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mookster

UK Tower Colliery, South Wales Nov 2016

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I'll be brutally honest here and say Tower Colliery is (well, was) one of the only places in this country that I had been desperate to explore. It's come to be known as the forgotten colliery, with other much higher profile closures of bigger sites like Kellingley and Thoresby dominating the news over the last few years.

 

Tower Colliery was the oldest continuously working deep-coal mine in the UK and possibly even the world, and was the last mine of it's kind to exist in the valleys of South Wales. Tower, named after the nearby Crawshay's Tower folly began operations in 1864 and worked until British Coal closed the site in 1994 on the grounds it would be uneconomic to continue production. After closure, 239 former workers pledged money from their redundancy packages to buy back Tower Colliery and continue production in a community buy-out. After fourteen years further production, the seams had been exhausted and Tower Colliery closed for the second time, for good, in January 2008.

 

In 2010, an open-cast mine was opened part of the former coal washery site located a short distance away, although this too is scheduled to close fairly soon. A future development of both sites would see part housing, part industrial estate and part heritage museum to provide employment in the area and keep some legacy of the coal mine alive.

 

This place was every bit as great as I had expected, the decay in some areas is awesome, and the winding house is epic. After about two and a half hours on site we were alerted to the noise of a vehicle arriving on site, and after the coast seemed clear we ventured out of our little hiding spot to see what was going on. Soon after up pulled security, who turned out to be an ex-miner from the colliery who had spent forty years down the mine and now worked as security for the site. He pointed out the CCTV cameras and said that they were all active and get monitored at the other site. He was absolutely sound, a really nice guy to talk to about the place, he was only slightly annoyed that we had made him get out of bed on a Sunday morning!

 

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I hope you enjoyed my take on what was one of my favourite home-grown explores this year...

 

More on my Flickr as per normal...

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