Cwmllynfell and Ystradowen Coal Mining Heritage Trust

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The Clink Pit
Cwmllynfell Colliery 

Following the demise of the coal industry, employment opportunities moved away from the mining communities to out of town retail parks.

The forgotten mineworkers of Cwmllynfell Colliery who once toiled underground found themselves jobless after mining ended. And there are also tragic tales lurking behind the fond memories, of scores of men who died in accidents and disasters.

The impact on the community was devastating. Whole families were suddenly without a regular wage and shopkeepers and other businesses soon began to feel the effect of mass unemployment and then the population decline set in as people began to leave the district to seek work elsewhere.

When it became increasingly clear that there was little or no hope of the Colliery ever opening again, the heads of families began to move, the women, with their children, left to join their husbands and older sons in places where they had found regular work.

It must be remembered that for every man killed many more were injured, some lightly and others maimed for life, and it is believed that there are no records available to verify this. Unfortunately, when the colliery closed, most records were also lost.

The problem with men who died of dust related diseases as mentioned often survived for years afterwards but suffered poor health in the meantime and were not fit enough to live a normal life.

If men were killed on the premises, then there was no doubt, but some men suffered heart attacks and there were anomalies centred round this as men died in hospital shortly after admission. Others suffered dreadful injuries and died in hospital days or weeks afterwards.

Not surprisingly, asthma, silicosis, and other pulmonary problems are the most common health hazards. Due to the abrupt changes of temperature between the hot tunnels of the mine and the chilly winds, miners frequently suffer from colds.

In those days poor health and working conditions, the miners literally work themselves to death. Very few survive more than twenty years of underground labour: their life expectancy was not above forty.

“We cannot even imagine the sorrow and devastation that was present, and the impact that disasters had on the communities”.

“We must never forget the suffering, the human tragedy, the destruction, the altering of lives and to honour the memory of the miners who lost their lives while working to make a better life for their families.

Many of the men who died left behind wives, children and in some families having grandchildren.

“Future generations owe it to those miners who are no longer with us, to pass on their stories for them.”