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A Window into the Industry Collections - June 2015

Mark Etheridge, 26 June 2015

This sculpture donated this month is titled “Welsh Anthracite Collier”. The original was created by George Brinley Evans in 1963, and this version was cast in bronze by Mark Halliday in 2012.

George Brinley Evans worked at Onllwyn Colliery and, as an artist, the material he most often used was household emulsion and watercolour on cheap paper. He recorded miners' working methods and technical expertise and resilience in the face of danger. After losing an eye in a mining accident in 1961, he turned to modelling figurines of his workmates and national heroes, using cheap and alternative material, usually a wire armature covered in layers of old nylon stockings soaked in plaster, which is then teased into shape and sprayed with car paint. This sculpture was created in the same way, with this version cast in bronze. It has then been sprayed black by the artist. The pose looks unnatural, but the artist is depicting the awkwardness of men mining in small spaces.

More examples of his work can be seen here, on the ‘Images of Industry’ online database. His work “Aros am Golau” is on display in the galleries at Big Pit: National Mining Museum.


17th May 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the Cambrian Colliery explosion. The explosion, caused by firedamp, claimed 31 lives, the youngest victim being only 24 years old. This images shows the front cover of the programme for the 50th anniversary memorial service. This programme along with a souvenir publication "The Old Timer" released to mark the 50th anniversary was donated at the end of May.

These two photographs show Cambrian Colliery. The black and white one was taken from the south east in 1960. The colour photograph was taken a few years after the explosion in April 1967.

Amgueddfa Cymru has recently produced an edition of our ‘Glo’ magazine to commemorate this disaster. A copy can be downloaded here

This was not the first disaster at this colliery. On 10 March 1905 an explosion at Cambrian Colliery No. 1 resulted in the death of 33 men.

This badge inscribed ‘Rhymney Valley Support Group’ was produced during the 1984-85 coal strike. Donated recently it adds to an important collection of strike badges held by Amgueddfa Cymru. Many of these strike badges can be seen on display at Big Pit: National Mining Museum.


Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW



Mark Etheridge

Principal Curator of Collection Development: LGBTQ+
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Comments (2)

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Sara Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
4 May 2017, 14:18
Hi there Cynthia,

Thank you for your lovely comment.

I have spoken to Mr Etheridge and he will pass on your email address to George Brinley Evans as you requested.

I'm so glad that you found the blog and I hope that our website will have played a small part in bringing you back together!

I hope you will be able to visit us at one of our museums while you are here in Wales - there will be a very warm welcome for you here.

Best wishes,

Digital Team
Cynthia Christie
3 May 2017, 23:11
Mr Etheridge I m looking for information on George Brinley Evans. He is related to My grandfather who worked in the mines before coming to the united states.His name was David Jones . I met George when i was about 10 years old when he and his wife and some other family members came to visit my grandmother in Detroit Mi. As i got older and married my children pen paled with his grandchildren. We have lost contact since my Parents and grandparents have all passed . We found a letter from George in some of my mothers belongings but there was no return address on the envelope. My husband and i will be coming to Wales in July and would love to contact him or his family. Please feel free to give him or his family my email address. I would be greatful for any information you may have.

Thank You so very much

Cynthia Christie