Lots of my ancestors lived and worked at Shewalton Colliery from before 1841, so were part of the community described in a report written for the Children’s Employment Commission. I’ve typed up the part of the report about Shewalton and included it under the Articles tab.
It seems that Shewalton was a pleasant mining community to live and work in compared to most, which explains why so many of my ancestors stayed there for quite some time. They did, however, move pretty much en masse to Kilwinning parish in the 1850s. The extract gives a clue as to why: new pits were being opened at Perceton (written as Pearston in the report) offering just as good living and working conditions.
My research has led me to believe that most of my Strachan coal mining ancestors were “desirable employees” – good at their jobs and useful members of a coal mining community. Hence they were often poached when mine owners were opening new pits. And it seems that if you employed one Strachan, a lot more of them would be along soon! Quite a few Strachan men were promoted to pit manager, so it seems they must have had a good reputation within the coal mining industry.