Merthyr Vale Colliery

The Merthyr Vale Colliery was the vision of John Nixon, a coal mine pioneer who began work on sinking the Merthyr Vale No. 1 pit in 1869, following the River Taff being diverted. Nixon, who also had four other coal mines in the South Wales coalfield, would eventually become the sole owner of the mine when Nixon's, Taylor and Co. became Nixon's Navigation Coal Co. Ltd. He saw the potential of the land and wanted to create a lasting legacy by creating one of the biggest, deepest and most productive mining collieries in the country.

Early Days

The first coal was produced and brought to the surface in 1875; six years after the hard work of sinking began. The colliery itself is one of the main reasons that Aberfan and Merthyr Vale exist today, as the communities were created for and maintained by the support from the mine. By the mid 1890s, mine inspectors reported that over 2000 men and boys worked in Pits No.1 and No.2 both above the surface and underground, with those underground working at a depth of up to 542 feet.

The colliery remained in Nixon's name until the early 1930s, at which time ownership changed hands to the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company. Upon Nationalisation in 1947, the National Coal Board became the proprietors of Merthyr Vale Colliery.

During the 1960s, Merthyr Vale Colliery underwent a £2 million re-organisation that would transform how the mine functioned and the miners worked. From that point, the mine would benefit from electrification of the winding engines, additional coal preparation and wagon-loading facilities and a brand-new underground coal conveying system.

The End

The colliery was affected during the miner's strikes of the 1980s, and despite local newspaper reports of the mine being in good stead for years to come following the conclusion of the strikes, the colliery never quite recovered and as a result, stopped production and was shut at the end of the decade. The Merthyr Vale Colliery closed for the final time on 25th August 1989.

Heritage lottery Fund Logo

Tel: 01685 727474
Last updated: 30.03.2012
Was this information useful?
Thinking about what you have just read, how useful did you find the information?
Take a moment to tell us how we could improve this page, but please don't leave any personal details like your name or address. This information is for comments only and you will not receive a response.