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Andy Carroll - What Type Of Lamp Might My Grandfather Have Used In 1914 At Bargoed Or Elliots (New Tredegar) Colliery?
Keith Jones - Bentley Colliery - Joe Beresford who played for Aston Villa and England

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Andy Carroll
26 May 2014
What Type Of Lamp Might My Grandfather Have Used In 1914 At Bargoed Or Elliots (New Tredegar) Colliery?

Dear Sir
My old Grandfather, who was Scottish (it's a long story), lived in Bargoed and he worked in the mines, I presume he worked at the Bargoed mine. However, I can clearly remember my father telling someone that if he ever bought a miner's lamp it would have to be from Elliott's No.2 as that was the pit in which my grandfather worked. Unfortunately both my grandfather and father have long since gone and there is no one left to ask but I too would like to buy a lamp that my grandfather might have used. He worked in the mines just prior to WW1 and immediately after, although he was badly wounded in France serving with The Welsh Regt. he was given a surface job when he returned.

I would like to know what type of lamp he might have used in 1914 and if they were ever marked with a colliery name/number.

I have done a little bit of research to try to find out if the Bargoed mine was owned by Elliotts but it appears it wasn't so I wondered what the connection was and if my grandfather could have lived in Bargoed but worked at Elliotts? I find it doubtful that he would have worked were he wasn't living and I know for a fact that he lived in Bargoed... Maybe he worked at Bargoed first and then Elliotts after the war?

Thank you for any help.

Best regards,

Andy Carroll


P.S. After I sent that email I found a photograph of men from the neighbouring Elliots pit, they are pictured carrying what I now know are E Thomas & Willams No.21 gas testing lamps. The very helpful gentleman who gave me that information did not think the whole workforce would have used those specific lamps but it's very interesting to know that a particular type was being used at that time. Another kind gentleman named Maurice Dawson has helped me further and suggested that it is likely that the most common type of lamp in the area at that time was probably the ET&W No.1 lamps.

I would most certainly like to find a more common ET&W lamp, I had seen a few No.1 lamps but I was never sure they would date from the period I wanted - most seem to be much later. I suppose the older ones just wore out or were smashed. I would certainly like to find an earlier one particularly if it was marked with the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Co. Ltd. markings. 

I shall definitely contact the Big Pit Museum to see if they have any more information.

The more I think about my grandfather the more I have to admire him, he must have been the toughest character. He and his brother were actually found begging in the streets of the Gorbals slums in Glasgow where he lived as a small child, his family having become broken.With his older brother he was sent to a very tough Training Ship for young boys who might go astray, which was the old HMS Mars, a Crimean battleship hulk,  moored in the Tay not far from Dundee. After a few years in that place they found him work in the mines of South Wales so he was working at Bargoed Colliery when he was about 15. When he was 18 he joined The Welsh Regt. and was sent out to France in December 1915, fought at Mametz Wood on the Somme where the Welsh were cut to pieces and he was also present at the 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele), he was seriously wounded in 1918 and returned to blighty to recover. Working at Elliots above ground must have been like a luxury for him after all that. I just wish I could have talked to him while he was alive, he lived quite a distance from us when we were young so we only saw him a few times a year and to be honest he had such a broad scots accent neither my brother nor I could really understand him! I do recall chatting to him when I was very young asking him about his wartime experiences but I also recall my grandmother shouting at him from the kitchen not to tell us too much. He didn't mince his words and did tell us a few stories, of course we were too young to appreciate the horrors. It's only now that I am researching his life that I can start to understand the hardships and horrors that he must have experienced.

I have attached a few documents which you might find interesting, including his records from the T.S. Mars showing how much he was earning at Bargoed. 

Best regards,

Andy Carroll

p.s. I can't help noticing the similarity between the photo of him in uniform when he was 18 and that little boy inn the Elliots photo - I wonder?

The Elliott and Bargoed Mines were quite close to one another. Probably your best bet is to contact or the The Big Pit Museum, Wales or possibly Protector Lamps

The following information, about the pits comes from

1897 - 1977

Work began on the first of Bargoed's three shafts in 1897 and four years later, in 1901, the mine produced it's first coal. The three shafts were named North, South and Brithdir.

At the peak of it's lifetime the colliery employed over two and a half thousand men and Bargoed was the largest colliery in the Rhymney Valley.
By the time the mine was closed in 1977 less than three hundred and sixty men were employed there.


