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Collieries - Tirdonkin

 

Tirdonkin Colliery

 

TIRDONKIN COLLIERY DIRECTIONS

 

Location: Latitude: 51.667029, Longitude: -3.977062 or Map Grid Reference: SS6336798323

 

Map: Click on this link for a Penllagare walks leaflet to print off:
Time:  From the entering the Penllergare Woods to old Tirdonkin mining area, roughly takes 25 minutes.
Car parking: From  Lezzet’s Café (2012), old Pit Stop Café shown on map, on the A48 about 500 meters from Penllagare roundabout.
Walking: Enter the gate of the Penllagaer Valley Woods on the left, you’ll see a plenty of information and a map as you enter.  The easiest way after looking at the map, keep walking left and after about 15 minutes you will come to a very wide gate, over or around the gate and it’s about 10 minutes away.  You will come to a junction, on the left was an old quarry, and on the right are another track and also an opening in the trees where you enter.  After entering, on the left is the Gladys mineshaft concrete cap, with the Charles shaft about 30 meters away.  Please see photo below showing the illustration with white outlines.
I found this is to be a lovely walk and I recommend walking shoes/boots or wellies as the path can be very muddy in places.

Please read the map.

Don’t blame me for any incorrect information, falls, breakages, and mishaps or even getting lost. 
(This is all done at your own risk!), I’ve done my best to explain.

 


 

The principle seams worked were the 5 ft. & 6ft. steam and manufacturing coals , with the 3 ft. used for only a short time.

Workings were by "Pillar & Stall" method.

 

Earlier versions: "Tir-dwncyn", "Tirdwncyn" "Tir-donkin" and currently "Tirdonkin"

 

Tirdonkin Colliery reproduced from: OS Map 1916

The main railway connection runs east to (disused) Cefngyfleach colliery.

Tirdonkin to Cefngyfelach area 1945 Google Earth

Tirdonkin Colliery 1916 OS Map

Tirdonkin & Cefngyfelach 1945 Google Earth
   
Tirdonkin Gladys and Charles shaft photo
Tirdonkin & Cefngyfelach 2006 Google Earth

The 2012 photo above showing only a quarter of the Gladys concrete cap.

The concrete cap of the Charles shaft is a larger size than his sister and overgrown, but with some patience can be found.

 

Tirdonkin to Cefngyfelach area 2006 Google Earth

Top left to right: A48 Penllergaer to Llangyfelach

Right: Llangyfelach, Clase housing and part of Morriston Crematorium

 

TCC -Tirdonkin Colliery TCC - Tirdonkin Colliery

CGCC - Cefngyfelach Colliery CGCC - Cefngyfelach Colliery

Cefngyfelach to Tirdonkin Railway extension in this year1900 - Cefngyfelach to Tirdonkin Railway extension, the railway followed the almost "L shape" of the tree line.

Connection to G.W.R. Swansea District Line at Llangyfelach 1913 GWR - Connection to G.W.R. Swansea District Line, at Llangyfelach

Cil-fwnwr Farm Farm 1 - Cil-fwnwr

Cefn-cadle Farm Farm 2 - Cefn-cadle

 

LEFT

Tirdonkin Memorial 1

RIGHT

Tirdonkin Memorial 2

This 'memorial 1' inscription is at the rear of Charles shaft.

 

Explanation:

 

TIR DONKIN

COLLIERY

1890 - 1928

CHARLES SHAFT

DIAMETER 16FT

 

(illustration of shaft)

 

(top)

 

(seam 1) 3FT (?)

 

(seam 2) 5FT

 

(seam 3) 6FT

 

SEC FT

DEEP

 

 

The inscription was very nearly unreadable, so I rubbed chalk in the faint description for this photo in 2012.

 

( ) = explanation only

 

This 'memorial 2' inscription is at the rear of Charles shaft.

 

Explanation:

 

(initials) F C

(in between, top) CROWN

(under crown) WELSH DRAGON

(date) 1971

 

The inscription was very nearly unreadable, so I rubbed chalk in the faint description for this photo in 2012.

