Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley (c970025)

Bwllfa Colliery No 1 Pit

Two shafts were sunk in 1854/6 by Ebenezer Lewis who formed the Bwllfa Colliery Company Limited and called the colliery Bwllfa. In December 1857, a few men broke a strike and were preparing to restart work when they complained of threats of violence and returned home. The Bristol Mercury newspaper of the 11th of April 1863 reported that Richard Griffiths, aged 14 years, and a collier, had obtained by false pretenses, £2.17s 5d from the colliery owner. He had no father or mother and was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment at Swansea Goal followed by four years in a reformatory at Neath.

On Friday the 27th of December 1867, there were two seams being worked at this colliery; the Four-Feet and the Two-Feet-Nine, plus a hard heading, which for two years had been driven towards a section of the Six-Feet seam. Ventilation for this heading was by a large wooden tube that came down the shaft from the surface. At 6 a.m. the five men of the dayshift entered this heading to relieve the five men on the nightshift. The tube had caught on fire and the heading filled with smoke, they went so far and collapsed. On hearing of this, the air was cut off and the smoke diverted into old workings. Five of the men were brought round and walked home, the other five died. The owners at that time were Lockett and Marychurch of London. At a meeting held on the First of July about the lack of a permanent relief fund for the dependents of those killed underground, this accident was quoted, the speaker stating; “These men were smothered. These men were married. Some lived in Cardiganshire, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. They had to be taken to their homes by train, and great expense was incurred, and yet no one cared for them. Their families did not get a penny, yet the Ferndale widows and orphans are well off.”

In 1871 ownership passed to John Brogden and Sons who added the Dare to the name. They must have carried out new sinkings because on the 18th of May 1874, two sinkers, Lumley Ellis of Aberystwyth and William Davies of Llandinam, were killed when they ignited blowers of gas. Although they were 160 yards below the surface the explosion was so strong that it destroyed the surface framework and seriously injured John Jones of Llanidloes who had just started to work at the mine.

On June the 25th 1877, the owners issued notices to terminate all contracts with the workmen, with the demand that the notices would be withdrawn if the men accepted a 10% reduction in wages. They then suddenly withdrew that demand if the men accepted that in future one ton of coal would be in future one ton and a quarter hundredweight. The men returned to work on the 7th of July on those terms.

The Western Mail of the 11th of November 1878 reported; “As three colliers, named Thomas Rees, 22 years old, Prospect-place, Cwmdare; Morgan Rees, Bellevue, Trecynon; and Edward Davides, 30 of 5, Evan’s-place, Trecynon, were going down the pit on the night-shift at Bwllfa Colliery, Cwmdare, (property of Messrs. John Brogden and Son), on the 8th inst., the carriage caught the side of the pit, turned over on one side, and dashed to occupants to a depth of 75ft. (the total depth of the pit is about 150ft.) They were knocked to pieces-legs and arms &c., being hurled apart from the force of the concussion.” Another shaft incident occurred on the 19th of July 1887 when the valves on the winding faulted and the cage going down the pit smashed into pit bottom, and the one coming up the pit went over the sheaves causing great damage and two men were seriously injured.

Ownership changed again in 1891 when it was bought by the Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Coal Collieries (1891) Limited who called it Bwllfa No.1 Colliery. The colliery then stood idle in April 1894 due to sinking to a lower seam laying off some 500 men. A strike then ensued for five months over a price-list for the new seam. The owners offered 2 shillings per ton but the men wanted 2 shillings and six pence. The owners won. On the 19th of January 1897 a newspaper report stated that this colliery had not been worked for almost two years over a wage dispute. It was finally agreed to go to arbitration so the men turned up for work but were sent back home. The arbitration was for the owners and the men restarted on the 23rd of January. The court case was claimed to have been the most expensive up to that time in the County Court and the men had to find £600 for costs.

In 1896 Bwllfa Dare employed 989 men underground and 139 men on the surface with H.H. Evans as manager. In 1910 the following seams had been opened up; Two-Feet-Nine, NineFeet, Four-Feet, Six-Feet, Bute, Seven-Feet, New & Yard. The manager in 1908 was still H.H. Evans, in 1913 it was yet again H.H. Evans, in 1915/6 it was W.H. Davies while in 1918 it was John Jones. W. Williams was the manager in 1920/25. By 1930 the colliery was owned by the Bwllfa and Cwmaman Collieries Limited. This company was based at Aberdare House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff with its directors being; Sir David R Llewellyn, Sir J. Field Beale, T.J. Callaghan, W.M. Llewellyn, H.H. Merrett and J.H. Jolly.

