KW-20 Waterside Miners Welfare Club

Miners Institutes and Welfares were established throughout the UK in coalmining areas between the late 19th and mid 20th Centuries. They were funded mainly by weekly contributions deducted from the miners’ wages, donations from coalmine owners, and latterly the National Coal Board (NCB).

The original Waterside Miners Welfare Hall was opened in the 1920s. In 1964, the Waterside Miners Welfare & Charitable Society became a fully licensed social club. At that time, the bar steward’s wage for a six day week was £16.00, a pint of Gold Tankard Beer 7.5p and a quarter gill of whisky 12p!
‘The Waterside’, as it became known, quickly proved to be very popular not only with the villagers but with the Kirkintilloch folk. Kirkintilloch was still a ‘dry town’ when the club opened, and memberships were very difficult to obtain. Providing entertainment, darts, dominos, pool, bingo, dances, children’s trips to the seaside, Christmas parties and retired members’ treats, as well as catering for weddings and even funerals, ‘The Wateside’ was the place to be — something for everyone.

With the demise of the coal and other heavy industries in the 1970s and 80s, and changing social habits, many of the miners’ clubs were no longer financially viable and had to close down.

In recent years the club was a key venue in local events and public meetings organised by the reinvigorated Waterside Community Council (WCC), but sadly this was not enough to return the club to profitability. On Sunday 8th March 2020 the Waterside Miners’ Welfare & Social Club ceased trading and closed its doors for the last time.

Text & Photograph by Edward Z Smith