Tower Colliery, South Wales - November 2016
Unfortunately after our last explore at the Hafod Morfa Copper Works, Mookster injured his ankle while looking at a massive old College Building, which ended the previous days exploring fairly early on and led to an early return to the Hotel, a swim and sauna for myself (luxury exploring!) and a dinner at Five Guys.
Bens amazing navigational skills led us in a direction which sort of led us a little further from home and then kind of back in again.
We drove right out into the sticks for this one, and it really was worth it!
Tower Colliery, once the oldest continuously working deep-coal mine in the UK and possibly even the world. It was the last mine of it's kind to exist in the valleys of South Wales.
The Colliery got its name "Tower" after the nearby Crawshay's Tower folly began operations in 1864 and worked until British Coal closed the site in 1994 because it would be uneconomic to continue production.
After the closure of Tower, 239 former workers pledged money from their redundancy packages to buy back the site and continue production in a community buy-out.
The mining and production of coal ran for well over a decade, until the seams had been exhausted and Tower Colliery closed for the second time, for good, in January 2008.
In 2010, an open-cast mine was opened part of the former coal washery site located a short distance away. Although this one too is scheduled to close fairly soon.
A possible case for future development of both sites would see part housing, part Industrial Estate and part Heritage Museum to provide employment in the area and keep some legacy of the former coal mines alive.
After 2 hours or so on site we heard beeping and a vehicle driving around outside. We had covered most of what we needed too, and although a bit longer would have been nice, we had a busy day so we just walked out of the gate where a Security Guard in a Suzuki asked us to leave; to be honest he was more fed up about his dispatch team getting him out of bed! We chatted for a good ten to fifteen minutes about the mines and Colliery, and it turned out he had worked his entire life on the site, spent forty years down the mines and several above ground, and was now Site Security.
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