South Wales Coalfield, extracts re Gwaun-cae-gurwen area mines

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The South Wales Coalfield

Edited by A P Barnett & David Willson-Lloyd

Published by The Business Statistics Co Ltd, Cardiff


Here are extracts from this book relating to local GCG coal mines

The material was contributed by David Michael, the responsibility re copyright is entirely mine (Gareth Hicks 9/2008)

The photographs from this book relating to these mines can be viewed on this site

The Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Colliery Co., Ltd.

The Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Colliery, situated at. Gwaun- Cae-Gurwen, the most westerly point of Glamorganshire. is one of the oldest anthracite collieries. The first pit was sunk by a Mr.Charles Morgan about 1837. But, before proceeding to the activities in this area in the nineteenth century, it is of interest to recall the evidence of crude coal working in the same vicinity two centuries earlier.


At the Baron Court of the Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Manor, held on 19th April in the eighth year of King James I in the year of our Lord 1610, the Court decided that " all sea coal and stone coal with all veins and mines thereof in or under the land in possession of the customary tenant belongs and appertains to the tenant and not to the lord. He can dig, cut, sell and convert into their respective uses all such coal, mines, or veins without the lord's licence."

The coal at this period was worked in a very primitive fashion. It was obtained from the weathered outcrops of the seams ; the surface earth was removed, the coal extracted along the outcrop, and the earth thrown back into the cavities so formed. This system was improved upon by means of shallow pits, which were bell-mouthed so as to expose as much coal as possible consistent with safety. This method was soon confronted with the water difficulty, and to overcome this an adit, or water level, was made at a lower level than the outcrop, and the pits connected by narrow drivages. The adit level conquered the water difficulty and there was an  area of dry coal to the rise; additional headings were now driven to the rise. But. these headings soon met another and invisible enemy in the form of fire damp and choke damp. Fresh air was necessary, and the idea was conceived of another pit as a second outlet, but even then the ventilation was left to take care of itself. These were wonderful steps forward- the conquest of the water difficulty and the dilution of noxious gases.

The coal was carried from the face of the working up wooden ladders fixed to the sides of the shallow pits by carriers. These men carried  the coal in willow baskets on their backs, At a later stage the carrier was helped by a boy, and often his wife, pulling a small cart along the working..

Up to 1800 we have evidence on the property of the above methods of winning the coal. and in those days the life of the miner must have been hard, the hours long, labour cheap and practically compulsory.

The transport of the coal from the mines to its destination was entirely by means of pack mules and horses; the paths along which the pack mules travelled can be recognized to-day.

The main road was constructed from 1815 to 1817.

About the year 1757 a very interesting experiment was attempted in the locality for conveying the coal from the workings to the surface. On the side of a mountain where several seams outcropped a level hard ground heading was driven and a seam of coal intersected at a distance of about 180 yards. At the point of striking the seam levels were driven east and west, the heading and levels were then canalized and small flat-bottom barges were introduced to float on the water. These barges were used for the conveyance of the workmen to and from their work and the carrying of the coal from the workings to the surface. This method worked for a long period - in fact it was kept in order until the coal available to the rise was exhausted.

The first serious attempt in this locality, and one which was comparatively successful, to win coal from a low level was the sinking of a shaft 40 yards deep about the year 1820, rectangular in shape and divided into two compartments. Water was encountered in the sinking of the shaft, the winding and pumping power being provided by a water wheel, the pump being in operation with every wind. The shaft was divided into two compartments for the purpose of ventilation and a furnace was erected to create it ventilating air current through the workings.

Explosions of gas were of common occurrence at this time; it is related that on many occasions the workmen travelling through the shaft were singed by flames, gas having come in contact with the ventilating furnace. Into this pit the Davy Safety Lamp was introduced, providing protection to the workmen in the actual coal getting operation In the year 1817 the roads now in existence had been completed, and the coal was conveyed from the colliery by carts.


The original pits, as has been said, were sunk about the year 1837 by Mr. Charles Morgan. On his death he was succeeded by his son, Mr. Richard Morgan, who, in July, 1874, sold the colliery to a number of gentlemen in Yorkshire who formed the Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Colliery Co.

