History of the Mining Institute of Scotland

The following is an abridged history of the Mining Institute of Scotland. The full, published, history is recorded in 'Hidden Riches - a Celebration of the Mining Institute of Scotland' which is available in print from Amazon



The great developments in mining in the district of Hamilton in the eighteen seventies and a desire to secure greater efficiency in mining operations induced the colliery managers in that area to meet for informal discussions. The occurrence of the disastrous explosion at Blantyre Colliery in 1877 made it more urgent that further efforts should be made to investigate the causes which might lead to accidents in mines and the methods which should be adopted to minimise the risk of accidents. With this object, a meeting of colliery managers was held in the Clydesdale Hotel, Hamilton on 24 January 1878. It was decided to adopt a suggestion to form an Association and call it ‘The West of Scotland Mining Institute’. The objects of this Association were minuted as follows:

‘To enable its members, comprising colliery managers, assistant managers, mining engineers, agents and proprietors interested in mining to meet together at fixed periods to discuss the means for the ventilation of coal and other mines, the winning and working of collieries and mines, the prevention of accidents and the advancement of the science of mining generally’.

At a meeting the following month, Mr Gilbert Burns Begg, mining engineer, was elected the first President of the Institute.

Later it was found that mining men from all parts of Scotland were anxious to join the Institute, and it was decided to adopt the more appropriate designation of The Mining Institute of Scotland.


An important step in the development of the Institute was taken in 1893 when it was decided to federate with the Federated Institute of Mining Engineers, now designated The Institution of Mining Engineers (IMinE). In the following year, the President of The Mining Institute of Scotland was elected President of the Institution. The Institution received its Royal Charter in 1915.

On carrying out the objects of the Institute as defined at the first meeting, the principal work has been the reading and discussing of papers on mining subjects. During the past 131 years many papers have been presented to the Institute together with Presidential Addresses and several have been published in the Transactions.


In 1909 the Association of Mining Electrical Engineers (AMEE) was formed in Manchester. Members consisted of practicing colliery electricians and others involved in design, manufacture, education and research relating to electrical equipment for use in coalmines. A structure of regional branches was adopted to elect suitable members to advance the knowledge and competence of colliery engineers and electricians. By the following year, 10 Branches had been established including the West and East of Scotland Branches.

The Stirling Sub-Branch of the West of Scotland Branch was formed in 1954 and the two merged to become the West of Scotland & Stirling Branch in 1968. The East of Scotland Branch held its meetings in Dunfermline and its name changed to the Fife Branch in 1931. The Lothians Branch was formed in 1918 and finally the Ayrshire Branch was formed in 1920 but became a Sub-Branch of the West of Scotland Branch six years later.

In 1941 the Association of Mining Electrical Engineers changed its name to the Association of Mining Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (AMEME). A further name changed occurred in 1983 when the Association became The Institution of Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineers (IMEMME).


Until relatively recently, the membership of the Institute has kept pace with the development of the coal industry. An indication of the growth of the coal mining industry in Scotland since the foundation of the Institute is given by the output figures. In 1878 the output of coal in Scotland was 17.8 mt; by 1913 it had reached 42.5 mt but in 1927 had declined to 35 mt. By 1953, it was 22.5 mt and had reduced to 6.5 mt by the end of the 20th century. However, by this time the majority of the output was produced from opencast mines.

The extension of the use of electricity in coalmines accelerated the application of machines to replace the manual winning of coal. Progress was steady until after the Second World War when the coalmines of the UK were taken into public ownership and managed by the National Coal Board.

The reconstruction of the industry proceeded rapidly through the next 25 years with the sinking of new mines, the reconstruction of old collieries and heavy investment in power loading face equipment.

The Mining Institute of Scotland continued to play a prominent part as the professional association of mining engineers in Scotland during this period and many papers were presented at general meetings covering the activities of a now highly technical industry. The difficult geological conditions prevalent in many parts of the Scottish Coalfield have in the past provided ample opportunity for the application of mining ingenuity.

The decline in underground coal mining continued throughout the latter part of the 20th century. Ultimately, not long after the dawning of the new century, the last deep mine at Longannet in Fife closed. However, opencast coal mining still has a significant presence in Scotland.

In 1966 corporate members of the Institute became Chartered Engineers, the Institution being a constituent member of the Council of Engineering Institutions, later to be superseded by The Engineering Council and more recently by the Engineering and Technology Board.

In 1968, all federated institutes became Branches of the Institution. In 2002, all Branches became local societies within the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

In 2006, The Mining Institute of Scotland was incorporated under the Companies Act 1985 as a private limited company. 

