Cambrian Colliery

Scope and Content

N.C.B dossier and plan of the Cambrian Colliery Disaster 1965, Price list 1927

Administrative / Biographical History

Cambrian Colliery was situated in Clydach Vale, Rhondda. The No. 1 Pit was sunk by the Cambrian Colliery Company in 1872 and was followed by the No. 2 Pit in 1874 and the No.3 Pit between May 1889-June 1891. In 1895, the company became a public limited company, and was renamed Cambrian Collieries Ltd. Despite this initial success, the company suffered a major disaster in 1905 when 31 miners were killed at the colliery.

In 1906, the company chairman, David Alfred Thomas (later Lord Rhondda), devised a plan to link the Rhondda coal companies to form the 'Cambrian Combine'. This allowed each of the companies to work and operate individually but provided a method were they could work together in order to regulate prices and wages in the coalfield. Members of the Combine included the Cambrian, Glamorgan, Naval and Britannic Merthyr Companies. Individually these were relatively small companies but by working together they were able to dominate the coalfield. However, their policy of price and wage regulation was not popular with mineworkers and resulted in the Cambrian Combine Strike between 1910 and 1911.

In 1929, the Cambrian Colliery merged with other coalmining companies to form Welsh Associated Collieries Ltd. This company was itself amalgamated with the Powell Duffryn Company in 1935, creating Powell Duffryn Associated Collieries Ltd. After nationalisation in 1947, the Cambrian Pits were placed under the National Coal Board's South Western Divisions No. 3 Area. The Colliery was the scene of a further disaster in 1965 when 31 miners were killed by underground explosions. This had a major impact in the decision to close the Cambrian Colliery by September 1966.

Source: Ray Lawrence, The South Wales Coalfield Directory, Vol. 2 (1998 edn), p. 117

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