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Report - Tower Colliery 30/7/2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by justjay, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. justjay

    justjay 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    Likes Received:
    After visiting my Grandmother in the valleys i decided to call back and take a look at Tower Colliery after all my whole family had worked this place up until 1995.
    Here is a small amount of info on this place:-
    Tower Colliery (Welsh: Glofa Tŵr) 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. It was located near the villages of Hirwaun and Rhigos, north of the town of Aberdare in the Cynon Valley south Wales.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 "return" 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.
    The Aberdare branch of the Merthyr line continued north from Aberdare railway station to the colliery. While passenger services terminate in Aberdare, freight services operated several times a day along this stretch of line, directly owned by the colliery.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.
    The shareholders are still debating the future of the site, which they eventually wish to have developed to leave a legacy for the area which provides employment. Eventually there are plans to develop the site, with combinations of housing, industrial estate, industrial heritage museum or tourism resort being debated with several potential partners.
    Machinery from Tower has been used to boost production at the nearby Aberpergwm Colliery, a smaller drift mine closed by the National Coal Board in 1985 but reopened by a private concern in the mid 1990s.
    The management announced at closure that one of the possibilities of creating additional short term value was through open cast mining extraction of the residual 6m tonnes of anthracite. In August 2010, the company filed a planning application for the extraction by open cast mining of coal to a depth of 165 metres (541 ft), on a 200 acres (81 ha) section of the former coal washery site. Coal would then be transported to Aberthaw Power Station by train....

    Here are the images sadly i only had my wide angle lens for the job

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    Sadly there isn't much left apart from these signs......

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