The closure of Michael Colliery in 1967 and the politics of deindustrialization in Scotland

Phillips, J. (2015) The closure of Michael Colliery in 1967 and the politics of deindustrialization in Scotland. Twentieth Century British History, 26(4), pp. 551-572. (doi:10.1093/tcbh/hwu067)

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Abstract

Michael Colliery in east Fife was the largest National Coal Board (NCB) unit in Scotland when it closed in 1967, following a disastrous fire which killed nine miners. The NCB, operating within the constraints of the Labour government’s policy framework, decided not to invest in Michael’s recovery, although this would have secured profitable production within five years and access to thirty-plus years of coal reserves. This outcome, which had major local economic implications, demonstrates that deindustrialization is a willed and highly politicized process. The Labour government ignored workforce entreaties to override the NCB’s decision and invest to bring the pit back into production, but made significant localized adjustments to regional policy that within a year attracted a major employer to the area, the Distillers Company Limited. The article relates the closure to moral economy arguments about deindustrialization. It shows that coal closures in the 1960s, while actually more extensive than those of the 1980s, were managed very differently, with attention to the interests of the workers and communities affected, and an emphasis on cultivating alternative industrial employment.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Phillips, Dr James
Authors: Phillips, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Twentieth Century British History
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0955-2359
ISSN (Online):1477-4674
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Author
First Published:First published in Twentieth Century British History 26(4):551-572
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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