Celynen South Colliery

Celynen South Colliery

Celynen South Colliery.
The South Celynen Colliery originally known as just the Celynen Colliery was sunk by The Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company Limited.

The company was started on the 17th February 1873 when communications between Mr John Cory, Mr Richard Cory Jnr, Mr Thomas Beynon and Theophilus John Beynon (trading under the name or firm of T. Beynon & Co), Mr Henry Russell Evans and Mr Frederick Henry Hogan took place. Prospectuses could be obtained from Mr Henry Russell Evans, stockbroker of No12 Great Dock Street, Newport, Mon.

The Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company (Limited).
Set up in 1873.
The Directors
John Holman Esq, Steamship Owner (London, Exeter and Topsham);
John T. Bowden Esq (34 Leadenhall Street and Kennebee House, Beckenham, Kent);
John Cory Esq (Cory Brothers & Co., Colliery Proprietors, Cardiff and London):
Chairman – Henry Cecil Raikes Esq M.P., (Llwyngrin Hall, Flintshire and 95 Onslow Square, London);
Managing Director – Thomas Beynon Esq, J.P., (T. Beynon & Co, Colliery Proprietors, Newport, Mon):
Bankers – Imperial Bank, (Lothbury, London);
West of England and South Wales District Bank (Newport, Mon):
Solicitors – Messrs Keighley and Gething (7 Ironmonger Lane, London);
C. R. Lyne Esq (Bank Chambers, Newport Mon):
Auditors – Messrs Johnstone, Cooper, Wintle and Evans (3 Coleman Street Buildings, Moorgate Street, London):
Secretary – J. D. Shakespear Esq:

Offices – No1 & 2 Mansion House Buildings, Queen Victoria Street, London:

N.B. Other gentlemen joined the board after this date.

The Prospectus Stated – In March 1873 the company was formed for the purpose of acquiring and working the very valuable leasehold property known as the Celynen Estate, Abercarn, Monmouthshire. The property was one of the most extensive mineral takings in South Wales being about 1,200 acres in extent. Additional properties of several hundred acres are commanded by the estate and may be secured if desired.

The property adjoins the that of the Abercarn Collieries belonging to the Ebbw Vale Company and bounded by the vast establishments and collieries of the Nantyglo & Blaina Company, the Ebbw Vale Company and the Tredegar Company.

The first coal to be met with will be 80 yards from the surface and is 3′ feet in thickness, suitable for both iron working and household purposes, this will be won in six months. Seventy yards deeper is the No2 Charcoal Vein, 3′ feet 9 ” inches in thickness and is said to be the equivalent to the No3 Rhondda Coal, largely used for making the best class pig-iron and Bessemer steel as well as foundry purposes. This seam is expected to be reached in twelve months. Other valuable seams of coal will be met with as follows – No3 at 277 yards from the surface, 2′ feet 8″ inches thick. No4 292 yards at 3′ feet thick. No5 297 yards at 3′ feet thick and the Prince of Wales Seam, better known as the Black Vein Steam Coal 8’feet 6″ inches in thickness.

The Black Vein Steam Coal of Abercarn and Risca is celebrated as one of the most valuable steam coals produced in the United Kingdom. It is extensively used by the Royal Mail and other steam ship companies. It is used in hot climates as it is proof against the effects of the sun or weather and can be stacked for years at the tropical mail packet stations without any deterioration in quantity or quality. The Celynen property had been reported upon most favourably by Mr William Adams Esq of Cardiff and Mr Jacob Higson Esq of Manchester, both eminent mining engineers.

The property was held under the most favourable terms, the mineral leases of South Wales were generally for 50 or 60 years, the royalties for superior steam coals were from 10d. to 1s. per ton. The Celynen Estate lease was 99 years and maximum royalties were 6d. per ton for the No1 vein and 8d. per ton for the other veins. The surface land had been secured for the construction of railway sidings and coke ovens etc.

Another important feature in connection with the property is that its close proximity to the port of shipment, the distance to Newport with its commodious docks and river. The Alexandra Docks, Newport will be opened this year and is only ten miles from the colliery. The cost of conveying the coal from the pit mouth to the port is 9d. per ton, Tredegar, Ebbw Vale, Merthyr and Aberdare Collieries owing to their distances pay from 1s. 6d. to 2s. per ton. With the reduced cost of wagon hire this saving will reach 1s. per ton, upon an output of 260,000 tons per annum, this is equal to a profit of £13,000 per year. The property is intersected by the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Co and the River Ebbw from which an abundance of water can be obtained for engine power and coke manufacture. The estate also has complete access to direct railway communication to Swansea, Birkenhead, Liverpool, London and Southampton etc.

Capital – £150,000 in 15,000 shares of £10 each. £1 payable on application and £1 on the 1st August 1873 and the balance as required in calls not exceeding £1 every six months. The total amount of £10 per share may be paid in full on application and interest will be allowed in the payments in excess of calls due at the rate of 5 per cent per annum.

On 17th April 1873 tenders were invited for the “sinking of three shafts” at the Celynen, near Abercarn, Monmouthshire, of the following dimensions – No1 25′ feet by 16′ feet. No2 15′ feet by 15′ feet. No3 16′ feet by 12′ feet. To include walling with bricks, material to be found by the sinker. Apply to Mr Thomas Beynon, Newport , Mon. April 17th 1873. The tender of Messrs Phillips & Bailey, Sinking Contractors was accepted.