These were important developments in the history of The Mining Institute of Scotland.

Regardless of change, The Mining Institute of Scotland looks forward to the challenges of the 21st century and remains committed to serving the needs of its communities. In 2002, the first Retired Members' lunch was held and this event has featured every year since. Another regular event held annually since 2003 is the Young Persons' Lecture Competition. A newsletter has been published regularly since the turn of the century and a website launched in 2002. The Mining Istitute of Scotland has won Local Society of the Year on two occasions (2011 and 2016).


The Institution of Mining Engineers merged with the National Association of Colliery Managers (NACM). The Conditional Agreement, which was signed by both parties at Buxton in July 1968 was approved by the Privy Council and signed by Sir Godfrey Agnew on 16 October 1968. From this it followed that the Agreement took effect from 23 October 1968 and merger became a reality. Factual fusion of the two organisations took place in Edinburgh on 14 May 1969.

In 1990, discussions took place between The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (IMM), The Institution of Mining Engineers, and The Institution of Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineers to consider a possible merger between the institutions. However, at that time a merger did not transpire. However, in 1995, The Institution of Mining Engineers merged with the Institution of Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineers when Her Majesty approved the Supplementary Charter and new Byelaws.

Very soon afterwards discussions on a merger between The Institution of Mining Engineers and The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy reopened. The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy’s roots go back to 1892. It was believed that the activities of the two institutions both overlapped and were complementary. The relative strength of the UK branches of the one Institution would complement the overseas presence of the other. Consequently, The Mining Institute of Scotland was The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy Scotland Branch in 1998.

The coming of the 21st century soon brought another merger. In 2002, The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy merged with The Institute of Materials to form The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. The Institute of Materials was formed in 1993 by merger of the Institute of Metals, the Institute of Ceramics, and the Plastics and Rubber Institute. These organisations were all formed by earlier mergers and the original roots of the organisation go back to the Iron and Steel Institute founded in 1868.


The Institute started with a membership of 25 and reached a maximum of 700 around 1922. It fluctuated to 450 in 1950, 679 in 1965, but progressively fell to 380 in 1973, 234 in 1990 and 207 in 1994. After the merger in 1995 membership rose to 324 and after the merger in 1998 to 509. Since then membership fell to 367 in 2007 but has increased annually ever since and currently stands at over 900.

One feature of the membership has always been the number of persons resident outside of Scotland. It is no mere figure of speech but a statement of fact that the membership of The Mining Institute of Scotland has spread itself over five continents.


There have been 78 Presidents of the Institute, of whom ten have been President of The Institution of Mining Engineers. In 2017, Martin C Cox became the first Past-President to be elected as President of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. There have been 13 Secretaries of the Institute during its history. The list of Presidents comprises many eminent mining engineers whose fame has extended far beyond Scotland. Early in the 21st century the first lady President, Mrs Karen V Dalgleish, was elected. Mrs Margaret A Copland became the second lady President in 2009. In the past decade the Presidents have come from a variety of professional backgrounds reflecting the differing membership groups within the Institute.


A dinner to celebrate the silver jubilee was held on the 8 April 1903 at the Windsor Hotel, Glasgow. Mr Henry Aitken, President, was in the chair. Provost Keith of Hamilton proposed the toast to The Mining Institute of Scotland.

A dinner to celebrate the Jubilee of the Institute was held in the Grosvenor Restaurant, Glasgow, on 28 January, 1928. Mr J Balfour Sneddon, President, was in the chair. He was supported by His Grace the Duke of Montrose CB CVO, Mr J T Forgie, the first Secretary of the Institute, The Right Honourable Lord Salvesen LLB KC, and Sir Donald MacAlister, Bart KCB, Principal of Glasgow University.

A dinner to celebrate the Centenary was held in Blair Castle, Culross, Fife on 31 March 1978. Mr George Gillespie, President, was in the chair. The toast to The Mining Institute of Scotland was proposed by Mr W J W Bourne, then President of The Institution of Mining Engineers. The toast to the mining industry was proposed by Mr Alex Eadie, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Energy. Other guests included Sir Andrew Bryan and Sir Norman Siddall who had delivered the Centennial Address earlier in the day.