The original Winding Pit, afterwards called the Old Pit, and now converted into a ventilating  pit, wan provided with very crude mechanical arrangements to about  the year 1886. A vertical beam engine. 24 in. * 48 in., geared with spur wheels, ratio 1 to 2, coupled to flat rope drums, 6 ft. diameter, raised the coal from the bottom of the pit, which was sunk to a depth of 175 yards.

The boilers consisted of one boiler 40 ft. 5 ft. egg end, with one furnace on front end, and one furnace on side, and one boiler 35 ft. * 5 ft. egg end. These boilers had a working pressure of 40 lbs. per square inch and used best large coal for steam-raising purposes.

This winding plant was dismantled in 1886, and another engine of modern type, 24 in. x 48 in., was installed in its place. Two modern boilers were also installed about this time with steam pressure 100 lb. per square inch, using small coal as fuel. The output, was greatly increased.

The original pumping plant was an 18 in. *  36 in. horizontal engine with 10 ft. diameter fly wheel, spur wheel gear 3 1/2 to 1, bell crank on large spur wheel shaft, coupled to a T bob.

The pumps in the pipe shaft consisted of one 9 in. bucket lift delivering water from the pit bottom sump to a lodge room in mid shaft ; a 7 in. ram coupled to the main pump rod forced the water from the mid shaft lodge room tothe surface.

The T bob and the pumps were dismantled and taken out of the pit in the year 1886. The engine was fitted up with a drum and used as a hauling engine at this pit, this being the first mechanical rope haulage installed at the Old Pit, and was the beginning of coal being worked to the dip to any appreciable extent ; the only coal worked to the dip previous to this period was by horse power whims.

After dismantling the old T bob pumping plant at I be Old Pit in 1886, a new pump was installed near the pit bottom for dealing with the water in the pit sump. This pump was a double vertical type with 20 in. steam cylinders, 8 in. diameter rams by 9 in. stroke, capacity 8,000 gallons per hour ;  a rising main column of  5 in. bore cast iron pipes, and a range of 4 in. steel pipes were put in the shaft - the 4 in. pipes brought steam from the boilers on the surface to the pump and the 5 in. cast iron pipes conveyed water from the pump to the surface. This pump. which was supplied by J. Cameron, Manchester, was in regular use for twenty-six years.

About 1913, some little time before the  cessation of coal winding operations at the Old Pit, a new pump was installed, which is at present in use. This pump is a triple ram, 9 in. rams x 8 in. stroke. delivering water to the surface through the same pipes as were installed for the steam pump, capacity 10.000 gallons per hour, electrically driven. The electric cable for this installation is taken down the old pit shaft.

The two Lancashire boilers, 30 ft. x 8 ft.., which supplied steam for the winding engine and steam pump when required, are still in existence.

The pit shaft is oval shaped. 16 ft. x 8 ft., and is now used for the upcast shaft for the East. Pit. A Turbon ventilating fan is installed at this shaft. It is electrically driven by a 300 hp. motor, running 485 revolutions per minute, and direct, driven.



The Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen property at the present time extends over about 3,400 acres. The output of coal averages about 250,000(300,000?) tons per year. The property is exceptionally free from faults and disturbances, and contains the best quality of anthracite coal. The taking is served by the Maerdy (sunk in 1884) and East (sunk in 1910) Pits ; the seams in operation are the Big and Peacock. An opening has been made into the lower seams ; there remains a large area unworked of the Big and Peacock seam, whilst the lower seams are entirely virgin. In addition to these seams there are six other seams which are workable. All the workings are on the longwall principle, and all the coal is filled out excepting the dust.

On the west side the property is connected with the Great Western Railway, and on the east side with the Midland Railway. The siding accommodation at the Colliery will store 2,500 (3500?) wagons, the private railways and sidings measuring about twenty miles.

For the conveyance of the workmen to and from their work, the Company have instituted a passenger train service morning and night to each of the Collieries.