The Sinking Contractors.
The sinking contractors were Messrs Phillips & Bailey.

The Ceremony of Cutting the Sod.
On Tuesday 27th May 1873 the ceremony of cutting the sod took place. A special train was put on from Newport to Abercarn Station, the train left Newport at 11.30am, was taken to the Celynen Colliery site where the ceremony took place. The area was well adorned with flags and after alighting the train the company was formed. The Managing Director Mr Thomas Beynon, Mrs Thomas Beynon, Rev H. Ward, one of the directors and Chairman of the Board Mr Henry Cecil Raikes being present. The land upon which the colliery would be sunk was owned by Lady Llanover whose agent Mr Charles Lyne of Newport and Mrs Lyne was also present. The Band of the Artillery Volunteers were at the site and started the proceedings by performing a voluntary.

Mr Henry Cecil Raikes stood forward and said “Mr Lyne, on behalf of the directors of the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company, I have the honour of placing this spade in your hands and to request to you to cut the first sod, of this our colliery” after a speech he handed the spade to Mrs Lyne. Mrs Lyne placed it into the soil and placed the sod into a wheel barrow. The Rev Mr Ward then said Mrs Beynon it falls to my lot to have the honour of asking your acceptance of this barrow to take away to the proper distance the first fruits of what we trust will be a satisfactory and salutary undertaking” he then handed Mrs Beynon the wheel barrow. It was reported that Mrs Beynon wheeled the barrow containing the first sod in a workman like manner. The band then struck up the “Men Of Harlech”.

The Ceremonial Spade.
The wheel barrow and spade used in the ceremony were made of mahogany and ornamented with silver, on the spade was the inscription – “Presented to Mrs Lyne, by the of the directors of the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company Limited, on the occasion of cutting the sod of their collieries at Celynen, Abercarn, May 27th, 1873.

The Ceremonial Wheel Barrow.
On the wheel barrow was the inscription – “Presented to Mrs Beynon, by the of the directors of the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company Limited, on the occasion of cutting the sod of their collieries at Celynen, Abercarn, May 27th, 1873.

At the ceremony the following company were present – Mr T. B. Batchelor; Capt and Lady Heyworth; Col Lyne and Lady; Miss C. R. Lyne (Sister); Mr Lyne (Brother); Mr Wyndham Jones; Mayor of NewportMr T. Llewellyn and Lady W. Llewellyn and Lady J. D. Plain; Lady G. W. Jones; Lady S. Homfray; A. Homfray; Lady W. E. Evans; Lady W. Evans Jnr; Lady J. Brown; Miss Brown and Lady J. Moses and Mrs Moses; Mr T. Bynon J. G. Beynon and Lady; Miss Jobson and two; H. L. Williams; Mr Henry Beynon; Capt Charles Williams; Mr Stephen Vernon and Lady; Mr Thomas Woolett; Mr C. Greatrex and Mr Thomas Greatrex; Mr Lamb and Lady; Mr Harrison and Lady; Mr Appleby and Lady; Mr Owen and Lady; Mr John Cory; Mr Jacob Higson of Manchester; Mr Bladon; Dr Sharp; Mr Slade; Mr R. C. Cullum; Admiral Foote and Lady; Major Phillips and Lady of Crumlin; Rev Mr Griffiths; Rev Mr Edmunds; Mr and Mrs Darby; Mr T. and Miss Phillips of Abercarn; Mr P. James and Lady; Mr and Mrs Cartwright; Mr and Mrs Morris; Mr and Mrs Maver (Town Clerk); Mr Russell Evans; Mr Richards; Mr J. Laurence; Mr F. Grice; Mr Christopher; Mr W. E. Thomas; Mr Ward; Mr Thomas Colborne and Lady; Mr Robert Gething; Mr W. Adams Engineer; Mr T. Thomas of 34 West Bute Street, Cardiff; Mr and Mrs Rogers of Abercarn Fach; Mr G. Rice and J. E. Ward and others:

The luncheon was provided by Messrs James Ewins and Sons of Newport and the menu was as follows – Menu – Mayonnaise Salmon, Maynnaise Trout, Roast Chicken, Ox Tongues, Chicken a la Bechamel, Pigeon Pies, Veal and Ham Pies, Lobster Salad, Braised Beef, Prawns, Roast Lamb and Hams: Entrements – Wine Jelly. Orange Jelly, Lemon Cream, Trifles, Tipsy Cakes, Raspberry Cream and Genoise Pastry: Deserts – Grapes, Oranges and Apples: Ices – Lemon Water and Strawberry Cream:

The chairman upon congratulated themselves spoke of those who were unable to be present including – Mr Greatrex; Mr Cartwright; Mr D, Harrhy; Mr T. M. Llewellyn; Mr Phillips of Crumlin; Mr A. Darby; Mr L. A. Homfray and Mr Lionel Brough: He then proposed the health of Her Majesty the Queen. Many speeches followed by – Mr James Brown; Dr Sharp; Capt Heyworth; Mr Lyne; Rev Ward; Mr T. B. Batchelor; Mr G. W. Jones; Mr J. D. Pain and Mr John Cory proposed the health of Mr Lyne the agent of Lady Llanover: The marquee and other appliances were provided by Mr T. P. Williams and the glasses by Mr Twist.

