Photo: Glamorgan and Brecon Police on duty at Tareni Colliery during the Strike on 27th July 1911 – Mine Manager at centre (Mr Tom Williams)

Colliery Strikes

Swansea Valley July 1911 – The Tareni Colliery dispute

This was one of the most violent and brutal episodes of the coalmining history of the Swansea Valley. It is a story of social unrest, police brutality, miners’ brutality, rioting, lock-outs, battles in the streets, and of starving children whose parents could not afford food for their families. This account informs the present generations of how their forefathers and mothers fought for a living wage and the right to work. This story has been largely forgotten because it happened over 100 years ago and it has also been overshadowed by other similar bitter industrial strikes at the Rhondda Valley and Cardiff docks. The Tareni dispute involved the entire communities of Godre’r Graig and Ystalyfera, and every village around the mine. This is a political and social history involving national government, local councils, trade unions, police and civilians.

Extract from Tareni Colliery – “On Wednesday morning everything was quiet, and it would have been difficult to say that anything abnormal had occurred except perhaps for the presence of about 100 policemen who had been conveyed to the colliery by taxi-cabs and motor cars from various areas of Glamorgan. In our conversation with one of those who witnessed the greater proportion of the trouble, our representative was informed that evidently the police had gained considerable experience during their stay in Tonypandy. Many, if not all, of the police engaged had spent some time in the Rhondda. It is expected that several questions will be asked in the House of Commons in connection with the affair”.

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