Garw Colliery

Scope and Content

Pay Book 1890; Birth Certificates 1889-1892

Administrative / Biographical History

Garw Pit was owned by the Blaengarw Ocean Coal Company, a subsiduary of the Ocean Coal Company. Sinking of the pit began in 1883 and reached full production by 1886.

Ocean (Merthyr) Steam Coal was very pure and was highly prized by the shipping lines and Royal Navy. It was famously used by the Cunard steamers, Mauretania and Lusitania, to make their record breaking crossings of the Atlantic.

During the 1920s and 1930s, work in the South Wales Coalfield was hampered by strikes and lockouts. The Ocean Coal Company was concerned by the growing power of the South Wales Miners' Federation (SWMF) and encouraged the Garw miners to join the South Wales Miners' Industrial Union (SWMIU). The SWMIU was seen as a 'scab' union as its workers continued to work during the strikes, whereas SWMF members would not. In October 1929, the SWMF mem at Garw Colliery went out on strike over the coalowners' support of the SWMIU. This was a highly significant event as it lasted over three weeks and was the first time that SWMF paid their members 'strike pay', the equivilent of dole money.

In 1937, the Ocean Company purchased International Colliery in Blaengarw and linked it to Garw.

After the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947, Garw Colliery was placed in the National Coal Board's South Western Division, Area No. 2. In 1975, the colliery was merged with Ffaldau Colliery.

Garw Colliery was closed in December 1985.

Source: Ray Lawrence, The South Wales Coalfield Directory, Vol. 2 (1998 edn), pp. 231-233

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