On 7th June 1873 it was reported that the the South Celynen Colliery of the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company, Limited, was one of the largest undertakings in the area for a long time and the promoters of the project announced they were deluged with applications for shares. In just a few days some £200,000 were subscribed, whereas the capital of the company was only £150,000. The company was launched by Mr Henry Russell Evans of Newport, Monmouthshire and had been preparing operations.

On the 12th June 1873 it was announced that the first general meeting was to be held at the company’s offices No9 Billiter Street, London on the 24th of June 1873.

The Sinking.
On Saturday 19th August 1876 the sinking contractors Messrs Phillips & Bailey with the co-operation of a few friends gave the workmen a treat in connection with reaching the No3 Elled Coal Seam. 120 men and many invited friends sat down to lunch in the marquee at two o’clock and the men’s wives and children were treated to tea at four o’clock. The centre-piece in the marquee was a dram full of the Elled coal of which was recently reached. Many mottoes were seen, amongst them were “”Success to the Company” “Welcome to the Celynen” and “Prosperity to the Coal Trade”. All the decorations were fitted by Mrs J. T. Green aided by Mr John Hammonds and W. D. Jenkin.

At lunch Mr Eli Bailey took the chair supported by Mr Thomas of Cardiff the consulting engineer to the company and Mr J. T. Green the manager of the works. Those present at the lunch main table were as follows – Messrs Beynon and party; Messrs Theophilus Beynon and party; Capt Peter Williams; Mr C. R. Lyne and party; Messrs J. T. Green, Miss Thomas and party; Mr H. A. Huzzey; Mr George Hoskins; Mrs E. Bailey; Mr and Mrs Thomas Moses; Mr and Mrs W. James; Mr J. S. Green and Miss Green and Miss Goatman; Mr Edwin James; Mr Russell Evans; Capt Stroud; Mr Daniel Matthews and others:

After the lunch a programme of rustic sports commenced, presided over by Messrs Bailey, Phillips, J. D. Jones and Mr Edwin J. Phillips of the Sports Committee. Some of the games partaken were – Three Legged Race, Jumping in Sacks, Blind-Folded Wheel Barrow Race and a Cross Country Foot Race from Craig House to the winning post, along the way competitors had to cross the canal, through the river, cross ditches and through hedges. The winner received a 30s. prize. During the afternoon storms broke out and Mr J. R. Tidswell’s Tredegar Band played operatic and dance music and Mr Lewis Williams of Pentwyn Mawr added to the musical performances. Upon leaving the tea the workers wives were each given four-pounds of plum cake and a quarter of a pound of tea to take home.

On Saturday 2nd September 1876 it was confirmed in a report that the Elled Seam had been cleared and measured 37″ inches thick and that at the time of reporting, the No4 Seam had proved the No 4 Seam which was 3′ feet thick. The contractors stated they would reach the Black Vein at a distance of thirty yards further in about November 1876.

On the 28th October 1876 it was reported that the contractors at the South Celynen Colliery had sunk to the Black Vein Coal Seam. The initial reports stated it was 9′ feet in thickness with a good roof and the coal was the finest quality.

The Completion of the Sinking.
On Saturday 25th November 1876 celebrations took place on the occasion of the finishing of the sinking process, the Black Vein had been reached and the shaft completed. It was a similar celebration as previous when the Elled had been reached only this time the wives and children were not invited to lunch.

The Starting of the Engines.
Before the dignitaries luncheon another interesting ceremony took place. The ceremony of “Starting the Engines”. The large winding engines were designed to raise the coal and constructed in a commodious building contiguous to the Cornish beam pump engine house and overlooking the winding headgear ready to be erected. A number of ladies gathered in the engine room to witness the ceremony of “Starting the Engines” which was ably performed by Mr Thomas Beynon accompanied by Mr Thomas (Engineer), Mr Green (Manager), Mr Stevens and Mr Jones, members of the firm. The engines were described as “gigantic and an example of engineering skill”. These magnificent engines were said to be the biggest ever built in South Wales had been supplied by Messrs Huzzey, Stevens & Jones, otherwise known as The Uskside Engineering Company, Newport, Monmouthshire. After Mr Beynon had started the engines of which performed reliably an inspection of the works took place.

The party viewed the Cornish beam pump engine which was supplied by the Hayle Foundry. The powerful pumping engine was capable of doing nine strokes per minute, though it had never done more than two, this being necessary to keep the pit clear. It could do seven strokes per minute in reverse with 120 gallons of water thrown at each stroke. There were two shafts sunk with a ventilation shaft being sunk at the time of the report. In the engineers office was a large case containing specimens of stratification through which the sinkers had to go through to reach the present depth of the main shaft. Each specimen was labelled with the exact depth and date at when it was taken, it also showed the care taken in the scientific section of the works.

The workmen were entertained in the carpenters shed at the works where the dinner was provided by Mr E. W. Grove of the Hare and Greyhound Hotel, Commercial Street, Newport. Mr T. Beynon and friends were present at the feast and later sports games and afternoon amusements were held.

