South Griffin Collieries

South Griffin Collieries

The South Griffin Colliery No2 and No3 Pits.
The First Pit No2 South Griffin Colliery.
In the early 1880’s the first pit was sunk at the South Griffin Colliery.

On Friday 16th November 1883 the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser printed the following report from the directors of the Nantyglo and Blaina Ironworks Company Limited – Messrs John Lancaster & Co had completed the South Griffin Colliery and were making arrangements in relation with the forming of a railway connection with the Monmouthshire Railway Company’s Western Valley’s Lines.

This news coincided with the Blaina Furnaces Company being rebuilt and the starting of a new furnace and of the old furnaces with three hot-air stoves along with the construction of thirty-six new Coppee coke ovens. The addition of new steam hammers, engines and boilers at the Blaina Iron and Tin Plate Works. Messrs John and William Stone expending a great deal of money in making an underground railway of 1,400 yards long to extract from a valuable tract of coal and in making their own brickworks which will bring in royalties from fireclay. The improvement of farm lands and buildings, workmen’s cottages and other houses have been erected and new day schools to accommodate 1,300 children. The completion of the Blaina Public Hall and plans to build a new market-house.

Mr John Lancaster.
The company of Messrs J. Lancaster & Co was headed by Mr John Lancaster who leased the Blaina Collieries and Works in 1878.

Following is a Link to – Mr John Lancaster.

The Colliery Ventilation Fan.
On Saturday 6th October 1888 the ventilation fan broke down at the South Griffin Colliery No2, it was reported to have been one of the largest ventilation fans in South Wales.

The Second Pit No3 South Griffin Colliery.
The Ceremony of Cutting the Sod.
On Saturday 21st September 1888 it was reported in the South Wales Gazette that Messrs John Lancaster & Co had cut the sod for the new South Griffin Pit next to the old pit. The ceremony was presided over by Mr and Mrs John Dakers of the Woodlands, Blaina. An engine and special carriage set off from the offices of the company, having onboard Messrs Dakers; Messrs J. P. D. Williams; Mr and Mrs Wilkins; Mr and Mrs Bowen; Messrs Parsons; Swinden; Enyon; Martin; Drew; Lewis and many more: The train was met with Dr and Mrs Soper; Mrs Morgan and Mr Walsh amid the noise of railway charges and fire-crackers:

The cutting of the sod commenced at five-o-clock, the visitors crowded around what was called a “Magic ring” of green turf which had been selected as the spot to operate in. Mr Dakers called upon the Rector to offer prayers for the success of the undertaking after which Mr J. P. D. Williams presented Mrs Dakers with a ceremonial spade to perform the digging of the new shaft. A photograph was taken of the group and the party then moved into a nearby out-building attached to the farm in which they had tea.

The Sinking.
On Monday 13th October 1890 the Western Mail Newspaper reported that the previous Saturday 11th October a dinner was given at the Queens Hotel, Blaina by Messrs John Lancaster & Co Ltd to celebrate the completion of sinking operations and coal winning at their No3 Pit at the South Griffin Colliery. The shaft was 240 yards deep equal to 720 feet.

The Griffin Pits.
The Griffin Colliery, Blaina pre-dates the later Griffin Collieries. When the Lancaster Company sunk the colliery in Bournville and also named that the Griffin they had to name it South Griffin to differentiate between the two. I believe that from that point (looking at old maps) the original Griffin Colliery at Blaina became known as the North Griffin. When the company later sunk another shaft at the South Griffin, that was named No3, the collieries at Bournville were then known as the South Griffin No2 and No3, therefore the North Griffin at Blaina was then labelled No1. In 1890 the Lancaster Company began sinking the Arrael Griffin Colliery and its shafts were numbered No4 and No5.

The Aberbeeg Super Colliery.
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 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. There is no mention of why this colliery ceased development, what its official name was, it may have been part of the Griffin combine and numbered consecutively.

Managers at the Colliery.
The South Griffin Colliery was operational less than 40 years in coal production, during this time had only a few managers. The following are just a couple that I found in reports –

Mr Tom Jones, in 1902 Mr Jones was awarded the role of manager to all the company’s collieries. He had previously been manager at the Tillery Colliery, Abertillery.

Mr Hywel Morgan, Mr Morgan was appointed manager in 1912, he lived at 47 Cwmcelyn Road, Blaina.

Mr Thomas Powell, Mr Powell lived at Bournville Road, Blaina.

Mr Thomas Davies, manager in the 1920’s.

(More information to come).

