SSE commemorates 60th anniversary of record-breaking Tunnel Tigers

SSE is this week commemorating the 60th anniversary of the history-making Lednock ‘Tunnel Tigers’ who set the world record for rock digging between October 20 and 27 1955.

The men ground through 557ft of rock – the equivalent of the height of Blackpool Tower – in just seven days while building the St Fillans section of the Breadalbane Hydro scheme in Perthshire.

Three crews of 14 men worked round the clock to complete this section of the dig and received a £20 bonus (£2,000 in today’s money) in recognition of their remarkable achievement.

However, conditions were often dangerous and difficult, resulting in some losing their lives and others suffering life changing injuries.

As testament to the toil of the Tunnel Tigers, SSE has announced plans to design and install a commemorative plaque at the tunnel entrance – and is encouraging people to share their memories of Scotland’s hydro heritage.

St Fillans Now _For Web

Gillian O’Reilly, Head of Heritage and Community Programmes, said: “SSE’s history is Scotland’s history and over the years SSE has been at the forefront of many energy firsts.

“The achievement of the Tunnel Tigers is an important chapter in the story of how SSE brought electricity to the Highlands and it is important that their tireless work and sacrifice is not forgotten.

“We know there will be many people in Scotland with own stories and memories and we would encourage people to get in touch and share those with us as we celebrate this historic milestone.”

The feat of the Tunnel Tigers has also been formally recognised in the Scottish Parliament in a motion raised by Murdo Fraser, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and the Scottish Conservatives Spokesperson for Energy.

SSE has also opened a new archive at Pitlochry Dam which contains documents and artefacts never before available publicly including letters, speeches, photographs, blueprints, magazines and other publications.

The collection is a valuable resource for researchers interested in the development of the energy industry in the north of Scotland as well as the roots and history of SSE itself, which dates back to the 19th century.

Much of the material traces the origins of one of SSE’s predecessor organisation – the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board – and how it transformed the lives of ordinary people.

SSE has recently announced it is investing £4m in a new visitor centre overlooking the Pitlochry Dam. The new visitor centre will open in Autumn 2016 and will house a 60 seat café, retail area, and a multi-space area for educational use. Once open, it will support over a dozen full and part-time jobs in peak season, many of which will be permanent roles.

Share your Hydro Heritage memories by emailing heritage@sse.com.