In March 1877 the coal from the Celynen Colliery was analyzed and the results were as follows – The coal cuts large, is extremely hard and semi-bituminous and almost free from sulphur with a very small percentage of ash. The eminent chemist Mr Thomas Coomber Esq F.C.S. of Bristol issued the test results – Carbon 85.98 per cent; Hydrogen 4.70 per cent; Sulphur .59 per cent; Nitrogen .90 per cent; Ash 2.30 per cent; Oxygen 5.53 per cent; Total 100.00 per cent: the heating power was tested as excellent – 1lb of coal could convert 14lbs of boiling water into steam.

The Streonshalh.
On Sunday 13th April 1879 at 7.15am, a coal gas explosion occurred on board the Cargo Ship “Streonshalh” belonging to Messrs Turnbull & Son of Whitby and Cardiff. The Streonshalh was loaded with coal from the Newport Abercarn Company (Celynen Collery) Newbridge. (More on this story below).

The Mueseler Safety Lamp.
In a report from 1880 it states the Celynen Collery used the Mueseler Safety Lamp.

Mr J. T. Green.
On Tuesday 30th January 1889 the General Manager of the Celynen Collieries Mr J. T. Green became a magistrate. At this time Mr William Jones was the under-manager.

In January 1889 a dram fell down the No3 Shaft 1,200 feet. No injuries were reported.

In July 1889 the workmen and their families at the Celynen Collieries were treated to an annual outing at Porthcawl. Three special trains left Newbridge at 8.00am accompanied by the Celynen Brass Band. At 5.00pm the G.W.R. started their steamer the “Thames” upon which the party cruised the bay. It was reported that many bathers lost their clothing when they left it on the beach to take a dip in the water, they hadn’t realised the tide had come in and washed it all out to sea. The trains left Porthcawl at 8.00pm and everyone got home safely at 11.00pm.

In August 1889 Mr David Jones, the oldest resident in Abercarn died at the age of 84, at the time of his death he was employed as foreman pattern maker at the Celynen Colliery.

The Deepening of the Collieries.
In April 1890 Mr Thomas Watkins a sinking contractor was given the contract to deepen the Celynen Pits. It was also reported that Mr Watkins was to open out two new pits in the Gelly-Groes area for the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company.

Mr Henry Morton Stanley.
On Saturday 12th July 1890 it was announced that Mr Thomas Watkins, sinking contractor had struck a seam of coal 30 yards below the Black Vein Seam. This new seam was between 8 and 9 feet in thickness and was called the Sun Vein, though in consideration of the marriage of Mr Henry Morton Stanley it was Christened the “Stanley Seam” after the African Continent Explorer.

Annual Outings.
In late July 1890 the workmen and their families amounting to 1,500 people were treated to their annual outing, they chose Weston-Super-Mare and the party travelled in 4 special trains from Newbridge. Mr John Henry Jones the secretary stated the company contributed £100 towards the cost of the day trip.

The Death of Mr Thomas Beynon.
On Tuesday 12th January 1892 Mr Thomas Beynon sadly passed away. He was the late managing director the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company (Limited), a Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Monmouthshire.

The Door Boy.
In May 1894 a door boy was charged with leaving a ventilation door open underground. He was fined 10s. the equivalent to about £65.00 in today’s money.

In June 1894 it was announced the manager Mr J. T. Green was leaving the Celynen Collieries and the new manager was to be elected by the company.

Mr Robert Snape.
In June 1894 the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company elected Mr Robert Snape as the new general manager of the Celynen Collieries. Mr Snape didn’t last long as general manager and left in the following October to be temporary replaced by Mr Grey of the Plymouth Collieries, Merthyr. It was reported Mr Snape had took up a similar position at the Dinas Colliery.

Mr James Tamblyn.
In December 1894 The Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company elected Mr James Tamblyn as their new general manager. Mr Tamblyn was from the North Navigation Colliery Maesteg.

The Death of Mr Tamblyn.
On Monday 25th February 1895 Mr James Tamblyn, the general manager of the Celynen Collieries sadly passed away at his residence Ty-Celyn, Newbridge at 49 years of age.

Mr J. M. Wallace.
In April 1895 The Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company had to appoint another manager, they elected Mr J. M. Wallace of the Ffaldau Collieries.

On August 30th 1895 the workers and their families were treated to their annual outing at Weston-Super-Mare. On this occasion Mr John V. Davies, aged 29, a haulier at the Celynen Colliery met with a fatal accident. He had been riding on the Switch-Back Carousel when his hat came off with a gust of wind, as he leaned over to reach it, he hit his head on a pillar and died instantly. It seem the sad list of fatalities in connection with this colliery wasn’t confined to the workings.

On the 3rd September 1898 the workmen and their families were treated to their annual outings, they could chose between Bristol or Weston with trains conveying over 2,000 people to either venue. The company contributed £50 towards the costs. The officials of the colliery went to Raglan by brake.

In September 1900 a journey of drams shunted into the sump and broke the guide ropes in the shaft.

Mr Lloyd Davies.
On Saturday 21st January 1905 Mr Lloyd Davies a pumps-man travelling from No1 to No2 pits fell from the landing in the shaft and dropped 135′ feet into the sump. He had somehow managed to grasp a guide rope on his fall, He landed and was knocked unconscious, he came-to just has a cage was descending upon him, he grasped a knock-out wire to alert the banksman and the cage stopped just before crushing him. Miraculously Mr Davies only suffered a sprained ankle from the fall but was in severe shock, other that that he was conveyed home without serious injury.

