Near Cross Hands, 584136

This was a series of anthracite drift mines that were worked first by the Emlyn Collieries Limited and in 1904 by the Emlyn Anthracite Colliery Company. This company was not a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association. The first slant, called Glanlash, was opened in 1883, it employed 341 men underground and 85 men on the surface in 1896 when managed by Richard Evans while the manager in 1900 was W.T. Saunders.

The No.1 Slant opened in 1904, and by 1908 employed 475 men underground and 111 men on the surface, the manager at that time was Thomas Morgan. In 1911 it employed 614 men and in 1913/5 it employed 700 men with the manager still being Thomas Morgan. In 1918 Mr. Morgan was still the manager and it employed 487 men underground and 115 men on the surface. It had its own coal preparation plant (washery). It had the same manager in 1922 when it employed 580 men and in 1923 when it employed 600 men and produced 120,000 tons of coal.

It was decided to sink a second slant in 1923 and the Emlyn No.2 Colliery started in 1924. The first sod was cut for the two slants in March with the first coal produced in 1926. It consisted of two slants that were driven down into the Big Vein and the Green Vein seams.

The No.1 or intake slant was driven down at a gradient of 13.75 inches to the yard and was used to raise coal. It had a steam engine which consisted of two 18-inch cylinders which had a 30-inch stroke. The winding drum was seven feet in diameter. The No.2 or return slant was driven down at an incline of 15 inches to the yard and was used to transport men. Both slants were ten feet wide and seven feet high.

The mine became flooded when it hit old Big Vein workings and 71 million gallons of water had to be pumped out before they could continue operations. A Waddle type ventilation fan was installed in 1926 which had a diameter of 7 feet 6 inches. The Big Vein was worked by the old Stalls system while the Green Vein was worked by conveyors at the coalface.

In 1924/6 there were 700 men employed at this colliery and in 1927/9, 750 men were employed an in 1930 this colliery was managed by J.D. Morgan and employed 800 men producing 250,000 tons of coal. In 1931/3 it employed 850 men. In 1929 the No.1 Colliery was working the Stanllyd, Upper and Lower Pumpquart, Upper and Lower Trichwart and Charcoal seams while the No.2 worked the Big and Green seams.

In March 1934 a nine week strike at this colliery over seniority, minimum wage and the South Wales Miners Industrial Union resulted in a victory for the men, the first victory since the defeat of 1926. In 1934 the colliery employed 800 men producing 250,000 tons of anthracite coal. In 1934 the Emlyn Anthracite Colliery Limited was based at 10 Adelaide Street, Swansea with the directors being; J. Aeron Thomas, G.E. Aeron Thomas and N. Jarrod Thomas. This company which was incorporated in 1904 only owned this colliery which was called Emlyn Penygroes at that time.

In all, this colliery worked the Big at a depth of 37 yards and a thickness of 75 inches, the Green, the Stanllyd at a depth of 124 yards and a thickness of 54 inches, the Triquart at a depth of 155 yards and a thickness of 26 inches, the Pumpquart at a depth of 137 yards and a thickness of 33 inches, the Lower Triquart at a depth of 302 yards and a thickness of 26 inches, and the Lower Pumpquart at a depth of 317 yards and a thickness of 33 inches.

It was closed on Saturday 25th of March 1939 when the dayshift was advised to bring their tools out as it was “impossible to continue operations.” The Colliery Guardian also reported that there was a “very large coal dump to be disposed of.” It was retained for pumping purposes to protect the local mines and still employed nine men in 1950.

Just some of those that died at this mine;

  • 18/04/1910, B. Roderick, Age: 30: Collier: Killed by tram running wild to the face of his working place. The trams had been left insufficiently secured on a steep road.
  • 27/10/1910, John Jones, Age: 26: Timberman: Crushed by runaway trams.
  • 5/09/1911, George Freeman, Age: 21: Brakesman: crushed by wagons.
  • 22/10/1912, David Jones, Age: 24: Stoker: He mistook the approach to a bridge over the sidings at night, rolled down an embankment and fell over a wall below and was killed.
  • 27/11/1912, John Hughes, Age: 22: Assistant Collier: Through the opening of the D part of the shackle, the pin allowed some trams to run wild, and these struck the deceased as he was walking up the incline.
  • 26/04/1913, John Williams, Age: 27: Collier: Fall of the roof at the working face. When working coal at the face a large stone, supported by three props, fell and killed him.
  • 6/10/1913, James H. Evans, Age: 41: Repairer: Fall of the roof when repairing a road. He was in the act of fixing a stay to an arm when a fall occurred; he was prevented from retreating by a loaded train.
  • 27/10/1913, David Evans, Age: 17: Assistant haulier: In attempting to pass a journey of trains, he was caught by a timber wagon and a prop, placed against a set of road timber.
  • 26/11/1913, David James, Age: 32: Hitcher: Fall of the roof on main haulage road. As he was riding up a steep gradient on a journey of loaded trams, the trams jumped the rails at a curve and dislodged three or four pairs of timber the roof above fell and killed him.
  • 1/05/1914, Levi Emanuel, Age: 65: Slag picker: In passing between wagons which were approaching each other he was crushed between the buffers and killed.
  • 8/12/1924, Ebenezer Jones, Age: 27: Assistant hard ground man: Fall of stone from the roof.
  • 25/01/1926, David Davies, Age: 50: Repairer: Stone appeared to have fallen from the side which knocked out an arm which caused the collar to fall which dislodged rubbish and buried him.
  • 11/10/1927, Arthur G. Harries, Age: 35: Labourer: Run over by loco – both legs severed.
  • 3/09/1929, William Henry Jones, Age: 27: Labourer: Assisting to set timber when the roof fell.

Some statistics:

  • 1900: Manpower: 323.
  • 1901: Manpower: 390.
  • 1902: Manpower: 455.
  • 1903: Manpower: 458.
  • 1905: Manpower: 516.
  • 1907: Manpower: 582.
  • 1908: Manpower: 586.
  • 1909: Manpower: 734.
  • 1911: Manpower: 614.
  • 1913/5: Manpower: 700.
  • 1918: Manpower: 487.
  • 1920: Manpower: 580.
  • 1922: Manpower: 580.
  • 1923: Manpower: 760.
  • 1924: Manpower: 740.
  • 1926: Manpower: 700.
  • 1927: Manpower: 750.
  • 1928: Manpower: 811.
  • 1930: Manpower: 800.
  • 1931: Manpower: 850.
  • 1933: Manpower: 898.
  • 1934: Manpower: 800.

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

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