John Cornwell was a freelance photographer who took many photographs of collieries, mostly in south Wales and the English Midlands, both underground and on the surface, during the 1970s and early 1980s. He perfected a method of underground photography using the standard colliery lighting and was able to photograph coal faces, roadways, shafts and equipment with amazing clarity. In addition to photographing working mines he also recorded abandoned mine workings, above and below ground.

John Cornwell was also well respected in the broader field of industrial archaeology. He published a number of books on Welsh and English collieries.

The copyright of his south Wales images are now owned by National Museum Wales.

Comments(54)

Jan Davies
17 September 2019, 22:13
Lovely photos the younger generation can see how hard the Miners worked for years

David b Evan's
24 July 2019, 20:14
ITS THE FIRST TIME IV SEEN THESE PIT PHOTOS I USED TO WORK AT THE WASHERY PLANT FILLING COAL WAGONS FOR THE POWER STATIONS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MY LATE FATHER DAI MS DAVID ERNEST EVANS DIED RECENTLY OF A FINAL STROKE MINERS HAVE A GREAT EETHIC TO LIFE WORK HARD PLAY GREAT VIEWING
Peter Hannan
31 March 2019, 08:44
Lovely images. My maternal grandfather was a miner at the Ynyshir mine. A hard and dangerous life, but one of genuine nobility and dignity. George Orwell said, "My country, right or wrong." For me it's also, "Miners, right or wrong."
ARTHUR john Bell
7 March 2019, 11:36
Dear sir, is it possible to purchase a print of Tirpentwys colliery 1979 ,i worked there 1961-64 ,then joined the forces ,i have fond memories of my working days there,hope you will oblige ,John Bell.
Dai richards
5 October 2018, 20:19
Great photos great memories great mates
Glynn Davies
9 July 2018, 19:24
Brilliant Photos these will be kept as a memorial to the Welsh pits.
Anthony Grant- Tony
5 July 2018, 22:03

Best job I had, poor working conditions, but great men to work with, Redundant from Coventry Colliery 1993. Fantastic Photographs.
Sara
19 March 2018, 11:47
Hi there Michael

Thank you for your enquiry. We have had a look through our collections and I'm afraid we don't have one that matches this description. I'm sorry that we were unable to fulfill this request and wish you all the best in your search.

Best wishes

Sara
Digital Team
Michael Burche
9 March 2018, 06:39
You took a photo of me coming out of the lamproom in Markham in 77 -78 while I was doing my face training , afternoon pit overman told me it was a great photo , would live to see it
david mills
8 March 2018, 23:59
Some great photos. Remember the f44 at Nantgarw shown above 1979. Had pleasure of working there with my dad, who incidentally also worked for poster above Glyn Parry and in fact I remember learning to splice on visits there with him around 1972. Wish I remembered how to do that as I lost that skill when the mines closed, my Dad never lost the skill right up to his death 2 years ago.

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