Big Pit
July 29, 2011
Mikey's Moments > Big Pit
Big Pit was a coal mine in Blaenavon which a good many of my relatives have worked in, including my Grampa Thomas who served in the Mine Rescue Service there as well as chipping out the black diamonds.
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A view of Big Pit from the entrance. The very cool thing is that you can go down in the original shaft and tour some of the underground workings and get a feel for just how hard the life of a miner was.


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Here are three brand new miners ready to get in the cage and travel the 300 feet down to the mine. Blaenafon luckily had the coal close to the surface - other mines could be much deeper! Note we all had to wear a hard hat with a light, a heavy battery and an emergency pack - quite a bit of weight for junior miners!


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Here is a nice view of the pit and a very foggy Blaenafon in the background. By the time we left you could see nothing of the town at all because the fog had grown so thick!


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Now a shot of the winding gear that moves the cage up and down the pit to the coal face. The pit was first worked in 1860, called "Big Pit" because it was the first shaft in Wales large enough to allow two tramways.


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A view from the front of the mine including the steam engine Nora No. 5.


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After getting back to the car I noticed a path to the Blaenavon Ironworks so James - who still had a little energy - and I wandered off to check it out.


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Here's James and a broader view of the ironworks. A lot of the iron ore outside Wales contained phospher which made steel production very difficult so Welsh steel was very popular and indeed a lot of the original American railway tracks were made of Blaenavon Steel.


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Finally here is a view of the Stack Square cottages which were lived in by the ironworks employees and which have been used recently in a couple of reality TV shows.
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