On Monday of this week – 14th October – some of the people of Wales were remembering the Senghennydd Explosion, which was the worst mining disaster ever to have happened in the British Isles, and which happened a hundred years ago in 1913.
There were, fair play, a few mentions of it in the Welsh media. But I did not notice any reference to it in the UK press, radio or television.
So I’ll mention it here.
The Universal Colliery as it was called was down in Glamorgan, not far from Caerphilly. Its owner, Mr. Lewis, was always keen to up production – even at the expense of the colliers’ lives.
In 1901, eighty-one men were killed in an explosion, and the Mines Inspectorate accused Lewis of a poor safety record. Obviously, he paid no heed and, indeed, he became Baron Merthyr in 1911. Wonder who was in league with whom.
Then on that terrible day in 1913, four-hundred-and-thirty-nine colliers – some of them only boys – were killed in that explosion, as was a member of the rescue-party.
I mention this for you, dear reader, to understand what happened in our land all those years ago, and to remind you not to forget what Lewis’s love of money did . . .
Together We Shall Succeed
Had there been truly strong Trades Unions in 1913, perhaps those hard-working men would not have died so tragically. And we can still band together for the greater good.
Another anniversary has just been celebrated: that of the success of the people of Llangyndeyrn, a tiny Carmarthenshire village, in their bid to stop the flooding of the nearby GwendraethValley.
The flooding was planned by the Swansea Water Corporation. But solid determination stopped that plan, which would have ruined the economy of the area, as well as drowning homes.
That’s a part of our Welsh history which, though it may not be taught in our schools, shows the courage and determination of the people of Wales when they really unite to help their own communities.
I feel proud to live in this land of loving communities.