Ystrad Owen Swansea Valley 74991/11578

This mine was also called Cox’s and it was opened in 1817. A slant had been driven in for 400 yards at a dip of between 12 to 20 inches to intersect six coal seams. It was reported by Alan Hill in his book on Colliery Ventilation as using steam jet ventilation as early as 1828 and in 1830 it ordered a pumping engine from the Neath Abbey Iron Company, 1832 it was offered for sale quoting an output of 120 tons of coal a day. Pre-1840 it had a stationary underground steam engine designed by George Stephenson. In 1880 a Waddle type ventilating fan was installed with an 8 feet 9 inch diameter.

It was working the Little Seam prior to 1873 and was listed in 1855 belong to Evan Jones, in 1858 as being owned by Swan & Company and
in 1861/1878 as being owned by the Hendreforgan Colliery Company, and managed by J. Walters. In 1893/6 it is listed as being owned by the
Gwaun-cae-Gurwen Colliery Company of Rotherham and in 1896 it employed 386 men underground and 103 men on the surface. The manager was Daniel Meredith.

In 1908 it was owned by the British Anthracite Colliery Company of London and employed 28 men underground and 5 men on the surface, David Thomas was the manager. It then disappears from the listings until 1917 when it is owned by the New Coedffalde Colliery Company, this company employed 29 men underground and 8 men on the surface of the mine in 1918, the manager was M. Morgan.

It abandoned the Black Seam first in December 1900 and then again in May 1911. The Brass Vein was abandoned in August 1904. The New Hendreforgan, Spion Kop abandoned the Brass seam in May 1927.

On the morning of the 11th of November 1869 thirteen men and boys went to work and had only just begun when an explosion was heard. A vast number of people gathered around the pit head. It was feared that all had lost their lives and a party was organised and a search made. In a short time, three men were brought up exhausted. Four others were subsequently rescued and five bodies were brought to the surface. The colliery was worked for the most part with open lamps and it was ventilated by a furnace at the bottom of the upcast shaft which passed only 3,600 cubic feet of air per minute around the workings. A few days before the explosion the ventilation of the colliery had been changed and a stopping was not placed and the same air ventilated the three workings in succession and did not have a separate system for each. All the victims were listed as colliers. Richard Nicholas aged 36 years left a wife and six children, William Hopkins aged 30 years left a wife and two children, Thomas Evan Jones aged 25 years, David J. Davies aged 20 years, David Jones aged 19 years, and Samuel Arthur aged 11 years who was probably a drawer or worked on the haulage.

At the inquest into the deaths of the men, the jury returned a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’ and recommended that the coroner severely reprimand Mr. Alexander Bain for entrusting the management of the colliery to an incompetent person.

Just some of those that died at this mine:

  • 21/5/1855, David Daniel, aged 38 years, labourer, roof fall.
  • 24/12/1861, John Llewellyn, aged 33 years, haulier, fell down the shaft.
  • 8/10/1866, Llewellyn Morris, aged 13 years, collier, run over by trams.
  • 25/3/1867, John Jones, aged 31 years, collier, roof fall.
  • 15/8/1896, T.G. Williams, aged 17 years, collier boy, run over by trams.
  • 15/8/1896, Morgan Morgan, aged 13 years, assistant haulier, run over by trams.
  • 19/9/1896, Thomas Williams, aged 32, collier, roof fall.
  • 20/7/1897, Benjamin Shells, aged 20, labourer, crushed by wagons.

Some statistics:

  • 1889: Output: 35,790 tons.
  • 1894: Output: 10,000 tons,
  • 1896: Manpower: 489.
  • 1899: Manpower: 298.
  • 1900: Manpower: 276.
  • 1901: Manpower: 291.
  • 1902: Manpower: 251.
  • 1903: Manpower: 184.
  • 1908: Manpower: 33.
  • 1909: Manpower: 33.
  • 1910: Manpower: 43.
  • 1911: Manpower: 46.
  • 1918: Manpower: 37.
  • 1922: Manpower: 48.
  • 1924: Manpower: 48.


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

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