Mining School – Crumlin

Mining School – Crumlin

Mining School – Crumlin Monmouthshire.
Prior to established mining schools and colleges, the various aspects of advanced mining education in connection with colliery officials and management etc was usually given at local schools in the coal mining districts. These mining classes were usually held after normal school hours under the Technical Instruction Committees. During the rapid expansion of the coal industry in manpower, mechanisation and technology, special centralised mining classes were planned.

One of the first mining schools in the South Wales valleys was the Cambrian Mining School, Glanffrwd, Porth, Glamorganshire. The mining school was established in 1898. There was also a Universal Mining School at Cardiff and later at Treforest.

The Central Mining School, Crumlin.
In 1908 a central mining school class was established at a secondary school in Crumlin, Monmouthshire, classes were held every Saturday night with 25 lessons being given by each teacher. The lecturers were Mr L. W. Thomas of Ebbw Vale, Mr Price of Llanhilleth and Mr Jones, a surveyor of Ebbw Vale. The students received the necessary preparation in advanced mining, surveying and mechanics for a fee of 10s. for the complete course.

This idea was seen by many as a failure as out of 6,000 miners in the district only 21 students applied for advanced teaching. A letter was published in the South Wales Gazette on Friday 31st March 1911 written by a student from Blaina, in it, he writes of his grievances in having to attend Crumlin and Newbridge Mining School classes, he states that on a Saturday they descend the colliery at 2.00pm and have to ascend at 4.00pm, they only have 2 hours of practical education, then have to change and bath at the pithead before rushing to the station to catch a train back to class, which is in a building shared with school girls and boys. He finished by saying that Newbridge is not central to the mining district, the mining companies pay a lot of rates to the council and the least they could do is provide a proper mining school for all students. It was later suggested that a special purpose built mining school or college equipped to cater for its students from all major areas

In April 1911 the idea of a purpose built mining school at Crumlin for Wales and Monmouthshire was first raised when Mr T. Richards M.P. was waiting to raise the question of mining education in Monmouthshire. It was hoped that the mining students would have a school of their own for the county. Many wanted the school to be free for all students, centrally situated to be convenient for all and that Crumlin was seen to be the ideal location.

The Monmouthshire Education Committee.
On Wednesday 10th January 1912 the Monmouthshire Education Committee held a meeting at the County Council Offices, Newport, Alderman John Daniels presided. The other members who attended were as follows – Aldermen George Jones; William Thomas; S. N. Jones and J. Woodwood: Councillors – W. S. Nash; J. Davies; J. Manning; T. J. Price; Moses Walters; Alfred Onions; Leolin Forestier Walker; L. Foster Stedman; Rev T. Thomas; Mrs P. Wilson Raffan and Mrs James: At this meeting the proposed Mining School at Crumlin was discussed. The architect was requested to draw up plans to construct a purpose built mining school on the site of the old Crumlin Mixed and Infants Schools and if necessary to adopt the old masters house. Aldermen George Jones and S. N. Jones with councillors Hancock and Onions with the architect and secretary were instructed to visit the Wigan Mining School and other mining schools in England before the preparation of the plans.

The Excelsior Mining School.
In 1912 the Excelsior Mining School was advertised as taking in students and the coaching in all subjects. It stated that “backward students” received special attention. The Excelsior Mining School. Pontypridd.

The Monmouthshire Education Committee.
Since their last meeting in connection with the proposed mining school it seems as though the council and the education authority wanted the colliery companies to contribute towards the construction of the mining school at Crumlin.

On Wednesday 5th March 1913 the Monmouthshire Education Committee held a meeting at the County Council Offices, Newport and Councillor J. Winstone raised the question of the proposed Mining School at Crumlin, Alderman S. N. Jones stated there was a hold up in proceedings as they were awaiting to see what the Monmouthshire Coal Owners could contribute. In the meantime the education authority were contacted by the standing joint committee with reference to the taking of the old Crumlin Mixed and Infants Schools for the construction of a police station.

In February 1914 the Monmouthshire County Council held a meeting at the County Council Chamber, Newport. Col W. E. C. Curre J.P., presided. Other members who attended included – Alderman Lord Tredegar; Sir Henry Mather Jackson; T. Richards M.P.; Mr P. Wilson Raffan M.P.; LL. Forestier Walker and many other: At this meeting the mining instruction was debated, it was stated that the Treforest Mining School was paid for by the mining companies of Glamorganshire. The education committee was warned that any mining school should not be built at Crumlin unless there was full public control.

