Report - Cwm Coke, Beddau - 22/11/09

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Dec 8, 2009
Abbeymead, Gloucester
Visited with clebby and ImmortalOwl.

Coke is an almost pure fuel that is produced by burning coal in airless, cylindrical, battery-like ovens. Coke fuelled the industrial revolution, being a vital ingredient in blast furnaces, and is still used in steel production. Although when burned it is smokeless, to produce it requires a huge ammount of heat and energy.

There was originally a colliery named "Cwm Colliery" at this site in Beddau, just south of Pontypridd in Rhondda Cynon Taf, that was sunk in 1909. No coal was actually extracted until 1914, however, and then it came from two shafts, Margaret and Mildred which were over 750 yards deep. In 1928 the colliery was taken over by Powell Duffryn Associated Colleries Limited, and at this point it employed over 1000 men. It operated under their name until 1948 when the National Coal Board (NCB) was established to manage the nationalised coal industry in the UK. The NCB updated the colliery in a massive £9 million redevelopment between 1952 and 1960. This included connection Cwm (pronounced "Coomb") to Coedely Tonyrefail, and of course building a massive Cokeworks, Cwm Coke.

In the 70s, the cokeworks alone employed 1,500 men and produced some 515,000 tonnes of coke each year. It continued to do so until 1986, when the NCB was privatised. The colliery ceased production at this point, but the cokeworks were bought buy CPL Industries and continued producing coke right up until 2002. It would have remained open had it not been for the fact it was extremely outdated, in desparete need of modernisation and no one was willing to invest in new technologies.

The only word I can think of to sum up the site is "wow". I've done a fair bit of industry but nothing on this scale or size, and certainly nothing with so much left behind. Machines and paperwork are still in-situ and that silo is truly epic. There's loads of decay and rust covers everything, but that almost adds to the place. However, one thing I will add is that never have I seen a site in such bad condition considering it has only been empty seven years. Vandalism, metal stripping and arson (though I saw no signs of fire) have devastated parts of the site, and seven Welsh winters have not been kind. In some places rust is so bad solid iron bars can be snapped with your fingers, metal walkways disintergrate at your touch and sheets of loose metal flap and bang in the wind. Still, this place is well worth the risk.
I thought that clebby's semation of this place was rather good, so I used it. Hope you dont mind too much mate :thumb

Anyway, the photos...

The first thing you see when you get anywhere near this place are the chimneys, conveyers and the main silo, all towering well over 120 feet high. Stupidly, I didn't take any photos of the main silo :banghead



Once inside, we were greeted by hundreds of small coking ovens...


Although It only closed in 2002, the whole pace is beginning to be consumed by the elements, prodominantly by water. The whole place was damp, and some areas were completely cut off.




We decided to leave the silo until the end, incase we were caught. Instead, we headed for the boilers. The ground floor was a mess with not much to see, but above were three massive boilers. Each was about 15 feet tall. These were obviously very important in the coking procedure.





To end our trip, we headed for the silo taking pictures on the way...





The views from the top were spectacular, but by this time I was very tired so didn't take many photos.


Cheers :thumb


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