Waunlwyd, Ebbw Fawr Valley (SO 1770 0660)

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Three shafts were sunk between 1874 and 1876 by the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company. The No.1 Pit was 20 feet in diameter and sunk to a depth of 272 yards and used as a downcast ventilation shaft. The winding engine had two 36-inch wide cylinders which had a stroke of 54 inches. The cages were single deck and held two trams. It had the capacity to wind 700 tons of coal per shift. The No.2 Pit was also 20 feet in diameter. It was sunk to a depth of l68 yards and also used as a downcast ventilation shaft. The winding engine had 26-inch wide cylinders with a 60-inch stroke. It also had the capacity to wind 700 tons of coal per hour. The No.3 Pit was 15 feet in diameter, sunk to a depth of 269 yards and used as the upcast ventilation shaft. The No.1 Pit struck the Four-Feet seam at a depth of 155 yards, and the Five-Feet/Gellideg seam at a depth of 255 yards. The Five-Feet/Gellideg seam had a section of coal, 24 inches, dirt 13 inches, and coal 29 inches. The Seven-Feet seam had a section of 3l inches, the Yard, 47 inches, the Lower-Nine-Feet, 47 inches, the Upper-Nine-Feet, 43 inches, the Lower-Six-Feet, 39 inches, the Lower-Four-Feet, 70 inches, and the Upper-Four-Feet, 51 inches. An agreement to transport this colliery’s coal was made with the railway company on the 25th of June 1877. In 1878 the manager was R. Jordon. In 1896 a Walker-type ventilating fan was installed that was 24 feet in diameter. In 1888 Waunlwyd Colliery was working the Lower-Six-Feet, Lower-Four-Feet and Upper-Four-Feet seams with the manager being J. Powell.

On the 12th of May 1894, Samuel Tippins, aged 66 years, and a repairer died after he tripped over the hauling rope while engaged in cleaning the road. He injured his elbow lightly but continued his work. An abscess appears formed subsequently which resulted in death. Nothing was known of the case at the colliery as he had not reported it and his absence was taken no notice of in consequence of his having previously missed work.

In 1896 the manager was T. Jones and the pit employed 884 men underground and 67 men on the surface working the same seams. In 1900 Mr. Jones was still the manager but this pit was now working the Three Quarter, Big and Elled seams. In 1908 it was managed by T. Walters. In 1913/1918 this colliery was managed by Evan Parry and employed 2,509 men in 1913. In that year the Ebbw Vale Company advertised;

 The Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co. Ltd.. Proprietors of the Celebrated Ebbw Vale and Abercarn Steam Coals Also Manufacturing Coal, Gas Coal, Red Ash, House Coal, Smith’s Coal, Coke &c. Manufacturers of:- Steel Rails, Fishplates, Sleepers, Diameter Bars, Tinplate, Bars, Blooms, and Billets(Bessemer or Siemens), Angles, Tees, &c Ingot Moulds and Iron Castings up to 40 Tons in Weight. Laminated Springs for Locos. and Railway Wagons. Bessemer, Foundry, and Basic Pig Iron Bricks: Fire, Building and Ornamental.

Coal Sales Agents:- T. Beynon & Co. Ld., Cardiff, Newport and London.

On the 3rd of May 1913, William Golding Ham, aged 20 years, and a collier’s assistant died after a fall of the side at the working face. He was standing waiting for a comrade to bar down a piece of coal instead of the slip breaking off at the sprag, as intended, a greater length fell, discharging one post and two sprags. One of the flying pieces of timber struck him, breaking his neck.

This company was a member of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association. In 1923/30 the manager was W.J. Oliver. In 1934 the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company Limited was based at Ebbw Vale with the directors being; Sir John W Beynon, Sir Arthur Lowes Dickinson, David H Allan and Trevor L Mort. Incorporated in 1868 by this time it controlled five collieries employing 6,920 men and producing 1,940,000 tons of coal. In 1935 the Ebbw Vale Company sold its coal mining interests to Partridge, Jones and John Paton and Company Ltd, while at that time Waunlwyd Colliery employed 200 men working at the surface of the mine and 2,000 men working underground. The manager was W.J. Oliver. In 1938 the manager was D.M. Carey and in 1945 it was A.M. Watkins. In 1943 it employed 636 men working underground in the Meadow Vein and Old Coal seams and 122 men working at the surface of the mine.