The colliery sidings and railways are so arranged that a locomotive can place all material at. the respective sheds and dumps. Hay and corn are taken in wagons to the store, pitwood is transported and unloaded direct to the trams to be taken underground, and surplus timber is properly sorted and stacked alongside convenient sidings and tramways.

The electrical sub-stations, colliery offices, lamp rooms, stores, smiths' shops, mechanical shop, electrical shop, carpenters' shop. saddlery shop, hay and corn stores, saw mill and mortar mill are all excellent buildings of brick with slated roofs and so arranged in a parallel line with the winding house and pit that each shop is served by a railway in front and behind.

Dumping ground paved with bricks and with a corrugated iron  building has been prepared to accomodate coal not in immediate demand: the ground has been intersected with sidings at a lower level for the purpose of reloading the coal.

1. MAERDY PIT. 1886.

Prior to 1886 the output of the Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Colliery was only about 250 tons per day, but having acquired the lease of a considerable acreage of coal in the year 1883, the Company during 1884 and 1885 sank the Maerdy Pit, which commenced winding coal June, 1886. From that. date the Company's out put steadily increased.


The Maerdy Pit is 240 yards deep to the Big Vein Seam, with a shaft 13 ft. diameter. The head frame is of wood, 40 ft. from the banking platform to the centre of the winding sheaves ; the sheaves are 10 ft. diameter. The winding engines are a pair of horizontal engines, 25 in. * 48 in., coupled direct to a 10 ft. x 6 ft. drum.

The screens, five in number, are of the ordinary kind of bar screen, 30 ft. long x 5 ft. wide, lined up with Billy Culm bars and Cobble bars. The pit. bank level is 20 ft. above the rail level for wagons ; the large coal after passing over the screens delivers into trucks: the cobble screen, which can be varied in size, delivers on to a conveyor band: which delivers to an elevator. The cobbles are then dealt with further at a braking and screening plant. The culm on the main screens, all passing through the Billy Box, is delivered into trucks and taken to the Culm Screen and Washing Plant.


This pit was the first place where anthracite coal was broken by mechanical means. The first machine used for the purpose was an ordinary stone breaker of the moving jaw type supplied by Hall of Sheffield and known as a coal crusher. After a few years' work this plant (which made all excessive amount of duff) was replaced by another type of stone breaker or crusher known as " Lowry's " patent supplied by Messrs. J. Farrar St Co., Barnsley.  This plant again was discarded on account of the large percentage of duff it made in operation. In the year 1890 a new type of coal breaking and sizing plant was ordered and supplied by Messrs. Humboldt & Co., Kal,. Cologne, Germany., which is at work at the present time. No makers of coal breaking plant existed in this country at that period. The plant consists of steel spike breakers, conveyor bands, shaking screens. etc., dealing with 250 tons per day and making about six different sizes of broken coals varying from 4 in. cubes down to broken duff. This plant is fixed in at large steel structure about 100 yards from the pit mouth ; the coal is conveyed to the breaking plant across a bridge by endless chain haulage.


There are four haulage sets : one pair of hauling engines, 20 in. 36 in., with two drums 5 ft. diameter, geared with spur wheels 1 to 3 ratio ; one pair of 18 in. x 36 in. horizontal engines, two drums 6 ft. diameter, geared with spur and pinion 1 to 3 ratio : and one pair of 18 in. x 36 in. horizontal engines, two drums 6 ft. diameter. gear 1 to 3; the wire ropes front these haulage sets are taken down the pit shaft in 3 in. steel pipes. There is also one electrically driven haulage set of 25 H. P. for hauling rubbish trams to the spoil bank on the surface.

A block of brick-built workshops and stores, 120 ft. * 24 ft., comprises saw mill, carpenters' shop. blacksmiths' shop, fitting shop. general stores department, saddlers' shop. and iron rack storage.

One  25 hp. motor and one 10 hp. motor are installed in this block for working the saw mill and the machinery in the other buildings.


