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Glenbuck


East Ayrshire

A relict coal-mining community now lost to open-cast mining, Glenbuck is located in East Ayrshire close to the border with South Lanarkshire, 3 miles (5 km) east northeast of Muirkirk. The settlement grew rapidly due to weaving from the mid-18th century, then with iron-making from 1790. The Glenbuck Iron Company failed due to financial problems in 1813 and the village suffered a recession. However, the establishment of coal mines and a lime-works brought a resurgence of growth in second half of the 19th century, reaching a population of 1079 in 1891, with a church, school, post-office and station on the Caledonian Railway. These are all now gone, the last pit having closed in 1933. The community fell into a lengthy decline with the church closing in 1954 and the last residents leaving in the 1970s to make way for open-cast mining.

Sport became an important recreation for the miners. One resident, Thomas Bone, became the British quoits champion, however the village is better known for football. This was the birthplace of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly in 1913, who played with five of his brothers for the local team, the Glenbuck Cherrypickers, remarkable for producing more than fifty professional footballers between its formation as Glenbuck Athletic in the 1870s and its demise in 1931. A memorial to Shankly was unveiled nearby in 1997.


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