Nixons Workmen's Hall and Institute

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minute Books, 1908-1943 including related papers and correspondence

Financial Records, 1946-1964 including superannuation scheme contributions book 1948-1951, account book 1947-1949 and 1951-1952, cash book 1949-1950, theatre account book 1948 (c), theatre day books 1952-1959, day book 1954, petty cash book 1955-1960, dance hall and cleaning materials account book 1950-1960, rent book for Bryn Ifor Cottage 1949-1962, theatre staff wages books 1953-1962, dance hall staff wages book 1956-1964, staff wages book 1949-1962

Administrative Records, 1911-1961 including staff time book 1911-1957, attendance register of stage hands 1911-1933, attendance registers ofcheckers 1918-1948, register of theatre staff attendance 1950-1954, committee attendance register 1936-1961, exhibitors record and return books containing details of films shown 1951-1956, and guest membershiip entrance ticket books 1961

Correspondence, 1908-1955 including correspondence files, building work specifications, receipts and accounts, contracts, plans and related papers

Administrative / Biographical History

Nixons Workmen's Hall and Institute was situated in Mountain Ash [Aberpennar, Llanwynno].

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, although sometimes coal-owners made contributions. In 1920 under the 1920 Mining Industry Act, theMiners' Welfare Fund was set up to be administered by the Miners' Welfare Commission. The fund provided amenities for the miners, including welfare hallsand 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 billiard rooms. They also providedaccommodation for meetings, most notably National Union of Mineworkers (South Wales Area) Lodge meetings. In many instances lodge committee members were alsoheavily involved in the running of the institutes. The libraries provided a rich educational resource for the community and some of them at their peak rivalled the largest public libraries then existing in Britain.

The goldenera 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 social activities 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 convertedinto miners' clubs.

Conditions Governing Access

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