In November 1908 the bond fell down the No3 shaft after the rope snapped. Only drams were on the cage and no injuries were reported.

In June 1908 the 36th general meeting of the shareholders of the Newport Abercarn (Celynen) Black Vein Steam Coal Company Ltd, was held at Winchester House, London. Mr George Bradford the chairman of the board presided. It was announced a net profit for the year was £42,000 as compared with £36,000 in the preceding year. About £8,000 had been expended on exploration of other coal seams etc. It was advised to add £15,000 on mineral royalties. The board was also told the new washery at the colliery was nearly completed and that had cost a great deal of money though most beneficial to the company. The directors proposed a dividend of 10 per cent for the year with a bonus of 2 and a half per cent. It was told the financial position of the company was the best they had ever known.
Messrs T. E. Watson and W. W. Jones were re-elected directors and Messrs Bagshaw & Co were re-elected as auditors.

In December 1909 it was reported that over 1,600 men were employed in the Celynen Colliery.

The Colliery Companies Merger.
In July 1911 the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company merged with the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co.

Miners Enlisting for Active Service.
On Monday 3rd April 1916 at a Colliery Army Recruiting Court, Newport, Mr T. Greenland Davies H.M. Inspector of Mines (Presiding); Mr T. Richards M.P.; Mr Nehemiah Phillips and Mr J. Fox Tallis (Military Representative for the Mines) had in front of them the Lancaster Company and the Newport Abercarn Coal Co. The bench wanted recruits to be signed up from the Lancaster Co collieries, the company representative said they had no-one available as their men were all employed in important work at the collieries. Mr J. Fox Tallis said they could employ girls to do the men’s work so the men could be enlisted. The Lancaster representatives strongly disagreed and stated they would not comply with this.

Next up was the Abercarn Coal Company, the Celynen Colliery cases were represented by Mr Fred Davies. Mr Davies told of how the Celynen Colliery (South) on the admiralty list and the bulk of their coal was used by the admiralty, they could not afford anyone from the colliery. Mr J. Fox Tallis said he had been informed that the North Celynen Colliery men had struck on the previous Monday and their presence was not missed, therefore the whole of that colliery numbering 184 men could be enlisted without affecting the output. Mr Davies replied the men had walked out without issuing their notices, so legally they were still employed and needed by the Newport Abercarn Company and could not be conscripted. The cases were adjourned.

Apart from the miners conscriptions and the company’s objections, many miners from the South Celynen Colliery did actually volunteer for action at the front.

During the Colliery Army Recruiting Court hearing at Newport in 1916, Mr J. Games stated the following information on the Celynen Collieries – In 1914 the South Colliery employed 1,670 men, 375 men had since been employed. Men who had joined the Colours totalled 402. By February 1916 the employment figures had dropped to 1,212. Coal was being used by the Admiralty.

In 1914 the North Celynen Colliery employed 184 men, 278 men had since been employed. Men who joined the colours totalled 4. By February 1916 the employment figures at the colliery had risen to 456.

In June 1916 The Ebbw Vale Company acquired the Powell’s Tillery Collieries and the report stated Messrs T. Beynon & Co already had the selling of the out-put of the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Co, the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co, the Fernhill Collieries Ltd and John Lancaster Co.

Mr Morris.
In 1922 the manager at the Celynen Colliery was Mr Morris with Mr W. F. Jones M.E. as the under-manager.

Mr E. W. Broackes M.E.
In 1923 Mr E. W. Broackes M.E. was the general manager with Mr W. F. Jones M.E. as the under-manager. In December 1924 Mr Broackes left the district.

The Death of Mr William Jones.
In May 1933 Mr William F. Jones under-manager of the South Celynen Colliery sadly passed away. Mr Jones’ son Mr Royden Jones was a lecturer at Cardiff University, another son Mr Glyn Jones was a bank cashier and he had a daughter Mrs Duning living at Bournemouth.

Mr J. H. Austin.
In the 1930’s Mr J. H. Austin was the general manager with Mr D. Thomas as the under-manager.

Messrs Partridge, Jones and John Paton Ltd.
In October 1936 it was announced the Ebbw Vale Company’s properties were being acquired by Messrs Partridge, Jones and John Paton Ltd. A short while later the Celynen Collieries came under their control.

On Monday 30th November 1936 Mr Edward T. Granger appointed receiver of the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company Ltd. and the Newport Abercarn Black Vien Steam Coal Company Ltd in a circular to shareholders of both companies, issued on Monday, states theat he had entered into a contract for the sale of the whole of the company’s assets to Messrs Partridge, Jones and John Paton Co Ltd. The issued share capital of the Ebbw Vale Company totalled £1,497,293. The sale of the assets of the company and its subsidiaries was reported on 22nd October and 29 October 1936.

Pithead Baths.
On Saturday 15th March 1954 the pithead baths at the South Celynen Colliery were officially opened. Those who were present at the opening were as follows – Alderman W. J. Saddler (Former Deputy Labour Director, South Western Division, N.C.B.; Rev Llewellyn Williams, M.P.; Mr G. Williams (Colliery Manager); Mr V. A. Watts (Chairman of the Abercarn Urban Council); Mr Bryn Jenkins (Miners Agent); Mr P. E. Walker (Architect); Mr Lesslie Davies; Mr A. K. Jones and Mr G. H. Golding:

The Contractors.
The South Celynen Pithead Baths were built along with the medical centre and lamp room by Messrs W. & A. Davies Ltd, Building and Public Works Contractors of Abersychan, Pontypool, Monmouthshire.

