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National Library of Wales
Coal Owners Association Records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSWION

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association Records

Short Title: Coal Owners Association Records

Creation date(s): 1842-1957

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 13.571 cubic metres (1, 072 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association


Administrative/Biographical history: The Aberdare Steam Collieries Association was founded in 1864 and, over a period of years, went through many internal changes and restructuring. The Association was first reconstructed in 1870 and named The South Wales Steam Collieries Association. It then formed a coalition with the Iron Masters in 1873 and was re-named The Monmouthshire and South Wales Collieries Association. The Association was reconstructed again in 1880, and in 1890 was re-named the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association, remaining active until 1955. The Association was guided and managed by a group of officers, comprising a Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Association and each of its three districts, Chairmen for the Sliding Scale and Finance Committees, and a Solicitor, as well as a succession of Secretaries including Alexander Dalziel (1874-1884), W. Gascoyne Dalziel (1884-1916), Finlay A. Gibson (1916-1946) and Iestyn R. Williams (1947-1950). The Association´┐ŻTMs activities were overseen by committees (Joint Sliding Scale Committee, Finance Committee, Conciliation Board, District Boards, Commercial Committee, Disputes Committee and Coal Cutters and Conveyers Committee, among others), and its members were organised into three districts: Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. While the workers formed trade unions, the Association represented the owners of the mines. Its main purpose was the presentation of a common front in their dealings with the miners and their labour issues, achieving higher productivity, and opposing wage increases. The Association established the Sliding Scale, a system which regulated wages across the industry, based on the selling price of coal; the administration of this scheme resulted in a large body of casework arising from disputes between members. The Association fiercely opposed the introduction of safety legislation, reductions in working hours, and recognition of trade unions, and was involved in a series of labour disputes arising from these issues. The Association also represented the coal owners in responding to proposed legislation and in court cases arising from disputes. With the nationalisation of the industry in 1947, the Association gradually came to an end.


Scope and content/abstract: Records, 1842-1957, of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association (MSWCOA), including printed deeds of association, 1864-1945; Association general minute books and circulars, 1873-1944; Cardiff, Newport and Swansea District minute books, 1874-1947; Conciliation Board minutes, verbatim minutes of proceedings, agreements and awards, 1901-1946; Finance Committee minutes, 1888-1956; Transport Committee minutes, 1933-1936; Joint Emergency Committee minutes, 1893-1917; Commercial Committee minutes, 1919-1947; Coal Cutters and Conveyors Committee minutes, 1923-1945; Coal Dust Committee minutes, 1940-1946; General Research Committee minutes, 1940-1946; Parliamentary Bills Committee minutes and papers, 1895-1897; Anthracite and Steam Coal Collieries Committee minutes, 1897-1900; Rescue Brigades Committee papers, 1907-1908; Eight Hours Committee minutes, 1909; Coal Mines Act Committee minutes and papers, 1923-1946; Special Purposes Committee minutes, 1927-1947; Colliery Pit Production Committee minutes, 1943; Education Committee minutes, 1945-1946; Joint Sliding Scale Committee meeting verbatim accounts, 1875-1902; Enginemen Wages Committee minutes, 1908-1944; Joint Standing Disputes Committee minutes and papers, 1917-1947; South Wales Coal Shipment Advisory Committee minutes and papers, 1923-1936; South Wales Committee on the Physical and Chemical Survey of the National Coal Resources minutes, 1928-1943; Safety in Mines Research Committee minutes and reports, 1930-1947; Disputes Finality Committee minutes and papers, 1936-1945; Joint Coal Production Committee minutes, 1940-1942; Pneumoconiosis Joint Sub-Committee minutes and papers, 1942-1946; minutes and papers of several committees of the Mining Association of Great Britain, including its Central Committee, 1919-1954; copies of court judgements, 1848-1939; Railway Rates Tribunal proceedings and papers, 1921-1939; financial account books and balance sheets, 1873-1940; scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings relating to the Sliding Scale, strikes, disputes, wages, and other industry issues, 1874-1948; papers relating to strikes and disputes at associated collieries, 1890-1946; statistics on coal production, prices, transportation, wages, etc., and foreign bulletins, 1842-1950; administrative files of the Commercial and Pitwood Departments, 1890-1950; applications for membership, 1887-1947; subject files containing copies of Association notices, reports, minutes, etc. and papers received from other organisations relating to mining, miners´┐ŻTM health, labour agreements and wages, 1890-1957; and printed material, including coal mine surveys and research reports, and government legislation and other industry reports, 1849-1947. The archive represents a major source of information for the history of coal mining in Wales, and the study of mining practices and industrial relations in the South Wales coalfield prior to nationalisation.


Language/scripts of material: Mostly English, with some French and Welsh (see appropriate file level descriptions).

System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW according to provenance into 7 sections: administrative records; board and committee papers; disputes records; financial records; legal records; printed and manuscript material, and statistics.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited in NLW have been retained apart from duplicates, which have been destroyed.

Accruals: Accruals to the collection are unlikely.

Archival history: The records were held by the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association prior to their transfer to NLW.

Immediate source of acquisition: An initial donation of press cuttings (Series P3) was received by NLW in 1944/5, followed by deposits by the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association, Cardiff, in 1947, and in 1954 and 1955 per the Chairman of the Association, Mr. R.W. Burgess; together with a further deposit (MF1-8) from Messrs H.W. Vaughan & Co., Swansea in 1985/6.



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. The Minutes of the Finance Committee, extend until 1956, one year after the winding up of the Association. The archive contains some printed material pre-dating the establishment of the Association. Original file titles, where present, have been retained.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Lorena Troughton. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Coalowners Association Records (now superseded by this catalogue); Archives Wales website (, viewed 5 March 2012; and material within the archive itself.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2012

Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
Coal mine accidents | Wales, South
Coal miners | Diseases | Wales, South
Coal mines and mining | Collective bargaining
Coal mines and mining | Employees | Wales, South
Coal mines and mining | Wales
Coal trade | Prices | Wales, South
Coal trade | Wales
Coal | Transportation
Coal-handling machinery
Industrial relations | Wales, South
Mining industries | Societies, etc.
Monmouthshire and South Wales Coalowners' Association | Archives
Strikes and lockouts | Wales
Wages | Coal miners
Wages | Wales
Work environment | Wales

Personal names

Corporate names
Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners' Association

Cardiff (Wales)
Carmarthenshire (Wales)
Glamorgan (Wales)
Monmouthshire (Wales)
Neath Port Talbot (Wales)
Newport (Wales)
Rhondda Cynon Taff (Wales)
Swansea (Wales)
Wales, South ()

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