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  • A miner's lamp and base presented to Michael Goldberg by the Aberaman Public Hall and Institution, 1995

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Description

A brass miner's flame safety lantern, with a pressed steel bonnet and glass body. At the top of the lantern is a maker’s name plate which reads ‘E. Thomas & Williams Ltd. Cambrian Works, Aberdare, Wales, UK.’ The lantern also has its own number engraved onto it ‘No 395’ The detachable base of the lamp also has a brass plate which is inscribed ‘Presented to M.D. Goldberg Esq. for services rendered to the Aberaman Public Hall and Institution, 1952 – 1995.’ Miners' safety lamps were traditionally used to provide illumination in coal mines and were designed with an enclosed flame to operate in areas which may contain coal dust or gases. They also became a good way of measuring methane in the mine atmosphere.

Michael Goldberg was a member of the South Wales Area Committee of the Co-operative Movement for 48 years and a former president of the Aberdare and District Co-operative Society. He was also a valued member of the Merthyr and Cynon Valley Community Health Council. Mr Goldberg was a keen supporter of amateur theatre and was involved with the Aberdare Little Theatre and the Cynon Valley Musical Society.

For many years he served on the committee at the Aberaman Public Hall and Institute, a notable venue for entertainment and popular culture in the mining village of Aberaman.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Cynon Valley had a small Jewish community, consisting of some fifty families throughout the towns of Abercynon, Penrhiwceiber, Mountain Ash, Aberaman and Aberdare. Most of Jewish families came to Aberdare from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia. The earliest record of Jewish presence and activity in the Cynon Valley dates to 1858-9. The name of Harris Freedman and the partnership of Lyons and Hyman are listed as trading as pawnbrokers and general dealers in Aberdare.

Initially the Jewish community worshipped in individuals' homes or business premises but in 1887 David Hart allowed the use of his premises at 19a Seymour Street, Aberdare, as a permanent Synagogue. The Aberdare Hebrew congregation was at its largest, with around 90 members, from the 1910s to the 1930s. However, the community declined and services had virtually ceased by 1957, when the congregation was down to 35. In 1966 it was reported that services were no longer held there. The building, now a private residence again, received a blue commemorative plaque in 2015.

Depository: Cynon Valley Museum: ACVMS 2009 842 1 & 2

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