The price of coal

Coal Mining

Reaching out under Swansea Bay from Blackpill are the workings of a colliery drowned when the sea broke through into the galleries.  The owners denied that certain men had lost their lives and refused the families compensation.  Years later high tides caused the water level to rise up the old shaft in Clyne Valley, bringing with it several skeletons from the old workings.

Details of the accident are scant and I need to do some more research, but I’m guessing the accident happened around 1870 because in 1943 a local poet called John Beynon wrote the following:


We had no time to pray

who shared poverty and were brave:

a  row of faces, hung ballons,

in the darkness as the roof split

lengthwise, squashed under its hammer,

a soft melon to the forged wall

of water we could not see

but had, unwillingly, to obey:

we rolled unconscious, already drowned.


They closed the pit and a mile inland

seventy years later the sea rose up

the crumbled shaft and burst

over the long grass and lay

our bones in homage under a drying sun,

to kindle, not disown:

how we would have laughed to see

the flash of windscreens and curious eyes

as we were spat out, one by one,

the rank earth repelling all their lies

and our voiceless anger gloriously sown.


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About Mr KRoss

It's the same the whole world over; it's the poor what gets the blame; it's the rich what gets the money; ain' it all a bleedin' shame.

One response to “The price of coal”

  1. Ben Grigg says :

    Interesting story… you say that no compensation was paid – this suggests compensation was sought? If so the date and names of folk involved should be recorded somewhere.

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