The Closure of the South Celynen Colliery.
The South Celynen closed in 1985 along with many other collieries in the area. The area was cleared and a housing estate “Coed Celynen” now occupies the site.



Points of interest – Fatalities at the Celynen Collieries.
From the start of the colliery being in production numerous accidents occurred, too many to register and there were many individual fatalities. These fatalities were maybe more than any other colliery in the South Wales area or even the United Kingdom (excluding deaths by explosions). The following is a list of the South Celynen Colliery fatalities reported in local newspapers between 1879 and 1938, excluding some that may have occurred during the Great War 1914-18. I will eventually search the missing years and add them if found.
My apologies if I have missed anyone out.

June – A young boy was killed. Death caused from being crushed by Drams. (No details found on the young boy in question). This sad death led to a court case with the company summonsing two workmen for their part in leaving the colliery early in respect for the young boy. The case is detailed below.

October – Mr John Jenkins. Death caused by a roof fall;
November – Mr Thomas Evans, aged 23. Death caused by a roof fall caused by an out-burst of Gas:

January – Mr John Abbot, aged 33. Death caused by a roof fall;
July – Master William Jasper, “Door Boy”, aged 14. Death from being crushed by Drams;
November – Mr John Rowson, Death from falling onto the sidings:

January – Mr William Evans, an Engine Driver. Death caused from falling under Drams;
May – Mr Thomas Hall. (No cause of death reported);
July – Master David Catley, “Door Boy”, aged 14. Death caused from riding in a dram which came off road and hit out a prop causing a roof fall, the debris crushed him whilst he was inside the dram:

May – Mr James Forward. Death caused by a roof fall, only recently he had gone back to work after recovering from a similar accident;
June – Mr Charles Powell. Death caused by a roof fall;
August – Mr Charles Giddings. Death caused by being crushed while removing an Iron Tank from below ground;
December – Mr Simpson. (No Christian name issued). Death caused while attempting to jump on the Bond whilst leaving the scotches at the pit-top. He got crushed against the sides and fell down the shaft:

January – Mr Owen Davies. Death caused from being crushed by a Wagon at the Screens:

February – Mr Isaac Stephens. Found dead below ground, possibly Gassed.
June – Mr Robert Ash. Death caused from being crushed by Drams;
December – Mr Henry Hughes. Death caused from a roof fall. A horse kicked out and dislodged a timber support causing the roof to fall. In another report he was called Samuel Hughes:

February – A young boy with the surname Moss “Door Boy” (No Christian name or age issued). Death from being crushed by Drams;
February – Mr George Lewis. Death caused by a roof fall;
April – Mr David Evans. Death caused by a roof fall;
November – Mr James Evans, aged 26. Death caused by a roof fall. Mr Evans was with Mr William Morgan and a Doorboy Master Frank Catley. They were buried for 4 hours. Mr Morgan and Frank Catley were rescued alive suffering from severe shock though Mr Evans was found dead. At the Inquest the witnesses were Mr Harry Evans (Colliery Overman) brother of the deceased and Mr Leonard Catley no mention of any relation to Frank Catley? 

May – Mr James Fielden. Death caused by being crushed by a Dram;
May – Mr James Jones. Death caused by a heart attack suffered below ground. Mr Jones was a Timberman living at Pentwyn Farm.
June – Mr Charles Lewis, aged 31. Death caused by being crushed by a Dram;
November – Mr William Arthur Franks, aged 27. Death caused by a roof fall;
December – Master Ernest Gadd, aged 14. Death caused by a roof fall:

December – Mr Mark Brace. Death caused by being struck in the head by a Levering Bar:

February – Mr Edgar Murnan. Death caused by a roof fall;
March – Mr Daniel Morgan aged 30. Died of complications caused from an accident below ground:

August – Mr David James. Pumpsman. Death caused from falling down the Shaft. Mr James fell 120 feet down the No3 Shaft. He intended to get off the bond at the landing at the entrance to No1 Pit but missed his step and fell;
August – Mr Henry Phillips. Died underground at the No3 Pit;
September – Mr David Adams. Fitter working on installing an underground engine, he fell into the Engine House and died from a broken back;
October – Mr Evan Kinsey, aged 56. Death caused from being crushed by a Dram. Mr Kinsey never recovered and died a few days later;
December – Mr George Burgess. Death caused by a roof fall:

September – Mr James Lear. Death caused from being crushed by Drams: After the death of Mr Lear a general meeting of the Cwmtillery and Roseheyworth Collieries was held and Mr William Brace, Miners Agent made a plea for the necessity for Manholes and criticized the attitude of the Celynen Colliery Manager at Mr Lear’s Inquest in dismissing the need for Manholes along Double Partings.

The Jury agreed with Mr Brace and were of the opinion that Manholes should be made so men could have a chance to save their lives. Following the Inquest into Mr Lear’s death the Newport Abercarn Black Vein Coal Company were summoned for breach of the Mines Act rule 14, by not providing Manholes at intervals of not less than 20 yards apart. The Manager Mr Wallace still insisted they were not needed in Double Partings but took full responsibility and would comply with the Inspectors request to install them as instructed. The Manager and the Company were each fined £5 and £2 2s costs.

