Welsh colliery horses

'Able' of Glyncorrwg Colliery - second place in Merthyr Horse Show, June 1955.

'Able' of Glyncorrwg Colliery - second place in Merthyr Horse Show, June 1955.

Comments (10)

Timothy Evans
5 March 2022, 00:21
Is there a list of inspectors of pit ponies in South Wales. I have a lamp that belonged to my Great Grandfather, who according to my father did inspect ponies in the South Wales pits....his name was James Evans and his initials are on the lamp. He and his wife, later came up to Birmingham and ran a coal merchants business in Bordesley Green.
Just interested to know, whether you have any details that I could attribute to the lamp.Which was my fathers' pride and joy. Many thanks
Andrew Clark
6 February 2020, 11:37
Hi big pit staff
Ceri Thompson
30 January 2020, 11:41
Dear Roman

As you say, there's little mention of the horses killed in the disaster in the Inspector's Report, even though he sketched the location and position of killed horses on the notebook he used when walking around the workings after the disaster. I suppose it would be possible to go through the pages and count the dead horses.

The museum has a silver mounted hoof which reads 'Kildare, 1st horse from Senghenydd explosion, Oct. 14 1913'. However, although the hoof was in the hands of the family of the original owner, they didn't have any more details, so we don't know if the horse was the first one brought up alive or dead.

On the Disaster report's plan of the workings three stables are shown:-

Stables off No.2 South Level (Pretoria District), Stables off Lancaster Level (KImberley District) and the 'Klondike stables' (Botanic District?) just outside the pit pillar.

I hope that's of some help.

Ceri Thompson, Curator.

Roman Farrell
29 January 2020, 00:12
Not for a moment forgetting the tragic human loss, try as I might I can find very little detail of horses killed in the 1913 Senghenydd disaster. I believe there was a Klondike stables and the investigation reports of that time occasionally mention a dead horse during examination of the mine following the explosion but little else. Does anyone know how many horses were killed and names and location of stables in the districts affected.
Any direction would be much appreciated
Ta! RF
Doug Bowen
10 March 2019, 19:58
My father went down the mines when 14 in 1934 in Troed y Rhiw. The family plus my father moved to Blaendulais, called Seven Sisters after the Mine Owner's daughters indicating the power of the Mine Owners. He was very good mechanically but that did mean as a Fitter or similar call outs came at any time of the day or night to ensure the machines kept working. No mobiles etc - stones on the bedroom window indicated a 'problem;.
Every Summer the 'pit ponies' were brought to the field in front of the house for their August holiday, in fact they were huge Shire horses, They were so full of life and galloped around the field providing a wonderful sight, enjoying the freedom from the pits they wore eye guards to protect them from the sunlight.
One day my father announced he was leaving the mines, he'd seen miners killed but that particular day he had experienced a rock fall that killed a favourite horse of the mine. I never heard of cruelty to the horses as they were appreciated by the close knit community underground.
Hilary Jones
7 February 2019, 17:34
It doesn't seem to me that the horses had it any harder than the human miners (my ancestors). Possibly, from my experience of equine therapy for traumatised people, I could think that horses and miners made it more bearable for each other. But it's all part of capitalism, and the exploitation of the many (Welsh) for the benefit of the few (English) . Time for a change?
24 March 2016, 12:27
I have visited the Big Pit many times over the years, and each time I go I try to remember all the lovely names given to the pit ponies that lived underground. Could you remind me of all those wonderful names, of which I can only remember one - 'Welsh'!
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
29 February 2016, 11:09

Hi there Keith,

To follow up your enquiry, our Curator of Coal, Ceri Thompson, responded with the following:

"We don’t have casualty figures for horses killed in service apart from when they are mentioned in disaster reports. The National Coal Board records are now held by the National Archives in Kew, they may have such records."

Thanks again for getting in touch,

Digital Team

Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
26 February 2016, 11:34

Hi Keith

I will pass on your enquiry to our curators and let you know. You may be interested in a book we published on the history of Colliery Horses in Wales, which is now on sale at a discounted price: 'Harnessed: Colliery Horses in Wales'

Many thanks for your enquiry,

Digital Team

Keith Jones
26 February 2016, 11:30
Can anyone tell me if any horses were killed at the deep duffryn colliery Mountain Ash in the 1950's or up to closure in 1979
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