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Industry

March 2014

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 27 March 2014

Amongst this month’s new additions to the collections we have received 16 very interesting share certificates. The Museum holds by far the largest and wide-ranging Welsh-interest share certificate collection held by any public museum, library or archive. The collection ranges across railway and maritime transport, coal mining, the mining and smelting of metals, general industry, and service industries (finance, leisure, consumer products, etc). We seek to consolidate and expand whenever appropriate material is offered.

The Royal Copper Mines of Cobre company was founded in 1835 by predominantly Swansea and Llanelli copper smelting interests who, recognising the rapidly growing importance of Cuban ore to Welsh smelting works, sought to see the mines both worked much more efficiently and on a larger scale as well as under their control rather than under inefficient Spanish colonial direction. These certificates are a rare example of tangible objects reflecting the international reach of globally pre-eminent Welsh copper smelting industry. The two strongest international connections of the industry were with Cuba and Chile, with Cuban connections being especially intimate at Swansea. 

 

This Mynyddbach-y-Glo Colliery Company Limited share certificate dates from 1924. The company was registered 1924. It operated the colliery from 1924 to May 1926 when it when into voluntary liquidation, seemingly an early casualty of the miners’ strike which continued after the end of the General Strike. Winding up was completed in 1927. The colliery comprised a small slant located at Waunarlwydd on the western outskirts of Swansea.

 

This Pontypridd Gas Light and Coke Company share certificate dates from 1852. The company was registered in 1850, and was later purchased by Pontypridd Local Board of Health under the terms of the Pontypridd Local Board (Gas) Act 1893. The Local Board became an Urban District Council in 1907 and the latter authority transferred the gas undertaking to the Wales Gas Board following the passing of the Gas Nationalisation Act 1948. Pontypridd was only the fifth Welsh town to be lit with gas, its Act creating its gas company being early by Welsh standards. At the centre is an interesting vignette of the gas works in front of the Pontypridd’s famous bridge. The bridge was built by William Edwards in 1756. 

 

One donation this month included two commemorative ties that can be seen here. Trelewis drift mine was opened in 1954 and was adjacent to Taff Merthyr colliery. One of the ties show here commemorates 25 Years of its opening. Production ceased soon after this tie was made in 1991.  The other tie commemorates 73 years of Markham Colliery which was opened in 1912. The tie was produced in 1985 during the miners’ strike. Markham colliery was to close the following year. 

 

As well as the ties we were also donated two tobacco or twist boxes. These were used by miners to store their ‘twist’ (chewing tobacco). They were generally made of brass and usually oval in shape, although we have many examples of different materials and shaped tins in our collection. They are usually stamped with the miners name, address or colliery, and also often a date.

Of the two boxes illustrated here one is oval (with the date 1985 stamped underneath) and the other rectangular and in the shape of a book, with a simple combination locking mechanism underneath.

 

One final new accession this month is very poignant as last year we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Sengehydd disaster in which 440 miners lost their lives in the worst mining disaster in Britain. This horse’s hoof mounted in silverplate was given to Reginald Mortimer of Standard Colliery, Ynyshir for his work with colliery horses during the disaster. It is inscribed "KILDARE" / 1ST HORSE FROM THE / SENGHENYDD / EXPLOSION. OCT. 14. 1913.

For more objects relating to the Senghenydd disaster check out our Images of Industry database. You can also find out more about the disaster in our article Senghenydd 1913 on Rhagor.

 

Mark Etheridge

Curatorial Assistant (Industry)

 Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2014

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 27 February 2014

This month we have been donated six lamp checks to add to our very comprehensive collection of checks. Lamp checks informed colliery management of who was in work and became vital when rescue services needed to know how many men were actually underground during an incident such as a fire or explosion. Colliery check systems apparently became common during the late nineteenth century and became mandatory in 1913 after an amendment to the 1911 Coal Mines Act. The two lamp checks shown here were manufactured by E. Thomas & Williams at their Cambrian Works in Aberdare in 2013 using original dies owned by the company. The one on the left was produced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Big Pit operating as a museum.

If you would like to find out more information on check and tokens then check out an article written by our coal curator on Rhagor.

http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/rhagor/article/lampchecks

You can also see a selection of checks and tokens from our collection on our online database ‘Images of Industry’.

http://amgueddfacms/industry/images/?action=browse_category&category=1716

 

 

This ophthalmoscope was used by colliery nurse Sister Iris Evans for checking ears and eyes in Pochin and Oakdale Collieries. After completing her training in 1952 Sister Evans joined the National Coal Board as a nursing officer at Pochin Colliery in 1955. Later she was transferred to Oakdale Colliery. She retired in 1985 finishing her career as Senior Nursing Officer for South Wales Area NCB. During her career she helped out during the Six Bells Colliery disaster in 1960. She also vaccinated many miners at Lady Windsor Colliery during a smallpox outbreak in South Wales in the 1950s.

 

 

This large 15 ton piece of coal is now located at Bedwellty Park, Tredegar, and is Grade II listed. It was cut at the Yard Level, Tredegar as a single block with the intention to display it at the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was originally 20 tons, however, after a 5 ton piece broke away in transportation it was decided not to transport it to London as it might not survive the journey. It was subsequently set up in the grounds of Bedwellty House. The smaller block of 2 tons (to the left) was cut in 1951 from the same seam as the earlier one. It was exhibited at the Festival of Britain in London, before being placed next to the earlier block in Bedwellty Park.