April – Mr William Morgan aged 27. Hitcher. Death caused from falling through the gap between the Bond and the Shaft which severely crushed his leg to his groin. He was carried home and died from his terrible injuries a few days later:

January – Mr Walter Poole. Died a few days after receiving a severe blow to the head while working at the colliery.
May – Mr George Richards, aged 42. Engine Fitter. Death caused by being crushed by the Winding Drum of a Haulage Engine:

January – Mr Herbert Jones. Fireman. Death caused by falling under Drams;
February – Mr William Owen Evans. Mr Evans’s dead body was found beneath Drams (No cause of death reported). Mr William Owen Evans had just returned from service in South Africa with the Volunteer Active Service Co;
June – Mr Fred Bowney, aged 29. Suffered a stroke while working underground and died at home 18 hours later;
July – Mr George Davis, aged 52. Death caused by a roof fall;

March – Mr David Williams. Death caused from being crushed by Drams;
May – Mr Jonathan Breeze, aged 38. Death caused by a roof fall;
August – Mr Mayo Downs, aged 18. Death caused by a roof fall;
August – Mr Henry Trunkfield, aged 28. Death caused by a roof fall:

September – Mr Charles Jones, aged 35. Death caused by a roof fall;

August – Mr Edward Hardwell. Hitcher at Pit Bottom, a Mandrel fell down the shaft and shattered his leg, he died a few weeks later from complications.

February – Mr Thomas Bray, aged 49. Death caused from being crushed by Drams;
June – Master Arthur John Ward, aged 14. Death caused by a roof fall;
November – Mr William Henry Burgess, aged 17. Haulier. Death caused by a roof fall;
November – Mr Henry Cook, aged 18. Death caused by a roof fall:

June – Mr Lewis Yates, aged 28. Death caused by a roof fall;
October – Mr Henry Thomas. Haulier. (No details);
November – Mr William David, aged 31. Haulier. Death caused from being crushed by a Dram.

May – Mr Joseph Absolom, aged 35 and Mr Alfred Phillips aged 18. Death caused by a roof fall. Full details on this accident and rescue attempt can be seen at the bottom of the page.

July – Mr John Williams. Death caused whilst lifting a block of coal Mr Williams ruptured himself and died moments later from a Strangulated Hernia;
October – Mr Edgar Jonah Parfitt, aged 25. Hitcher. Death caused by a lump of coal falling down the shaft:

February – Mr John Thomas Miller. Death caused by a runaway Journey containing 18 Drams, on Dram became detached by a broken shackle and rolled down an incline sadly crushing Mr Miller. The Dram also severely injured Mr Sam Thomas;
March – Mr W. H. Watts. Fireman (No cause of death reported);

May – Mr Ernest Albert Adams, aged 21. Death caused from infection after an accident. Mr Adams was run over by a Journey of Drams and had to have his leg amputated. Died of severe infection days later.
May – Mr William Pedstone. Death from injuries caused from a burst Steam Pipe:

March – Mr Frederick Reed, aged 42. Death caused from being crushed by a runaway Dram;
June – Mr William Jones. Haulier. Death caused by being crushed by a journey from Ships Parting at No3 Pit, Drams ran into Edwards Level where Mr Jones was working:

March – Mr Richard Morgan. Death caused by a roof fall. Mr William Rees and Mr Richard Jones were also severely injured in the same fall though were rescued alive.
In an English paper report the deceased was named as Mr Walter Bennett, though I found a local report on the fatality and the Inquiry outcome which he was named on the two separate occasions as Mr Richard Morgan. Also in the same English paper one of the injured men was named Mr John Vaughan, yet the other local papers and Inquiry had his name as Mr Richard Jones.

February – Mr Charles Phelps, aged 48. Mr Phelps dropped dead whilst working underground at the Celynen Colliery:

March – Mr William Bradwick. Journeyman. Death caused from straining. Mr Bradwick had lifted a dram back on road and severely strained himself. He was taken home and died the same morning:

On Tuesday morning 21st August 1923 – A death, two fatalities and a serious illness occurred.
Mr James Nolan, aged 45. Fireman at the Celynen Colliery found dead in bed before his shift;
Mr William James Burland, aged 16. Colliers Helper. Death caused by being crushed by Drams. Mr Burland was walking out from the night shift had forgotten his Water Bottle, he returned to the workings to fetch it, got run over by a Journey of Drams and was crushed;
Mr Richard Dyke, aged 58. Master Haulier. Death caused by being crushed by Drams. Mr Dyke fell between a Journey of Drams and was crushed;
The same morning Mr Joseph Carpenter fell seriously ill below ground and was conveyed home:

June – Mr Brinley Miles Davies, aged 28. Death caused by a roof fall:

July – Mr David Evans, aged 55. Mr Evans passed away from complications of an accident received at the colliery in 1892. Mr Evans received a fractured spine and had been paralysed since. He had been receiving 8s per week though had been reduced to 5s 4d.

April – Mr William Barnes, Aged 26. Death caused by a roof fall. Mr William J. Hopkins was also buried with Mr Barnes though was rescued alive. The Rescue team consisted of Dr Gregg, Mr Ben Owen, Mr J. H. Austin (Manager) and Mr D. Thomas (Under manager). Mr Daniel Matthews a Fireman was one of the rescue party and as he desperately cut a timber to help hold up the roof he cut his hand and severed an artery. He was rushed to the Royal Gwent Hospital.

