The Celynen Collieries

 Celynen South 

Productive Life: 1873 to 1985


• Newport-Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company

• Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron & Coal Company

• Partridge Jones and John Paton & Company National Coal Board


Shaft Depths:


• No1 Pit – 334m•No2 Pit – 370m
• No3 Pit – 370mCoal Seams:•Elled – 0.84m
• Big Vein – 0.94m
• Upper 3/4 – 0.91m•Lower 3/4 – 0.68m
• Black Vein – 3.05m
• Meadow Vein – 1.45m
• Old Coal – 1.85m     


              Pit bottom 1914

Originally the pit was called the Celynen Nos 1 and 3 Collieries and retained this name until the Celynen North was opened in 1914.

Sunk to exploit what was described as ‘the most valuable seam in the United Kingdom’ (the Black Vein). The pit had a take of 1,200 acres.

Three shafts were eventually sunk. No1 Pit to exploit the Black Vein seam. No3 Pit to exploit theOld Coal seam.No2 Pit as the upcast shaft for ventilation.

The first coal was wound in 1876.

 Surface workers c.1920      

south_workersPeak manpower was 1905 when 1,740 men and 200 horses were employed, with the Main East District having 110 stalls and stretching for three-quarters of a mile.
In the early days the main markets were the railways of the UK, South America, Egypt, France and Italy; later the coal markets changed to steelworks and coke ovens.
The colliery ceased production in September 1985 and was left to flood in November 1985.

 Celynen North             

Productive Life: 1914 to 1985. 


•Newport-Abercarn Black Vein Steam Coal Company

•Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron & Coal Company

•Partridge Jones and John Paton & Company•National Coal Board


 Shaft Depths:



•North Pit – 463m•South Pit – 471m

 •Graig Fawr – 148m


Coal Seams:


 •Thickest Worked – Black Vein at 2.9m.

 •Thinnest Worked – Big Vein at 0.76m.






Three shafts were sunk by the Newport Abercarn Company to help exploit the northern section of the ‘take’, the South shaft pit-bottom being Developd from the Celynen South Colliery.
The North and South shafts were to exploit the lower and middle coal measures, and the Graig Fawr to exploit the upper coal measures.
The South shaft being the joint upcast for both ventures.
As with all shallow pits the Graig Fawr encountered very wet conditions in its working of the Brithdir seam, worked mainly for house coal, this seam had an average thickness of 1.17m (3ft.10ins).
The Graig Fawr ceased as a production unit in October 1961.
The main seams to be worked at the Celynen North have been the Meadow vein.
Upper Three-quarter, Big Vein and the Black Vein; the most productive area being the West Black Vein
District which worked from the mid 1930’s until the late 1940’s.
Workings have reached 6.4 Kilometres (4 miles) from the shafts.

The pit produced prime coking coal with Ebbw Vale Steelworks and later Llanwern Steelworks being its major customers.
Manpower has ranged from 1,250 at its peak to 570 men on closure.
In 1982 the Colliery was linked to Oakdale Colliery and its production diverted to the Oakdale shafts.
In December 1985 the workmen of the Celynen North were transferred to Oakdale, and the pit was allowed to flood.

Produced from information supplied by the Celynen Collieries Workingmen’s Institute.

Two excellent books documenting the history of the Celynen Collieries have beenwritten by Colin Spencer.

The Lamps Have Gone Out – of the Celynen North & Graig Fawr Collieries.

A Community Underground – In the Celynen North & Graig Fawr Collieries.     

 See also:

Celynen South Colliery, South Wales – by Roger Tiley from Roger Tiley



One Response to “The Celynen Collieries”

  • Vaughan Cole:

    My Grandfather, Frederick George Cole or Coles, a miner must have worked at the South colliery. On and off he lived at Celynen Terrace not far from the mine. Some say he dug exploratory shafts. He has links with Tonbridge in Kent and died in 1921 in Huddersfield. He was born and brought up in Chippenham and it is said that family members tramped to S Wales for work following other relatives. So much of this history is disappearing. The valleys have lost industry, the mines are flooded and little remains on the surface. Hopefully documentary evidence may in the future be able to re-create a picture of the development and demise of mining and associated industry in S Wales.

Go on, you know you want to comment on this! Leave a message below.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Your Comments
Log Out or Register
Stories by Month
News by Date
January 2019
« Mar