Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley (00610200)

This mine was sunk to the Four-Feet seam between 1843 and 1845 by David Davis to work the area south of Aberdare. It was managed in 1878 by D. Evans and in 1884 by David Richards. Davis had started his working life as a drapers apprentice in a shop at Merthyr Tydfil From there he went on to open grocers shops firstly at Hirwaun and then at Aberdare. From the money he gained from the shops, he leased the mineral rights from the Marquis of Bute and opened a small level at Rhigos. From his success at this level, he ventured further down the valley to sink the Blaengwawr and then Abercwmboi pits. Urged on by his sons he then probed the virgin area of the Rhondda Fach Valley in 1857 and after a difficult start met with fantastic success at his Ferndale pits.

In 1866 the new company David Davis and Sons Limited was formed but after only a few months David Davis died and his sons, Lewis and David took control of the company. Lewis Davis died in 1888 and control devolved to his son, Frederick Lewis Davis, two years later David Davis and Sons became a Limited Liability Company. The company then withdrew from the Aberdare area and concentrated on its collieries in the Rhondda Fach Valley. By 1896 Blaengwawr was owned by the Aberdare Craig Coal Company who employed 24 men underground and 4 men on the surface, in 1908 there were only 4 men underground and 3 men on the surface of this mine with J. Williams as manager. In 1913/16 there were 150 men employed at this mine, it being managed by Thomas Maddocks.

The company was a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association. It was still in the hands of this company in 1917 and in 1918 employed 185 men underground and 24 on the surface with the manager being Gomer Thomas. It employed 190 men in 1920. By 1921 it was part of the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company. In 1923 it employed 203 men and produced 187,200 tons of coal. It supposedly closed in 1924 but between 1924 and 1929 it employed 180 men, in 1930 it employed 176 men and produced 25,000 tons of coal with H. Jones as the manager and on the 1931 lists of mines it is shown as employing 110 men. The Gellideg seam at this pit was 483 feet 4 inches deep, while the following seams appear to have been worked; the Upper-Four-Feet seam at a thickness of 77 inches, the Six-Feet seam at a thickness of 66 inches, the Red Vein seam was 48 inches thick, the Nine-Feet seam 108”, the Bute seam 63”, the Seven-Feet seam was 83 inches thick and the Gellideg seam was 41 inches thick.

Thirteen men and boys lost their lives in an explosion of firedamp on the 8th of March 1861. At the time of the explosion, the colliery was under the management of Mr. David Davies jnr. with Richard Evans as the colliery underviewer. The Inspector, Mr. Evans, made an examination of the colliery the year before and made a recommendation by letter that locked safety lamps should be used in the mine but there was no action taken by the colliery management. On the morning of the disaster, William Terrant, a collier entered his stall with a naked light and the explosion took place.

Those who died were:

  • George Phillips, aged 30 years, collier.
  • William Phillips, aged 19 years, collier.
  • Charles Williams, aged 43 years, collier.
  • Richard Williams, aged 44 years, collier.
  • Hopkin Hopkins, aged 46 years, collier.
  • Henry Evans, aged 13 years.
  • Thomas Jones, aged 34 years, collier.
  • Ebenezer Thomas, aged 14 years.
  • William Davies, aged 15 years.
  • Morgan Henells, aged 36 years, collier.
  • John Morgan, aged 52 years, collier.
  • David Thomas, aged 60 years, collier.
  • William Davis aged 10 years.
  • Five others were also injured

Some of the other fatalities at this mine:

  • 12/2/1853 Rees Meredith, aged 31 years, collier, Killed in an explosion of firedamp.
  • 12/2/1853 Thomas Price, aged 17 years, collier, Killed in an explosion of firedamp.
  • 12/5/1854 Isaac Davies, aged 57 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 6/7/1855 John Jenkins, aged 27 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 14/7/1855 John Hopkins, aged 27 years, collier, fall of roof.
  • 28/7/1855 William Davies, aged 21 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 20/11/1857 William Williams, aged 20 years, fall of roof.
  • 18/12/1857 David Evans, aged 25 years, fell off cage in shaft.
  • 27/8/1859 Thomas Rees, aged 25 years, carpenter, fell down shaft
  • 6/9/1859 John Morgan, aged 14 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 9/2/1860 Evan Thomas, aged 14 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 2/8/1860 Evan Rees, collier, fall of roof
  • 27/10/1860 Morgan Jones, aged 47 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 12/11/1860 Henry Harris, aged 18 years, collier, explosion of firedamp
  • 10/6/1863 David Evans, aged 35 years, hitcher, coal fell down shaft
  • 15/3/1864 David Lloyd, aged 17 years, haulier, run over by trams
  • 23/5/1864 David Miles, aged 10? collier, fall of roof
  • 12/7/1865 James Howells, aged 14 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 23/8/1865 Josiah Williams, aged 44 years, sinker, fell down shaft
  • 1/5/1866 David Herbert, aged 21 years, engineer, caught in machinery
  • 9/10/1866 Thomas Hughes, aged 52 years, collier, shotfiring incident
  • 11/11/1869 Margaret Daniel, aged 17 years, labourer, fell down shaft.
  • 1/4/1871 E. Jones, aged 31 years, hitcher, fall of roof.
  • 20/5/1871 D. Thomas, aged 32 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 14/3/1873 W. Evans, aged 22 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 24/9/1874 H. Wilkins, aged 44 years, collier, fall of roof.
  • 13/9/1875 Thomas Rees, haulier, run over by trams
  • 15/9/1876 D. Davies, aged 59 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 15/7/1878 Morgan Rees, aged 18 years, collier, fall of roof
  • 5/11/1880 J.S. Thomas, aged 14 years, collier boy, fall of roof.
  • 23/4/1913 John Vallis, aged 15 years, collier boy, kicked by a horse

Some statistics:

  • 1870: Manpower: 476.
  • 1896: Manpower: 28.
  • 1899: Manpower: 15.
  • 1900: Manpower: 13.
  • 1901: Manpower: 68.
  • 1902: Manpower: 83.
  • 1905: not worked.
  • 1907: Manpower: 16.
  • 1908: Manpower: 7.
  • 1910: Manpower: 73.
  • 1911: Manpower: 13.
  • 1912: Manpower: 170.
  • 1913: Manpower: 150.
  • 1916: Manpower: 150.
  • 1918: Manpower: 209.
  • 1920: Manpower: 190.
  • 1923: Manpower: 203.
  • 1929: Manpower: 180.
  • 1930: Manpower: 176.
  • 1931: Manpower: 110.


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

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