The Coal Owners Education Scheme.
Towards the end of February 1914 a communication was received from Mr Hugh M. Ingledew, secretary to the Lord Mayor of Cardiff’s conference on the co-ordination of mining. The letter contained a scheme for co-ordination in mining instruction submitted by the South Wales and Monmouthshire Mining Education Board, the South Wales Institute of Engineers and the St Johns Ambulance Brigades set out in a schedule dated 24th January 1914.

The schedule of the scheme was for – 1/ The co-ordination of mining instruction throughout the South Wales and Monmouthshire Mining Education Board. 2/ That each authority and institution shall retain complete internal control over its own affairs. 3/ There shall be a co-ordinated syllabus in mining and many more resolutions set out.

Alderman S. N. Jones mentioned the coal owners under the coal owners scheme had taken the Crumlin Hall, they planned on having a school at Swansea, Treforest and one at Crumlin. He told of how it could be made into a mining school at a cost of between £8,000 and £10,000 equal to that expended on Treforest. The sum of £3,000 was expected to be paid on staffing. Sir Clifford Cory said, with reference to students it was to be a free school to anyone provided they pay a fee of £10. 10s. 0d. The coal owners had agreed to allow the men time off work at one eight hour day per week to attend the school.

Arguments broke out over which body should have control, delegates did not want the coal owners or the miners federation to have a hand in any aspect of education. Alderman Thomas said he would rather the mining school be in Cardiff University. After more objections to the coal owners funding of the mining school, Councillor L. Forestier Walker spoke of how appalled he was at hearing the objections from fellow members. He could not understand why it mattered as to who provided the money and who was in control of the the schools, the whole point was the education inside, it paid the coal owners to have better educated men. A vote was taken and the scheme was approved 14 votes to 4.

Crumlin Hall.
The Crumlin Hall was originally the home of Mr H. M. Kennard Esq, and brother, engineer of the Crumlin Viaduct.

It was passed onto Captain P. S. Phillips of the Abertillery Tin Works, the Blaina & Nantyglo Works and also proprietor of the Coed Cae Tillery Coal Levels, Abertillery. 

In 1889 the Crumlin Hall was let to Mr Edgar Edgardo Williams, agent to the South Wales Colliery Company for Newport.

Mr Williams left Crumlin Hall in the 1890’s and the council wanted to purchase it for a school, it was stated that the owner Mr Phillips wanted £10,000 for the property. More information on the Crumlin Hall residents below.

In 1899 Mr D. F. Pritchard of the Western Valley’s Brewery, Crumlin, moved into the Crumlin Hall and expanded his brewery business at Crumlin.

After Mr Pritchard left the area in 1912 it was hoped that the council would have purchased the Crumlin Hall and had the building to house a public library and the grounds for a recreation park, though the report stated that the council didn’t seem interested at that point in time.

The Crumlin Hall, the Mining School.
In March 1914 Mr A. S. Tallis, General Manager of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company hinted that a mining school for the area of Monmouthshire was to be established at Crumlin Hall, Crumlin as a branch of the Treforest Mining School.

On Saturday 16th May 1914 a meeting was held at Newport, Monmouthshire of the principal Monmouthshire colliery proprietors, it was unanimously resolved to proceed with the erection and equipment of a branch school of mines at Crumlin. The branch school was said to become an integral part of the scheme of the South Wales and Monmouthshire School of Mines at Treforest. The Crumlin school would teach the students from the Monmouthshire district to whom Treforest was too difficult to access. The site for the mining school had been secured at this time.

On Wednesday 7th October 1914 the Monmouthshire Education Committee held a meeting at Newport, Monmouthshire with the chairman Alderman J. Daniels presiding. Other members of the committee were as follows – Alderman S. N. Jones J.P., (Vice-Chairman); Mrs Raffan; Aldermen G. R. Harris J.P.; W. Thomas J.P.; J. Woodward J.P.; G. Jones J.P.; and councillors J. W. Davies; J. Manning; F. Lyndon-Cooper; M. Walters; W. S. Nash; W. Hancock and Ll. Forestier-Walker:

At this meeting the mining sub-committee reported that they had interviewed Professor Galloway with reference to the type of mining school to be provided at Crumlin. It was decided that the school should accommodate 60 students and that the curriculum should include syllabuses for first and second-class colliery managers diplomas, which was understood would include mechanical engineering. Professor Galloway expressed his desire to visit the Sheffield School of Mines with the committees architect to prepare a scheme before their next meeting.

