Aberbeeg Colliery “The Pit That Never Was“
On Saturday 4th December 1920 a new Colliery undertaking went ahead by the J. Lancaster & Co at Aberbeeg, the first sod was cut by Lady Mather-Jackson J.P., O.B.E. It had been planned to sink this new colliery as early as 1918 and was in the planning procedure until 1919 but owing to the uncertainty of the financial situation at this time, it was put on hold, though as stated the opening went ahead and the first sod was cut.
The Colliery details.
The new colliery shafts would have been 20′ feet in diameter and 500 yards (1,500′ feet) deep and sunk to the old coal seam, it was estimated that there was 1,200 acres of coal available and the output when the pits were fully developed would have been 1,000,000 tons per year. The colliery would be electrically equipped throughout, the power being obtained from the generation station at Victoria, Ebbw Vale and transmitted by an overhead line at 20,000 volts to Aberbeeg where it would have been transformed to a working voltage of 2,000 and 500. The Six Bells power station would also be coupled up to Aberbeeg and would act as an emergency service in the event of any interruption in the supply from Victoria. When the colliery was fully developed employment would have been for 2,500 men, it was intended to work the colliery entirely by mechanical means. Coal cutters and conveyor belts would have been used throughout and the use of horses would have been eliminated.
Those present at the cutting of the sod (as in the image above) was – Sir Henry Mather-Jackson and Lady Mather-Jackson, BT., O.B.E., J.P., Sir John Beynon BT., C.B.E., and Miss Beynon, Mr F. Mills, chairman of directors. Lieut-Col Charles Kirk and Mrs Kirk, Mr A. B. Sweet-Eacott general manager of the Ebbw Vale Company, and Mrs Sweet-Eacott, Mr B. Northgraves secretary, Mr W. H. John chief colliery manager, Captain R. A. Lewis works manager, Captain W. M. B. Burnyeatt M. C., estate agent, Mr L. F. Beynon, Mr Ben Owen chief colliery manager, Messrs John Lancaster Powell’s Tillery Group of collieries, Mr T. Jenkyn Williams, chief colliery manager Cwmtillery group, Mr W. H. Rolfe secretary Cwmtillery Colliery Co, Mr D. A. Jones, agent of the Abercarn Collieries, Councillor Jack Games, Mr Felix Budd, Rev H. S. Rees, Dr T. B. Smith, Messrs G. Hay Morgan, K. C. Liberal-Coalition candidate for Abertillery Division, Mr George Barker miners agent and Labour candidate, Opton Purnell, T. J. Thomas engineer to the Ebbw Vale Urban District Council and Mr John Williams engineer to the Abercarn Council
After the cutting of the sod by Lady Mather-Jackson they all retired to a tea held in a marquee close by, after the speeches Mr Ben Owen presented Lady Mather Jackson with a Silver card-tray, it was inscribed with the words “Presented to Lady Mather-Jackson J.P., O.B.E., by the officials of Messrs J. Lancaster and Co Ltd on the occasion of the inauguration of the new pits at Aberbeeg, December 4th 1920” Mr Owen also said that the next time Lady Mather-Jackson came to Aberbeeg it would be to open the pithead baths.
The location of this colliery was a little further up the Cwm valley from the Aberbeeg North Pit not far from the Ivorites Arms.
After the opening ceremony the financial state of the country made the owners think twice about the construction and development on such a large scale and plans were again shelved.
On May 8th 1925 it was reported that the Partridge Jones and John Paton Ltd Colliery Company made a start to resume the sinking of the colliery. The railway bridge which carried a single track into the site was being repaired and strengthened and the one shaft was sunk to the “hard” which was about 120′ feet in depth, the surface was scraped off the other shaft in readiness. Their plans were yet again put on hold and this colliery project was later forgotten. The top of the shafts can be seen today.