The Colliery used as a Film Location.
In 1935 the ruins of the South Griffin Colliery was chosen as the part setting of a film called “Things To Come” adapted from a novel written by H. G. Wells.

Following is a Link to – The Story of the Film Location.

The Closure of the South Griffin.
After the 1921 miners lock-out the collieries production and sales waned and the South Griffin Colliery was closed along with the Henwain and Lower Deep Collieries. The company mothballed the closed collieries for future planning and in June 1940 mining agents and the secretaries of mines asked what would be required in the reopening of these collieries at Blaina, though at this time they questioned the capability of them being worked as of lack of manpower.

 

Points of Interest – Colliery Fatalities.
This list of deaths at the South Griffin Colliery, Blaina, covers most of those reported in National and Local Newspapers. This page is fluid and will be updated as more information is received.

1885.
Mr John Griffiths. Died – Saturday 12th December 1885. Death caused by a fall of roof. Mr Griffiths lived in Brynmawr.

1892.
Mr David Rees, aged 35. Died – Tuesday 24th May 1892. Death caused by – Mr Rees fell from the cage whilst descending No3 Pit. Mr Rees lived at High Street, Blaina.

Mr Isaac James, aged 17. Died – Wednesday 2nd November 1892. Death caused by being crushed by a journey of drams.

1893.
Mr Thomas Harris, aged 40. Died – Monday 25th September 1893. Death caused by a fall of roof at No2 Pit. Mr Harris lived at Clydach Street, Brynmawr.

Mr Evan Powell. Died – Tuesday 26th December 1893. Death caused by being crushed by drams.

Mr Charles Davies Selway, aged 16. Died – Wednesday 27th December 1893. Death caused by being crushed between the footboards of the workmen’s train and the platform of the South Griffin stop.

1894.
Mr William Griffiths, aged 33. Died – Saturday 3rd February 1894. Death caused by a fall of roof. The accident occurred on Friday 2nd February and Mr Griffiths died on Saturday 3rd February 1894. Mr Griffiths lived at Alma Street, Brynmawr.

Master John George Jones, aged 13. Died – Friday 10th August 1894. Death caused by crushing, a journey of drams at No2 Pit. Master Jones lived at Pump Street, Blaina.

1895.
Mr Alfred Weeks, aged 42. Died – Friday 12th April 1895. Death caused by a fall of coal at No3 Pit. Accident occurred on Thursday 11th April and Mr Weeks died Friday 12th April 1895. Mr Weeks lived at Clydach Road, Brynmawr.

1896.
Mr Edward Morgan, aged 22. Died – Tuesday 25th February 1896. Death caused by being crushed by a journey at No2 Pit. Mr Morgan lived at Brynmawr.

Mr William Poole, aged 20. Died – Friday 22nd May 1896. Death caused by a fall of roof. Mr Poole lived at 36 Hope Street Blaina.

1897.
Mr William Samuel Pritchard, aged 39. Died – Monday 29th March 1897. Death caused by a fall of roof No2 Pit. Mr Pritchard lived at 5 Fitzroy Street, Brynmawr.

Mr Dennis John Wadman, aged 23. Died – Monday 19th July 1897. Death caused by a fall of coal, No3 Pit. Mr Wadman lived at 32 Cwmcelyn Road, Blaina.

1898.
Mr Thomas Powell, aged 18. Died – Tuesday 15th March 1898. Death caused by a fall of roof. Mr Powell lived at 4 Morgan Street, Abertilley.

Mr Peter Ewart, aged 20. Died – Monday 4th April 1898. Death caused by burns from an accident with oil at the lamproom at the No3 colliery. The accident occurred on Wednesday 16th March while Mr Ewart was cleaning lamps and whilst disposing of the old oil from a container the fuel spilled onto him and ignited causing burns to his back and lower limbs to which he never recovered. Mr Peter Ewart lived at 17 Gladstone Street, Blaina.

1900.
Mr Ernest Parry, aged 18. Died – Friday 13th July 1900. Death caused by a fall of roof. Mr Parry lived at Forge Rise, Nantyglo.

1901.
Mr William John Davies. Died – Thursday 28th March 1901. Death caused by being crushed while jumping onto a workmen’s train heading to the colliery. The accident occurred on Wednesday 20th March, he never recovered from his injuries and passed away the following day Thursday 28th March 1901. Mr Williams lived at Nantyglo.

1902. 
Mr Thomas Williams. Died – Thursday 8th May 1902. Death caused by a fall.

1903.
Mr John Purslow, aged 37. Died – Wednesday 7th January 1903. Death caused by a fall of roof at No3 Pit. Mr Purslow lived at Worcester Street, Brynmawr.

