Abertridwr Institute

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minute Books, 1904-1961

Financial Records, 1922-1969 including statement of accounts 1922, 1943-54, 1956-69 and weekly account book 1942-1945

Administrative Records, 1924-1966 including committee attendanceregister 1920-1946 and Welfare Association papers 1924-1966

Administrative / Biographical History

Abertridwr Institute was also known as the Windsor Colliery Workmen's Institute Library and Hall. The library was established in 1911.

The miners' institutes and halls developed from the latter part of the nineteenth century. This coincided with the development of the coalfield when a great influx in population created new demands for self-education and a need for meeting places for both lodge business, evening classes and community recreation. The institutes strongly reflected the role of the community and as a result they became focal points for the mining village and its locality.

The institutes were largely financed by the miners themselves through weekly deductions from each miner's wages at the local colliery althoughsometimes coal-owners also made contributions. In 1920 under the 1920 Mining Industry Act, the Miners' Welfare Fund was set up to be administered by the Miners' Welfare Commission. The fund provided amenities for the miners, including welfare halls and institutes, pit-baths and scholarships. Many institutes and welfare halls received maintenance grants after 1920 from this fund.

The miners' institutes contained libraries, reading rooms, games rooms and other facilities for recreation such as cinemas, theatres and billiardrooms. They also provided accommodation for meetings, most notably the NationalUnion of Mineworkers [NUM] (South Wales Area) Lodge meetings. In many instances lodgecommittee members were also heavily involved in the running of the institutes. The libraries provided a rich educational resource for the community and some ofthese libraries at their peak rivalled the largest public libraries then existing in Britain.

The golden era of the institutes after World War Two was followed by their demise, in line with social trends. These included the provision of secondary education and local library facilities, changes in socialactivities for example the growing popularity of television, bingo and the development of clubs and most importantly, the contraction of the coalfield following the pit closures from the 1950s onwards. Many of the old halls and institutes ended up being converted into miners' clubs.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all researchers by appointment. Please note that somecollections contain sensitive information and access may be restricted.