November – Mr Brinley Thomas Evans, aged 46. Haulier. Death caused by roof fall;
December – Mr Arthur Henry Cottle, aged 46. Journey Man. Death caused from being crushed by a Dram:

January – Mr Thomas Russell. Timberman’s Assistant. Death caused by a roof fall. Mr Harold Childs, Timberman was also buried though was brought out alive.

Other points –
Throughout different reports and newspaper articles etc, the name Abercarn was spelt with and also without an “e” at the end, Abercarne and Abercarn.

Coal Ship Explosion.
On Sunday 13th April 1879 at 7.15am, a coal gas explosion occurred on board the Cargo Ship “Streonshalh” belonging to Messrs Turnbull & Son of Whitby and Cardiff. The Streonshalh loaded with coal from the Newport Abercarn Company (Celynen Collery) at the Newport Dock and sailed for Savona on the 10th April. The seas were rough and the master of the ship Mr Joseph Metvig closed all ventilators, securely fastened the hatches and turned the cowls and bitts, as the seas were rough he didn’t want to risk sea water entering any of the vents. On the morning in question just off Cape Finisterre, north-western Spain the steamer was badly damaged by the coal explosion and towed to port. Mr Thomas Cadman the Government Inspector of Mines said the coal was very fiery, the gas is light carbonetted hydrogen and becomes explosive by an admixture of eight or nine times its own quantity of air.

Court Case “Custom verses the Law” 1879.
On the 20th June 1879 a Court Case titled “Custom verses the Law” was held at Tredegar Police Courts. Two colliers Mr George White and Mr Thomas Hall were summoned by the Newport Abercarn Colliery Company for an infringement of the rules, they left work without just cause and omitting to give usual notice. Their crime was to leave the district where a young boy had been killed by a journey of drams. Other men followed and the workforce left the pit. In consequence of their actions the colliery might have lost money.

Mr Lyne, Solicitor of Newport was prosecuting, Mr Green and and other officials connected with the colliery were in attendance and were represented by Mr Lloyd, solicitor. Mr Clifton of Bristol represented the defendants. On the day in question a young boy (Not named) was sadly killed undergound, crushed by a journey of drams.

The workmen Mr Hall and Mr White, out of respect for the young lad left the district and made their way out of the pit. This was explained to the management as being customary. Dr Coates explained to the bench that in his 40 years service in the collieries that had always been the customary thing to do. Mr Clifton – stated, there was a sudden calamity, a young boy was killed and the men went out but they did not insist on going up until all the coal was wound up first. All the men knew a fatal accident had occurred and as they knew the custom they acted accordingly:

Mr Lloyd – replied that they (The Company) were not there to stamp out old customs but could not be bound by them. He went on to say this was a test case, he stated the men had pleaded guilty and all the company wanted was to have the men charged for nominal damages and to have them fined 1s. to set an example. To discuss the case the bench left the room. The clerk came back after ten minutes to say the men could have left the district out of respect but not the whole pit. Therefore the men were fined 1s. shilling each and no costs applied.

The South Wales Gazette February 1914 – On Monday 16th Feb 1914, at a debate in parliament Mr W. Brace, South Wales area miners agent spoke of the horrors of the recent Senghenydd Colliery disaster and the unacceptable death rate in the coalfield. He stated within the past year 461 miners were killed in fire-damp and coal-dust explosions in the United Kingdom, 450 of those were in the coalfield he represented. He went on to say, in South Wales in the same period there were 157 killed through falls and 400 killed by miscellaneous accidents above and below ground, in the previous year 1913 the figures showed 1,742 miners were killed by falls in the United Kingdom. 

Mr Thomas Evans.
Mr Thomas Evans was known in Newbridge as the “Grand Old Man” of Buffaloism. Mr Evans was born at Pontypool in 1841, one of his brothers was Mr Isaac Evans, a miners agent at Skewen in the days of Mabon. Mr Evans had his schooling at Dovey School, Pontypool. He left school at the age of seven and went to work at Mr Morgan Jones’ Lower Ace Level, Pontypool. Mr Evans recalled how he used to start work at four o’clock in the morning and only saw daylight on a Sunday. He was paid 3s. 6d. per week, out of that 6d. was deducted for candles and 6d. was deducted for the man who looked after him.

At the age of 13 Mr Evans went to work at Abersychan Colliery for 9s. per week. In 1865 he married Miss Sarah Gauntlett at Trevethin Church and in the same year removed to Risca where he worked in the Risca Collieries. In 1872 they moved to Glyncorrwg returning to Risca in 1877 and from there went to work in Abercarn and was the founder of the old Celynen Band. In 1878 Mr Evans went to work in the South Celynen Colliery where he was a fireman until retirement in 1907.

Mr Thomas Evans had a tragic family history, singularly unfortunate in the mines. His brother was killed in Abersychan Colliery. His first son was killed in the explosion at Abercarn Colliery in 1878. His second son William was killed in the second explosion at Senghenydd. His third son Isaac was killed in the South Celynen Colliery and his fourth son Alburn died as a result of an accident in the colliery.

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