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The Real Price of Coal by Magdalena Meg Garczynska


The Real Price of Coal

by Magdalena Meg Garczynska


Š 2010 by Magdalena Meg Garczynska The I would like to extend my grateful book author retains sole copyright to his or her thanks for all the help that was given to me contributions to this book. in completing my project. Special thanks go to Pontypridd Historical Society and Photography: Magdalena Meg Garczynska Pontypridd Museum for allowing me to access all the important documents and Poetry: Richard Jones, Andrew Tovey, J.H. old photographs. Smith, Julie Dowland, Susan May, Wyndham Lewis, Del Morgan, Yvonne Smith, Brian Also big thanks to Bryan and Edd Toomey, Bernard Jones, Bronwen Hosie, Da- (Pontypridd Historical Society Members) vid Tapper, Unknown Artist, Richard Allan, for their stories regarding Hetty Pit history Jennifer Waymont, Paul Rees, Doreen E Reck- and for sharing their knowledge. itt This book is created on non-for-profit basis. The only costs you pay is cost of printing, binding shipping and three pounds donation for Rhondda Heritage Park. It is educational project.


Author S

he was born in Poland in 1985. When she was ten she received her first camera – a Zenit E – from her father and started her experiments with photography. In 2005 she left the country in search of a better life and settled in Cardiff, UK. The main fields of photography she is interested in are documentary, landscape and urbex. Her inspirations are the works of Roger Tiley, John Davies and John Cornwell. The topics she touches upon in her works are the history of South Wales, human memories and protection of the environment. She took part in a number of group exhibitions organised by e.g. The Big Fuss, Peaceful Progress, Milkwood Gallery and Ffotogallery. She is currently preparing for a couple of solo exhibitions which will take place in late Autumn 2010. She graduated in potographys (University of Glamorgan) in 2010. Currently working as an freelance.


Introduction Probably every Welsh know the names of towns, villages and places such

as Senghenydd, Ab erfan, Wattstown, Gresford, Clydach or Rhondda. Places of disasters, hundreds of victims and thousands of tears. All that tragic events made all people in welsh valleys profoundly shaken.

In modern times all ordinary men in everyday life - full of problems and struggle - don’t remember about all that sad, tragic events, but people who still live in welsh valleys can’t forget as their life is still depend of what’s happened -poverty, unemployment problems, economical and environmental issues and overwhelming memories. Past have a widespread impact on their everyday life. Years ago all that mining towns and villages were full of life: echoes of miners singing their happy songs on their way back home, today all that places seems to be quiet and ‘dead.’ Even if all mines in Wales have gone since now, we still can feel how big price we paid (and still paying) for coal dig out from welsh collieries. Even if everyone remembers that, very important is also that, to make future generation aware about what happened, it’s why I decided to make that project and book. There are still mines in many countries, and miners still dying, digging out coal to make our homes warm, and to give energy and power to the world.


Hetty Pit The Great Western Colliery Company Ltd. sank the Hetty shaft in

the mid 1870’s to the Six feet seam at 392 yards it has 16’ diameter. It is located in Hopkinstown between Pontypridd and Trehafod. Mine was closed in 1926, but machinery which transported miners into the pit and brought coal up, was later used as part of an emergency exit until the Ty Mawr Colliery closed in 1983. It was first coal mine over 100 yards deep. During the 1880s this was part of the Rhondda’s most productive colliery, and it was a very profitable enterprise for its owners. Diaster which happened 14th April 1893 killed 58 miners. Sparks from the wooden break blocks of a haulage engine set fire to nearby brattice sheets. The fire spread quickly, fanned by the strong ventilation to ignite timber supports sending dense clouds of smoke and fumes into the mines workings. The death tally would have been much greater if it wasn’t for the brave action of the district fireman, Thomas Prosser, who ventured into the dense smoke and by opening a set of air doors he diverted the noxious fumes out of the mine. Although it looks abandoned, the steam winding engine is in working order and the pit head is currently being restored. The manager of Hetty Pit in its early years was William James, mine employeed 878 people underground and 192 people above the ground


You can access all full poems from this book ans read more poetry and stories about miners and their life on website: www.welshcoalmines.co.uk/Poems.htm Poems used in this book: 1. ‘Heritage’ by Richard Jones 2. ‘A Clean Break’ by Andrew Tovey 3. ‘It’s in the blood’ by J.H. Smith 4.’ To My Grandfather’ by Julie Dowland 5. ‘The Llynfi Valley Today’ by Susan May 6. ‘Windmills’ by Wyndham Lewis 7. ‘Ode to the Men of the Mine’ by Del Morgan 8. ‘I worked down the pit’ by J. H. Smith 9. ‘Was it worth it?’ by Yvonne Smith 10. ‘Coal’ by Brian Toomey 11. ‘Death of a Lady’ by Bernard Jones 12. ‘Miner’s Lament’ by Bronwen Hosie 13. ‘Below The Ground’ by David Tapper 14. ‘Little miner’ by Unknown Artist 15. ‘The Pit’ by Richard Allan 16. ‘The real price of Coal’ by Jennifer Waymont 17. ‘Land Of My Fathers’ by Andrew Tovey 18. ‘The Colliery Wheel’ by Susan May 19. ‘A Small Red Valley’ by Paul Rees 20. ‘A century of missing miners’ by Doreen E Reckitt


Photographs and poems presented in that book it’s a tribute to the miners and their families. It is kind of reminder as well - of how hard and dangerous was miners life. Black and white life full of fear, tears, hardship, poverty, hard work, worries and danger. How was real price of coal? -Families’ fear of their husbands/fathers/sons life -Tousands of victims of mining diasters -Ilness caused by coal dust and hard work in the mines -Environmental problems caused by industrialization /urbanization -Unemployment and poverty problems present days Was it worth it? All photographs showing Hetty Shaft (Hopkinstown), but it is tribute to all miners in Wales and probably in the World. Even if all mines in Wales are closed now, there is still plenty of them in other countries. Some families still living in fear, praying to God and asking for safe come back. We should all remember how big price we pay for coal, which on purpose is also called black gold.

Magdalena Meg Garczynska was born in Poland in 1985. When she was ten she received her first camera – a Zenit E – from her father and started her experiments with photography. In 2005 she left the country in search of a better life and settled in Cardiff, UK. The main fields of photography she is interested in are documentary, land- scapes and urbex. Her inspirations are the works of Roger Tiley, John Davies and John Cornwell. The topics she touches upon in her works are the history of South Wales, human memories and protection of the environment.

The Real Price of Coal  

In this project I used photographs taken in Hetty Pit, Hopkinstown near Trehafod. Hetty pit was opened in 1875 and it’s become to Great West...

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