Robert Ross on working at Kirkmabreck quarry, Creetown


Robert Ross, 71 years of age interviewed by Robert McQuistan about his work at Kirkmabreck quarry, Creetown

Kirkmabreck quarry, run by the Liverpool Dock Trustees, was a source of high quality granite used extensively in construction and paving across the UK. Many of the buildings of Creetown show the fine granite in use, as does the current London Bridge which is clad in Creetown granite. (see Donnachie, I. Industrial Archaeology of Galloway, Newton Abbot, 1971, 111-12)

  • Interviewed: 17 August 2012.
  • Ref: DG2/7/1/2.
  • © European Ethnological Research Centre, 2013.

RMcQ: So what wis your, what wis your job then?

RR: Ah wis actually on the breaker for the first three, fower year and then they put me oan tae a shovel-loader.

RMcQ: Right. An when you were oan the breakers what were you doin, just managin the …?

RR: A fella caaed George Winchester and masel, or somebody, had tae be there ye ken tae … we had a bell, we rang this bell and the dumpers tipped and we hud tae hide underneath this chute – ye ken where they tipped up – because some o the stanes [RMcQ: Aye, aye] come ower, and ah mean come ower. But we had tae … regularly the stanes wid block in the jaws and we hud tae stand there wi a [RMcQ: Och chee!] everythin. Aye, aye we had tae lever them oot. I’ve seen us standing on top o them, in the jaws. Kinda thing …

RMcQ: And then when ye got that moved oot, ye wid go back up an ye’d press the button?

RR: Well ye felt them movin and ye jumped back oot [RMcQ: Oh Chee!] ye had tae – that’s true!

RMcQ: But the machine wouldnae be workin at that …

RR: [Mrs Ross: It wis still workin. It wis still workin!] Oh it wis still on!

RMcQ: Oh yer jokin!

RR: Aye, it wis still on. We stood on top o the stanes, we hud tae bar them. We …

RMcQ: If ye yince slipped on yer fit …

RR: We were away. But we din it. And ye ken that wis the job in these days. There wis nae Health and Safety [RMcQ: Nae Health and Safety]. There wis nae … we never … ah mean the noise wis horrendous there and we never hud ear-muffs oan, nothin.

RMcQ: Has that affected yer hearin?

RR: Well ah’ve got two hearin aids noo. Ken ah’ve got two hearin aids. But eh, the dust, ah mean some days George wis stanin there four feet off me and ye could hardly see him. We never got masks.

RMcQ: So you were breathin that in?

RR: Aye, we never got masks, nut [RMcQ: No ye wouldnae]. No until later on in life, ye ken, you’d become Health and Safety and everytin had tae come in [RMcQ: Aye, aye.]. Ye got lugs an the lot. It wis too late fir the likes o us.

RMcQ: Aye, that’s a good side o Health and Safety though, to be honest, that’s …

RR: Health and Safety wis a great thing fir the workers aye, there’s no getting away from that. [RMcQ: No, no. Ah mean …] It wis too late comin in fir us [RMcQ: Aye, aye], it definitely wis.