Varteg, Afan Lwyd Valley (256055)

The Abersychan/Talywaun/Varteg area is a nightmare to trace, in this area the outcrop of the Coalfield is up to two miles wide with all the workable seams of the Coal Measures, ironstone veins, a clay easily accessible from the surface, many mines started before decent records were kept, others had a duplicity of names which were changed

with the different owners, many had local names different from the correct ones, some were simply named after the owners on official records, and hundreds of others were just return airways or water drainage adits.

The main exploiter of the Varteg area was John Vipond who came down from Cheshire after working in the Midland Coalfield to cash in. on the coal boom of south Wales, his first sinkings were the Varteg Pits in 1860. Vipond formed a company called John Vipond and Company, which although he died in 1865, and left no direct heirs, survived until Nationalisation in 1947.

In 1888 this company operated the Big Vein Pit, Elled Pit, Rock Slope, New Slope, No.2 Mine Pit, and Rock Pit working the Big Vein, Elled, Jack and Ball Mine (iron ore), Rock, Meadow Vein and Old Coal seams The manager was W. Davies. In 1896 the No.10 Slope employed 69 men underground and 11 men on the surface working the Yard seam. It was still working the Yard seam in 1899 when it employed 202 men and in 1900 when it employed 92 men underground and 11 men at the surface.

In 1913 the company Varteg Hill Colliery consisted of; Top Pits, New Slope and Rock Pit and employed 926 men. By this time John Deakins, Varteg Deep Black Vein Collieries Limited had also made an appearance in the Varteg area and controlled the Lower Varteg and Slope No.10 mines. They had a manpower of 403.

No.10 Slope in between the Lower Varteg & Varteg Hill mines. They were still two separate companies in 1917 when the Varteg Deep Company operated the Deakins and No.10 Slopes, while Vipond’ s operated the Big Vein, Rock, Mine Slope, Pandy, Waun Hoskins and New Slope. By 1932 both concerns were under the title of John Vipond and Company with T.H. Deakin as Chairman of the Company.

They were then simply listed as Varteg Hill (old Viponds’ pits) and Lower Varteg (old Varteg Deep pits). In 1935 John Vipond and Company operated the following mines; Varteg Hill Top Pits/New Slope/Mine Slope which employed 79 men working at the surface of the mines and 292 men working underground. Deakins/No.10 Slope, which

employed 64 men working at the surface of the mines and 451 men working underground. These collieries produced steam, house, gas and manufacturing coals from the Elled, Big (Four-Feet), Rock, Meadow Vein (Yard/Seven-Feet), Old Coal (Five Feet/Gellideg), Yard, Three-quarter (Six-Feet) and Red Ash seams. By Nationalisation of the Nation’s coal mines in 1947 only the Deakins and No.10 Slopes were left in operation and these were placed in the National Coal Board’s, South Western Division’s, No.6 (Monmouthshire) Area. At that time they employed 140 men on the surface and 490 men underground working the Garw, Big, Yard, Meadow Vein and Elled seams. Slope No.10 then fades away with Deakins Slope being closed in January 1957.


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

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