Four boilers have been installed of the Lancashire type, three of them 8 ft. * 30 ft. and one 7 ft. 6 in. by 28 ft, working at 80 lbs,. pressure. A "Greens" economizer is also installed here. The workshops, offices, and lamp rooms are all lighted with electric lamps.



In the pit shaft, 60 yards from the surface, is installed in the water lodge room a 30 hp. Turbine pump electrically driven, capacity 100 gallons per minute, made and supplied by the Pulsometer Engineering Co., Reading.

In the pit bottom  is installed a triple ram pump of 25hp., electrically  driven, made by Messrs. Frank Pearn & Co., Manchester, delivering water to the surface, with a capacity of 4000  gallons per hour. In the Peacock District, on the east side of the pit, is installed one triple ram pump, electrically driven, 3,000 gallons per hour capacity, supplied by the same makers, delivering water to the pit bottom sump; and in the Old Peacock District are installed a triple ram electric pump, 5,000 gallons per hour capacity, delivering water to the pit bottom, and a Fittanic electric pump of 1600 gallons per hour capacity, delivering water to the triple pump in the same district.



Installed in the New Peacock District, east side, is as electrically driven 300 hp haulage set built by J. Wood & Sons. Wigan. and in the second West District, a 100 hp. haulage set, also electrically driven.

At the pit bottom. on the east side, there is a 30 hp. blocking-on set of electrically driven tail and main haulage. used for winding traffic into the pit bottom. A similar set is in hand for the west side of the pit bottom.

A sub-station is installed near the pit bottom for transforming and distributing the electrical power to the various points.

The pit bottom and its approaches on each side are lighted up by electricity.


The power station is a steel girder structure built in with bricks with  a slated roof, the outside dimensions being 121 ft.  by  90 ft. with a height of 46 ft. to the highest point in the roof.

The station is divided into three compartments : (a) engine house: (b) boiler house; (e) coal house. Each compartment is spacious and arranged to accommodate additional plant, and to the engine house there is a well- arranged basement room. The ventilation of the engine room is affected by two small fans, electrically driven, fixed in the roof at each end of the building. The inlet air is arranged to enter through the basement and through duct holes in the concrete foundation of the generating machines ; thus the cool inlet air bears direct on the generators.

To handle heavy weights for renewals and repairs an overhead travelling crane capable of dealing with loads up to 10 tons has been erected.

In the engine house there are three generating sets, each set having a working load of 600 kw., 3,300 volts. 50 periods at 300 revolutions per minute.

Each generator is coupled direct to a Bellis and Morcom triple expansion engine, non-condensing. Two of the sets are always in commission, the third set being a standby for renewals and repairs.

The electric current is supplied at the station and at each sub-station on the surface and in the underground workings at three voltages, viz. 3,300, 550 and 110.

In the boiler house there are three Stirling water-tube boilers, each having a grate area of 78 sq. ft., heating surface of 4,038 sq. ft.. evaporating power of 15.000 lb. of water per hour, and a working pressure of 200 lb. per sq. in.

The boilers are fitted with Meldrum furnaces, induced draught being provided by means of an electrically driven fan. The boilers are provided with superheaters, the steam being superheated up to 560£ F.

The feed water is derived from a small stream from the mountain side. The feed pumps force the water through a feed water heater fixed on the exhaust of the Belliss engines and through a Green's economiser entering the boiler at a temperature of about 130£ F.

The railway wagons with the small washed anthracite peas, which is the fuel used at the boilers, are brought direct from the coal washing plant to the coal house in front of the boilers.


In 1910 the Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen property was further developed. In that year the East Pit was sunk - to a depth of 355 yards - down through the Big Vein to the Peacock Vein.

In addition to the two veins then won,  the Big Vein and the Peacock Vein, a cross measures drift has since been made from the Peacock Vein to the Middle Vein.

On the opening of this pit the original pit sunk by Charles Morgan was converted into an up-cast which, together with the original up-cast, provides the ventilation for  both the Maerdy and the East Pit.