Elliots Colliery - New Tredegar
1888 - 1967

The shafts at Elliots Colliery were started in 1888 but it was to take twenty four years before the colliery would hit peak production. By 1912 the mine employed over 2800 men and was producing in excess of 1m tons per year.

However, this production did not come cheaply. The colliery was plagued with problems caused by flooding and powerful pumps had to be installed. The pumps had to clear 8 tons of water for every ton of coal the mine produced.

The colliery was closed in 1967, despite the fact that the mine was still producing over half a million tons per year.

Ray Harris wrote to us and included the following information on these collieries:
The correct name for the old pit was New Tredegar colliery, it was locally called the old pits. There were 2 pits in New Tredegar this one, & Elliotts Colliery. New Tredegar colliery was sunk in 1855 by Thomas Powell who went on to develop the Powell Dufferyn steam coal company who later went on to be one of the biggest private coal companies in south Wales if not the the UK.

The colliery closed in 1929 because the side of a mountain fell, and practically buiried the colliery, the fall of mountain badly damaged 2 of the shafts and as a result the company decided to abandon the colliery and there it stood until 1965 when the N.C.B. decided to fill the shafts and knock down the remaining buildings.

Bargoed and Elliott, are about 2 miles apart.. See the map attached

A bit of information about the pits.

Both pits were owned by Powell Duffryn Ltd, so that could be the connection, as sometimes men transferred from one to the other. They
would have all the details about him, so to speak, and providing he had not been in trouble etc he would have been offerred a job at the other pit. As you mention Your Grandfather was wounded in the First World War, maybe he was only offerred a surface job at the other pit when he returned from War service as he would not be A1 fit for underground work. Of course hours of work on the surface were longer than underground work and more poorly paid. So much for King and Country in the Welsh Regiment. However hardly anyone was ever turned down for a job in those days, unless on short time or strikes etc. Men with one arm, one leg, one eye, one lung etc were generally found something to do.

Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley. Sunk 1897/1890 and closed on 4th June 1977.

Elliott was sunk 1885/1889 and closed 29th April 1967

There was quite a variety of safety lamps at that period. Electric battery hand held lamps did not enter the mines until 1915-1925 ish and
it all depended upon the individual Colliery Co. The lamps cost money and many Companies refused to pay for quite some time. If the mine was not particularly gassy then candles were allowed....very dangerous indeed as many explosions have proved. The lamps could have been Carbide, but again doubtful.

It depended upon the percentage of methane gas present in the mine air. Below 5% methane will burn but between 5% and 15% is explosive and the maximum force is about 10%.

Here is a very brief selection, one being made for Wales. Very difficult to know which kind but as Fionn suggests ask at Big Pit Museum in Wales, maybe they have a selecion for that era.

Sorry I can't be more helpful

Bob Bradley

Keith Jones
24 July 2013
Albion Colliery


I would like to congratulate you on a very interesting web site about Albion Colliery. Might I just make a few comments about the seams passed during the sinking. The depths shown to the lower seams don't seem correct to me (although my memory could be fading!) as No.2 shaft which was 606 yds deep went to the 5ft/gellideg seam and No.1 shaft was 524 yds (six feet seam) with a staple shaft sunk on the Cilfynydd side of the shaft to a depth of 80 yds down to the 5ft/gellideg. Should you wish to contact me for any further information I will be only too pleased to help.

I was the assistant Surveyor at the Colliery when it closed on 2nd September 1966, I thought it was a fabulous pit to work in.


Keith Jones 

Hi Fionn,
Attached is a shot of the Albion in August 1964 by Les Price of Mountain Ash. At present I cannot find my two photos but I will send them when I locate them.

Albion Colliery in the summer of 1964, during the construction of the new No.2 pit headgear, seen on the left .
An extention to the washery was also added. The pit was closed two years later!

After the closure on 2nd September 1966, I think about October. It shows the salvage workers at the end of the dayshift.
In late 1966 or more likely early 1967 a mini bus turned up at the pit, they asked to speak to John O'Brian who was the then acting Manager. They said they were a pop group and wanted to make a film to promote their new single.

The Manager agreed and we watched them miming to their song whilst being filmed around the Colliery Yard, which was for a programme called "As you like It"

The song was called New York Mining Disaster 1941, the group were the Bee Gees and the rest is History.