Robert MacLeod: Cowdenbeath Miner poet

Robert MacLeod: Cowdenbeath Miner poet


  • Author(s): Robert MacLeod - EDITOR: Margaret Bennett
  • Genre(s): Poetry and Songs
  • Publisher: Grace Note Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-907676-73-4
  • Paperback Price: Visit


Robert MacLeod: Cowdenbeath Miner poet - An Anthology by Arthur Nevay. Arthur Nevay has collected over 120 compositions by former Cowdenbeath miner, Robert MacLeod (1876–1958), who became an entertainer after a mining accident ended his career. He wrote for music-hall performances at the Cowdenbeath Tivoli and sang round pubs and clubs, selling broadsheets to earn money, to help soup kitchens, disaster funds, war wounded and other needy causes. MacLeod lived through two World Wars, the 1926 Strike, the Great Depression, eight decades of colliery disasters, and he wrote ‘lest we forget’. He also raised the spirit of the community, with his droll, witty, ‘oneliners’ that made folk laugh. His work inspired the late John Watt, whose songs such as ‘Fife’s Got Everything’ and ‘The Kelty Clippie’ share MacLeod’s irreverent wit. Among Arthur’s papers is a letter from John stating that ‘lines like these should not be forgotten’ – neither should we forget the miner who penned them. 


Folklorist Margaret Bennett interviewed Arthur for an oral history project, ‘ The End of the Shift’, which inspired her to write the introduction, edit and annotate the collection. Thanks to Arthur Nevay, we can now enjoy MacLeod’s legacy.


This collection is a treasure trove of life in Fife in the early part of the 20th Century, created by the pen of Robert MacLeod. My generation caught the tail end of those riches of song and poetry, but Bob MacLeod was there and captured the age in his writings.  The great John Watt appreciated him hugely and, thanks to this lovingly restored archive, we all get to know the man and his work, so long forgotten. It’s wonderful, colourful and full of the human spirit.

Barbara Dickson, October 2015



Acknowledgements xiii

Introduction: Arthur Nevay’s Collection 

and the Work of Robert MacLeod 

by Margaret Bennett 

Foreword: Twenty-first Century Reflections 

by William Hershaw



Pits and Politics 

A Collier Tae a Flae 

My Man’s on the Buroo 

The Glencraig Pit Disaster 

The Main Link o the Chain

The Miner Tae the Midge

The Redding Pit Disaster 

The Union Man

The Valleyfield Colliery Disaster 

The Lindsay Pit Disaster


Community and Family

A Day Wi the Bairns

Guid Auld Santa Claus 

Harry Hope’s Fish Shop 

John McEwan’s Choir 

My Mother

My Mither’s Auld-Fashioned Blue Bowl

Takkin a Rest

The Auld-Fashioned Dish (Caaed ‘the Po’)

The Auld Toll Hoose

The Awfu Flu

The Carsebrig Craws

The Gift o the Gab, (Or A Mither’s Advice)

The Handy Wee Man in the Bar

The Sink

The Workin Man’s Dram

Tae An Ingin

In Loving Memory of my Old Friend John Todd



A Jock tae his Sweetheart, Nell

The Heroes o Crossgates

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory…Black Watch

My Brother

The Heroes of Moeuvres 

The Gallant Guards’ Return

A Welcome Home

Britons to the Last

Tribute tae the 51st Highland Division

The Nazi ‘Hell-Ship’

The Men of El Alamein

The Great Arctic Battle


National and International Events

A Tribute To King Edward

In Memory of Captain Scott

The Titanic

Heroes of the Air 

The Great Atlantic Flight

Tribute to the Memory of the Queen Mother 

To the Memory of King George V


Love and Affection

Bonnie Wee Nell o Spinkie Dell

By Edin’s Stream

Clapperbum Raw



Cowden’s Daein Fine

Willie Devlin on the Baa

In Loving Memory of John McArthur

Keep Cowden at the Tap

Sandy Ye’re a Dandy

The Goal-keeper’s Ghost

To the Memory of John Thomson



Dunfermline’s Bonnie Glen

In Memory o Rabbie Burns

Oor Ain Toons

The Kirkcaldy Esplanade

The Bonnie Isle o Skye

The Loch Ness Monster


Philosophy and Nature

Keep on, Keep on

My Friend ‘Toby My Dog – My Friend Tae the End

The Smile of a Child 

Tae a Robin

Tae a Skylark




Pits and Politics

The Ghost Section

I Want Tae See My Daddy

Stop Yer Working Jock



Portobello Nellie

Ugly Mary o Argyle

The Bonnie Lass o Letham Glen

The Factory Lass

Jessie the Flouer o Dunblane

Lay My Head Beneath a Rose

Maggie Dobie


Community, Family and Nation

Bella in the Bath

Bonnie Bella Broon

Inverkeithing Brass Band

I’ll Gang Roon Wi the Hat

I’ll Never Gang Back Tae Leslie

My Ain Wee Hoose

My Little Yo-Yo

Oor Jock’s Learned Tae Dance

Simple Peter Pimple

Tamson’s Fancy Ball

The Lochgelly Pipe Band

The Merry Lads Dancing 

The Sugar-Doddle Shop

Tribute Tae Bowhill & District Prize Pipe Band

The Coronation Day


Football and Sport

Willie Pullar wi the Little Twinklin Feet

Cowden’s Famous Five

The Fitba Referee

Cowdenbeath Versus Dunfermline 

Come Ye By Athol

Footballers Take Care

Guid Auld Davie Stevenson

The Dundonald Bluebell F.C. 

The Flying Fifer o the Glesga Rangers F.C.

The Raith Rovers F.C.

My Boy Tammy

The Rale Mackay

The Trip Doon Tae Wembley O 

Tribute Tae Willie Penman

Tribute Tae Willie Waddell

We’re Oot Tae Win the Day

Oor Champion George McCrae

The Empire Skating Rink

The Whuppet Race



Dark Neuve Chapelle

The Tartan My Daddy Wore at Mons



The Auld Scotch Sangs

The Banks o Clyde

The Big Camlachie Slope

The Bonnie Banks o Loch Lomond

The Glesga Folks For Fun

The Laddies Wha Followed the Ploo

Scots Wha Hae (With Apologies)

The Scotch Merry Widda



Depend on Yer Doctor 

A Scots Drama in One Act:  “Love on the Farm”

A Nicht wi the Dugs

Some Guid Advice

Tae the Gravedigger, Jimmy Wiseman o Kirk o Beath



Letters to Robert MacLeod



Arthur and Margaret Bennett




prize-winning author, well known singer and broadcaster. She has written extensively about Scottish folklore and culture at home and abroad and her eleven books include Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave. She is the recipient of several honours including The Celtic Women International Award (2003), Honorary Life Fellow of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies (2010), Honorary Doctor of Music (2010, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow), le ‘Prix du Québec’ (2011) and the Royal Scottish Academy has recently appointed her Honorary Professor Antiquities (2012).

Share this product

Built with HTML5 and CSS3 - Copyright © 2012 Margaret Bennett - Web Design by Xtensive