‘The Price of Coal’

by Alison Banville 19 Sept 2011

The deaths of four miners at the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley are a tragic reminder that even in our high-speed, high-tech society it is still possible for men to lose their lives doing dangerous manual labour. And it doesn’t come more dangerous than mining, which is why, in Britain in 2011, four men have died in a dark tunnel underground, hewing coal from the bowels of the earth. Garry Jenkins, 39, Philip Hill, 45, David Powell, 50, and Charles Breslin, 62, have joined the roll of honour of the hundreds killed in mine disasters in Wales since the green valleys were first torn open in the search for the black stuff. These catastrophes have successively rocked close-knit communities, devastating families and causing unimaginable grief. Who can conceive of what the wives and children, as well as all the other family members and friends, of these men are suffering? And this after the agony of waiting for news. The story of Wales is a story of such loss:

 The worst disaster in not just Welsh, but British, coal-mining history was the Senghenydd tragedy of 1913 in which 439 miners were killed in an explosion and fire, and this barely a decade after a previous disaster in the same mine in 1901 which buried 78 men alive after three early morning explosions shattered the pit-head. Into the 20th century the horror continued: 1934 was the year 266 men were killed in an explosion at the Gresford Colliery, Wrexham, an event which gave us, ‘Gresford: The Miner’s Hymn’:


2 responses to “‘The Price of Coal’

  1. Alison Banville is an animal rights extremist who doesn’t believe in free speech; here’s an article she wrote where she boasts how she and her SHAC friends (remmember the old lady dug up by SHAC-7?) destroyed a fellow animal rights campaigners meeting. http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/09/437556.html

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