Grandad - James Carroll
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.
Men From The Neighbouring Elliots Pit, Pictured Carrying E Thomas And Willams No.21 Gas Testing Lamps
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.
Training Ship HMS Mars, A Crimean Battleship Hulk, Moored In The Tay Not Far From Dundee
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).
My Grandfather served for three years in France and Flanders and was twice wounded, I have a digital copy of the Battalion War Diary from the National Archives and so I know where his unit was throughout the war but from the little snippets he told my brother and I when he was alive I know he had a very hard war, as they all did. The second time he was seriously wounded, it was 1918 and he was 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 to stop telling us so much as we were so young, she must have heard those terrible stories and knew what he had been through, luckily he did manage to tell us a few things that he probably shouldn't have. However, my Grandmother shouldn't have worried as it was only much later when I was older and started to research his life that I understood the full significance and horror of what he told me.
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.
P.S. I can't help noticing the similarity between the photo of Grandad James in uniform when he was 18 and that little boy in the Elliots photo - I wonder?
The Elliott and Bargoed Mines Were Quite Close To One Another
Probably your best bet is to contact minersadvice.co.uk. or the The Big Pit Museum, Wales or possibly Protector Lamps
The following information, about the pits comes from minersadvice.co.uk
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, and 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
A bit of information about the pits. Bargoed and Elliott, are about 2 miles apart, see map above.
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 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