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Report - - Tower Colliery, Glamorgan - Apr 2016 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Tower Colliery, Glamorgan - Apr 2016

WhoDaresWins

Let's do this
Regular User
#1
Visited with @Boba Low & @Seffy

This turned out to be a very good little place to explore having scoped out a few other places in region previously. Lots of stuff still there but our explore was cut short a little given that a van turned up on site, so we made made our exit. Shame really as I was looking forward to seeing more of it.

Tower Colliery (Welsh: Glofa Twr) was the oldest continuously working deep-coal mine in the United Kingdom, and possibly the world, and the last mine of its kind to remain in the South Wales Valleys. With coal located so close to the surface, it was known by locals to be possible to drift mine coal from Hirwaun common. This activity increased from 1805, until in 1864 the first drift named Tower was started, named after the nearby Crawshay's Tower, a folly built in 1848 and named for Richard Crawshay.

In 1941, a new shaft was sunk to a depth of 160 metres. From 1943 until closure, this shaft was used as the main ventilation shaft and for the transport of men. In 1958 Tower No. 3 was driven to meet the No. 4 colliery workings, and was used as the main intake; airway, conveying coal to the surface and transporting materials into the mine working areas.

Post the 1984/5 UK Miner's strike, the Conservative government authorised British Coal to close the majority of the UK's deep mines on economic grounds, nominally including Tower. But from 30 June 1986, with new underground roads having been driven, all coal from Mardy Colliery was also raised at Tower, the two mines effectively working as one coalfield system. Mardy closed as an access shaft on 21 December 1990.

In October 1993 the red flag was raised on Hirwaun common as a symbol of unity between workers of Tower Colliery during a march to commemorate the Merthyr Rising in 1831, and highlight the plight of their own pit.. In 1994, the constituency MP, Ann Clwyd staged a sit-in in the mine to protest its closure, accompanied by the late Glyndwr 'Glyn' Roberts (Senior) of Penywaun.

British Coal closed Tower Colliery on 22 April 1994, on the grounds that it would be uneconomic in current market conditions to continue production.
Led by local NUM Branch Secretary Tyrone O'Sullivan, 239 miners joined TEBO (Tower Employees Buy-Out), with each pledging £8,000 from their redundancy payouts to buy back Tower. Against stiff central government resistance to the possibility of reopening the mine as a coal production unit, a price of £2 million was eventually agreed. With their bid accepted, the miners marched back to the pit on 2 January 1995, with a balloon inflated for each worker. On 3 January 1995 the Colliery re-opened under the ownership of the workforce buy out company Goitre Tower Anthracite. Philip Weekes, the renowned Welsh mining engineer, was a key advisor to the buy-out team and became (unpaid) Chairman.

Although the mine remained financially viable and continued to provide employment to the workers, by the time of the buyout the only seam worked at Tower was the Seven Feet/Five Feet, a combined seam of several leaves which offered 1.3m of anthracite in a mined section of 1.65m. Working directly under the shaft of the former Glyncorrwg Colliery's (Nr, Maesteg) nine feet workings, the four faces worked in the western section of the lease were considered uneconomic by British Coal.

As the worked seam reduced in capacity, the management team considered three possibilities to extended the length of mine production:
  • Work another nine faces in the existing workings, in coal classed only as mineral potential.​
  • Address the water problem in the Bute seam, to the northwest.​
  • Open new developments in the Nine Feet seam, 100 m above the existing seam; the Four Feet seam, a further 30 m above.​
But none of these prospects seemed economic, so the board recommended that work be concentrated on coal to the north of the existing workings, which had been left to protect the safety of the existing shafts. Accepted by the workforce and shareholders in an open vote, this decision effectively accepted the end of Tower as a deep mine.

Having mined out the northern coal extracts, the colliery was last worked on 18 January 2008 and the official closure of the colliery occurred on 25 January, 2008. The colliery was until its closure, one of the largest employers in the Cynon Valley.​

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Thanks for looking.​
 

tumbles

Trip Hopping
Regular User
#4
Nice work. The owners - i.e. the miners themselves - usually are pretty friendly and sometimes will open up the bathhouses and so forth. I think they are now doing open cast mining on the otherside where the wash plant used to be.. then they'll regenerate the site. It's a wonderful story and a fuck you to the goverment proving these mines could be profitable for many years after their earmarked closure.
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#5
Nice. This ones the forgotten colliery, couldn't believe it when we went back last year and it was all wide open and deserted. Why i've hardly seen another photo in 5 years i do not know! No doubt things will change after this report and every goon and his blinkered dog will be there next week but hey ho!

