Tareni Colliery 1902 – 1949
This new publication on coalmining in Wales is the first complete history of a coalmine in the Swansea Valley region, an area once boasting over fifty collieries.
The first chapter covers the geology of the Swansea Valley region and the anthracite coalfield, and the creation of The South Wales Primrose Coal Company Ltd which sank Tareni Colliery between 1902 and 1905. The continuing chapters discuss how the pits were sunk and operated and describe the different types of mine equipment and how they were used both below and above ground. The book identifies the different uses for anthracite coals in industry, agriculture and domestic markets, specifically those of the nickel refining processes at the nearby Mond Nickel Refinery at Clydach, whose parent Company eventually purchased Tareni Colliery in 1928. The markets for anthracite coals in Europe, Canada and the United States of America are outlined with their impact on the development of the anthracite coal industry in South Wales. The transport systems of canal, sea, rail and road used by the mines are discussed, some of which were innovative at that time.
Local social issues are very well documented in this book from reports in Llais Llafur (the newspaper of the Ystalyfera region). They describe the many bitter strikes that took place in the mining industry as Trade Unions attempted to unionise the workforce, together with the mine owners’ and the government’s responses to those actions. The many accidents and deaths caused by coalmining are described, along with the curse of “the dust” (silicosis and pneumoconiosis) that damaged the health of thousands of coalminers.
Tareni Colliery took five years to research and to write and much of it has been written from interviews with the few surviving miners who worked there and at neighbouring mines, using their words and terminology. We are proud to have recorded for posterity the stories of those tough but now elderly men (five of whom have now sadly passed away) and of their wives and children and the great things some of them achieved in their communities.
Mr Stephen Hughes, B.A, M.Phil., FSA., F.R.Hist.S. Secretary-General of the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage said of Tareni Colliery: “Some of the explanation of types of coal I have found impossible to define from standard works elsewhere, and for the anthracite coalfield of South-west Wales this is a very valuable source”, and “Craft skills and artisan practices, unknown from other sources, are made clear here”.
Clive Reed BA (Hons) Dip. Loc. Hist., C&G Craft Cert