Tower Colliery


Tower Colliery

Tower Colliery was the oldest continuously worked deep-coal mine in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world, and the only mine of its kind remaining in the South Wales Valleys. It is located near the village of Rhigos, north of the town of Aberdare in the Cynon Valley south Wales.

Colliery Buy-Out by Workers

The colliery was worked from 1805 until the late 1990s, when the Conservative government sought to close it down. In 1994, the constituency MP, Ann Clwyd staged a sit-in in the mine to protest its closure. She was accompanied by the late Glyndwr 'Glyn' Roberts (Senior) of Penywaun.

Later that year many of the original mineworkers banded together to purchase the colliery, led by local NUM Branch Secretary Tyrone O'Sullivan. Philip Weekes, the renowned Welsh mining engineer, was a key advisor to the buy-out team and became (unpaid) Chairman of Goitre Tower Anthracite, the new company formed to run Tower Colliery. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article1147641.ece Times online] ] The mine remained financially viable and continued to provide employment to the workers, in spite of the government's coal mining policy, which had forced the closure of the mine for reasons of economics. The colliery was until its closure, one of the largest employers in the Cynon Valley.

Closure

There has been talk of using machinery and manpower from Tower to boost production at the nearby Aberpergwm Colliery, a smaller mine closed by the National Coal Board in 1985 but reopened by a private concern in the mid 1990s. [Cite web
url = http://www.energybuild.co.uk/
title = Energybuild Home Page
accessdate = 2007-12-07
publisher = Energybuild Holdings
]

The Aberdare branch of the Merthyr line continues north from Aberdare railway station to the colliery. While passenger services terminate in Aberdare, a freight services operates, several times a day, along this stretch of line, owned by the colliery.

Due to dwindling coal seams, the colliery was last worked on January 18 2008 and the official closure of the colliery occurred on January 25.Cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7200432.stm
title = Coal mine closes with celebration
accessdate = 2008-01-25
publisher = BBC News
]

The Site

There are plans to use the site of the colliery as a museum or to use the site as a tourism resort

References

External links

* [http://www1c.btwebworld.com/tower-coal/tmenu.html out-dated (1999?) Tower Colliery website with a good history]
* [http://www.towercolliery.co.uk/ newer Tower Colliery website]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4653710.stm BBC News: Miner-owned pit faces closure]


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