A Sanquhar man recites the final verse of local poet Alexander Anderson’s “Cuddle Doon”. (clip - full length available onsite)

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  • Dumfriesshire


  • Employment, industry and industrial relations
  • Leisure and recreation
  • Sporting activities


  • Television documentary


  • 1970s

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Overall rating:


Reference number: T2319

Date: 1976

Production company: [ Scottish Television]

Sound: sound

Original format: 16mm

Colour: col

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 25.33 mins

Description: Exploration of the identity of the town of Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire in 1976, as it fights for a sense of community and heritage in the face of local government reform and the decline of coal mining.

Shotlist: [no title or credits] gvs Sanquhar Bowling Club, where a game of bowls is in progress. The Club is enjoying its centennial year (0.41) ints club bar, members enjoy a drink and a chat (0.56) summer street scenes, Sanquhar (1.22) ints Bowling Club, i/v with members who describe the community spirit and friendliness in the town (2.53) shot of local businessman Tom Johnston walking up stairs into Museum in the Old Tollbooth. He says he has 'elected himself unpaid custodian of Sanquhar's past' (3.07) ints Museum, various displays, books (4.06) exts Tollbooth. [Discussion covers topics such as why did the heritage trails such as the Burns Trail ignore Sanquhar] (4.21) ruins of Sanquhar Castle. View over the new housing (4.46) ints local newspaper offices. I/v with owner Graham McMurdo and editor the local schoolteacher Iain Clark (5.16) shot of Lowther Hill, the main radar station operated in Scotland by National Air Traffic Control Service (5.32) ints dome and aerial,monitoring air traffic within a 180 mile radius (5.42) David Pye (who also happens to be Vice President of the Bowling Club) explains how the radar works (6.05) exts dome (6.11) c/u control panels, ints radar equipment (6.23) l/s station (6.30) ints operators, including station director Jimmy MacMillan. They check the signal and chat (7.05) view of the old National Coal Board Mine (closed in 1968) (7.21) c/u audience at bowling match and shot of game in progress - v/o talks of unemployment rate in Sanquhar being 17% (7.32) i/v Jim Pirie, president of the Bowling Club, regarding the decline in economy (7.45) exts Unemployment Benefits office, c/u of advert in window advertising a job in Uxbridge - the point being there are no local jobs (8.03) i/v, contd. (8.08) view over town (8.20) exts 'Century Aluminium' factory, one of the companies that started the industrial estate (8.28) i/v David Alford, managing director. Ints factory floor where aluminium is processed (9.02) exts 'Shand Mills' carpet factory, Douglas Shand walks in (9.17) i/v Colin Wilkinson, production manager. Talks about why American management didn't work (9.54) i/v Douglas Shand, he speaks about the benefits of the area having 'Special Development' status. Ints factory, carpet manufacture (10.29) i/v David Thompson, independent mine owner (with twelve men on payroll) gvs 'Lady Anne' mine (11.14) ints Thompson family home. Discussion covers amount of coal produced per week, a desire to be enterprising and 'be his own boss' (he was a former colliery manager). Intercut gvs mine (13.04) shot of wife Anne who acts as secretary and cook (13.25) exts son Andrew trying to pinpoint Polmuir Hill, operating drilling rig, taking core samples to analyse (13.59) gvs men on 'rough shoot', view over landscape (16.05) shot of fireworks going off, exts Brock Fireworks factory which provides military pyrotechnics, practice ground (16.52) exts factory (17.04) i/v Nick Cowan, General Manager. The fireworks provide mass entertainment and supply worldwide (18.10) gvs Sanquhar Golf Club. i/v Jim Haining (local merchant), Bert Mentieth (butcher), John McLetchie (manger with District Council) and Dennis White (local store worker) - they all speak about the attraction of Sanquhar as a place to live and work (19.59) gvs men fishing for sea trout on the River Nith (20.30) exts building (Eliack House ? where the Admirable Crichton was born in 1560) intercut with pictures of Crichton (20.58) exts council office, c/u photographs of the former Royal Burgh provost (21.11) i/v Councillor Matthew Mackenzie, now District and Regional Councillor. i/v covers topics such as the fact Sanquhar feels ignored by politicians (21.53) gvs Bowling Club Final on Saturday July 3rd 1976. Competitors include Peter Houston, and Dennis Lowe from Kirkconnell (the latter wins) (22.36) ints with i/v bowling club member who chats about what makes a good bowler, the community spirit in Sanquhar (23.45) match in progress, i/v with Dennis and various others. Prize of a holiday voucher is presented by Mr Shand, a voucher for holiday. Robert Shanklin looks on as does Alex Anderson, a local miner and poet (24.58) exts Sanquhar Post Office, the oldest in Britain (1763) (25.03) street scenes, poetry is read over the scenes on the theme of continuity and community spirit over the years in a place such as Sanquhar. gvs landscape (25.33)