The head frame and pit cages, the whole of the screening plant at the East Pit, etc., were erected by Messrs. G. R. Turner  Co., of Langley Mill, Nottinghamshire, in 1912. The various structural buildings for housing the plant are of steel, roofed with corrugated galvanized sheeting, and are provided with roof and side lighting. The steel girder head frame stands 80 ft. high from the wagon rail level to the centre of the sheaves; the winding sheaves are 16 ft. in diameter and weigh 3 tons each.

The winding gear is designed for a 10 ton working load. The cage bottoms tilt to assist the loaded trains to run out. Loaded trams when leaving the cage on landing are assisted by the tilting cage bottom, which is operated when the cage rests on Keps (Stanley's Patent). These Keps can be withdrawn without lifting the cage from them ready for the next wind, thus saving time and trouble which would be spent in reversing the winding gear each draw. The loaded trams when leaving the cages move towards the tram weigh and screens on a fulling gradient of 1 in 72.

There are four main screens of the fixed bar type, fitted up with revolving tippers operated by electric power. The large coal, after passing over Culm and Cobble Bars, is delivered by mechanically operated shutes on to grid type picking and dressing bands. At the end of these grid bands and  forming part of them are lowering arms to deliver the coal into trucks with a minimum of breakage. The small made on the grid bands is conveyed back to a conveying band, 108 feet long by 4 ft. wide, which connects  the main screens with the coal breaking plant. The Cobbles taken from the main bar screens are also conveyed to the breaking plant on the long conveying band; the Culm taken out of the Main screen is dropped into a Billy box and then to a scraper conveyor which delivers it to a large hopper bunker above wagon level. It is afterwards taken to the culm screen and washery to be further dealt with.


Connected to the main bar screens by the long conveyor band is the coal breaking and sizing plant. The cobble coal, which can be varied in size from 6 in. upwards. is delivered from the long conveyor band on to a plate shaker screen. The coal which is too large to go through the screen is delivered into No. 1 spiked roll breaker. The coal that passes through the screen is delivered into No. 2 spiked roll breaker, which is of smaller size than No. 1. The whole of the broken coal which has now passed through the breakers is elevated by bucket elevator to a higher level, and delivered on to a series of long shaking screens fixed in a tandem fashion. The largest size of broken coal is taken sideway from the shaking screen first, and delivered on to a large canvas conveyor picking belt, with lowering jibs into the wagons. The other sizes are treated in a similar manner on four picking bands, each one for different size coal. At the extreme end of the tandem shaking screen the small made from all the screens is delivered into an elevator which raises it to revolving screens. which in turn divide it into small peas, grains and breaker duff.


A Dust Collecting Plant has been installed for taking the dust away from the main screen and breaking plant. This consists of a series of large sized galvanized pipes and mouthpieces fixed about the various points. A 6 ft. exhauster driven by a 35 hp.. electric motor sucks the dust to a cyclone arrangement which is housed at one end of the plant. This interesting Dust Collecting Plant was supplied and erected by Messrs. Matthews & Yates & Co., Manchester.


The banking platform is  33 ft. above wagon level. This arrangement allows of all the tramways on the platform having a falling gradient with the loaded trams to the screens and rubbish tips: the empty trams are raised by creeper chains to a higher level and then gravitate to the pit mouth again.

The main wagon roads and sidings are all arranged with a falling gradient from the pit of 1 in 72 for loaded wagons. The empty wagons are pushed by locomotive power to the empty road sidings and gravitate under brake control to the screens for loading as required.

The surface plant was designed for dealing with an output, of 1,500 tons in it day of eight hours' winding. The whole of the machinery at this pit is operated by electric power generated at the Main Power Station near the Maerdy Pit. A duplicate set of transmission lines are installed for the purpose.

The electric sub-station is a brick building, two stories high, containing switchboards, transformers, etc., for receiving electric current from the Power Station and distributing it at the East Pit. surface and underground. This is isolated from other buildings.


Coal winding at the East Pit is done by electricity.

The electric winder was built and erected by Messrs.Siemens Bros. Ltd., and is on the system known as the Siemens-Ilgner.  It is capable of winding 3 tons of coal every 45 seconds.

