Mayor launches new book commemorating mining disaster of 1890

Posted on: Tuesday 10 November 2015

A new book about the Llanerch Colliery explosion of 1890 was launched on Monday November 9 at the Mayor's parlour in Pontypool. The Llanerch Colliery was situated in Cwmnantddu above Pontnewynydd and the disaster led to the loss of 176 local men and boys.

The explosion took place on February 6 1890 and was reported throughout the UK, with journalists from the Free Press the very first on the scene. A dangerous combination of naked flame lights and misplaced faith of the employers in the effectiveness of their ventilation system were responsible for the tragedy. Out of the 176 declared as dead, 44 were boys under the age of fifteen and the average age of those killed was 27.

The book called ‘The Llanerch Colliery Explosion’ has been created by the ‘Friends of The Llanerch Memorial Fund’, a team of volunteers that have spent the past year researching the disaster and compiling details of the event, the social conditions of the time and the outcome of the inquest. The names of all men and boys who tragically lost their lives have been listed and a replica of the Inquest’s Report map has been included.

Mayor of Torfaen, Councillor Giles Davies, has welcomed the book saying: I’m supporting the book about Llanerch as every penny will go towards a memorial to remember the 176 men and boys who lost their lives during the disaster.

“The Llanerch Memorial Fund is also one of my Mayoral charities this year and a cause which is close to my heart as a lot of the miners killed were from the Abersychan area and had a massive impact on the area in which I live.

“People should buy the book, as we should never forget the sacrifices they made that day by just going to work to provide for their families. They deserve a fitting memorial and for their story to be told.

“The legacy of the book will be an up to date publication of what happened that faithful day and a hope that more will understand what it was like to work in the days before unions and proper safety laws. Also a fitting memorial to remember them.”

The Rt Hon Lord Murphy of Torfaen has provided the preface to the book which is now on sale at stockists throughout Torfaen for the price of £9.99 and all proceeds will be used to build a memorial on the exact spot of the explosion in 1890. The group also plan on other fundraising activities over the coming year to raise additional funds for the memorial such as film screenings, concerts, exhibits and open days.

“There should be a memorial to the Llanerch dead as part of our local history and to remind people how much working conditions have improved since that time. A memorial would be a focal point for a continued presentation to our schoolchildren so that they are aware of their heritage,” said Ken Clark, Chair of the Friends of the Llanerch Memorial Fund.

For stockists please contact Ken Clark on 01495 773073 or visit the Friends of Llanerch Memorial Fund Facebook page.

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