Under our feet
Deep under our feet in Winchburgh there are layers of shale which was turned into oil long ago. We learnt how this all started when creatures, plants and animals were squashed into fossils under the ground millions of years ago.Here is Lizzie the Lizard about to get squashed!
Shale Miner's cottages often had no inside toilet. "The shunkie was a toilet that was outside in the cold garden. The shunkie was very annoying because if you need in the middle of the night you
would have to line up in the freezing cold night to do the toilet and walk all the way back into the house. Every morning someone would come along and empty all of your business out of the shunkie."
This is our model of a bing. Most shale villages called them bings but in Winchburgh they were called tips. We have still have two - Greendykes and Niddrie. After black shale rock had been cooked in a retort to get the oil out of it, it was dumped on a huge bing. By then it was pink and crumbly and often still hot. One man pushed the hutch (trolley) along the top of the bing and tipped it onto the bing. It was often so hot that he needed padded clothes and a padded cap. Sometimes the rails were white hot! Can you spot him?
Inside a Cottage
How do you like our miner's cottage? How many people are in this family? Maybe they are having a party as there is a cake on the table.Can you spot the tin bath at the back? There were no bathrooms then and the water was boiled up on the range (stove). You took it in turns to use the same water, starting with your dad. It was tough luck if you were the youngest child.!
"In the cottage, there was a tin bath. The tin bath took roughly TEN whole buckets of warm water from a well to fill it all up. The dad always went in the bath first because he was the filthiest out of them all. The oldest son went in after him then the oldest daughter went in then the mum went in last!"
Our model is deep underground in an old shale mine. Miners often had a cuddy which was a pony who pulled along a heavy hutch full of black shale along a track.Can you spot a miner with his pick axe? sadly, our miner's lift wasn't working so well today and there was a bit of an accident.