Miners Welfare Institute was opened in 1925 at a cost of £6,000. This
sum only paid for the building alone. The money came from the
Lanarkshire Welfare Fund, set up by a levy of one penny per ton of coal
extracted locally going towards the ‘social betterment of mining
This came about thanks to the Sankey commission. Ayrshire miners decided to pool their finances and purchased a mansion house and estate in the county to benefit their colleagues while the Lanarkshire miners preferred to build local institutes, of which Coalburn was the 68th. It had been thought of much earlier, in 1913, but World War I put an end to that. There was a delay in its opening due to lack of funds for chairs and equipment.
Thanks to a strong case being submitted by the local committee a further grant of £1500 was awarded to complete the work.The opening was performed by Mr William B. Small, the General Secretary of the Lanarkshire Mineworkers Union, in front of a large and very representative gathering including Mr Stephen Mitchell MP, Mr Gavin Hamilton, Convenor of the County, and numerous other local dignitaries.
Over the years the facilities have been well used. In addition to a billiard room there was a reading room, lending library and space for carpet bowling as well the prominent upstairs hall which could accommodate up to 600 folk. This factor was put to the test over the years when concerts were performed by local as well as visiting artists. Film shows were a regular and popular feature, while dancing and badminton were provided by demand on a weekly basis.The advent of television saw a drop in the number of people who were using the building and in 1959 it was decided to incorporate a social club in the downstairs area. A grant was received to carry out the necessary alterations.
Since its inception the building has been home to a number of groups, many of them still to the fore. Within this small but busy community there are up to 30 different organisations vying for support and getting it. For example, we can boast of two bands, the Pipe Band and the Silver Band, each over 100 years old. Organisations which currently use the facilities on a regular basis include the Box and Fiddle Club, Darby and Joan Club, Coalburn Entertainers, Country and Western Club, the WRI and several local Committees, e.g. Old Folks and Gala Day, both of which are greatly dependant on support from the proprietors of the building. An active charitable society, the Miners Welfare giving generously to groups outwith as well as within the village.
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