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The Tredegar Company: One of the South Wales Coalfield's 'Big Three'

The Tredegar Company: One of the South Wales Coalfield's 'Big Three'

Leslie M. Shore

208 pages. 275x215mm. Printed on gloss art paper with colour laminated board covers.

ISBN13 : 9781911038207


contents and extra information for this book »

The Tredegar Company earned its wealth from iron and coal. In the nineteenth century the ‘Great’ South Wales Tredegar iron works operated at the head of the Sirhowy Valley on land owned by the Morgan family of Tredegar House, near the city of Newport. During the Railway Age, the works supplied iron rail to the world. Isambard Kingdom Brunel selected ‘Tredegar coal’ to power his pioneering steam ship Great Western and after 1840 the company’s sale of steam coal boomed. In 1873, the Tredegar Iron & Coal Company acquired the assets of the Tredegar Iron Company. Charles McLaren, 1st Lord Aberconway, and Sir Arthur Markham became the company’s most influential directors. From 1898, coal mined at the company’s McLaren Colliery became valued by navies worldwide. During Alfred S. Tallis’s period of general management, the company not only opened Oakdale Navigation Collieries (1907-1911), Markham Colliery (1910-1913), and Wyllie Colliery (1924-1926) but built model villages to house the families of officials and miners. The toil of generations of miners produced many millions of tons of coal as fuel for steam ships and railway locomotives. In a climate of industrial conflict and political change the company became one of the ‘Big Three’ of the South Wales Coalfield. Leslie Shore offers a history of the Tredegar Company with an account of the fate of the company’s collieries under National Coal Board control. This history is a sequel to his Peerless Powell Duffryn of the South Wales Coalfield.

The Tredegar Company: One of the South Wales Coalfield's 'Big Three' - Sample Images

cover illustration
Blast Furnaces at Tredegar Iron and Steel Works. Several of the blast furnaces are visible here, together with their associated stoves and, to the right, the blowing engine house. A number of the Tredegar Iron & Coal Co’s railway wagons can also been seen. In the right foreground are a number of low four-wheeled bolster wagons with dumb buffers, when a pair were coupled together as seen here they could be used for carrying rail. Between the two sets is a wagon numbered 826 which may have been allocated to carrying coke having been built by the Cardiff Rolling Stock Co. in May 1893. Behind these wagons are two lettered up for Tredegar Smokeless Steam Coal which appear to be freshly painted grey with white lettering. To their left is another variation on the lettering with TREDEGAR at the top and SMOKELESS STEAM COAL below; all have ‘CARDIFF’ on the side door.
cover illustration
Sinking began in 1907 and was completed in 1911 for Oakdale Navigation Collieries Limited, a Tredegar Iron & Coal Company subsidiary. On the left is headgear of the Waterloo Pit, for working the Red Ash otherwise known as the Brithdir seam. The two headgears on the right are the North Pit (left) and South Pit (right) for working the steam coal seams. The power-house’s cooling towers stand behind, but just to the right of Waterloo Pit. The two van style railway vehicles that can be seen also appear in the view of the special train on the occasion of the cutting of the first sod (page 94) where it can be discerned that one was lettered ‘Oakdale Colliery’. That in the view here both vehicles are isolated leads to questions as to their exact use.