Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley

This mine was sunk in the 1840s by Thomas Powell, and along with the rest of his pits in this area became part of the mighty Powell Duffryn Empire.   After Thomas Powell had successfully worked some small levels in the Monmouthshire valleys he turned his attention to the newly developing Cynon valley. In February 1840 he commenced sinking at Tir Ffounder, striking the Four-Feet seam in 1842. He followed this by sinking or acquiring; Plough Pit, Lower Duffryn, Middle Duffryn, Upper and Lower Cwmpennar, Bwllfa No.3 and Abergwawr.

In character, Thomas Powell was unprincipled and ruthless and was hated by masters and men alike. His despotic attitude to his workers caused many a strike, lock-out and riot to occur, he would unhesitatingly prosecute his men for breach of discipline. His attitude to his peers was little different, in one year, 1841, he was involved in separate legal disputes with the Taff Vale Railway, the Marquis of Bute and Sir Charles Morgan. He is claimed to have said, “I have never made an agreement that I cannot break.” Such was his unpopularity that when he died in 1869 his funeral was held in private to avoid public demonstrations. In 1863 this colliery produced 90,497 tons of coal with a manpower of 332.

Accident records show that in 1866 Henry Pugh, a collier aged 13 died under a fall of the roof, and in 1875 a ten year old boy was also killed in a fall of the roof at this pit.

Abergwawr Colliery was closed during the coal trade slump of 1875 and before it re-opened, in June 1875, the workmen inspected this pit And gave it a pretty good report stating that the shafts were in good condition and free from gas, levels, returns and planes all in good condition and free from gas, a small amount of gas was found in one working place which was to be removed immediately. Old workings, ventilation and machinery were in good order. It was still working in December 1882, when PD took them to court over royalties and dead rent on coal worked and gotten by Abergwawr Colliery. They owed £975. In February 1900 the Western Mail reported that this pit was used as a pumping station and for ventilating the Aberaman and Treaman pits. Its coal was being worked through Aberaman.


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

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