History of the Lewis Merthyr Colliery

Although coal was mined as early as the seventeenth century in the Rhondda for domestic purposes, the earliest recorded opening and mining of a safe coal level was in 1790 by Dr Richard Griffiths, who was also responsible for bringing the first tram road into the Rhondda. Subsequently, Walter Coffin opened and sunk the first pits paving the way for the discovery of rich and prosperous steam coal seams with many more lines to follow. Two pits were opened in 1850 on what was to become the Lewis Merthyr site: Hafod by two brothers David and John Thomas Coed Cae by Edward MillsBoth pits had to be abandoned early on due to the conditions of the workings. In the mid-1870s William Thomas Lewis (later Lord Merthyr) purchased and reopened the two pits, mining the upper bituminous (household) coal seams, until Hafod closed around 1893 and Coed Cae in the 1930s. By 1880 WT Lewis had sunk the Bertie shaft, and in 1890 the Trefor shaft (both named after his sons), by which time the company had become known as the Lewis Merthyr Consolidated Collieries Ltd, employing some 5,000 men and producing almost a million tons of coal annually. The two headframes and associated colliery buildings are now Grade II* listed buildings. In 1904 the company sunk the Lady Lewis Colliery one mile (1.6 km) to the north east in the Rhondda Fach. In 1905 the company acquired Universal Colliery at Senghenydd, which was later to suffer the worst ever mining disaster in British history. In 1929 the colliery became part of the Powell Dyffryn Group, and in the same year Coed Cae stopped winding coal. Hafod No 2 followed, and Hafod No 1 in 1933. The colliery was nationalised in 1947. In 1958 Lewis Merthyr Colliery and the neighbouring Ty Mawr Colliery merged and all coal winding ceased at Lewis Merthyr, with coaling continuing via Ty Mawr and men and supplies only at Lewis Merthyr. By 1969 the Colliery had become the Ty Mawr/Lewis Merthyr Colliery. As many as thirteen seams have been worked at the Lewis Merthyr using the advanced longwall method of working with most of the coal being won with pneumatic picks and hand loaded onto conveyors. Until the 1950s the coal industry maintained a steady level of production and employment, but since that time there has been a continuing decline in the number of miners in employment. Most of the pits which have been closed have still left coal to mine, but with oil and coal available more cheaply from abroad the demise of the industry has been inevitable. Nowhere has the decline of the coal industry been more dramatic than in the South Wales Coal Field. At Lewis Merthyr production came to an end on the 14 March 1983 with production continuing in the four feet seam until July when coaling ceased forever at Ty Mawr/Lewis Merthyr. By 1990 not one productive colliery existed in the Rhondda but Rhondda's past has been captured and preserved as an historic landmark at the Lewis Merthyr Colliery now the Rhondda Heritage Park.

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Easington Colliery

Easington Colliery is a town in County Durham, England, known for a history of coal mining. It is situated to the north of Horden, and a short distance to the east of Easington Village. The town suffered a significant mining accident on 29 May 1951, when an explosion in the mine resulted in the deaths of 83 men (including 2 rescue workers). Easington had a population of 4,959 in 2001, and 5,022 at the 2011 Census.

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Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band

The Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band is a brass band based in West Yorkshire, England, and close to South Yorkshire

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National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers

The National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers (NACODS) is an organisation representing former colliery deputies and under-officials in the coal industry

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Garw/Ffaldau Colliery

The Garw/Ffaldau Colliery was a colliery formed in 1975 in Pontycymer, Wales. It was formed from the joining together of the Garw Colliery and the Ffaldau Colliery. The Ffaldau Colliery had 1,100 workers in 1927, though this had declined by half by the mid 1930s. The pit closed in November 1985; a total of 630 miners lost their jobs. A potential buy out of the pit by workers had been mooted, but this was deemed to have been prohibitively expensive after the National Coal Board cut the ropes on the caged lift and 200,000 tonnes of hardcore were poured down the mine shaft. A reunion was held of former mine workers in 2015. The Garw Colliery (also known as the Ocean Colliery) was one of six pits in the Garw valley. Following the merger of the two pits workers entering at Blaengarw had a 1-2 mile walk underground due to the closure of the access shaft at Pontycymer.

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