Images of Industry

Pocket Watch

Date: circa 1913

Media: metal

Size: 52 x 75 x 16 mm

Acquired: 2002; Gift

Accession Number: 2002.175

Worn by William Edward Beck, killed in explosion at Universal Colliery, Senghenydd, 14 October 1913.

The task of identifying hundreds of bodies, often badly burnt or otherwise mutilated, was very difficult. Men and boys had often to be identified by clothing or personal possessions. William Edward Beck came to south Wales from Broadway in Somerset to look for work sometime before 1900. Mr Beck's body could only be identified by this watch. A dent in the back was caused either by the explosion or by a fall of ground caused by a burning roof support. He was 43 years old when he died and lived at 45 Springfield Terrace, Nelson. He was apparently found near to his cousin and both are now buried in Ystrad Mynach churchyard.


Marc Haynes Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
3 October 2019, 16:22

Hi William,

Thank you very much for your enquiry. The pocket watch belonging to your great-grandfather is on display in the Pithead baths exhibition area at Big Pit National Mining Museum, in a display case of objects connected to the Senghenydd disaster. I’m afraid we are not able to give the donors’ details directly to enquirers, but we will ask them whether they would like to get in touch with you.

Best wishes,

Digital Team

william birrell
1 October 2019, 09:04
William Edward Beck was my great grandfather and I am interested if you could tell me who donated the watch to the museum ( is it on view and if so where?) .

Also for your information I was the project engineer on the mining memorial at Senghenydd which was opened in Oct 2013 and donated a book belonging to William to the local museum/trust.


William Birrell

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