Crumlin Mining School Booklet.
After years of debate, proposals and objections as to who should fund and run the mining school at Crumlin, the Mining School was finally established. There doesn’t seem to be an official opening date, it seemed to have evolved over a period of years from 1914 to 1916 when the first booklet appeared (as seen left, which forms part of my collection).

The 80 page booklet in question was issued by the School of Mines, Crumlin for the session 1916-1917. Printed on the front cover is – The first term commences on the 3rd October 1916. It contains information on the school, the type of lessons that could be taken, a map of the interior, photographs of the classes, time-tables and many advertisements in connection with the mining industry. 

The Mining School Staff at Crumlin 1916-1917.
The Deputy Principal and Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering – Mr James Dobbie, A.R.C.Sc.; The Senior Lecturer in Mining – Mr Robert Jones Currie, A.R.T.C., M.I.M.E.; The Assistant Lecturer in Mining – Mr Richard Morgan Evans, B.Sc. (London) M.I.M.E., F.G.S.; The Senior Lecture in Electrical Engineering – Mr R. E. Michael, A.M.I.C.E.; The Senior Lecturer in Mining, Physics and Chemistry – Mr Christopher Lambourne, M.A. (Hons) (Oxon) M.I.M.E.: The Secretary was Mr Hugh M. Ingledew, B.A. (Oxon), of 4 Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff:

The Mining School at Crumlin was established by the coal owners as stated and maintained solely by them. The expense of the scheme was borne by the subscribing collieries by means of a tonnage levy declared on their output. The companies associated with the school had a total output approaching 30,000,000 tons.

The Proposed Small Mining Institutes and Mining Schools.
On Wednesday 6th June 1923 the Monmouthshire Education Committee met at the County Hall, Newport. Chairman was Sir Henry Mather Jackson, was supported by Councillor W. J. Saddler as vice-chairman. At this meeting the Miners Welfare Institutes was discussed and the Miners Welfare Fund, with which it was proposed to erect small institutes or mining schools at a cost of £5,000 each at Abersychan, Abertillery, Ebbw Vale, Newbridge, New Tredegar, Tredegar, Trethomas and Pontllanfraith.

On Monday 20th October 1930 a monthly meeting of the Abertillery Education Committee was held. At this meeting it was stated that the Monmouthshire Education Committee had opened Technical Schools at Abertillery, Pontllanfraith and Twmpath, Pontypool. Hafodyrynys had applied for a grant to go to the Newport Technical College, Mr D. Walters told the meeting that Crumlin Mining School was going to be converted into a Technical College. Therefore grants would not be needed to travel if the education was obtainable locally.

The Later Years.
Over the following years, lessons in all aspects of mining education at the Crumlin Hall diminished, mining classes were once again held at local schools.

In 1930 the Technical School and Institute opened at Clyn Mawr, Abertillery (as seen on the motif on a tea plate from the centre, which is in my collection) with an annex at James’ Billiard Hall, Gaen Street, Abertillery.  The N.C.B. took over the running of the mining schools, later Oakdale Colliery began a mining school and in the 1970’s men and boys were sent to Britannia Mining College, Britannia Colliery at Pengam. It was reported that the Britannia Mining School had been established by the Powell Duffryn Company as early as 1929. 

In the mid 1980’s, the Britannia Mining College closed.


Notes of Interest –
Crumlin Hall was built sometime in the 1850’s for Messrs Kennard, constructors of the Crumlin Viaduct.

The Crumlin Hall was later owned by Mr Phillip Samuel Phillips, Tin Works and Colliery Proprietor.

Mr Phillip Samuel Phillips 1836-1911.
Mr Phillips was born in the Midlands in 1836 and migrated to South Wales in the 1860’s. Mr Phillips came to Monmouthshire to assist his brother-in-law Mr Daniel Whitehouse owner of the Abercarn Tin Plate Works.

In 1869 Mr Phillips purchased the Abertillery Tin Works from the trustees of the estate of the late Mr John Pearce who was partner and part owner with Mr J. Conway.

After the purchase of the Abertillery Tin Works he then extended his interest of the tin plate enterprise by acquiring the works at Blaina-Nantyglo, Pontymister and Machen and became the managing director of the Blaina Tin Plate Company.

