Gurnos, Swansea Valley

This slant appeared in 1923 when it was owned by the Brynderi Anthracite Collieries (1923) Limited of London and employed 65 men. It was situated at the junctions of the Swansea and Twrch Valleys approximately fourteen miles from Swansea.

It had a mineral take of 655 acres, but a north-south geological fault drove the coal down 125 yards to the west and split the take into two. The ventilation fan for this colliery was half a mile from the main slant and was capable of providing 100,000 cubic feet of air per minute.

The original haulage engine for the main slant was steam driven but was replaced by a 300hp main and tail-type haulage which could raise 600 tons of coal per shift. Its speed was 5 mph. It had double drums, five feet in diameter with each drum capable of holding 1,500 yards of one inch thick steel rope. In 1926 this company was in the hands of the liquidator until a new company called Brynderi Anthracite Limited was formed. At that time it employed 23 men. The new company had a share capital of £92,500 in 90,000 A £1 ordinary shares and 50,000 B 5p ordinary shares. The board consisted of H.G. Stobart, A. Farquhar, General Sir George Macmunn and Ronald Johnstone. They spent £50,000 on re-equipping and re-opening the mine until by 1927/9 it employed 200 men with the manager being E.D. Dyer.

The original workings had been in the Lower Vein to the south of the drift which had been driven in from the outcrop of the seam at an incline of 1 in 9 until work started only 50 yards from the surface. The new owners estimated that this mine had reserves of 7.25 million tons and as well as repairing
the dilapidated Lower Vein roadways they opened a drift to the Bryn seam at an incline of 1 in 4. This seam was struck after 161 yards. They then drove another slant from the Lower vein for 70 yards until they struck the Middle Vein. They then opened up a 100 yard coalface in the Bryn seam installing coal cutters and conveyors.

Coal seam – Thickness – Distance to next seam:

  • Big Vein – 72 inches – 50 yards
  • Brass Vein – 42 inches – 100 yards
  • Middle Vein – 28 inches – 12 yards
  • Lower Vein – 39 inches – 50 yards
  • Bryn – 25 inches

The new company also installed new coal washing facilities and sidings that could hold 120 full waggons and 80 empty waggons. Apart from the
above report in the Colliery Guardian dated the 5th of April 1929, I can find no reference to this mine other than in 1924 when it employed 145 and in 1927 when it employed 202 men. In 1931 it employed 150 men.

On the 4th of August 1933, the plant and machinery for the colliery was put up for auction.


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

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