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Report - Cwm Cokeworks, Beddau, Jan 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by huey, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Well known on the scene and somewhere ive wanted to visit for ages. Visited with the illustrious Clebby,we wanted to see the older,often overlooked parts of the site.But you cant help yourself being taken in by the huge structures everywhere.
    This place still has over 30 million tonnes of coal underground and has reserve seams not even tapped into,its just too expensive in the current climate to extract it.In the event of a national fuel emergency the Port Talbot area has been earmarked for use-its 130 million tonnes of coal can be open cast,the town evacuated and people relocated elsewhere.

    HISTORY

    Originally four farm settlements meeting at crossroads (Beddau means 'graves' so possibly this place got its name from the hangings which usually took place at crossroads.The skum of the day would be hung and left,giving a warning to others.) In the 1860's coal pits were sunk,by 1909 it had grown into a colliery.
    1958 the coke works opened,coke is a solid fuel made by heating coal in sealed,airtight ovens for 26 hours.Cwm coke had a very low sulphur content making it suitable for foundry work.In its day,this place could produce 1500 tonnes a day.
    People don't realise how big this place is,its huge and you can only see whats above ground. Over 4 miles of conveyors,13 miles of roadway and 6 locomotives were all underground.
    Two shafts 'Mildred' and 'Margaret' were built, (would have been better if they'd called them George and Mildred,no?) both 25 foot diameter,brick lined and 2250 ft deep. A 2 inch thick rope connected the lift to the 2'400 hp winding engine.
    In 1918 it employed 603 men,by the 1970's that had grown to 1500.

    The works in 1916
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    TODAY

    Planning has been given for a £17m building proposal-850 new houses,school,sports hall etc with a promise to redevelop Beddau too-with the average price of a 3-bed semi round here now creeping upwards of £100,now might be a good time to property invest.
    Only the grade 2 listed,uber rare wooden cooling towers will be saved.

    THE EXPLORE

    Windblown,desolate,forgotten about and discarded.Wales is all these and more,but lets press on with the explore.Shuttering banging,wind howling,suicidal stairs,oil soaked concrete,this place assaults the senses in more ways than one. When the Clebster crumbled an apparently solid looking piece of iron with his bare hands I knew we were in for a good explore.
    Metal thieves,arson attacks and the weather have all taken their toll,but still I loved it. Its truly immense,dangerous and epic.

    The site today
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    Some of the 109 coke ovens...
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    Outside of the ovens,bring a wide angle lens..
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    This 'Larry Car' was pulled along receiving the red hot coke straight from the ovens
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    The labs
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    Some arty stuff
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    Bevin Boys

    As more and more miners answered the call-up of war,one man Ernest Bevin (hence the name,) saw the short fall of men problem.He was Minister of Labour and National Service at the time and implemented a scheme where young men were conscripted into the job.They wore their own clothes,worked alongside the miners and earned a pittance. Over 48'000 served during the war years.

    Mel Harris,Bevin Boy,Cwm Colliery 1944-47
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    From a time when work was hard and health and safety was your own common sense,working here must have been a cacophony of noise,heat,dirt and vibration.Time has not been kind here,it looks like it was abandoned 100 years ago.The structures still stand tall and proud,a testament to the men who worked here.
    Those with a deep love for heavy corrosion should visit before it really is too late.
    Thanks for looking.
     

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  2. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    Nice to see her still about. Been a few times before and enjoyed it there a lot. Will be a shame to see it go.
     
  3. Maniac

    Maniac rebmeM LD82
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    The decay here astounds me after just 12 years or so of closure. I've come to the conclusion there must be something that's accelerated the decay in metal structures here, I know you get a lot of by products from coking coal so I've always wondered if some of these have had a nasty effect on the metal.
     
  4. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Great report and pictures.

    One thing though, and you probably know this... this was the coke plant, not the colliery. The colliery site is directly to the North and there's only one building left there...

    [​IMG]

    It is a fascinating place though.
     
  5. The_Raw

    The_Raw 28DL Regular User
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    Top notch stuff mate, absolutely loved this place and should really stick a few pics up myself. Interesting about the underground stuff, wouldn't mind having a nosey around for tunnels next time
     
  6. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Fingers crossed for a fuel emergency then!

    Like the rusty stairs
     
  7. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    Tis a great site for a wander and loads to see..nice one mate
     
  8. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Yeah, it's still one of the best and consistent industrial explores out there, need to go back actually.
     
  9. WhoDaresWins

    WhoDaresWins Let's do this
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    I always thought that too. Looks as though it was closed in the 80's.
     
  10. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks for all the comments guys,is still an epic place.
     
  11. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Great report mate :thumb
     
  12. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Still on my list to do :)

    Nice report and great pics :D

    Thanks for postin' :thumb
     
  13. Lenston

    Lenston Bajo Tierra
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    I've looked for the tunnels here a few times but no luck, great day out though no matter how many times you visit.
     
  14. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    What's the score with these tunnels, I've heard a few people mention them now. Explorers have been all over that place so I thought they would have been spotted.
     
  15. Lenston

    Lenston Bajo Tierra
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    I've heard there are some connecting tunnels from the old Cwm colliery still around somewhere.
     
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