The winder is driven by a direct current variable voltage and reversible motor controlled on the Ward-Leonard system. The current to the winder motor is supplied from the variable voltage generator. The winding motor and V.V. generator are separately excited by 220 volts.

The IIgner set comprises a variable voltage generator, an alternating current motor, exciter and a fly wheel.

The winding motor is coupled direct to the drum, which is of the parallel type. 11 ft. in diameter and 8 ft. wide. The winding rope is a locked coil 1.5/16 in. diameter.

The motor is designed to give 965 brake H.P. as a maximum. with an effective output of 545 brake H.P. when running at 52 revolutions per minute.

The main brakes are operated by compressed air at 60 lb. per square inch, obtained from a compressor which is electrically driven and provided with an automatic starting and stopping device.

The brakes can be operated in an emergency by hand in the event of supply circuit failing, failure of the excitation current, or failure of the compressed air supply in the overwind of either cage.

The shaft signalling gear supplied by Messrs. Siemens Bros.. Ltd.. is of the  Rutherford luminous type.



In the pit shaft 116 yards from the surface two electrically driven Turbine pumps are installed in the water lodge room : the capacity of each of these pumps is 550 gallons per minute. The pumps are duplicate and work alternately.

In the lodge room near the pit bottom is installed a triple ram pump electrically driven. capacity 133 gallons per minute. This pump delivers the water into the lodge room in the pit shaft, a vertical head of about 240 yards.


Installed one on the west side, and one on the east side, of the East Pit, there are two 300 H.P. main rope haulage sets. They work from the dip of the Peacock Seam.

These haulage sets are constructed of steel and are of massive design.

There is a 50 H.P. haulage set installed on the west side of the pit for opening out the middle vein seam of coal, and a 25 H.P. haulage set on the west side of the pit for drawing empty trams to the rise side, and lowering full trams down.

Two sets of 30 H.P. tail and main blocking engines are in hand for the purpose of working the traffic from each side of the pit bottom.

A sub-station is also installed near the pit bottom for transforming and distributing the electrical power to the various points.

The pit bottom and its approaches on each Side are lighted by electricity.



During the time the Company was sinking the East Pit, they were also erecting a new and enlarged washing plant.

The first coal washery installed was in the latter end of the year 1895.  This plant was of the ordinary type, made by Messrs. Sheppard & Sons, Bridgend, and consisted of one machine fitted up with three washing boshes driven by a pair of 10 in. x 8 in. vertical stean engines and capable of dealing with about 120 tons of sized coal per day. At first it made only two sizes of washed coal, nut coal and wet duff; the grain coal and duff were not separated at this time. Later on improvements were made by installing a jigging screen, which made it possible to make nut coal, bean coal, grain coal and wet. duff.

The culm or small coal dealt with at the original washery was dealt with first at a culm screening plant, erected some 150 yards distant from the washery plant and connected with the washery by wagon way with a gradient falling towards the washery.

This calm screening plant consisted of two sets of screens driven by a 9 1/2 in. single steam engine and coupled to the machinery by driving belts. At first revolving screens were used, but as they were found not altogether satisfactory. Zimmer screens were adopted. The latter, which are practically flat, dealt with a larger quantity. The sizes made at this plant were egg coal (which was handpicked, being too large for the washery), nut coal for washery beans and grains, and dry billy duff, which went away in truck, The full trucks of culm were brought from the Old and Maerdy Pits in truks on a high level road, and unloaded by hand labour into hopper-shaped bunker pits. and then fed into the screens by elevator buckets with the feeding under control. The culm screening plant which was worked in conjunction with the original washery was costly on account of the two plants being isolated.

The washery and culm plants did good service for about. eighteen years, until they were replaced by modern machinery.


