Swansea (SS 6388 9645)

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Mynydd Newydd Colliery was sunk to the Five-Feet seam which it found at a depth of 130 yards in 1843 by Vivian & Company, later the Swansea Coal Company. It mainly worked the Swansea Five-Feet seam at a depth of 116 yards to the north-west of the shafts until it hit a geological fault line. It was then deepened to the Six-Feet seam which it found at a depth of 258 yards and linked to the nearby Pentre Pit.

In 1866 it was estimated that this mine had a total thickness of 70 feet of workable coal in seams of two feet and over which dipped 10 degrees to the west. It was in 1866 that it was purchased by Vivian and Sons of Port Talbot who employed J. Williams as manager in 1878/84.

In 1880 the ventilation for this colliery was by a 25 feet diameter Waddle type fan.

In 1893 the manager was William Mort and in 1896 it employed 252 men underground and 59 men on the surface with the manager still William Mort. In 1908 it employed 419 men and in 1913 this colliery employed 410 men the manager was now T. Mort. In 1916 it employed 340 men, in 1918 it employed 393 men and in 1919 it employed 375 men with the same manager. In 1923 the manager was T. Gray and in 1927 it was L.B. May.

The Two-Feet seam was abandoned in November 1914, the Three-Feet seam in April 1925 and the Six-Feet seam in May 1927. This seam averaged nine feet four inches thick but ranged up to fourteen feet. It was interlaced with dirt bands.

By 1927 the colliery was in the hands of the Mynydd Newydd Colliery Company of Forest Fach who produced coking, house, manufacturing and steam coals from this colliery. This company became the Mynydd Newydd Colliery Co. Limited in 1935 who held the colliery until 1947.

In 1930 L.B. May was the manager and it was working the Five-Feet seam. Due to the recession in the coal trade, it was closed in 1932. The Mynydd Newydd Drift was then opened in 1933 by W. Craven Llewellyn but in 1935 it hit flooded workings and it was 1937 before production again resumed.

In 1945 it only employed 50 men underground and 26 men on the surface, the manager was W. Davies, who continued until at least 1949.

On Nationalisation in 1947 this colliery was placed in the National Coal Board’s, South Western Division’s, No.1 (Swansea) Area, and at that time the Mynydd Newydd Slant employed 31 men on the surface and 40 men underground working the Swansea Five-Feet seam at a section of 62”.

In 1953 the colliery employed 110 men and produced 21,500 tons of coal. Mynydd Newydd Colliery was closed on the 1st of July 1955.

 Some of those that died in this mine:

  • 25/4/1845, An explosion of foul air took place on Saturday last at the Mynydd Newydd Colliery, Saturday last, near this town, the property of the Swansea Coal Company. We are glad to state that no fatal consequences have ensued, although three men named Thomas Owen, William David, David Lodwick, and a boy named Griffiths have suffered, the former severely, his face, limbs and other parts of the body, being much injured. The parties were engaged at the time in taking timber from an abandoned part of the works; and we are informed that the accident occurred in consequence of one of the men having raised his candle too high. It is surprising that workmen will encounter the risk of entering old workings of this description without taking the precaution of first testing the air by means of a Davy lamp. (The Cambrian’ on 25th January 1845)
  • 17/5/1845, On Saturday morning last, shortly after six o’clock, a dreadful catastrophe occurred at Mynydd Newydd Colliery, near Swansea, belonging to the Swansea Coal Company, which has already occasioned a sacrifice of four lives, besides, in all human probability, a much greater loss. No accurate information can be obtained as to the immediate cause of the explosion but it is strongly conjectured that one of the unfortunate sufferers, a boy named Davies, had carelessly gone for a shovel to a heading which had been pointed out as unsafe, with an uncovered light, notwithstanding he had been cautioned to the contrary, and thus caused the catastrophe. As soon as safety would permit, and the consequent confusion had somewhat subsided, a search was instituted, for the purpose of ascertaining the extent of the injury and loss of life which such a circumstance must necessarily entail, when it was found that four boys, named John Davies, David Jones, David Jones, and William Lodwick, all aged about 14, were dead. One of them was so dreadfully mutilated that it was necessary to put his remains in a blanket to bring him up from the pit. Four more were got out alive, two of whom are so seriously injured that not the least hopes are entertained of their recovery. Several medical gentlemen were promptly on the spot, and rendered every assistance in their power to alleviate the dreadful sufferings of the unfortunate individuals. The night workers had all just arrived at the mouth of the pit, and a considerable number of the day men had descended so that if it had happened a few minutes later the consequences would have been still more serious. On Monday, an inquest was held on the bodies at the Corner House public-house Cwmbwrla, before C. Collins, Esq., Coroner, and a verdict of “Accidental Death” returned. (The Welshman 22nd May 1845)
  • 5/12/1851, John Phillips, Age: 20: Collier: Fall of coal.
  • 2/11/1854, John Cornelius, Age: 13: Driver: Fell off the tram on the incline which passed over him.
  • 19/07/1862, Thomas Griffiths, Age: 51: Collier: Fall of the roof.
  • 15/11/1867, David Lewis Age: 14: Haulier: Fall of the roof.
  • 26/03/1869, Enoch Lewis, Age: 20, James Matthews, Age: 38, Thomas Matthews Age: 30, all colliers, Killed by explosion of gas. The evidence proved that one of the deceased Enoch Lewis passed a danger signal with a candle and ignited a small quantity of gas. For the next 60 years, a Service was held at 6 a.m. on Monday mornings in an underground chapel at the mine.
  • 1875, David Williams, 42, was knocked from the bucket by falling debris while repairing the shaft.
  • 1879, David Matthews, 13, lost his life in the pit.
  • 1879, Thomas Davies, 11, fell under the wheels of a tram on the surface tram road.
  • 1884, James Thomas, 36, died as a result of a roof fall.
  • May 1897, Thomas Thomas died when he was accidentally pulled into the mechanism of an underground winding engine.

In the days before the welfare state, you had to work until you dropped, as in the case of Thomas Morgan, aged 72 years of age when he was run over and killed by trams at this colliery.

 Some Statistics:

  • 1889: Output: 59,946 tons
  • 1894: Output: 163,030 tons
  • 1896: Manpower: 311
  • 1899: Manpower: 296
  • 1900: Manpower: 289
  • 1902: Manpower: 295
  • 1902: Manpower: 288
  • 1903: Manpower: 286
  • 1905: Manpower: 326
  • 1907: Manpower: 368
  • 1908: Manpower: 419
  • 1909: Manpower: 419
  • 1910: Manpower: 401
  • 1911: Manpower: 427
  • 1913: Manpower: 410
  • 1915: Manpower: 425
  • 1916: Manpower: 340
  • 1918: Manpower: 393
  • 1919: Manpower: 375
  • 1920: Manpower: 420
  • 1922: Manpower: 435
  • 1923: Manpower: 401 Production: 90,000 tons.
  • 1924: Manpower: 380
  • 1925: Manpower: 423
  • 1927: Manpower: 160.
  • 1928: Manpower: 186
  • 1929: Manpower: 190
  • 1930: Manpower: 250 Production: 60,000 tons.
  • 1932: Manpower: 190.
  • 1933: Manpower: 18 on development
  • 1937: Manpower: 14 on development
  • 1938: Manpower: 52
  • 1940: Manpower: 100.
  • 1945: Manpower: 76
  • 1947: Manpower: 71
  • 1948: Manpower: 82. Production: 25,000 tons.
  • 1949: Manpower: 109. Production: 25,000 tons.
  • 1950: Manpower: 95
  • 1953: Manpower: 110 Production: 21,500 tons.

This information has been provided by Ray Lawrence, from books he has written, which contain much more information, including many photographs, maps and plans. Please contact him at welshminingbooks@gmail.com for availability.

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