 

( ) = explanation only

 


 

Introductory Information:

 

Cefngyfelach Colliery - Location: Latitude: 51.663597 Longitude: -3.957422 or Map Grid Reference: SS6471597905

 

The two mines history of Cefngyfelach and Tirdonkin are interwoven.

Tirdonkin colliery's birth came from an earlier mine called Cefngyfelach first dated on List of Mines for 1887
when it is entered as being the property of the Cwmfelin Tinplate Co.

 

A mineral railway, roughly two miles long was built from Cefngyfelach to join the Great Western Railway at Cwmfelin.

The contractor was a Mr.G. Hanney, of Morriston, supervised by the colliery manager, William Morgan.

The cost of £7000 and. was worked by locomotives, the first loco ran to Cefngyfelach on 1st May 1896.

After this date there was room for expansion, the need was taken up further west under the Penllergaer estate of Sir John Dillwyn Llewelyn.

 

This was one of the last unfortunate references to the mine before its closure in 1910/11:

 

"South Wales Daily Post C10 DEATHS, DEATH NOTICES 30 June 1910 June 29,

at Cefngyfelach, Llangyfelach, James Morgan, aged 29"

 

www.swansea.gov.uk, cambrian online search index.

 

 

Source

Index

Area

Date

Details

(GJ.32) P62 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1899 August
The manager of Cefngyfelach, William Morgan, declared that his company was to win the coal at Tirdonkin. The 5 ft, and 6 ft coal seams to be worked.
(GJ.32) P67 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1899
Initial work started on Tirdonkin colliery.
(GJ.32) P62 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1900
Work started around January 1900, this came with the extension of Cefngyfelach
railway connecting Tirdonkin colliery. This was more or less finished by the middle of the same year.
(GJ.32)

P63

&

P68

TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1901 Dec. 07

An opening ceremony to mark the sinking of Tirdonkin colliery, behind Tirdwncyn Farm. The son and youngest daughter of Sir John Dillwyn Llewelyn. Captain Charles Llewelyn and Gladys cut the 1st sods of the two mine shafts (upcast & downcast) and were named in there honor "Charles" & "Gladys", both pits were brick lined and 16 ft. in diameter.

(GJ.32) P63 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH 1903 Sep. 6th At the Gladys Pit the 5 ft. seam was struck at approximately 450 feet below ground.
(GJ.32) P63 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1903

Towards the end of year, the name of the company was changed from the

Cefn Gyfelach Colliery Company (CGCC) to the Tirdonkin Collieries Company (TCC).

(GJ.32) P64 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1904
In the Charles Pit they struck coal, no reference to which seam.
(R.L) P80 THE COLLIERS OF THE SWANSEA.
1904 April
The mine abandoned the 4 ft.seam in this year.
(WM) Q54 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1904 July 26
Glamorgan assizes: John & others -V- Tirdonkin collieries Ltd. Mynydd bach chapel, Cefngyfelach, alleges mining damage. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) H82 BUILDINGS, RELIGION, CHAPELS
1904 Aug. 05
Trustees of Mynyddbach chapel sue Tirdonkin collieries for damage due to subsidence. History of the building. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) J21 MINING AND INDUSTRY etc.
1904 Aug. 05
Trustees of Mynyddbach chapel sue Tirdonkin collieries for damage due to subsidence. History of the building. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) Q54 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1904 Aug. 05
Mynyddbach chapel -V- Tirdonkin collieries: Witness - Rev John Daniel, an aged and deaf minister. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) Q54 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1904 Aug. 05
Mynyddbach chapel -V- Tirdonkin collieries: Witness - John T. Morgan, foreman to messrs Walters & Johns, contractors. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) Q54 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1904 Aug. 05
Mynyddbach chapel -V- Tirdonkin collieries: Witnesses - Daniel James, Cae Mawr Rd, Morriston; William John, Caersalem. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) H82 BUILDINGS, RELIGION, CHAPELS
1904 Aug. 08
Mynyddbach chapel trustees -V- Tirdonkin colliery re subsidence. Witnesses for the colliery, William Morgan, John George. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) J21 MINING AND INDUSTRY etc.
1904 Aug. 08
Mynyddbach chapel trustees -V- Tirdonkin colliery re subsidence. Witnesses for the colliery, William Morgan, John George. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) Q52 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, FIN etc.
1904 Aug. 08
Mynyddbach chapel trustees -V- Tirdonkin colliery re subsidence. Witnesses for the colliery, William Morgan, John George. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) Q54 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1904 Aug. 10
Mynyddbach chapel -V- Tirdonkin collieries: Witnesses - Abraham George, builder, Swansea; Mr Morgan, colliery manager. Relates to Cefngyfelach colliery!
(WM) P64 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1905
Tirdonkin first appeared as a working colliery in the List of Mines.
(WM) P64 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT etc.
1906 Aug.

