Ffaldau & Garw Collieries

Ffaldau Colliery, c.1970's!

The Ffaldau Colliery

Sinking operations at the Ffaldau or 'Ffalda' Colliery began in June 1878 in the hope of locating steam coal measures under the estate of the Earl of Dunraven. By 1878 the colliery was in full production under the supervision of Edward Plummer, and within four years the mine was employing between 300 and 400 men and producing 400 tons of coal a day.

At the turn of the century the Ffaldau Colliery was firmly established and was continually introducing intricate technology to maximize production. The colliery management adopted such innovations as the Belgian Coke Ovens, the first of their kind in Mid-Glamorgan, and the 'Siemens - Shuckerts' aerial ropeway which removed waste from the colliery site to the hilltop directly above.

The introduction of technological innovations became commonplace during the 20th century and virtually turned the colliery into an industrial guinea pig. Following the nationalisation of the industry in 1947 the Ffladau Colliery was one of the first in South Wales to undergo a major modernisation programme.  The reconstruction work was completed in June 1949 at a final cost of £966, 623 and resulted in an increase of production from 340 tons to 1200 tons a day.

In spite of its modernisation programme, by the 1970's the pit had became uneconomic to maintain since the areas it worked underground could easily be managed by the a Ocean Colliery in Blaengarw. As a result, the two collieries were merged in 1975 with all surface handling facilities and administration being undertaken by the Ocean Colliery.

The Ocean (Garw) Colliery

During the early 1880's David Davies M.P. owner of the Ocean Colliery Company, took out a lease from the Dunraven Estate to establish a Colliery at Nanthir. By September 1886 coal was turning out well from the colliery and it was heading towards full production. In the early 1890's the Ocean Company had grown into the largest mining concerns in South Wales and the Garw Colliery itself had increased its work force to 500 men and had obtained an average daily output of 800 tons.

The Garw Colliery continued production throughout the 20th century absorbing the workforces of all the other collieries in the valley until it remained the only one. By the 1980's it too was fighting for survival, culminating in th long and bitter coal strike of 1984 which finally sounded the death toll for the industry. In December 1985 the National Coal Board closed the Garw Colliery and removed the lifeline that had sustained the valley for over a century.

Workers of The Garw Ffaldau Colliery!


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