This mine was sunk in 1848 by Thomas Powell to the Four-Feet seam, and became part of the assets of the newly formed Powell Duffryn Steam Coal
Company in the 1860s.

In 1870 it produced 126,058 tons of coal with 575 men employed. It was managed by J. Watson in 1878 and was deepened in 1893 to the FiveFeet/Gellideg seam which it struck at a depth of 878 feet 8 inches.

Ventilation from 1853 was by a Struve type fan which according to Alan Hill in his book on Colliery Ventilation was the “largest appliance of
mechanical power in the world for producing ventilation.” By 1880 Forster Brown reported that ventilation was by a Guibal fan 30 feet in diameter and 10 feet wide. It produced 120,000 cubic feet of air per minute.

This colliery was served by the Taff Vale Railway and had a sidings capacity of 184 full wagons, 250 empty wagons, and 28 other wagons. Middle Duffryn Colliery produced house, manufacturing and steam coals. It also had a coal preparation plant (washery) on the surface. It closed as a production unit in 1885.

Explosions in 1850 and 1852 killed 13 and 64 miners respectively. Those that died in the 1850 explosion of the 12th of December were killed when a fall of roof released methane gas into the workings which in turn was ignited by a candle. Eight men were killed outright, including one on top of the pit, with three others dying of their injuries after being rescued.

One of them, William Saunders was only twelve years of age.

The Northern Star names those who died as:

  • Edmund Beard, aged 22, hitcher, married
  • William Davis, aged 17, haulier, son of David Davies; collier
  • William Saunders, aged 12, doorkeeper, son of Daniel Saunders, collier
  • William Jones, aged sawyer, aged 17, son of John Jones, he was killed at the top of the pit
  • David Thomas, aged 23, collier, single
  • James Morgan, aged 20, collier, single
  • James Burgam, aged 24, collier, wife and three children
  • Matthew Tingle, aged 35, collier, wife and six children.

The second explosion on the 10th of May 1852 was the worse to occur in the Cynon Valley to that date, and was largely responsible for the law that made a second shaft compulsory to aid ventilation in 1862. Fifty-five miners died in the actual explosion with another nine dying when the staging they were standing on in the shaft collapsed during their escape. This explosion created 29 widows and 169 fatherless children of which £971 was collected in the three years following the explosion for their welfare. Thomas Powell contributed £613 of that total.
Those that died in the explosion were:

  • Lewis Jones aged 43
  • David Lewis aged 32
  • William Lewis aged 23
  • Charles Marks aged 11 and his brother William aged 15
  • Ebenezer Morris aged 32 and his sons David aged 10 and John aged 12
  • Edmund Phillips aged 16
  • Thomas Phillips aged 30
  • Thomas Pritchard aged 36
  • David Rees
  • John Rees aged 30
  • Samuel Rees aged 37
  • Thomas Rees aged 23
  • Thomas Rees aged 13
  • Thomas Rees aged 29
  • Richard Richards aged 55
  • William Richards aged 16
  • Jenkin Rosser aged 22
  • Rowland Rowlands aged 43
  • William Samuels aged 16
  • Richard Smith aged 38 and his son Richard aged 15
  • Charles Thomas aged 38 and his sons Charles aged 11 and David aged 17
  • David Thomas aged 17
  • Evan Thomas aged 19
  • Rosser Thomas aged 32
  • Charles White aged 35
  • Thomas Williams aged 28

Those that died in the shaft were:

  • Jenkin Aubrey aged 28
  • Thomas Evans aged 41
  • John Griffiths aged 21
  • David James aged 36
  • David John aged 11
  • Daniel Matthews aged 18
  • Thomas Morgan aged 23
  • John Richards aged 12
  • John Thomas aged 12.

The Bristol Mercury reported on the 17th of July 1858:

On Wednesday morning week, a fearful accident took place at the Middle Duffryn Colliery, by which three men, William Williams and John Jones, colliers, and James Jones, haulier, lost their lives, and two other men, named Davies, received injuries which it is feared might prove fatal. It appears that seven men were being let down the pit to their work. The bucket caught in the guide chain when part of the way down, which caused a sudden jerk that broke the chain on one side of the bucket, and the whole seven were thrown out. Three were killed, two greatly injured, and two escaped with hardly a bruise.

Some of the others who died at this pit:

  • 10/6/1867, Edward Jones, aged 13, door boy, run over by trams.
  • 20/2/1868, Job Evans, aged 47, collier, fall of the roof.
  • 9/7/1868, John Davis, aged 13, door boy, killed by surface trucks.
  • 10/8/1868, Caleb Bray, aged 21, collier, fall of the roof.
  • 27/3/1869, John Owens, aged 28, collier, fall of the roof.
  • 24/12/1870, P. Kelly, aged 15, collier, fell down the pit.
  • 25/2/1871, David Lloyd, aged 17, collier, fall of the roof.
  • 14/2/1872, T. Green, aged 12, door boy, run over by trams.
  • 5/3/1872, W. Jones, aged 19, collier, haulage accident.
  • 21/11/1872, Jason Humphries, aged 22, door boy, fall of the roof.
  • 6/5/1873, W. Jones, aged 19, haulier, run over by trams.
  • 8/11/1875, A. Tobias, aged 23, haulier, kicked by a horse.
  • 18/1/1877, William Lamb, aged 13, haulier, run over by trams.
  • 27/4/1878, George Phillips, aged 36, collier, fall of the roof.
  • 5/11/1879, R. Owens, aged 35, collier, fall of the roof.
  • 27/1/1880, William Lewis, aged 20, collier, run over by trams.
  • 26/5/1880, Alfred Benyon, aged 27, haulier, fall of the roof.
  • 25/7/1881, T. Llewellyn, aged 28, hitcher, coal fell down the shaft.
  • 28/9/1881, John Jones, aged 20, collier, fall of roof.
  • 12/4/1890, David Roach, aged 41, pitman, fell down the shaft.
  • 29/1/1891, Thomas Harris, aged 52, stower, fall of roof.

In 1900 it was a pumping station to protect the local pits from flooding.


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

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