ANW logo

Archives Network Wales

Search the collections:        Search help | Advanced search   | Browse by repository

Browse the indices: Combined(searchable) Personal names Corporate names Places Subjects



[New to Archives?]

[Family history]

[Admin menu]

List of repositories  |  List of collections at Gwent Archives  |  Repository home page  |  Contact details

Gwent Archives
Colliery photographs

Reference code(s): GB 0218 D2377

Held at: Gwent Archives

Title: Colliery photographs collection

Short Title: Colliery photographs

Creation date(s): c.1910-1980.

Level of description: Fonds


Name of creator(s):


Administrative/Biographical history: In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Industrial Revolution had a major impact in South Wales, where the iron and steel factories and coal mines were concentrated. The period of the great expansion of the coal industry was from1840-1920. The South Wales coal field covers approximately 1000 square miles and extends from Pontypool, Gwent westwards to St. Bride's Bay, Pembrokeshire. At the end of the Second World War, an enquiry set up by the government recommended that the coal industry should be nationalised. On 1st January 1947, the National Coal Board was established. During the mid 1950's the industry continue to decline in the number of pits and miners employed. Most of the pits closed still had coal reserves but with oil and cheaply imported coal available, successive governments and the National Coal Board have been unwilling to keep open 'uneconomic'pits where coal was mined at a loss. Blaendare Drift was originally worked for fire clay. The mine closed in early 1970s. Later opencast mining took place on this site. The first coal was raised at Tirpentwys in 1881. The colliery was closed in 1969, but was retained for pumping and ventilation. The Glyn pit was one of the first collieries to use steam powered winding engines. It ceased production in 1932, but retained as pumping and ventilation unit for Hafodyrynys Colliery until early 1960s. The first recorded working of coal in Blaenavon was in 1775. Big Pit was sunk in 1860. Coal winding ceased in 1973 after a new drift was driven enabling coal to be brought to the surface near to the washery. The shaft was used for man riding and ventilation only. The colliery ceased production on the 2nd of February 1980. It is now forms a vital part of the "Blaenavon World Heritage Site" and is run as a mining museum. Glyn Morgan was the last Coal Board manager.


Scope and content/abstract: photographs of the Blaendare Drift Mine, 1968; Tirpentwys Colliery, c.1910, 1969, 1973; Glyn Pits, 1968-1984; Big Pit, Blaenafon, 1950-1980; New Drift, Blaenafon, c. 1910-1979


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into : Blaendare Drift Mine, Pontypool; Tirpentwys Colliery, Pontypool; Glyn Pits, Pontypool; Big Pit, Blaenafon; New Drift, Blaenafon.

Conditions governing access: No restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at Gwent Record Office


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at Gwent Record Office have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchase and Donation from Mr. John Cornwell, Bristol, 1985 and 1986.



Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Seri Crawley for the ANW project. The following sources were used to compile this description: Gwent Record Office,Catalogue of colliery photographs; Egan, David, Coal society: a history of the South Wales Mining Valleys 1840-1980 (Llandysul,1987); Cornwell, John, Collieries of South Wales: vol. 1 and 2 (Ashbourne, 2001); Welsh Coal Mines( viewed 26 May 2004.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2 and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2004

Big Pit (Blaenafon, Wales) | Photographs
Coal mines and mining | Wales | Monmouthshire | Photograph collections
Coal mines and mining | Wales | Pontypool | Photographs
Glyn Pits (Pontypool, Wales) | Photographs
New Drift colliery (Blaenavon, Wales) | Photographs
Tirpentywys Black Vein Steam Coal & Coke Company | Photographs

Personal names

Corporate names

Blaenavon (Wales)
Pontypool (Wales)

List of repositories  |  List of collections at Gwent Archives  |  Repository home page  |  Contact details