This company had been incorporated in 1891 and by 1934 controlled six collieries producing 2,400,000 tons of coal. It was estimated that there was a total vertical thickness of 75 feet of coal, of which 53 feet was in seams of two feet in thickness or more. The Graig seam was 26” in thickness. The Gorllwyn seam was 50”. The Two-FeetNine seam was 32”. The Upper-Four-Feet seam had a total thickness of 9 feet 4” and was extensively worked. The Six-Feet seam was 50” in thickness and was also extensively worked on. The Red Vein had a thickness of 39”. The Nine-Feet seam was 8 feet 8”. The Bute seam was 45”. The Seven-Feet seam was 51” and the Gellideg seam was 52” in thickness. In 1934 this colliery was managed by W.J. Jones and in 1936 it was closed and placed on a maintenance basis along with Bwllfa No.2 Pit. Both pits had their own coal preparation plant. The Old Pit was the upcast shaft and was sunk to a depth of 200 yards to work the (Gorllwyn, Nine-Feet, Bute, Yard and Seven-Feet seams. The New Pit was the downcast shaft and was sunk to a depth of 150 yards to work the Two-Feet-Nine, Four-Feet and Six-Feet seams.

In 1947 the colliery came under the control of the National Coal Board with D.M. Jones as the manager, and in 1949 it became part of a major National Coal Board reconstruction scheme which linked it underground to Mardy Colliery a distance of 3,250 yards. By 1954 Bwllfa was producing 86,810 tons of coal annually. While in 1955, out of the total colliery manpower of 282 men, 107 of them worked at the coalfaces. 1956 was the last year that manpower and output for this pit were given separately to Mardy and in that year it employed 188 men producing 40,769 tons of coal. It officially closed as a production unit on the 2nd of February 1957.

Some (not all) of the miners who died at this colliery:

  • 4/8/1854 Richard Jones, 22 sinker, fell down pit
  • 27/7/1860 William Harris, collier, fall of roof
  • 15/2/1862 James Moore, 15, run over by trams
  • 19/12/1862 Timothy Thomas, 14, fall of roof
  • 5/8/1863 Joseph Beynon, 15, collier, fall of roof
  • 16/1/1865 Henry Phillips, 20, collier, suffocated by gas.
  • 30/4/1863 Thomas Hughes, 23, collier, fall of roof
  • 3/4/1865 Rees Davis, 51, sinker, shotfiring incident
  • 20/5/1865 Joseph Morris, 13, collier, fall of roof
  • 23/5/1865 Evan Evans, 20, collier, fall of roof
  • 6/7/1865 Joseph Dinning, 13, collier, fall of roof
  • 12/7/1865 David Lewis, 32, collier, fall of roof.
  • 9/12/1865 Evan Morgan, 10, collier, fall of roof.
  • 8/5/1866 John Rees, 19, collier, fall of roof
  • 15/9/1866 Thomas King 16, collier, explosion of firedamp
  • 20/9/1866 William Lloyd, 55, labourer, caught in machinery
  • 11/10/1866 Richard Eynon, 15, collier, fall of roof
  • 27/12/1867 John Daniel, collier, Benjamin Lloyd, collier, Thomas Owen, collier, Benjamin Thomas, collier, Thomas Wood, collier, suffocation by gas
  • 23/8/1869 David Hughes, 31, collier, fall of roof
  • 1/11/1873 John James, collier, fell down shaft
  • 14/8/1877 J. Jenkins, 12, collier, run over by trams
  • 15/10/1878 David Davies, 14, collier boy, fall of roof
  • 8/11/1878 Edmund Davies, 30, haulier, Rees Morgan, 25, collier, Thomas Rees, 21, collier, fell out of cage in shaft
  • 9/9/1880 Morgan Jenkins, aged 48, rope inspector, caught by moving rope
  • 21/2/1883 Thomas Walters, 17, collier, fall of roof
  • 30/8/1884 Evan Rees, collier, fall of roof
  • 30/8/1884 Evan Rees, collier, fall of roof
  • 19/12/1884 David Jones, 39, timberman, fall of roof .
  • 11/7/1885 Abram Williams, 56, labourer, fell down
  • 6/9/1886 John Price, 41, collier, fall of roof.
  • 14/10/1886 Joshua Griffiths, 27, collier, fall of roof .
  • 3/12/1886, John Evans, 56, screener, run over by wagons.
  • 18/6/1887 Morgan Williams, 13, collier, fall of roof
  • 9/8/1888 Thomas Price, 38, collier, fall of roof
  • 12/7/1889 Andrew Phillips, 35, collier, fall of roof
  • 27/10/1890 John Phillips, 51, collier, fall of roof
  • 20/1/1891 Charles H Richardson, 24, surveyor, run over by trams.
  • 31/10/1891 William Nicholas, 35, collier, fall of roof
  • 1/6/1892 David Davies, 23, collier, fall of roof
  • 2/9/1892 John Lewis, 28, collier, fall of roof
  • 16/12/1892 Thomas Evans, 42, collier, fall of roof
  • 2/5/1893 Richard Jones, 60, labourer, fell down shaft
  • 20/4/1894, David Owen, 27, haulier, blood poisoning.
  • 28/5/1894 Walter Davies, 67, haulier, trapped under the shaft cage.
  • 2/8/1894 John Jones, 30, hardgroundman, shotfiring incident
  • 22/9/1894, George Evans, 22, collier, fall of roof
  • 25/2/1895 Samuel Evans, 33, ripper, explosion of gas
  • 22/3/1895 Simon Rees, 45, fireman, fall of roof
  • 11/8/1896 William Griffiths, 23, assistant repairer, fall of roof.
  • 25/8/1896 William John, 47, collier, fall of roof.
  • 3/9/1896 Ll. Davies, 25, blacksmith, caught in machinery.
  • 2/3/1897 Rees Burton, 37, rider, run over by trams
  • 20/5/1897 Gwyn J Williams, 12, collier boy, fall of roof
  • 1/12/1898 W.J. Lloyd, 12, collier boy, fall of roof
  • 3/1/1899 Henry Farr, 26, haulier, fall of roof.
  • 14/9/1910 John Richards, collier, run over by trams
  • 31/5/1911 Gwilym Elias, 59, collier, fall of roof
  • 31/5/1911 James Hemlock, 30, hitcher, coal fell down shaft and hit him
  • 21/8/1912 Frederick Jenkins, 22, collier, run over by trams
  • 2/4/1913 Albert Parry, 33, collier, fall of roof.
  • 18/2/1927 A.G. Allen, 16, collier boy, fall of roof

