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Six Bells Colliery -- Pwll Glo Six Bells


These images are scans from superb photographs taken by PAUL FARRANT. Paul moved down to Wales sometime in 1980 from Enfield, London. He had a keen interest in Wales having a firm grasp of its language and history. In particular, Paul was fascinated by the former industrial way of life in Wales, especially the coal and steel industries. These interests inspired Paul to take these photographs of Six Bells and Marine Collieries for posterity shortly before their closure and demolition in 1988.

Sadly, Paul passed away on 1st January 2004. The photographs have been kindly passed onto Abertillery Online for display by his friend, Lyndon Evans and the Six Bells and Marine Colliery pages are dedicated to the memory of Paul Farrant.


For a full history of Six Bells Colliery, go to the excellent Welsh Coal Mines site.

Two shafts were sunk in 1892 by John Lancaster & Co near the earlier Hafod Fan pit. Four men, William Mathews, Thomas Day, John Lamb, and William Lusty were killed during sinking in February 1895, when the bowk in which they were riding capsized and they fell to the shaft bottom.

Coal was first raised 1898 with nearly 3000 men were employed in the colliery by the beginning of World War I. However the colliery remained inactive in the 1930s due to a lack of trade.

Partridge Jones & John Paton took over the running of it in 1936 until nationalisation in 1947, at which pointjust over 1,500 men were employed. Vivian Colliery just up the valley was shut in 1958 and for some years the Vivian shaft was used as a downcast for Six Bells.

A gas and coal dust explosion occurred at 10.45am on 28th June 1960 killing 45 out of the 48 men who were working in W District of the Old Coal Seam. The tragedy would have been  worse but for the fact that maintenance work was being carried out on the O.10 face where normally 125 men would have been employed.

The official enquiry (source: http://www.pitwork.net/sixbells.htm) concluded that:

"The disaster was caused by an ignition of firedamp approximately 10:45am near the face of the intake airway/loader-gate of O.10 conveyor face in W District of the Old Coal Seam.

Coal-dust was raised and ignited and the explosion spread almost throughout the district.

The initially ignition of firedamp was believed to have been by an incendive spark caused by the impact of quartzitic stone falling from the roadway roof near the face of the ripping lips onto a steel canopy used to protect the roadway conveyor during blasting operations.

Forty-five men were killed. Lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide gas were present which suggested the men lost consciousness rapidly and death occurred within minutes."

The following men tragically lost their lives:

Ivor James Baiton, aged 48, cutterman.
Daniel James Bancroft, 46, collier on panzer.
Robert Charles Brown,  35, roof control officer.
Frank Cooper, 44, supplies man.
Joseph Corbett, 50, haulier.
Thomas George Crandon, 46, repairer.
Walter Thomas Davies, 34, borer.
Royden James Edwards, 27, repairer.
Percy Gordon Elsey, 52, repairer.
Albert John Evans, 34, packer.
Leonard Keith Frampton, 29, collier.
Albert Gardner, 59, assistant cutterman.
George Goldspink, 37, repairer.
Clive Alan Griffiths, 18, prop checker.
Vernon Alexander Griffiths, 33, deputy.
Earnest Victor Harding, 51, deputy.
Idris Jones, 57, packer.
John Percival Jones, 56, repairer.
Joseph John King, 56, packer.
Dennis Edmund Lane, 19, wireman.
George Henry Luffman, 55, general worker.
Telford Cecil Mapp, 42, general worker.
Herbert Amos Mayberry, 55, dumper.
William John Morden, 52, engine driver.
Sidney Moore, 54, repairer.
Colin Malcolm Donald Morgan, 26, repairer.
Colin Reginald Morgan, 22, assistant repairer.
Ray Martin Morgan, 44, repairer.
Islwyn Morris, 44, deputy.
Anthony Verdun Partridge, 20, assistant borer.
William Henry Partridge, 45, borer.
Trevor Paul, 25, assistant repairer.
Wilfred Alfred Charles Phipps, 60, cutterman.
Albert George Pinkett 45, collier.
Frederick Rees, 37, fitter.
Mansel Reynolds, 21, measurer.
William Glyn Reynolds, 21, assistant repairer.
Wilfred Hughes Thomas, 57, repairer.
Arthur Waters, 37, general worker.
Phillip John Watkins 53, engine driver.
Wilfred Weston, 47, water infuser on panzer.
Frederick White, 58, under-manager.
William Burdon Whittingham, 55, assistant repairer.
Richard John Williams, 51, general worker.
John Woosnam, 24, fitter.

For further details on the Six Bells disaster go to:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/28/newsid_2520000/2520665.stm

During the 1970s coal mined at Six Bells was brought to the surface via the Marine Colliery at Cwm in the neighbouring Ebbw Fawr valley when the two collieries were integrated. Six Bells colliery closed in 1988.

There are six pages in total, four of Six Bells and two of Marine - click to access

Six Bells page 1
Six Bells page 2
Six Bells page 3
Six Bells page 4
Marine page 1
Marine page 2


Pit head and winding gear looking up the valley




Former main entrance to the colliery looking down the valley


Close up of the one of the winding wheels




Another close up of the one of the winding wheels




The former Arael infants and Junior School overlooks the site
 

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