top of page

A Miner's Memories


Mervyn Robins recently received a telephone call from a friend, who he had not seen or heard from for almost 20 years.

His name is David Williams, and has lived in Spain since the pit closed in 1989 and he found Mervyn through this website, he also posted the following messages in our GUESTBOOK page or sent Emails to Mervyn.

" Hello Mervyn. I was very pleasantly surprised to come across the Cwm Community Care site. I appreciate greatly the efforts you and your colleagues have made to remind future generations of the industrial and community past of the Cwm and of course Talistown. I have seen the photographs of of the tribute to the miners who lost their lives on Saint Davids day 1927. I have seen the photograph of Cwmerddog Garden on the site of  of the cafe and St Johns Ambulance Hall and marvel at the fact that someone had the drive to get both projects off the ground and the tenacity to find funding.   Well done everyone. "

Marine men of our fathers day always referred to the Marine Colliery as "The Graig" so this is my tribute to them.  

The Old Miners Of The Graig

We hail from all the corners of Wales, and have walked to work over hills and vales,                                               we wait in line at the top of the shaft, to enter the cage, our suspended craft,                                                            to another world, in the ground, a world without light, a world without sound. 

We plummet down to the world below, and the deeper we go the darker it grows, until we see a spot of light     

 and the cage lands gently on the pit-bottom bright. 

We hoist our lamps and start to walk, its more than a mile, we've no breath to talk 

We arrive at our workplace sweated and hot, with dust in our throats even before we have got,

 to our place of work, three feet high, with dangerous roof, not Gods blue sky. 

We hew the coal for endless time, and support the roof to stop the mine,

 from caving in and burying us, with cruel stone and drowning dust.

At the end of our work-day, weary and worn, we emerged from our workplace like animals born,

   from the womb of the earth, our carbon cell, to escape to the place where our loved ones dwell. 

We stand up at last, and straighten our backs, and start to walk and follow the tracks,

 toward pit bottom, and thence to the sun, for another day our reprieve is won.

                                                                                                                                                 David Williams

I would like to wish everyone connected to the organisation, a healthy and prosperous 2013. I have a question that probably one of the organisation could answer...The beauty spot and recreation area adjacent to the north west side of Cwm cemetary was called The Garden Wells. Why was it so-called?

My father, born 1908, in his later years referred to an instalation in the area as " the tanks" referring possibly of tank catchments for running water to  old Cwm-Myrrdog ? An answer would be greatly appreciated.

The seasons wishes Merv. I haven't forgotten you.   

Hello Merv.

If you remember in our boy-hood, what is probably known today as a "cart" which basically is a plank of wood with an old pram wheel on each corner with crude front wheel steering, was known in our day as a "Gambo". It always intrigued me as to where the name originated. I can now cast some light on the subject. When the Beaufort to Crumlin tramroad was laid down the gradient south down the valley favoured heavy "journies" of coal and iron. The journies were hauled by teams of horses pulling against the trams which were "spragged". Whilst a minimal team was required to haul the trams down gradient to Crumlin wharf, extra horses were required for the trip back up to  Cwm, Ebbw Vale and Beaufort, laden as they would be with all manner of foodstuffs and goods to supply a population explosion. The journeys  of produce from the mines and iron-works at the upper reaches of the valley always took their own extra horses with them. Specially built trams called "GAMBOS" were attached to the rear end of the train and each of those trams would carry two fresh horses which became the basis of the team to haul the journey back up-gradient.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Crawshay Bailey still dominates the Cwm, the Baileys Arms,( originally Crawshay Baileys shooting lodge )   Bailey Street , Cendle Terr,( the original owners of the Beaufort iron works The Kendalls of Crickhowell.        

C Baileys daughter Augusta Emily Selina was wed to Sir Williams Edward Carne-Curre of Itton Court near Chepstow.

Another daughter Clara Jane Isabella married Sir William Gordon-Canning, Thus the street names of Northern Cwm and Talistown.    

Also in the mix was another family member associated with the Woodvilles.

All the best      Dave

bottom of page