On Nationalisation of the Nation’s coal mines in January 1947, Waunlwyd Colliery was placed in the National Coal Board’s, South Western Division’s, No.6 (Monmouthshire) Area, and at that time employed 112 men working on the surface and 597 men working underground in the Meadow Vein (Yard/Seven-Feet) and Black Vein (Nine Feet) seams. All work was done on the heading and stall system but the NCB brought in conveyors to work on the coalfaces. The manager was still A.M. Watkins. The colliery was the site for a central workshop and a coal-selling depot. In 1956 out of the total colliery manpower of 685 men, 331 of them worked at the coalfaces. In 1958 this colliery was working the Meadow and Black Veins from No.1 Pit and the Black Vein from No.2 Pit, all the other seams were reported as exhausted and its future was in the Meadow Vein. The ventilation fan was a Walker type capable of giving 300,000 cubic feet of air every minute. 120,000 gallons of excess water was pumped up the shafts every day. In 1961 the colliery employed 479 men with 146 of them working at the coalfaces. In 1961 Waunlwyd Colliery was in the No.6 Area’s, Crumlin Group along with Marine, Llanhilleth and Six Bells Collieries. The total manpower for this Group in that year was 3,333 men, while the total amount of coal produced in that year was 824,000 tons. The Group Manager was L.G. Jarman, and the Area Manager was Lister Walker. In 1962 Waunlwyd had a serious ventilation problem with the red dust coming from the nearby steelworks polluting the underground air. The coals of this colliery were generally classed as type 301A Prime Coking Coals for use as a foundry or blast furnace coke. Waunlwyd Colliery was closed on the 30th of December 1963 and its remaining reserves were allocated to Marine Colliery.

Some Statistics:

  • 1889: Output: 252,249 tons.
  • 1894: Output: 346,266 tons.
  • 1896: Manpower: 951.
  • 1899: Manpower: 1,216.
  • 1900: Manpower: 1,302.
  • 1901: Manpower: 1,318.
  • 1902: Manpower: 1,356.
  • 1903: Manpower: 1,452.
  • 1905: Manpower: 1,593.
  • 1907: Manpower: 1,863.
  • 1908: Manpower: 1,903.
  • 1909: Manpower: 1,903.
  • 1910: Manpower: 1,886.
  • 1911: Manpower: 1,935.
  • 1912: Manpower: 2,148.
  • 1913: Manpower 2,509.
  • 1915/6: Manpower:2,518.
  • 1918: Manpower: 2,365.
  • 1920: Manpower: 2,614.
  • 1923: Manpower: 1,977.
  • 1924: Manpower: 2,163.
  • 1925/6: Manpower: 2,050.
  • 1927: Manpower: No.1 Pit: 1,000, No.2 Pit: 1,050. .
  • 1930: Manpower: 2,000.
  • 1933: Manpower: 2,050.
  • 1934: Manpower: 2,013.
  • 1935: Manpower 2,200. Output: 600,000 tons.
  • 1937: Manpower: 1,125.
  • 1938: Manpower: 1,223.
  • 1940: Manpower: 1,210.
  • 1941: Manpower: 1,210.
  • 1944: Manpower: 790.
  • 1945: Manpower: 758.
  • 1947: Manpower 709. Output: 134,000 tons.
  • 1948: Manpower: 664. Output: 200,000 tons.
  • 1949: Manpower: 712. Output: 176,000 tons.
  • 1950: Manpower: 709.
  • 1953: Manpower: 731. Output: 198,000 tons.
  • 1954: Output 184,000 tons
  • 1955: Manpower 703.Output: 184,599 tons.
  • 1956: Manpower 685.Output: 170,894 tons.
  • 1957: Manpower 670.Output: 187,644 tons.
  • 1958: Manpower 633.Output: 130,174 tons.
  • 1960: Manpower 475.Output: 116,000 tons.
  • 1961: Manpower 479.Output: 118,337 tons.
  • 1962: Manpower: 486.

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

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