My interest in the South Wales coalfield began at a very young age, with my Grandparents taking me to the local colliery, Deep Navigation in Treharris to see the trains being loaded with coal by large excavators. The noises, smells and sounds were enough to excite me for hours!
One day at school, I came across a book ‘Is It Still Raining In Aberfan?’, living close to Aberfan I was fully aware of what damage it had caused the community in 1966, although being a lot older, I began to appreciate the true scale of the disaster and what impact it still has on the community today. Along with the book, seeing the demise of the local communities soon after the collieries were closed was a very upsetting sight, one still very apparent today. Both these factors have been a big contributor to the origins of the collection of images you can see in the exhibition.
At the beginning of the 1900’s coal was king, it powered the manufacturing industry, the transport industry, the Naval fleet along with being used at home, to cook and warm houses.
In the Rhondda valley alone there were over 70 working collieries. By the early 1990’s, there was only one deep mine left in South Wales, with all other collieries closed the job losses well exceeded 25000.
This exhibition contains images I have captured from across the valleys, Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare and the Rhondda valleys. They capture the legacy that the once dominating industry left behind, the ruined buildings, scarred landscape and social and economic demise of the local communities.