years following our late father. and now we have no plans for the future." Mr David Sibbald. Cult Farm, said: "The ground belongs to the N.C.B. Some time ago all the farms on Polkemmet Estate. owned by the late Sir Adrian Bei!lie. were put up for sale when the estate was abandoned, and the N.C.B. were given the opportunity to buy this farm and the land before we had time to consider making an offer. The farm has been under mineral rights for forty years, first through Messrs Barr & Thornton, coalmasters, Glasgow, and later with the N.C.B., so the Munn brothers are actually working on N.C.B. grounds and only the pithead gear is their own property. On completing their day's work on Monday. Mr Peter Woodhead, Mr John Sommerville, and Mr William Strachan were interviewed by N.C.B. officials and offered employment, which has been accepted. Messrs Woodhead and Sommerville have been appointed deputies, while Mr Strachan will continue as undermanager, the position which he held with Whitburn Coal Coy. for five years. Mr Alex. Young. central East Area General Manager. told the men that agreement has been reached with the N.U.M. whereby there will be no victimisation on either side.

    West Lothian Courier, 20th August 1954