Near Hirwaun, Cynon Valley

Initially owned by the Marquis of Bute, the early history of this mine is obscure but it was also called Pwll-yr-Afan. It was ventilated by a steam-driven 8 feet in diameter Schiele type fan. It probably opened in the 1850s and was owned in 1878/1882 by the Aberdare Merthyr Steam Coal Colliery Company with the manager being Rees Price. In 1883 it was managed by Rees Thomas and in 1884 it was managed by Thomas Rees? About this time it must have closed down.

In July 1891 a new joint-stock enterprise, Aberdare-Merthyr Collieries Company (Limited) was formed to take over and carry on business and merge it with Nantmelyn Colliery. The major shareholders were; T. Crawshay, H.C. Smith, W.M. Hawkins, H. James, W. Thomas, C. Dinham, and E.R. Moxey. The Western Mail of the 13th of September 1892 reported that supper had been given in the Puddlers Arms Hotel, to a number of workmen and officials, in celebration of starting and working successfully on an expensive electric plant for pumping. The dynamo was 150 h.p, with a 14-foot flywheel, weighing 7 ½ tons. It transmitted power to three pumps that were 2,000 yards in from the pit bottom. It reported that it had great benefits over steam pumps that kept breaking down and thereby causing men to lose time or work in intense heat caused by steam connections. In 1894 it restarted work and produced 152,734 tons of coal but strikes over the needed revision in the sliding scale system for wages, on top of the already poor financial situation of the colliery made the owners announce in March 1895 that they had carried on business lately, at such a serious loss that they were considering closing the pit shortly.

The Illustrated Police News on the 7th of March 1896 reported: “that the Aberdare Merthyr Company failed two months ago and the collieries which employ 11,000 men are still closed, causing great destitution in the upper portion of the Aberdare valley.” The Western Mail on Monday, 18th of January 1897, reported that W. T. Lewis had re-opened this colliery after it lying idle for more than 12 months following the liquidation of the old owners. In 1897 it employed 164 men underground and 15 men on the surface.

The manager in 1902 was Isaac H. Jones and in 1908 it was D. Jones. It was described as working the ‘Long Range Level’ into the Yard and NineFeet seams, both were worked by the long wall system with naked lights used in the Yard seam and both safety and naked lights in the Nine-Feet seam. The East Drift was also working the Yard seam by the long wall method using naked lights. The upcast shaft was 8 feet in diameter and 135 feet deep. In 1911 it employed 214 men. It employed 144 men in 1913, with the manager still being Daniel Jones, he was still there in 1915 when it employed 125 men. It was working the Seven-Feet seam on closure in 1916 when it employed 125 men with the manager still being D. Jones.

The Marquis of Bute was a major landlord in the South Wales Coalfield. The earliest of his properties dated from 1547 and 1550 and were given by King Edward the Sixth to William Herbert for quelling the rebels in the western part of his Kingdom. From the Dowlais Iron Works alone in 1847 the then Marquis was able to extract an annual payment of £30,000, a fantastic amount for those days. The third Lord Bute in the 1870s was reputed to be the richest man in the world, and in 1919 the then Marquis owned 128,582 acres, the output of coal and minerals from his lands amounted to 3,241,962 tons, and he had negotiated a sliding scale royalty of 1 shilling and sixpence per ton for one-seventh, and for the rest of his properties fixed royalties of over six pence per ton.

  • On the 16th of January 1868, William Jones, aged 27 years, and a collier died under a fall of roof at this pit.
  • On the 8th of January 1878, George Bryant, aged 35 years, and a labourer, was run over and killed by trams.
  • On the 24th of March 1881, Henry Jones, aged 38 years, a collier, died under a fall of roof.
  • On the 24th of March 1881, Lewis Rees, aged 70 years, and a roadman, died under a fall of roof.
  • On the 31st of July 1884, William Evans, aged 23 years, and a labourer, died under a fall of roof.
  • On the 17th of February 1885, William Jones, aged 21 years, and a collier, died under a fall of roof.
  • On the 6th of November 1889, Thomas Edwards, aged 63 years, and a labourer, died under a fall of roof.
  • On the 12th of May 1885, Henry Reeves, aged 22 years, and a rider, was run over and killed by trams.

Some statistics:

1899: Manpower: 167.
1900: Manpower: 222.
1901: Manpower: 202.
1902: Manpower: 138.
1905: Manpower: 33.
1907: Manpower: 183.
1908: Manpower: 179.
1909: Manpower: 179.
1910: Manpower: 177.
1911: Manpower: 214.
1912: Manpower: 146.
1913: Manpower: 144.
1915: Manpower: 125.


Aberdare, Cynon Valley

This was a small level that worked the seams near their outcrop. Opened by the Marquis of Bute in the 1850s and was working the Yard and Seven-Feet seams when closed in 1897. Prior to closure, it was working the Seven-Feet and Gellideg seams using the pillar & stall method of coal extraction and naked lights. The upcast ventilation shaft was oval in shape measuring 16 feet by 8 feet 6 inches and it was 120 feet deep. Ventilation was by a furnace.


Aberdare, Cynon Valley

In 1869 this pit, or a number of pits, was owned by the Aberdare Iron Company. In 1896 they were owned by the Aberdare Works and Collieries Company of Aberdare and employed 460 men underground and 65 men on the surface producing steam coals. The manager at that time was Rees Howells and in brackets, it was called No.9 Pit. The company also worked the Abergorki, clay level, Park Pit, River Level Pit, Tunnel Pit and
Windsor Level.

In 1897 the No.9 Pit was also called Abernant and had a sidings capacity for 71 full wagons, 48 empty wagons and 75 others. There is no mention of Aberdare Works Pit after this date.

  • A few of those who died at this pit;
  • 14/2/1888 John Thomas, age 43 years, collier, killed by a fall of roof.
  • 20/5/1889 Hermit Barclay, aged 65 years, furnaceman, killed by the cage in the shaft.
  • 29/6/1889 Lot Davies, aged 25 years, collier, killed by a fall of roof
  • 23/8/1889 David Parry, aged 61 years, haulier, killed by a fall of roof
  • 29/8/1889 John Williams, aged 50 years, haulier, killed by a fall of roof


Aberdare, Cynon Valley

This mine was listed as working in 1867 when owned by the Aberdare Iron Company. It was listed under the ownership of the Aberdare Coal Company in 1878/82 when it was managed by D. Williams. In the 1884/87 period, it had changed to Aberdare Nos. 1 & 2 and was working the Two-Feet-Nine, Nine-Feet, Yard and Bute seams, with the manager being Ed Pugh. The long wall method of coal extraction was used along with naked lights. Work was suspended in 1886. In 1892 it employed 4 men underground and in 1896 it employed 3 men underground and 3 men on the surface producing house coal. Not listed as working following this date.

  • On 22nd October 1867, E. Edwards a 24 year old collier was killed by a fall of coal.
  • On the 8th of November 1867, Edward Jones aged 40 years died under another fall on the 1 of that year.
  • On the 4th of May 1870, P. Edwards a 15 year old collier died under another fall of roof.


Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley

There is great confusion when attempting to trace this level. Not listed under the above title prior to its purchase by D.R. Llewellyn in 1916, although the Aberdare Graig Coal Company is listed in 1913 the only colliery that they operated in that year is Blaengwawr. In the 1917 lists, the only colliery remotely similar that is under the ownership of D.R. Llewellyn is Nantmelyn Graig, but Llewellyn records show that Aberdare Graig produced 50,000 tons of coal in 1920. There is no trace of this level following that date, probably due to a name change.


Information supplied by Ray Lawrence and used here with his permission.

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