Some Statistics:

  • 1899: Manpower: 1,024.
  • 1900: Manpower: 985.
  • 1901: Manpower: 1,023.
  • 1902: Manpower: 1,015.
  • 1905: Manpower: 1,023.
  • 1907: Manpower: 983.
  • 1908: Manpower: 1,052.
  • 1909: Manpower: 1,052.
  • 1910: Manpower: 1,161.
  • 1911: Manpower: 1,052.
  • 1912: Manpower: 1,095.
  • 1913: Manpower: 1,133.
  • 1915: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1916: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1919: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1920: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1922: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1923: Manpower: 1,166.
  • 1924: Manpower: 1,173.
  • 1925: Manpower: 1,100.
  • 1927: Manpower: 512.
  • 1928: Manpower: 743.
  • 1930: Manpower: 648.
  • 1932: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1933: Manpower: 1,141
  • 1934: Manpower: 1,060. Output: 273,000 tons.
  • 1937: Manpower: 636.
  • 1938: Manpower: 578.
  • 1941: Manpower: 868.
  • 1942: Manpower: 569.
  • 1943: Manpower: 41.
  • 1944: Manpower: 560.
  • 1947: Manpower: 1.
  • 1950: Manpower: 632.
  • 1954: Output: 86,810 tons.
  • 1955: Manpower: 282. Output: 65,493 tons.
  • 1956: Manpower: 188. Output: 40,769 tons.
  • 1957: Please see Mardy Colliery.


Bwllfa Colliery No 2 Pit

Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley (975028)

Also called Nantmelyn Colliery, this mine was sunk in 1855/60 by the Aberdare Merthyr Colliery Company who worked it until 1895 when the Company went into liquidation. It was re-opened in 1898 by the Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Coal Company who changed its name to Bwllfa No.2 Colliery. In 1907/8 it employed 557 men underground and 100 men on the surface with the manager being E. Pugh, in 1909/11 it employed 657 men and boys. In 1910 it was working the Bute, Yard and SevenFeet seams. In 1913 it employed 973 men including those who worked in the Brickyard, Gorllwyn and New Drifts (Bwllfa No.4) while in 1916 it employed 1,090 men in those mines.

In 1918 Mr. Pugh is still the manager and the pit employed 657 men. Mr. Pugh is still there in 1919 when it employed 1,090 men but not in 1920/2 when G. Edwards was the manager. It still employed 1,090 men during this period but manpower dropped to 865 in 1923. In 1922 this colliery was the first in south Wales to install an electric coal cutter on a coalface. In 1924/8 it employed 808 men and was managed by W. Williams and in 1929/32 it employed 750 men. In 1934 it was owned by the Bwllfa and Cwmaman Collieries Limited who employed 105 men on the surface and 655 men underground producing 170,000 tons of steam coal. The colliery at that time included the Bwllfa No.4 and Merthyr Dare Levels. In 1943/5 the manager was A.J. Tennant and this mine employed 462 men working underground in the Five-Feet, Six-Feet, Seven-Feet and Nine-Feet seams and 110 men working at the surface.

