Glamorgan’s Blood: Health and Welfare Records in the Coal Industry Collections – Photographs

Cataloguing and conservation of National Coal Board (NCB) and pre-vesting colliery company records held at Glamorgan Archives has been undertaken through the Glamorgan’s Blood project, and made possible by a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Grant. The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health and, as such, one of the project’s main aims has been to improve access to records related to medical and welfare issues. In a series of blog posts over the coming weeks we will highlight the types of material that you are able to find on this topic within the coalfield collection.


The National Coal Board collection contains a large number of photographic prints and negatives, some of which can be used in the understanding of health and welfare within the coal industry.

Photographs of the interiors and exteriors of the pithead baths show the architecture of the buildings and the facilities on offer for colliery workers, such as medical treatment centres and first aid rooms.


Pithead baths, Wyllie Colliery, mid-20th century (DNCB/14/4/135/23)


First Aid Room, Western Colliery, 1951 (DNCB/14/4/133/1)


First Aid Room, Aberbaiden Colliery, 1951 (DNCB/14/4/1/1)

Images within the NCB negative collection show men at the Talygarn Rehabilitation Centre. In 1957, Talygarn treated 1,018 patients and at that time 88% of the men treated there were fit to return to some form of work, with 59.6% of the men treated returning to their normal work.


Talygarn Miners’ Rehabilitation Centre, 1966 (DNCB/14/4/147/108)


Talygarn Miners’ Rehabilitation Centre, 1951 (DNCB/14/4/153/272)

The negative collection can be used to show the importance placed on first aid training by the NCB, with images of NCB inter-colliery first aid competitions from the 1960s showing men being assessed on their first aid skills in scenario based challenges. There are also images showing first aid procedures that were used for an NCB handbook, along with images of safety equipment such as the trambulance and underground first aid stations.


Members of Coedely Plant First Aid Team during competition, 1968 (DNCB/14/4/158/9/1/30)


Trambulance, 1955 (DNCB/14/4/87/100)


Rescue/medical training exercise, Penllwyngwent Colliery, [1950s] (DNCB/14/4/104/9)


Ambulance competition, 1953 (DNCB/14/4/155/43)

The NCB photographic collection is now fully catalogued under reference DNCB/14.


NUM Executive being retrained into self-rescuers, Dinas Rescue Station, 1973 (DNCB/14/4/158/8/7)


South Wales Coalfield Photographs – We Need Your Help!


V6 Boys (D1544/2/9)

Glamorgan Archives needs your help to identify photographs of the south Wales coalfield that were deposited at the Archives earlier this year.

The 79 photographs are an amazing portrayal of the south Wales coalfield. They comprise photographs of miners at Abercynon Colliery, c.1980; photographs documenting the closure of collieries in the 1980s; photographs of posters and signs displayed at various collieries; and photographs of families collecting coal from tips during the miners’ strike of 1984-1985.

However, little is known about the history of the collection. No details are recorded of the photographer(s) or the reasons the photographs were taken. The names of some of the men pictured in the images have been recorded, but that is all we know. So, we would love to hear from anyone who may know any details about the images, why they were taken and who took them.

The photographs were transferred to Glamorgan Archives by staff at ON at Fife Archives, who discovered the collection during the listing of the SCOTSPEAK oral history collection. The photographs were passed to the SCOTSPEAK project by the Cardenden Mining Museum, so it is thought that the images may have been on display at the museum and one time.

Thanks to the work of Iain Flett, Volunteer at ON at Fife Archives, the collection is now available to view in our search room (ref.: D1544), and digital images can be accessed through our catalogue Canfod

A section of images from the collection are shown below. If you have any information about the collection or any of the individual photographs please contact

Louise Clarke, Glamorgan’s Blood Project Archivist

Portraits of Workers at Abercynon, c.1980


Roy Lewis, Electrician (D1544/1/1)


Mike James, Fitter (D1544/1/2)


Alex Withers, Work Wear (D1544/1/3)


Tony Morgan, Supply Road (D1544/1/7)


Boss Pit Man (D1544/1/9)


Group Portraits of Workers at Abercynon Colliery


Salvage Men, Abercynon 1989 (D1544/2/1)


Lamp Room (D1544/2/4)


Colliery Baths (D1544/2/5)


Derek Williams, Danny Williams, Darell Dixon, Preparation Shift (D1544/2/6)


Pit Landscapes


National Colliery, ‘Monuments’ (D1544/3/1)


Lewis Merthyr Colliery (D1544/3/8)


Coedely Colliery (D1544/3/11)


Fernhill Colliery (D1544/3/12)


Collecting coal [at Cwmcynon Tip during the Miner’s Strike, 1984-1985]


‘It’s a Good Job We Can Laugh’ (D1544/4/1)


‘Helping Dad’ (D1544/4/7)


A Man Pushing Three Young Boys in a Pram (D1544/4/8)


Family Group Digging Out Coal (D1544/4/10)

Ceri Thompson notes that ‘the little girl in the colourful coat is Nathalie Butts-Thompson.  I interviewed her for GLO and she supplied me with that photo for the publication’.


Children Collecting Coal (D1544/4/13)


Two Children Filling a Sack With Coal (D1544/4/15)


Disused Collieries


Merthyr Vale Colliery, Derelict Building  (D1544/5/5)


‘Another Way of Telling’, View of Bedwas Colliery (D1544/5/8)


Militant Miner poster titled ‘SAVE THE PITS!’ (D1544/5/10)


South Celynen, View of Graffiti on Wall (D1544/5/14)


‘Last Day Ynysybwl Colliery’, Handwritten Good Luck Notice from Lamp Room Staff [at Lady Windsor Colliery] (D1544/5/15)


‘Only History Will Tell’, View of Abandoned Surface Building at Coedely Colliery (D1544/5/22)