When a miners hospital closed in 2001, a working coalface that was used to exercise the patients for work again was dismantled and moved to the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru.

Talgarn House

Talygarn House: a view along the full size model coalface
Talygarn House: a view along the full size model coalface

Talygarn House, Pontyclun, South Wales, was a large stone mansion that became a hospital in 1880. The interior is decorated with wood panelling and painted ceilings. The house is surrounded by extensive parklands on which were grown, according to legend, specimens of every tree that can be cultivated in Britain.

Talygarn as a Convalescence Home

In October 1923, Talygarn House was opened as a miners' convalescent home and in 15 years of its opening had more than 41,000 patients.

In 1943, the Miners' Welfare Commission was asked to organise a rehabilitation service for injured mineworkers. Due to a serious shortage of manpower at that time, it was vitally important for injured colliers to return to work as quickly as possible. For this purpose Talygarn House was purchased as a centre for the coalfields of south Wales.

By 1964, 95% of patients treated at Talygarn returned to the mining industry. It continued to serve as a rehabilitation and physiotherapy centre until it was put up for sale in August 2000.

Miner rehabilitation and the 'Model Mine'

Due to the need to harden the men up to return to the collieries, a carpentry shop was provided where patients cut wood and sawed logs. Miniature stairs and static bicycles were available to exercise unused muscles.

Talgarn House was also equipped with a grand 'Model Mine' in which patients could get used to working back in a mining environment. The structure was a long concrete tunnel supported by arch girders. The roadway was equipped with rails and the metal framework known as 'horseheads', which prevented falls of stone on a real coalface.

Relocating the mine

In 2001, the contents of the 'Model Mine' were donated to Amgueddfa Cymru as a 'permanent reminder to visitors of the work of the Talygarn rehabilitation centre'.

The coalfaces were dismantled as if they were the real thing. Despite working in only four feet of height, the thirty feet long chain conveyor was successfully disassembled and removed.

All the items were safely transported to the Collections Centre at Nantgarw. The Talygarn donation is a unique survival of a complete thirty feet section of a typical semi-mechanised coalface of the early 1960s.

Comments(6)

Ceri Thompson Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
1 July 2020, 09:46

Hi Victoria

If you send an image through to me at

ceri.thompson@museumwales.ac.uk

I'll see if I can be of help.

Best wishes

Ceri Thompson, Curator, Big Pit: National Coal Museum

Victoria king
27 June 2020, 23:28
Hi I have recently found a photograph/ postcard of a large group of doctors, nurses and patients in front of an old building which I have been told could be talygarn convalescence home for miners. Iā€™m unsure of the date of the photograph and unsure of what connection this has to my family but it was found in with my grandparents photographs which my grandfather was from llanharan. I was wondering if you would be able to help me possibly find a date for the photograph to determine if any of my family members are in it.
Ceri Thompson Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
5 November 2018, 11:30

Dear Ken Price

We would be very interested in the postcard and photograph if you are offering to donate them. Could you email me at ceri.thompson@museumwales.ac.uk please and we’ll go from there.

Best wishes

Ceri Thompson, Curator (coal mining collections)

Ken Price
26 October 2018, 17:30
Re Talygarn
I have a photograph of my maternal grandfather with a group of five others (representatives of the South Wales Miners Federation I believe) at Talygarn in 1922, also a postcard photo of the concert hall from the same era if you are interested.
Best wishes
Ken Price
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
6 February 2017, 10:17

Hi there Gordon,

Thank you for your enquiry.

I will pass it on to our Curator of Coal, along with your email, and he will get back to you.

All the best,

Sara
Digital Team

Gordon Wesley
3 February 2017, 20:27
Re Talygarn House
I have a post card/photograph of a formal group of 23 gentlemen, a nurse/matron (and a dog!) outside a large stone building. One of the gentlemen is my maternal grandfather.
In 2008 I sent a photocopy to the Pontypridd Museum who suggested that the location might be Talygarn House. I have been unable to identify the location from photographs online.
If you would reply with an email address I would like to send you a scan of the photo in the hope that you could confirm the
location (or otherwise).
Thank you, Gordon Wesley

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