On Nationalisation in 1947 it came under the control of the National Coal Board’s, South Western Division’s, No.4 (Aberdare) Area, and employed
109 men on the surface and 509 men underground working the Six-Feet, Nine-Feet and Gellideg seams. In 1949 Bwllfa No.2 Pit was absorbed into the new Mardy Complex.

Some of those that died at this mine:

  • 24/1/1897 David Williams, 66, labourer, fell over surface wall.
  • 17/12/1897 James Lewis, 32, haulier, run over by trams.
  • 31/12/1897 Thomas Jenkins, 22, assistant timberman, fall of roof.
  • 31/3/1911 William James, 33, collier, fall of roof.
  • 5/5/1911 Evan Rees, collier, fall of roof.
  • 5/8/1911 Thomas Jones, collier, fall of roof.
  • 10/1/1912 David Rowlands, 50, labourer, run over by trams.
  • 11/5/1912 David James 28, collier, fall of roof.
  • 30/1/1913 William Jenkins, 46, overman, run over by trams.
  • 17/6/1913 James Davies, 24, shackler, run over by trams.
  • 4/9/1914 John Mitchell, assistant hitcher, killed by shaft cage.
  • 8/9/1928 John Pugh, 54, labourer, fall of roof.

Some statistics:

  • 1889: Output: 190,049 tons
  • 1894: Output: 183,555 tons
  • 1899:  Manpower: 730.
  • 1900: Manpower: 629.
  • 1901: Manpower: 677.
  • 1902: Manpower: 660.
  • 1905: Manpower: 600.
  • 1907: Manpower: 657.
  • 1908: Manpower: 657.
  • 1909: Manpower: 657.
  • 1910: Manpower: 744.


Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley (98600251)

This mine was sunk by Thomas Powell and locally known as Powell’s Pit. He worked it until 1872, and then it lay idle until 1905 when it was taken over by the Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Coal Company who renamed it Bwllfa No.3 Pit. It was managed in 1908 by E. Pugh.

In 1913/15 it was managed by W. Williams, in 1918/32 Mr. Williams was still manager and in 1934 by J.S. Vincent. This colliery employed 47 men in 1907 and 49 men underground and 29 on the surface in 1908/9/11. At that time it was working the Bute, New, Yard and Seven-Feet seams.

It employed 342 men in 1913, 340 men in 1915/6 and 354 men underground and 69 men on the surface in 1918, 1920/22 it employed 340 men and it employed 446 men working underground and 82 men working at the surface in 1923. Along with the local levels such as Gorllwyn it employed 750 men in 1924, 850 men in 1925/8, 760 men in 1929, 750 men in 1932 and 90 men on the surface and 660 men underground producing 273,000 tons of coal in 1934.

The Gellideg seam was 209.3 metres deep at this pit, and its coals were generally classed as types 202 and 203 Coking Steam Coals. There was also a Bwllfa No.3 Level worked in 1878 under the ownership of the Aberdare Plymouth Company. Its manager at that time was D.J. Simpson.

  • On the 31st of January 1912 both Charles Samuel a tripper, and Evan Jones, aged 20 years, a labourer, were run over and killed by trams.
  • On the 27th of July 1929, Thomas Morgan, aged 49 years, and a haulier, was kicked and killed by a horse It closed in May 1936.

It closed in May 1936.

Some statistics:

  • 1912: Manpower: 716.
  • 1913:  Manpower: 973.
  • 1918: Manpower: 657.
  • 1919: Manpower: 1,090.
  • 1922: Manpower: 1,090.
  • 1923: Manpower: 865.
  • 1924: Manpower: 247.
  • 1927: Manpower: 321.
  • 1928: Manpower: 277.
  • 1929: Manpower: 760.
  • 1933: Manpower: 41.
  • 1934: Manpower: 27.
  • 1937: Manpower: 675.
  • 1943: Manpower: 572.
  • 1945: Manpower: 572.
  • 1947: Manpower: 618.


Near Aberdare, Cynon Valley

This was a short life drift that was opened c1919 by the Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Coal Collieries (1891) Limited to the Nine-Feet seam and Four-Feet seams. The length of the main drift was 517 yards and was locally called the Four-Feet Drift. It employed 202 men in 1923, 102 men in 1924 and 250 men in 1927. It became a District of Bwllfa No.2 Colliery and closed in 1945.

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