The Gray Colliery – A Brief History.
Powell’s Tillery Steam Coal Co.
After the sinking of the Gray Colliery began in 1889 the actual opening took some time, slightly delayed, the first coal was wound in the early 1890’s.
From the time of its sinking and through the early part of the 1900’s the colliery was owned by the Powell’s Company along with the Vivian and Penybont Collieries. A drivage was driven from the Vivian Colliery to the Gray Colliery then onto and into the Penybont Tillery Colliery for ventilation purposes. The Gray Colliery became the up-cast shaft for the three collieries.
Ebbw Vale Steel Iron and Coal Co Ltd & T. Beynon and Co Ltd.
On 10th July 1916, negotiations began to acquire the collieries belonging to the Powell’s Tillery Steam Coal Co Ltd by the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co Ltd & T. Beynon and Co Ltd.
The new directors consisted of Mr J. W. Beynon the head of T. Beynon and Co and the director of the Ebbw Vale Company; Mr Frederick Mills the managing director; Sir Henry Mather Jackson Bart and Major John Charters Kirk.
The Powell’s Tillery Steam Coal Company was formed in 1904 taking over the previous Powell’s Tillery Company company formed in 1882. It had a share capital of £144,006 and a debenture issue of £65,200, The collieries output was about 900,000 tons annually, total value was over half a million sterling. The Powell’s Tillery Company directors were – Col H. A. Powell; Messrs E. Heseltine; William Newall; W. J. Roch; and William Stewart (Managing Director); would retire. The Ebbw Vale Co were to take over the management of these collieries.
The Ebbw Vale Company Takeover.
On Friday June 30th 1916 the collieries belonging to the Powell’s Tillery Steam Coal Co Ltd were finally acquired by the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co Ltd & T. Beynon and Co Ltd.
The new directors consisted of Mr J. W. Beynon the head of T. Beynon and Co and the director of the Ebbw Vale Company; Mr Frederick Mills (Managing Director); Sir Henry Mather Jackson Bart; and Major John Charters Kirk.
In 1923 a new ventilation fan was installed at the Gray Colliery to improve the ventilation.
In August 1929 a new drift was driven from the Gray Colliery to aid in ventilation.
Messrs Partridge Jones and John Paton Ltd.
In July 1937 it was reported that the collieries of the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Co Ltd had recently been taken over by the Messrs Partridge Jones and John Paton Ltd.
Throughout its short history the Gray Colliery, Abertillery was closed and re-opened many times, partly due to lack of trade and other problems such as losing the coal seams and other difficulties. The colliery stopped producing coal sometime in the 1930’s and became a mines training facility. The colliery headgear remained long after it closed and the whole area was covered over with waste during the valley landfill scheme in the early 1970’s.
The Later Years.
The Abertillery Comprehensive School now occupies the colliery site and the old shaft is directly beneath the school’s tennis courts.
(More information to come)