 

 

Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

 

January 2014

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 29 January 2014

We have had a number of interesting objects coming into the Industry collections since my last Blog. Here are just a few.

This wooden full hull ship model is of the m.v. Innisfallen. The Innisfallen was built in 1969 to inaugurate British & Irish Line’s Swansea to Cork ferry service. She was eventually sold to Corsica Ferries and then to Sancak Lines, Turkey. After a number of name changes she was broken up in 2004.

 

The commemorative plate below was manufactured by Ceramic Arts in 1989. It commemorates both the National Justice For Mineworkers Campaign, 5th Anniversary of 1984-85 strike, and the centenary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

 

This illuminated address was presented to Harry Brean by the workmen of the Risca Collieries for bravery during the “Gob Fire” at the Old Black Vein Colliery between July 12th and August 9th 1918. Presented towards the end of the First World War, it is interesting to note that the address states that “the Coal Mines produce their Great Heroes no less than the Battlefield”. The address is of a standard format that was printed by the Western Mail Ltd., Cardiff, and then hand illuminated. Note that his name is spelt incorrectly on address!

 

The object below we believe to be a calendar mount. It was printed on tinplate by Metal Box Company Limited in Neath, c.1960. The image is of a painting by the artist Harold Forster. The original oil on board painting depicts the hot strip mill at Abbey iron and steel works in Port Talbot and dates to 1955. The original painting is in our collection and details of this work and others by Harold Forster can be seen on our Images of Industry online catalogue - http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/industry/images/?action=search&search_type=artist_title&artist=forster&title=

 

 Mark Etheridge

Curatorial Assistant (Industry)

 

December 2013

An Industry Christmas Special

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 18 December 2013

Christmas is almost upon us, and we thought we would bring you some festive cheer from the industry collections.

This Christmas Lego set was donated in 2000, and represents the post-1930 industry collections, and toy manufacture in Wales. The set comprises Father Christmas with reindeer and sleigh, and is complete with its original box. The brand name Lego comes from the Danish words "LEg GOdt" meaning to "play well" and in Latin it means “I put together”. In 1963 British Lego Ltd. set up a new headquarters and factory in Wrexham, Wales and this set was manufactured there. Production at Wrexham ceased in 1977.

 

 

This mug, sold in aid of the "1984 Miners Children Appeal", was manufactured by Commemorative Pottery. It depicts a festive scene with children dancing around a Christmas tree hung with miners flame safety lamps. On the reverse an inscription describes that the aim of the Striking Miners Children Appeal Support Fund was to create “a happier Christmas for the children of Britain’s Mineworkers” during the strike of 1984/85.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 3 December 2013

This is the second of our monthly Blogs on the Industrial collections.

At the beginning of this year we were donated a painting titled “Frongoch Lead Mines Nr Aberystwyth”. This is by the artist P.S. Smith and it now joins three other paintings by this artist depicting lead mines of north Ceredigion. The artist was awarded a scholarship to Liverpool School of Art in 1942, but this was interrupted by National Service in the mines. Later he was Head of Art at Cardigan Grammar School, and was co-founder and chairman for many years of the Cardigan Art Society. He was inspired by the Cardiganshire landscape and its buildings. The four paintings in our collection can be seen on our online catalogue “Images of Industry” - http://amgueddfacms/en/industry/images/?action=show_works&item=1034&type=artist

 

 

Ian Smith, our Curator of Contemporary and Modern History has recently acquired two items for the collection that were made in Wales.

The first is a Hitachi CBP2038 television set. This was manufactured by Hitachi in Hirwaun in 1983. It was able to show teletext and was one of the first teletext models on the market. It came to us complete with stand and a remote control that slides in and out of the main television body.

These miniature figures were also recently donated to us. A member of the public had visited the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea and noticed that we had a lot of toys on display in our “Made in Wales” Gallery and so donated this "Miniature Masterpieces by Marx" set. The figures were manufactured by Louis Marx and Co. Ltd. of Fforestfach, Swansea in the early 1960s.

Some of our toy collection on display in the “Made in Wales” Gallery at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

 

 

November 2013

A Window into the Industry Collections

Posted by Mark Etheridge on 1 November 2013

Hello, and welcome to the first blog entry on our Industrial collections. In this blog we aim to let you know about some of the interesting and varied objects that enter the museum collections via our Industrial sites. These include Big Pit National Coal Museum, Welsh Slate Museum and National Waterfront Museum, as well as the National Collections Centre. We collect in all fields of industrial and maritime history and we hope through this blog to tell you more about new collections as they come into the museum and how we look after them.

Recently a number of unusual items have come into the collection relating to the coal industry.

Promotional keyring by Phurnacite Coal Products Ltd. Showing 'Phurnacite Man' in the shape of a coal briquette with arms and legs. This dates from c.1980s.

 

Four golf balls sold during the 1984-85 Miners' Strike. These show caricatures of Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, Arthur Scargill and Norman Tebbit.

 

 

This is an example of a Terry towelling baby’s nappy sold in the canteens of the National Coal Board. They would have been sold along with towels and soap. This example was purchased from Cwm Colliery cokework's canteen in the mid-1970s. The soap is stamped P.H.B. which stands for Pit Head Baths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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