Ammanford, Amman Valley (SN63951241)

The No.1 (Top Slant) was sunk by Henry Herbert to the Red Vein pre-1885 but he sold it to the Ammanford Colliery Company who opened the Ammanford No.2 (Little Vein) Slant in 1891 to a depth of 1,300 yards to the Little Vein which it worked at a section of 36 inches. In 1896 it was managed by Erne Hewlett. In 1899 Ammanford employed 240 men; in 1900 it employed 277 men.

The Ammanford Colliery Company which was formed with a share capital of £40,000 in £10 shares was not a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association. It became part of United Anthracite Collieries Limited in 1924, which in turn became part of Amalgamated Anthracite Collieries Limited in 1926. United Anthracite Collieries Limited was formed in 1924 and grouped together; Great Mountain, Pontyberem Anthracite, New Dynant Anthracite and Ammanford Collieries. During the next two years, this company acquired

Carway Collieries, Caerbryn Anthracite Colliery, Gwendraeth Valley Anthracite Collieries, New Rhos Anthracite Collieries and Pentremawr Colliery until it controlled one million tons of anthracite output in 1926. It was in that year that UAC merged with AAC. Amalgamated Anthracite Collieries Limited was formed in 1923 by its first chairman, Sir Alfred Moritz Mond, who formed it to control the rapidly expanding anthracite market. With its takeover of United Anthracite Collieries in 1926 it controlled 40% of anthracite output amounting to 2,000,000 tons per annum.

In 1928 the Llewellyn and Buckland Group of collieries was bought by Mond which gave him control of 80% of anthracite output which by 1935 amounted to 4,300,000 tons of coal and a manpower of 13,779 working in 26 pits.

In 1925, the new owners of Ammanford No.1 Colliery, refused to abide by the old customs, including the seniority rule. This sparked off what was to become the Anthracite Strike which was conducted amongst mass picketing riots and disturbances. By the 29th of June Ammanford Colliery was on strike and notices had been tendered through the rest of the district. A ballot was held on the 11th of July and a general strike of all the anthracite miners started on the 13th of July. Riots took place at Gelliceidrim, Rock, Saron, Park, Ammanford No.2, Betws, Llandebie and at Ammanford Village where 58 miners were imprisoned. The men returned to work on the 24th of August victorious although the Ammanford No.1 had to close for ‘economic reasons’. The number of men involved in strike action in this year were, Anthracite District 2,000 men from the 2nd to 24 June. Anthracite District, 18,000 men involved from 13th July to 24th August.

The No.1 Slant was closed in 1925 following the big strike in the anthracite section of the Coalfield.

In 1927/30 the manager was Price Davies and in 1943/5 the manager was D.J. Thomas. In 1943 this colliery employed 295 men working underground in the Stanllyd seam and 101 men working at the surface of the mine.

On Saturday morning the 8th of May 1943 H.G. Heighway aged 46 years and T.B. Samuel aged 32 years were killed in an explosion in the No.12 District.

On Nationalisation in 1947 Ammanford Colliery was placed in the National Coal Board’s South Western Division’s No.1 Swansea Area, and had its own coal preparation plant, as well as a central workshop and a property repair depot. In 1949 the manager was D.J. Thomas. In 1954/55 this colliery was one of 42 that caused concern to both the NCB and the NUM over the high levels of accidents.

In 1956 out of a total manpower of 402 at this colliery, 386 were NUM members and 201 of them were employed at the coalfaces, this high percentage dropped towards the end of this decade and by 1961 the colliery had 156 men working on the coalfaces out of the total 466 men employed.

In 1961 this colliery was part of the No.4 Group of the No.9 Neath Area along with Cwmgorse, East, Pantyffynnon, Wernos and Abernant collieries. The Group had a total manpower of 2,838 men, and a total coal production of 485,647 tons. The Group Manager was E.G. Maggs, with the Area Manager being C. Round.

Ammanford Colliery came close to closing in 1967 when the NCB expressed concern over the high rates of absenteeism, but the pit was making a profit and had “reasonably good” prospects and it was kept open.

Along with Graig Merthyr Colliery, this slant was the last in south Wales to haul its coal to the surface in trams. Ammanford Slant was replaced by the Betws New Mine in 1975 and closed on the 10th of September 1976. On closure it was still filling its coal by shovels on the old longwall system of coal extraction, probably the last pit to use the hand-filled way.