Mr John Blackmore, aged 52. Died – Wednesday 18th February 1903. Death caused by – Mr Blackmore fell from a coal wagon at No2 Pit.

Mr George Hawkins. Died – Saturday 18th July 1903. Death caused by a fall of stone at No2 Pit. Mr Hawkins lived at Henwain Street, Blaina.

1904.
Mr Albert Bertie Cowley, aged 17. Died – Friday 18th November 1904. Death caused by being crushed by a goods train while crossing the lines at the colliery on his way home from work.

1907.
Mr William Davies, aged 59. Died – Friday May 17th 1907. Death caused by a fall of roof at No3 Pit. Mr Davies lived at King Street, Nantyglo.

Mr John Cumming, aged 58. Died – Saturday 28th September. Death caused by being crushed by two coal trucks.

1908.
Mr Thomas Morgan, aged 60. Died – Friday 7th February 1908. Death caused by being crushed by a journey. Mr Morgan lived at 74 Abertillery Road, Blaina.

1909.
Mr William Bainton, aged 69. Died – Saturday 25th December 1909. Mr Bainton was badly injured at No2 Pit on Tuesday 21 December and died of his injuries Saturday 25th December 1909. Mr Bainton lived at High Street, Blaina.

1910.
Mr Edmund Jones, aged 70. Died – Wednesday 31st August 1910. Death caused by being crushed by a dram of timber at No3 Pit. Mr Jones lived at Shop Row, Blaina.

Mr Albert Morris. Died – Saturday 10th December 1910. Death caused by being crushed by a journey.

1911.
Mr William Jenkins, aged 74. Died – Thursday 30th November 1911. Death caused by being crushed by a dram No3 Pit. Mr Jenkins lived at 59 Coronation Street, Blaina.

1912.
Mr James Jones, aged 52. Died – Thursday 15th August 1912. Death caused by being crushed by a journey of drams at No3 Pit. Mr Jones lived at Brynmawr.

Mr Edmund Adams, aged 51. Died – Wednesday 28th August 1912. Death caused from suffocation at No2 Pit. Mr Adams lived at Lancaster Street, Blaina.

Mr William Henry Tout, aged 21. Died – Friday 1st November 1912. Death caused by being crushed by a journey of drams. Mr Tout lived with his aunt Mrs Nash at 4 Mount Pleasant Terrace, Blaina.

Mr Edward Dudley Ward, aged 60. Died – Tuesday 17th December 1912. Death caused by being crushed by a journey of drams at No3 Pit. Mr Ward lived at Brynmawr.

1914.
Mr Watts, aged 60. Died – Thursday 2nd April 1914. Death caused by being crushed by a journey of drams at No2 Pit. Mr Watts lived at Railway Terrace, West Side, Blaina.

Mr W. H. Jackson, aged 21. Died – Saturday 20th June 1914. Death caused by a fall of roof. Mr Jackson was a timberman’s assistant to his father, he was a member of the Blaina Lancaster Town Band, of which his father was secretary. Mr Jackson lived at Abertillery Road, Blaina.

1915.
Mr James Chamberlain, aged 50. Died – Wednesday 14th April 1915. Death caused by being crushed by a journey of drams. Mr Chamberlain lived at Hope Street, Blaina.

Mr Enos Oakey, aged 40. Died -Saturday 21st August 1915. Death caused by a fall of roof at No3 Pit. Mr Oakey lived at Blaenavon Terrace.

Mr John Davies, aged 68. Died – Tuesday 28th September 1915. Death caused by a fall of roof at No3 Pit. Mr Davies lived at Lancaster Street, Blaina.

1918.
Mr Leonard Ward Allen, aged 33. Died – Saturday 5th October 1918. Death caused by a roof fall at No3 Pit. Mr Allen lived at Moriah Cottage, Club Row, Blaina.

Mr David Williams. Died – Saturday 14th December 1918. Death caused from being crushed by a fall of roof on the 11th December. Mr Williams was taken to Blaina Hospital where he later passed away on 14th December 1918.

1919.
Mr William Rees. Died – Tuesday 18th February 1919. Death caused by a fall of roof at No3 Pit. Mr Rees lived at Winchestown, Nantyglo.

1920.
Mr John Griffiths, aged 59. Died – Monday 17th May 1920. Death caused by a fall of roof. Mr Griffiths lived at 73 Bailey Street, Brynmawr.

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