The Annual General Meeting of the TCC, John Jones Jenkins 1835-1915,

(Lord Glantawe) reported a loss of £3,428 in the year 1905, but things were beginning to pay.

(GJ.32) P64 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1908
The striking of the 6ft seam in the Gladys Pit meant that both seams were in production.
(GJ.32) P64 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1908
In 1908 the GWR started to construct its Swansea District Line to serve as a Swansea by-pass to Swansea docks. The Kings Dock opened in 1909.
(GJ.32) P64 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1909
Tirdonkin's lease was increased from 600 acres to 1050.

(GJ.32)

&

(R.L)

P65

&

P80/1

TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH

&

THE COLLIERS OF THE SWANSEA

1909 March
The 5ft. seam had been abandoned because of the Tirdonkin fault.
     
1912

In this year Tirdonkin's lease was extended again to 1450 acres, and also a new,

60 year lease was taken out.

(SWDP) N/A N/A
1912 Apr.16
The 300 men have been out on strike for nearly six weeks, there felt a need for the colliery to come under police protection. Hope of a settlement.
  P65  
1913
The TCC put in a connection about half a mile long from their railway at a point about 650 yards east of Tirdonkin to join the Swansea District Line, probably opened in July 1913, since it is shown on the 1914 OS map. When this new connection was completed, the old railway line south of Cefngyfelach to Cwmfelin was taken up.
(GJ.32) P65 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1915
The family business lost Lord Glantawe, he was succeeded as Chairman and
Managing Director of the TCC by his son-in-law, Horace C. M. DanielL,
His co-directors and daughters Olga Violet Daniell and Elaine Jenkins.
(GJ.32) P66 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1920 April

(TCC) was sold to Lewis, Stephens & Co. of Swansea, and completed in June.

The purchase price was well over £250,000, W. J, Stephens, of Sketty, was a partner in this company which already owned a number of collieries in the area such as: Amman, Beili-glas, Cilfrew, Clyne Merthyr and Duffryn, soon after bought

Broad Oak and Samlet Collieries.

The Tirdonkin Collieries Company was put into liquidation within a few months and a new company was formed named the "Tirdonkin Merthyr Collieries Limited".

(GJ.32) P66 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1920 Dec. 31

A letter written to Daniell by W, Nicholas, Secretary of the TCC and a Swansea coal factor:

"Business is nearly as bad as it can be just now as there are no buyers of Steam or Anthracite, Patent Fuel is also "sick". Large coal (the little that's Wanted) is easily bought for 60/- & less & Thro' for less than 40/ - - shipment. But there is no demand, and until France returns for Welsh coal or new markets are found, things will he bad. Shipping companies must be badly hit, Whatever the future has in
store, it is very clear that you sold the colliery at the right moment,
and, I believe, not a day too soon."

(GJ.32) P66 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1922 March

For a short period the colliery seems to have recorded a record output:

A recorded daily output of 1,209 tons was achieved, in the following July a weekly record of 7,419 tons.

