Fwd: For Biography: Group of Clydach Merthyr Colliery Miners, about 1900

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Subject: For Biography: Group of Clydach Merthyr Colliery Miners, about 1900
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 15:04:38 EDT

This is a group of coal miners about 1900, Clydach Merthyr Colliery (Nixon drift) about 1900. All my family worked in this drift mine, which went down at a steep angle into the Craigola steam coal seam. It was nationalized in 1945 and closed about 1960. It was pumped out to stop flooding until about the late eighties, and now it is sealed up. After the Aberfan tragedy the tip was taken away, as were all tips as you know, but its remnants are still there. Sometimes the water of the river would run black as we drove over it in the school bus in the morning. That was caused by flood water washing away the coal tip at its base. That is what caused the awful disaster at Aberfan, at which my father was one of the rescuers as a member of the Mines Rescue Service. Fortunately our tip was on the bottom of the valley, way below the school. It was one of my jobs as a boy to shift a ton of coal into the coal shed on our smallholding, and to chop up sprags for fire wood. The coal and sprags were given free to miners and widows. The coal fire in the biography is one of steam coal, which was taken down the valley by rail and some of it exported from Swansea docks. As can be seen, some of the mines are as young as about twelve years old, some I recognise as victims of pneumoconiosis, just by looking at them. It was a tough, hard life, but they were on the whole kind hearted pious, and generous people.


Attachment: acoalminingconditions1900.pdf

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