Maerdy Gateway Mining Memorial

Amgen Environmental Body Ltd received an application from the trustees of Maerdy Archive Group in the Rhondda Fach Valley, South Wales in relation to 'Erecting the Winding Wheel', which was used at the pithead of Maerdy colliery. Maerdy colliery closed down in December 1990.

When people talk about the South Wales coalfields they almost invariably think of the Rhondda Valley - the most intensively mined area in the world.

  • The wheel was discovered lying in a field in an adjacent village.
    The wheel was discovered lying in a field in an adjacent village.
  • As part of the project the wheel underwent refurbishment.
    As part of the project the wheel underwent refurbishment.
  • The refurbished wheel is now located in the Memorial Garden at the gateway to the Rhondda Valley.
    The refurbished wheel is now located in the Memorial Garden at the gateway to the Rhondda Valley.
EB Number 861017 LCF Funding £98,966
Project Postcode CF43 4BE Total Project Cost £98,966
Object D    

Objectives

The project aimed to provide a memorial in memory of those who were killed in explosions and accidents, families who lost their livelihoods and those who otherwise suffered in the South Wales Coalfield from the 1800s to the present day.

By erecting a monument at a previously unmanaged area of grass, the project created a gateway to the start of the Rhondda valley. An interpretation board explains the heritage and history of the area along with an explanation of what the monument is and what it represents.

Project details

The Board members of Amgen Environmental Body Ltd supported this worthwhile project, but a problem arose as the colliery wheel was found lying in a field in an adjoining village covered in grass and debris.

However, not to be disheartened, the original wheel was transported, cleansed, repaired and due to careful work being undertaken was fully restored and able to take its place at the centre of the memorial garden in the village.

Outcomes

The previously unkempt area of land has been transformed with the wheel and stone works becoming the focal point. A wild flower meadow has been created on the land surrounding the monument to attract a variety of animals and insects adding to the diversity and reclaiming areas formally affected and spoilt by past industrialisation.

The project attracts local people and visitors from further afield and encourages them to stop and take time to understand the local history and the impact the South Wales coal industry had on the local community, ensuring that the important past heritage of the area is not lost.

The project wants to attract local schools, which could use it as part of the school curriculum. Monuments such as this help bridge the generation gap and encourage local communities to have pride and an understanding of their past history while looking to create a new, more vibrant future.