(GJ.32)

&

(Copper)

P66

&

P297

TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH

&

COPPEROPOLIS

1926
All the pits to the north-west of Swansea were drained by a Cornish Beam pumping engine at Callands Pit, originally called (Townsend), Landore, which stopped pumping in this year. Expensive new pumping equipment was installed in the 6 ft.
seam at Tirdonkin, but it became uneconomic to work the coal.
(GJ.32) P67 TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH
1928 Apr. 28
Work probably ended after the Tirdonkin Merthyr Co. was put into liquidation.
(S.D) P140 SWANSEA DIRECTORY- PROFESSIONAL AND COMMERCIAL DIRECTORY
1931
Tirdonkin colliery, Fforestfach. (somehow still listed)

(GJ.32)

 

&

 

(R.L)

P68 on

 

 

 

P81

TIRDONKIN & CEFNGYFELACH

 

&

 

THE COLLIERS OF THE SWANSEA

Some working figures and facts:

1902: 119 sinking
1903: 152
1905: 341
1907: 393
1909: 249
1910: 304
1911: 308
1912: 230
1913: 337 men and coal extraction cost between 11s. 2d. & 12s. 2d.
1913/15: working the Swansea Five-Feet seam Mr. D. Howell manager.

Tirdonkin was reported to have supplied 42,073 tons to the local works

and 54,020 for shipment to France. Coal extraction cost 20s 10d.

1916: employed 337 men with Mr. Howell still the manager.

1918: employed 282/80 men

1919: employed 345 men
1920: 170 men

1922: 800 men who produced record levels see: March of this year.

1923 it was owned by the Tirdonkin Merthyr Company - 518/150 men.

1924: 813
1925: 780
1927: 770 men employed with the manager being F. Hargreaves.
1928: 710

 

NOTES: AREA COLLUM (etc.)

 

- CRIME AND PUNISHMENT AND POLICE, MONETARY DISPUTES, CIVIL ACTIONS, PROPERTY

- CRIME AND PUNISHMENT AND POLICE, MONETARY DISPUTES, DEBTS AND FINANCIAL CLAIMS

- MINING AND INDUSTRY, COAL MINING, SWANSEA AND GOWER

 

(SWDP) South Wales Daily Post

(WM) Western Mail - Cambrain Index

- THE COLLIERS OF THE SWANSEA AND SWANSEA VALLLEY GENERAL AREAS by Ray Lawrence BSc. 2008

- STORY OF SWANSEA D & V

(The Story of Swansea Districts and Villages Volume II Parts IV-VIII with Abridged Volume I Parts I - III, 1969), Norman Lewis Thomas

(GJ.32) Gower Journal 32 - Tirdonkin & Cefngyfelach by Paul Reynolds, 1981 - (further reading for this area)

(Copper) Copperopollis Landscapes of the Early Industrial Period in Swansea, Revised 2005, Stephen Hughes, No 6, p297

Swansea History Project, 4 Site Education, Tramroads and Industrial Railways, Cefngyfelach & Tirdonkin Railway, pages 42-45

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Workers: e.g. 355 /61 = 355 underground and 61 on the surface.

 

The names of collieries would often change with ownership or re-openings, the coal seam name would sometimes follow suit.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

QUOTE

 

"The Tirdonkin Colliery was separated from the workings of the latter pits by a wide barrier, but the water percolated through it and also through the strata in such quantity as to drown out the pumps and cause the abandonment of this colliery also."

 

(The Story of Swansea Districts and Villages Volume II Parts IV-VIII with Abridged Volume I Parts I - III, 1969),

Norman Lewis Thomas - Fforestfach page 75

 

EXTRA NOTE:

 

There is very little left that connects the two collieries.

Directions: 200 meters north of Maes Sant Teilo, Llangyfelach Road, Llangyfelach.

Facing west, you will see a large gate in black and yellow, stopping vehicle access.

This road connects with Mynydd Newydd Road.

If you walk up the gentle slope for about 200 meters, you will see on the left and right stone abutments which originally carried the mineral railway between Cefngyfelach on your left and Tirdonkin on your right.

The farm land on the right still has a tree line and path leading towards Tirdonkin colliery, seen using Google satellite views.

 

REFERENCE:

"Tir-dwncyn", "Tirdwncyn" "Tir-donkin"& "Tirdonkin" was used to filter the Cambrian index as best as possible with the information available.18.06.2012

(C) Cambrian [web filtered] | Available from the Swansea County Hall

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

*A huge thank you to Dave Arnold for all his help with the Collieries*

Thank you to the City & County of Swansea for all your help and support.