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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 00:20 GMT
Coal mine is most treasured place
Lady Victoria Colliery
The colliery now houses the Scottish Mining Museum

A coal mine which closed 26 years ago has beaten some of Scotland's most famous landmarks to be named the country's most treasured place.

Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange, Midlothian, beat off competition from nine other sites, including Rosslyn Chapel, featured in the Da Vinci Code.

More than 20,000 votes were cast after a shortlist of 10 places was selected.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland ran the competition ahead of its centenary.

The Treasured Places competition celebrates its 2008 anniversary.

The colliery, which now houses the Scottish Mining Museum, also finished ahead of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterpiece the Glasgow School of Art, which came second in the public vote, and prehistoric village Skara Brae on Orkney.

'Very rich seam'

The much-derided Cumbernauld town centre, which has twice received the "Plook on the Plinth" award for Scotland's worst architecture, came bottom of the top 10.

The colliery opened in the 1890s and became renowned as one of the first Scottish "super-pits", with a workforce of almost 2,000 at its peak.

It was named after the wife of the Marquess of Lothian and was owned by the Lothian Coal Company, but closed in 1981.

MOST TREASURED PLACES
1. Lady Victoria Colliery, Midlothian
2. Glasgow School of Art
3. King's College, Aberdeen
4. St Meddan's, Troon, Ayrshire
5. The Falkirk Wheel
6. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
7. The Standing Stones of Stenness, Orkney
8. Skara Brae, Orkney
9. Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian
10. Cumbernauld Town Centre, North Lanarkshire

Fergus Waters, director of the Scottish Mining Museum, said: "We were surprised and delighted to find that we had done so well in the first round.

"But to have received support from visitors, locals, ex-miners and people from as far away as Canada to lift us into the winning position for the overall Treasured Places is just brilliant.

"There is a very rich seam of coal mining heritage just under the skin of Scotland and this result reflects that and is also a tribute to what the Lady Victoria Colliery represents as the last surviving example of a once vast Scottish industry."

Images of places from across Scotland were chosen for the shortlist by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) from its national collection.

The winning image is a detailed survey drawing of the colliery, which was prepared for a book titled Scottish Collieries, which aimed to ensure the work of the mines and miners was never forgotten, despite the industry's decline.

'Stirred debate'

Siobhan McConnachie, project manager of Treasured Places, said they were delighted with the enthusiastic voting.

She said: "The image of Lady Victoria Colliery is a wonderful drawing produced by Heather Stoddart, surveyor and illustrator for RCAHMS.

"This highly detailed survey drawing records and preserves this significant site as it functioned as a coal mine, helping our understanding and adding to our knowledge of Scotland's fascinating industrial heritage."

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani welcomed the survey.

She said: "Asking people to vote for their treasured place has encouraged the nation to think about its cultural heritage and what it means to them personally.

"It has evoked memories and stirred debate, and has proved beyond doubt that Scotland's wide and diverse built heritage is something we, as a nation, treasure."

The winning image of will be celebrated in a poem specially written by the Edinburgh makar, Valerie Gillies and the top 10 places will feature in an exhibition at Edinburgh City Art Centre next year.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Inside the Lady Victoria Colliery



SEE ALSO
Top 10 'treasured places' named
26 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Scotland 'treasured place' vote
19 Sep 07 |  Scotland
The man from Carbuncle
26 Oct 07 |  Scotland

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