Mr Phillips was the Chairman of the Wolseley Sheep Shearing and Machine Company, Birmingham. He purchased the Crumlin Hall from the late Mr Kennard and considerably enlarged it.

Mr Phillips was a very fond of cricket and granted the old Abertillery Cricket Club the use of the Glandwr cricket field which was part of his land. He was also a great friend and supporter of the Volunteer Movement. Along with the Late Colonel Charles Lyne took the command and Mr Phillips and Mr Williams of Maesruddud were the chief officers in the valleys, he was also justice of the peace for Monmouthshire.

Mr Phillips also resided at various times, in North Wales, Wiltshire and Panty-Bailie, Gilwern.

In 1867 Mr Phillips married Miss Anna Maria Robotham of Risca, their family consisted of six sons and four daughters, as follows – Master Cecil Phillips, born 1872; Master F. A. Phillips, (later became a County Cricketer for Oxford and Somerset); Master Clive Phillips, born 1884; Master Gerald Phillips, born 1887; Master Edmund Phillips. His son Mr Lyndsay Phillips, died in Nigeria. Two of the sons later lived in India, one in the Navy and one went into the farming business in Cardiganshire, Wales.

Mr Phillips’ daughters who were listed were named as – Miss Anne E. Phillips, born 1868. Miss Winifred M. Phillips, born 1871 and Miss Grace M. Phillips born 1880.

On the 1891 census Mr and Mrs Phillips were living at Berechurch Hall, Essex.

Mr Phillips moved to Tynygraig near Builth Wells in 1901 and retired there. He passed away in September 1911. At the time of his death Mr Phillips was the Chairman of the South Wales Colliery Company, he had previously taken over from the late Mr Lawrence Heyworth.

In the late 1890’s Crumlin Hall was purchased by Mr D. F. Pritchard, Brewer of the Western Valley’s Brewery, Crumlin.

Mr David Francis Pritchard.
Mr David Francis Pritchard, was born in Llangynidr, Brecknockshire in 1848, the son of Mr Edward and Sarah Pritchard of Llanfrynach, Brecon.

In 1880 Mr David F. Pritchard married Mary Durrant Gibbins. Mary Durrant Gibbins was born in Devonshire on 26th July 1852. A short while after they moved to Buchan Terrace, Rhymney and Mr Pritchard was employed as a Brewery Agent and later manager for the Buchan’s Brewery, Rhymney.

In the late 1890’s the Western Valley’s Brewery, Crumlin was established, Mr Pritchard was living at Crumlin Hall at this time and in 1900 started to advertise the brewery as Messrs D. F. Pritchard Western Valley’s Brewery, Crumlin.

On March 10th 1910 Mrs Mary Durrant Pritchard sadly passed away at 57 years of age. She had been suffering ill health for over two and a half years. Mr Pritchard was interred at Mynyddislwyn Parish Church.

In February 1912 Mr Pritchard left Crumlin Hall and the district and took up residence in Goytre House, near Abergavenny. Upon him leaving it was decided that he should be the recipient of a testimonial and a strong committee with Dr Ryan as the chairman, Mr F. J. Matthews as vice-chairman and councillor M. Gorman as treasurer and Mr Walter Jones as secretary was formed to carry it out. The public’s generosity was so great that the committee commissioned an oil painting of Mr Pritchard standing by a horse. The painting was carried out by two of the leading artists in the country at that time, Mr George Wright born 1860 in Leeds, well known equestrian and hunting artist and Mr P. M. Teasdale, I cannot find anything on the artist Teasdale.

On Thursday 15th February 1912 the unveiling of the portrait and a banquet was held at the Viaduct Hotel, Crumlin.

In 1914 Crumlin Hall was taken by the coal owners and converted into a mining school for the Western Valley’s Mining District.

In December 1923 Mr David Francis Pritchard sadly passed away at his residence the Goytre House, near Abergavenny.

In February 1930 it was announced that Messrs Andrew Buchan’s Breweries Ltd of Rhymney had purchased the greater part of the business, the bulk of the houses and the goodwill of Messrs D. R. Pritchard, Ltd of Crumlin.

Abertillery Mining and Technical  Institute.
The Abertillery Mining and Technical Institute, held at the Technical School, Clyn Mawr, Abertillery had an annex at James’ Billiard Hall, Gaen Street, Abertillery. The hall situated just above Ping’s Place, Chinese Takeaway closed in the 1960’s and was demolished in the 1980’s. The site was cleared and is now a small Car Park. 

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