Nantyglo, Ebbw Fach Valley (194085)

This pit was sunk pre1868 by John Lancaster, and by 1888 it was working the Three-Quarter (Upper-Six-Feet), Big Vein (Four-Feet), and Elled (Two-Feet-Nine) seams. In 1889 it produced 132,150 tons of coal, in 1894 the No.1 produced 158,239 tons and the No.2 Pit produced 215,103 tons of coal while in 1896 it employed 366 men underground and 49 men on the surface working the same seams. It was managed in 1878, 1888 and 1896 by J. Williams.

On the 19th of December 1893, Evan Powell aged 64 years and a shunter, was crushed and killed by railway trucks.

With the opening of the Griffin Nos. 2 & 3 Collieries, the No.1 became known as North Griffin, and the Nos. 2 & 3 as South Griffin. In 1899 it employed 444 men and in 1900 the No.1 Pit employed 392 men working underground and 52 men at the surface of the mine still working the same seams and still with the same manager. In 1907 the Nos. 1,2, and 3 Pits were lumped together with Henwaun and employed a huge 3,208 men and in 1908 they employed 3,055 men underground and 289 men on the surface. In 1909 the total employed was 3,532 men, in 1910 it was down to 1,791 men and in 1911 it was 3,032 men. The manager in those years was Thomas Jones.

The company advert of 1913 stated:

Griffin Nantyglo Steam Coal (John Lancaster & Co. Ltd.).
The Griffin Nantyglo Steam Coal Collieries are situated in the Western Valley of Monmouthshire, and the principal seams worked are the Old Vein, Three-Quarter, Big Vein, Elled and the World-Famed Black Vein of which there is a very large area remaining unworked in the Company’s Mineral undertaking. The coal is semi-bituminous and Ranks high For Its Evaporative Power and Economic Value. Its Uniformity of Quality renders it an admirable fuel for marine and stationary engines and for locomotives. It is used extensively by many of the principal Steamship Companies and by British and Foreign Railways, including the Great Western Railway.
Griffin Nantyglo Washed Nuts, Beans, Peas and Duff are largely in demand for works purposes and bunkering requirements. Shipping Ports: Newport and Cardiff.

Griffin No.1 was closed as a production unit with the opening of Beynon Colliery in 1922 and filled in 1957.


Blaina, Ebbw Fach Valley (20010659)

This mine was sunk in 1882 by John Lancaster to produce coking, house, steam and manufacturing coals, it was served by both the Great Western and the London and North Western Railway.

It was commonly known as South Griffin, and was sunk to a depth of
225.9 metres, and encountered the Four-Feet seam at a depth of 134.9 metres, the Nine-Feet seam at a depth of 179.1 metres, and the Five-Feet/Gellideg seam at a depth of 219.5 metres.

In 1888 the manager was J. Williams. In 1889 it produced 177,023 tons of coal, in 1894 it produced 151,605 tons of coal while in 1896 the manager was still J. Williams with the No.2 employing 756 men underground and 60 men on the surface working the Three-quarter, Big Vein and Elled, and the No.3 employed 807 men underground and 61 men on the surface working the Old Coal. It was the same manager and seams worked in 1900 with the No.1 employing 771 men working underground and 65 men at the surface and the No.2 employing 751 men working underground and 68 men at the surface of the mine. In 1912 it employed 1,730 men and in 1913/16 this colliery employed 1,832 men, the manager was H. Morgan.

In 1918 ownership was transferred to Lancaster’s Steam Coal Collieries Limited which became a subsidiary of the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company. In 1918 it employed 1,593 men underground and 188 men on the surface. The manager was W. Jones. Mr. Jones was still there in 1919 when it employed 1,701 men. This company was a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association.

Although this colliery was closed as a production unit in 1921 it was kept open for water pumping and ventilation purposes for Roseheyworth Colliery until the 1950s.

In 1935 a film called Whither Mankind was made at this colliery, it was
based on H.G. Wells’ novel, Shape Of Things To Come.

Just some of those that died in this pit:

  • 19/3/1885, Charles Williams aged 28 years, accident with explosives.
  • 19/7/1887, John Wadman aged 26 years, fall of roof.
  • 30/1/1890, George Pugh aged 20 years, haulage accident.
  • 12/6/1891, Martin Burke aged 26 years, crushed.
  • 24/5/1892, David Rees aged 38 years, fell down shaft.
  • 2/11/1892, Isaac James aged 16 years, haulage accident.
  • 20/12/1893, C.D. Selway aged 16 years, locomotive accident.
  • 25/9/1893, Thomas Harris, Age: 40: Collier: Fall of roof while holing.
  • 2/2/1894, William Griffiths aged 38 years, fall of roof.
  • 11/8/1894, J.G. Jones, aged 13 years, haulage accident
  • 11/4/1895, Alfred Weeks, aged 42 years fall of roof.
  • 25/2/1896, Edward Morgan aged 22 years, fall of roof.
  • 22/5/1896, William Poole aged 20 years, fall of roof.
  • 22/3/1897, William Pritchard aged 40 years, fall of roof.
  • 23/8/1897, William Axford aged 17 years, fall of roof.
  • 16/3/1898, Thomas Powell aged 20 years, fall of roof .
  • 23/3/1898, Peter Ewart aged 20 years, burns.
  • 7/7/1899, Thomas Jarrett aged 37 years, falling timber.
  • 9/8/1910, William Rice aged 52 years, fall of roof.
  • 31/8/1910, Edward Jones aged 70 years, haulage accident.
  • 24/10/1910, Herbert Merrick aged 20 years, haulage accident.
  • 10/12/1910, Albert Morris aged 37 years, haulage accident.
  • 1/5/1911, Edgar Blacker aged 22 years, strain through lifting.
  • 30/11/1911, William Jenkins aged 74 years, haulage accident.
  • 16/8/1911, Morgan Jones aged 18 years, fall of roof.
  • 15/8/1912, James Jones aged 56 years, haulage accident.
  • 20/8/1912, Edmund Adams aged 50 years, fall of roof.
  • 1/11/1912, W.H. Tout aged 22 years, haulage accident.
  • 2/4/1914, Samuel Watts aged 66 years, haulage accident.
  • 19/6/1914, William Jackson aged 20 years, fall of roof.


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

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