Just some of those that died in these mines;

  • 20/06/1892, William Thomas, Age: 13: Collier boy: Fall of the roof.
  • 11/03/1893, John Morris, Age: 24: Rider: run over by trams.
  • 6/11/1895, Thomas Jones, Age: 32: Haulier: Kicked by a horse in the surface stables.
  • 22/12/1910, John Hughes, Age: 26: Haulier, James Thomas, Age: 41: Ripper: Fall of the roof on the road where repairs were in progress. Three settings of double timber collapsed probably owing to uneven distribution of weight on them owing to a smooth parting above and a cleavage break on one side of the road. 2 killed.
  • 30/08/1911, David Davies, Age: 40: Haulier: While riding on the gun he fell off and was run over
  • 2/10/1911, Edward Evans, Age: 64: Labourer: While a waggon was being shunted, the deceased, who was walking alongside, slipped and his right foot was cut off. Died 3rd October,
  • 11/10/1912, Alfred Gray, Age: 26: Collier: run over by trams.
  • 13/08/1929, John Thomas Jones, Age: 53: Collier: Slipped and strained himself.

Some Statistics:

  • 1896: Manpower: 222.
  • 1899: Manpower: 240.
  • 1901: Manpower: 347.
  • 1902: Manpower: 402.
  • 1903: Manpower: Little Vein: 291. Red Vein: 161.
  • 1905: Manpower: Little Vein: 329. Red Vein: 167.
  • 1907: Manpower: Little Vein: 366. Red Vein: 241
  • 1908: Manpower: No.1: 265. No.2: 382.
  • 1909: Manpower: Little Vein: 382. Red Vein: 265
  • 1910: Manpower: Little Vein: 417. Red Vein: 322.
  • 1911: Manpower: Little Vein: 394. Red Vein: 310.
  • 1912: Manpower: Little Vein: 402. Red Vein: 353.
  • 1915: Manpower: 804.
  • 1920: Manpower: Little Vein: 550. Red Vein: 270.
  • 1923: Manpower: Little Vein: 572. Red Vein: 289.
  • 1924: Manpower: 879
  • 1927: Manpower: 405. Little Vein Slant only.
  • 1928: Manpower: 421.
  • 1930: Manpower: 400.
  • 1931/3: Manpower: 430.
  • 1937: Manpower: No.2: 546.
  • 1940: Manpower: 484.
  • 1941: Manpower: 523.
  • 1942: Manpower: 501.
  • 1944: Manpower: 505.
  • 1945: Manpower: 396.
  • 1948: Manpower: 188. Output: 25,000 tons.
  • 1949: Manpower: 187. Output: 25,000 tons.
  • 1950: Manpower: 191 plus 263 in Top Slant.
  • 1953: Manpower: 298. Output: 87,049 tons.
  • 1954: Manpower: 385. Output: 67,450 tons.
  • 1955: Manpower: 335. Output: 71,575 tons.
  • 1956: Manpower: 402. Output: l01, 005 tons.
  • 1957: Manpower: 472. Output: 80,259 tons.
  • 1958: Manpower: 507. Output: 84,305 tons.
  • 1960: Manpower: 494. Output: 76,513 tons.
  • 1965: Manpower: 452.
  • 1969: Manpower: 434.
  • 1970: Manpower: 386.
  • 1971: Manpower: 364.
  • 1972: Manpower: 413.



Ammanford, Amman Valley (639123)

This was the No.2 Slant of the Ammanford Colliery. It was opened in 1891 and listed separately in 1909 when it employed 278 men underground and 104 men on the surface and was managed by E. Hewlett. Mr. Hewlett was still manager in 1913/16 when it employed 454 men. In 1918 D. Davies was manager and it employed 381 men underground and 119 men on the surface. In 1919 it employed 450 men.

In 1923 it employed 414 men working underground and 159 men working at the surface with the same manager. Price Davies was the manager in 1930 when it employed 300 men underground and 100 men on the surface. In 1934 with the No.1 Slant closed, it became Ammanford Colliery and employed 300 men underground and 100 men on the surface producing anthracite coals with the manager now being D.R. Davies.

In 1913 the sole sales agent for the Ammanford Colliery Company was T.T. Pascoe of York Chambers, Swansea, who boasted in their adverts of the:

  • Very best anthracite for melting purposes.
  • The very best anthracite for horticultural purposes.
  • Best machine made cobbles for gas making.
  • Best machine washed beans for gas making.
  • Best machine washed peas for gas making.
  • Best machine peas for steaming
  • Best machine nuts for stoves.

Some Statistics:

  • 1924: Manpower: 550.
  • 1925: Manpower: 520.
  • 1926: Manpower: 405.
  • 1928: Manpower: 332.
  • 1929: Manpower: 332.

Please see Ammanford Colliery for further details.



Ammanford, Amman Valley (SN64771185)

This was the No.1 slant that was part of Ammanford Colliery. It had the same managers as the Little Vein Slant and closed in 1925. This one employed 245 men underground and 20 men on the surface in 1908, 350 men in 1913/15/16/19 working the Red Vein seam when the manager was E. Hewlett, 199 men underground and 33 men on the surface in 1918. In 1923 it employed 249 men working underground and 40 men at the surface, in 1924 it employed 270 men and in 1925 it employed 335 men.


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

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