One of the highlights of the nineteen eighties was the complimentary dinner held in honour of Mr Forrest S Anderson on 3 March 1982, in the Kintyre Suite of the Central Hotel in Glasgow. The dinner was attended by 123 members and guests who had travelled from many parts of the UK, as well as from France. An appreciation of Forrest Anderson, who was an Honorary Fellow of the Institution and a Past President of MIS and of the Institution, was given on behalf of the National Coal Board by Sir Norman Siddall CBE, Deputy Chairman. There then followed an appreciation of Mr Anderson by Mr J R Mowat, Managing Director of Anderson Strathclyde plc, speaking on behalf of manufacturers of mining machinery. Mr W I M Bell, President, made a presentation to Mr Anderson of a silver tray, decanter and glasses. Distinguished guests included Mr J H Northard CBE, President of IMinE, Sir Andrew Bryan, Mr H M Spanton and Mr A Wheeler.

In 2014, a book (ISBN 978-0-9929058-0-4) written by Richard Crockett, Craig Durham and Graham Smith (all former Presidents) entitled Hidden Riches: a celebration of the Mining Institute of Scotland was published. The book was provided free of charge to members. One independent reviewer commented that "the book was a success and a worthwhile, interesting read for all prospective or current applied geology and engineering students and professionals". With a history going back to 1878, the book covers the whole spectrum of activities of that have been influenced and affected by the society.

Presidents of The Mining Institute of Scotland

2015-17 J. Latimer
2014-15 M. T. Friel
2013-14 A. J. Crossland
2012-13 I. Purdie
2011-12 M. B. Oyeneyin
2010-11 C. J. Durham
2009-10 M. A. Copland
2008-09 M. C. Cox
2007-08 R. A. A. Devéria
2006-07 S. A. Bedford
2005-06 R. N. Crockett
2004-05 C. Roberts
2003-04 M. G. Downing
2002-03 J. B. Heffernan
2001-02 K.V. Dalgleish
2000-01 R.G. McLaren
1999-2000 C.G. Smith
1998-99 K. Mackie
1997-98 B.M. Davies
1996-97 A.J.A. Thomson
1995-96 G. Beetham
1994-95 I. Menzies
1993-94 D. Seath
1992-93 B.G.D. Smart
1991-92 W.R. Dow
1990-91 W. Miller
1989-90 D.O. Davies
1988-89 W. Rowell
1987-88 J.T. Mackie
1986-87 J. Stevenson
1985-86 P. Williams
1984-85 G.M. McAlpine
1983-84 J.R. Mowat
*1982-83 A. Wheeler
1981-82 W.I.M. Bell
1980-81 G.M. Maxwell
1979-80 J. Crockett
1978-79 G. Waugh
1977-78 G. Gillespie
1976-77 W. Routledge
1975-76 M.G. Thomas
1974-75 J.S. Wilson
1973-74 J. Sim
1972-73 J. Shaw
1970-72 J.R. Cowan
1968-70 T.R. Samson
1967-68 W. Rowell
1966-67 H.H. Wilson
1965-66 R. Westwater
1964-65 J. Hutchison
*1963-64 F.S. Anderson
1962-63 L.R. Milligan
1961-62 G. Hibberd
1960-61 J.M. Caldwell
1959-60 H.R. King
1957-59 D. Jackson
*1955-57 R.A. Moore
1953-55 G. Mullin
*1951-53 W. Reid
1949-51 D.C. Gemmell
*1948-49 Sir Andrew Bryan
1946-48 A.M. Ritchie
1945-46 T. Brown
1942-45 J. Finlay
1938-42 C.C. Reid
1936-38 S. Mayor
*1932-36 C.A. Carlow
1929-32 M. Brand
1926-29 J.B. Sneddon
*1923-26 R.W. Dron
*1922-23 W. Thorneycroft
1919-22 R. McLaren
1915-19 D.M. Mowat
1912-15 J. Hamilton
1909-12 R. McLaren
*1904-09 R.T. Moore
1902-04 H. Aitken
*1901-02 J.S. Dixon
1898-1901 J.T. Forgie
*1894-98 G.A. Mitchell
1891-94 J.B. Atkinson
1888-91 J.M. Ronaldson
1885-88 J.S. Dixon
1883-85 J. McGeath
1879-83 R. Moore
1878-79 G.B. Begg

* Indicates President of The Institution of Mining Engineers

Secretaries of The Mining Institute of Scotland

**1999- D. Seath
**1992-99 D.O. Davies
1967-92 E.R. Rodger
1966-67 W. Boyle
1956-66 M. Bryce
1953-56 W.R. Burnett
**1951-53 G. Hibberd
1945-51 T. Ashley
**1929-45 T. Brown
1913-29 G.L. Kerr
1883-1912 J. Barrowman
1879-83 J. Gilchrist
**1878-79 J.T. Forgie

**Indicates President of The Mining Institute of Scotland