The existing plant was supplied and erected by Messrs. Sheppard A. Sons and fixed midway between the Maerdy and East Pits. It is housed in a steel structure building, some points of it being three stories high : the buildings contain two mechanical wagon tippers for culm, one large bucket elevator about 60 ft. high, flat screens, and a small spiked coal breaker for breaking pieces too large for the washer. The foregoing form the dry screening and sizing part of the plant. and is connected with the washing part by water troughs;  the dry sized coal is carried by water pumped up for the purpose to the washing "boshes." which are erected at a lower level on the first storey. The washing part of the plant. which is isolated by open space from the dry part to keep back the dry dust. consists of four washer boshes for nut coal and four felspar bodies for all sizes under 1/2 in. size ; distributing apparatus for delivering the coal into the washing boshes; rubbish elevators and rubbish storing bunkers: a large water tank for collecting the slurry fitted up with a scraper arrangement for delivering the wet duff into truck ; a set of flat plate jigging screens sizes the coal into nuts, beans and grains or small peas: and  a revolving screen for separating the wet duff from the grains. The various sizes after washing and sizing wet are delivered into shutes loading into wagons on the separate roads.

The water used for washing purposes comes to the washery by gravitation from the East  Pit and is then circulated by means of two centrifugal pumps to the top of  the dry screen plant.

The whole of the plant is electrically driven and takes about 70 HP. to operate it, the capacity for the ordinary day's work being 300 tons of culm.  The electric motors installed at this plant are two 35 HP. for the screening and washing plant and two 10 HP. for the pumps. The electric current is 3 phase, 50 cycles at 550 volts. The current is got from  the power station about  three-quarters of a mile away, and distributed at the washery from a sub-station erected there.

It will have been seen that from the very earliest time which coal was worked from the Colliery there has been continual progress in the methods employed for producing the coal and bringing it to the surface.

Improvements have been made from time to time in the system of ventilation and in the fans and other machinery responsible for ventilation The winding machinery has been continually improved: the present winding machinery at the East Pit is operated entirely by electricity.

The screens are of the most modern type and the crushers, different from thevery crude  apparatus first used, are now the most improved apparatus procurable. The washer also is of a most efficient and up-to-date type.


Anthracite coal is used for drying malt and hops, burning lime, heating house stoves, and manufacturing " suction " gas.

The Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen Colliery was the first Anthracite Colliery to realize  the prospects of breaking the coal into nuts for use in stoves, and the anticipation of increased demand from this new trade has been amply fulfilled.  Before the War the trade had expanded to such an extent that large quantities were exported to France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and other countries.

The different sizes of coal that are marketed are Large Coal, Broken Cobbles. Broken French Nuts, Broken Stove, Broken Peas. and Broken Duff, Washed Nuts. Washed Beans, Washed Peas, Washed Grains, and Duff.

In most of the countries mentioned the importers have now erected breaking and screening machinery at the ports of discharge. The importers are thus able to break the coal and put the nuts direct into truck,  saving the breakage caused  by shipping the nuts and discharging them. There has also grown up a large demand in those countries and for the home market for gas producers for driving gas engines, generally referred to as suction gas.


In October, 1916. the Colliery was acquired by Lord Rhondda and his associates. The presentDirectors are Messrs. D. R. Llewellyn, J.P. (Chairman) ; H  Seymour Berry, J.P. (Deputy - Chairman), Sir Archibald Mitchelson. Bart.. Mr. S.H. O'Callaghan. Viscountess Rhondda. Mr. C. P. Hailey and Mr. R. G. Rees.


Mr. Thomas M. Jones, the Underground Manager and Agent, commenced to work underground at the age of thirteen, his position being door-boy at a wage of 1s. 2d. per day. From that position he came to work as a collier at the face. He also worked as a haulier. In the evenings he attended mining classes and was granted in 1900 a mining scholarship of £50 per year tenable at the Cardiff University, where he studied for two years.

Mr. R.L.. Sails, JP. General Manager and Secretary, joined the Company in 1878 as book-keeper and accountant. In 1881 he was appointed General Manager and Sales Agent, and in 1916, on the resignation of the Secretary. he was also appointed Secretary. For it matter of ten or twelve years he travelled for the Company on the continent.

Messrs.L. Gueret & Co. Ltd., Cardiff and Swansea. were appointed by the new Directors as sole Sales Agents for the Company.