Blaina, Ebbw Fach Valley (SO 2032 0816)

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In the early part of the Nineteenth Century, it was part of the Blaina Company’s mines that produced about 4,000 tons of coal a week. This mine was owned in 1867 by the Nantyglo and Blaina Company to feed their works mainly with ironstone. It was one of the several pits on the Cwm Celyn Estate and worked along with Globe pit, a water balance pit to the Three-Quarter seam at a depth of 84 yards. It also worked the Elled and Big Veins.

Three-Quarter Pit, a water balance pit to the Three-Quarter seam at a depth of 95 yards, it also worked the Elled and Big Veins. It was also used for pumping water to the surface from all the workings.

At the Flue Pit winding was by a steam engine and one headgear pulley wheel. It was sunk to the Three-Quarter seam but worked for ironstone.

The No.1 Black Pins which was a water balance pit sunk to the Black Pins ironstone vein at a depth of 60 yards.

Patent Pit was sunk to work the ironstone Red and Soap Veins at a depth of 110 yards.

Glyn Millar was also a water balance pit and also sunk to the Black Pins ironstone vein which it found at a depth of 90 yards.

The Bottle Pit was sunk to the Three-Quarter seam it was the upcast ventilation shaft with no winding facilities. It was also called Cwmcelyn and found the Elled seam at a section of 35”, the Lower Black Vein was 52” thick, the Old Coal seam was 60” thick and was found at a depth of 545 feet 2 inches. It was sunk to the ironstone Red Vein which it struck at a depth of 630 feet. The Lower Deep shaft was elliptical in shape; 16 feet 9 inches by 10 feet 6 inches.

The Nantyglo and Blaina Company closed it in 1877 but in the following year, their holdings were purchased by John Lancaster and Company of Wigan. It was managed in 1878, 1888 and 1896 by J. Williams. In 1889 it produced 161,311 tons of coal and in 1894 it produced 85,529 tons of coal while in 1896 it employed 504 men underground and 54 men on the surface working the Old Coal seam.

Vandalism is not anything new, s far back as 1880 some funny guys released the brakes on some coal wagons at Lower Deep which crashed into others outside the offices causing a great pile-up.

In September 1898 John Herbert, a collier at this pit, was summoned for hitting a foreman, John Carter, and for stealing coal. Carter had caught Herbert in the act of stealing and told him to put the coal back. Herbert refused and struck him down. The Company asked for a stiff sentence because thefts at the pit were too numerous and a deterrent was needed. He was fined 10 shillings for the theft and 20 shillings for the assault.

In 1899 it employed 531 men and in 1900 it employed 536 men working underground in the Old Coal seam and 52 men at the surface of the mine. On the 27th of December 1878 T. Meredith a 50 year old screen worker was killed at the surface of this mine by moving waggons, while on the 3rd of September 1888, John Vaughn, a 63 year old pitman was killed when he was run over by trams. These were just two of the many individual fatalities at this pit and throughout the Coalfield.

You could say that Lower Deep collier, Frederick Stephens, aged 17 years, was not the brightest of boys, he took a pistol with him on a walk and fired at the ground but hit someone walking in front of him. The injured man was shot in the thigh but felt no ill effects although the bullet remained in his body. When arrested he stated that he did not think that he was doing any harm. He was fined 40 shillings or 7 days in jail.

Lower Deep colliery was retained for pumping purposes for the new pit, with the Upper Deep retained for ventilation. During the First World War, many Lower Deep miners enlisted in the army, and many never came back, such as Private Arthur Gore of the South Wales Borderers who was killed in September 1916, he was only 19 years of age. Another was Sapper Robert Wills of the Royal Engineers, he was 29 years old when he died in December 1917.

There was a strange dispute in September 1920, a collier’s helper always finished off his collier butty’s work if the collier failed to turn up, the collier being paid for it. Once the helper failed to work his shift but the collier refused to pay him, he walked out, followed by all the other helpers and then by all the colliers. He was paid.

Just some of those that have died;

  • 2/10/1877 William Williams, Age: 14: collier: Fall of the roof.
  • 28/02/1878, Evan Phillips, Age: 52: Roadman: Fall of stone.
  • 21/10/1895, Anthony Powell, Age: 47: Miner: Fall of roof coal from slip where he was working between a pair of timbers and the face a distance between being only 4.4 feet.
  • 14/10/1893, William Rees, Age: 48: Shunter: On the surface. He appears to have stumbled or fallen in front of the railway trucks which he was engaged in shunting and was run over.
  • 12/06/1896, James Dando, Age: 54: Collier: When removing a sprag to get down coal a quantity of rubbish fell on him from the roof causing fatal injuries.
  • 1/02/1910, W.J. Vaughn, Age: 40: Haulier: Run over by tram while trying to stop the horse.
  • 25/08/1911, Joseph Mathews, Age: 53: Collier: Died in the pit – natural causes.

Even after closure death had not finished with the men at Lower Deep, on the:12/04/1925, Thomas Francis Davies, Age: 65 and a watchman was reading his newspaper, then commented that he wasn’t feeling well and died. He had 24 children.


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 for availability.

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