Make sure to go back for the bath house when you get a chance its a cracker and definitely dont need to ask anyone to get in anymore, pure abandoned!
 

WhoDaresWins

Let's do this
Regular User
#6
Nice. This ones the forgotten colliery, couldn't believe it when we went back last year and it was all wide open and deserted. Why i've hardly seen another photo in 5 years i do not know! No doubt things will change after this report and every goon and his blinkered dog will be there next week but hey ho!

Make sure to go back for the bath house when you get a chance its a cracker and definitely dont need to ask anyone to get in anymore, pure abandoned!
We wanted to do the bath house too. But there were two caravans on site near the gate. They looked lived it as well. So I think there are people in site. Might be a recent thing though. If I'm back in the area again I'd like to see more of it though, the bath house in particular.
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#7
The caravans were there when we were last there but no sign of anyone in them. I think some of the workshops are used by the opencast mine during the week so maybe they use them. Tbh we just walked down the drive and in the door on a Saturday afternoon.
 

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#9
Nice. This ones the forgotten colliery, couldn't believe it when we went back last year and it was all wide open and deserted. Why i've hardly seen another photo in 5 years i do not know! No doubt things will change after this report and every goon and his blinkered dog will be there next week but hey ho!

Make sure to go back for the bath house when you get a chance its a cracker and definitely dont need to ask anyone to get in anymore, pure abandoned!
Box?
 

Boba Low

____/
Regular User
#11
To be fair there are open bags of tools everywhere- this one will probably go the way of clipstone in the next year or so.

I know a few other people used to just call up and get security to let them walk around, certainly more than have posted reports on here before. I think we went assuming if we were approached we'd try that route but in the end we'd been checking other stuff that day and we couldn't really be bothered once we saw the van come home, considering they are based next to the bath house with at least 2 long line of sight stretches to get to it whichever route you take... Call me short-sighted but it's really all the machinery and badges that get me excited.

That said, 24mm full frame isn't wide enough for this place, it's a really nice compact environment but I pretty much failed to get a shot I'm happy with! Should have gone the other way and gone 50mm exclusive.You nailed this! Lovely shots man.
 

WhoDaresWins

Let's do this
Regular User
#12
The caravans were there when we were last there but no sign of anyone in them. I think some of the workshops are used by the opencast mine during the week so maybe they use them. Tbh we just walked down the drive and in the door on a Saturday afternoon.
Oh right. We didn't go too near them. It was when a van came through the gates we decided it was time to leave.

To be fair there are open bags of tools everywhere- this one will probably go the way of clipstone in the next year or so.

I know a few other people used to just call up and get security to let them walk around, certainly more than have posted reports on here before. I think we went assuming if we were approached we'd try that route but in the end we'd been checking other stuff that day and we couldn't really be bothered once we saw the van come home, considering they are based next to the bath house with at least 2 long line of sight stretches to get to it whichever route you take... Call me short-sighted but it's really all the machinery and badges that get me excited.

That said, 24mm full frame isn't wide enough for this place, it's a really nice compact environment but I pretty much failed to get a shot I'm happy with! Should have gone the other way and gone 50mm exclusive.You nailed this! Lovely shots man.
None at all?
 

Mistee2211

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#13
Really sad, the miners pooled their money to buy it, steal is going to go the same way as there is talk about a buyout at Port Talbot, welsh coal is the best but cheap foreign imports killed the industry, welsh coal to run the local steelworks made sense rather than import crap, it's history repeating itself, before long the uk steelworks will be on here known as derelict hope I'm wrong
 

WelshMoocher

Where'd the floor go?
28DL Full Member
#14
Really sad, the miners pooled their money to buy it, steal is going to go the same way as there is talk about a buyout at Port Talbot, welsh coal is the best but cheap foreign imports killed the industry, welsh coal to run the local steelworks made sense rather than import crap, it's history repeating itself, before long the uk steelworks will be on here known as derelict hope I'm wrong
I hope you're wrong too, but if not, I live two streets away from there, so I'm aiming for the first report!
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#15
Really sad, the miners pooled their money to buy it, steal is going to go the same way as there is talk about a buyout at Port Talbot, welsh coal is the best but cheap foreign imports killed the industry, welsh coal to run the local steelworks made sense rather than import crap, it's history repeating itself, before long the uk steelworks will be on here known as derelict hope I'm wrong
Its not that sad because it actually went quite well. They bought it out, mined it for another 13 or so years until the seam ran out and now they opencast it so really they are still winning coal there. You're probably right about the steelworks tho, can't go on unless something changes in government policy really.
 

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