Plaque 1: A simple diagram explaining how the Ogmore Valley was formed as a classic “U Shaped Valley” by the action of glaciers. On the right is a very early idyllic photograph showing the “Fairy Glen” area of the Valley and is one of the earliest known. It shows the beauty of the Valley before the arrival of Alexander Brogden searching for coal to fire the Brickworks at Tondu. It is of course the success of his search that opened up the Valley and shaped its future as we will see.......
Plaque 2: Two of the earliest Chapels built in the valley, “Paran”, built in 1831 and “Bethania” built in 1845. Both buildings are still standing with Paran still used a place of worship. “Bethania” was converted with the aid of lottery funding into the permanent home of the Ogmore Valley Silver Band.
Plaque 3: Shows an 1874 (Revised 1914) Ordnance Survey Map of the valley showing locations of all known collieries worked in the valley. Along the sides are the opening and closing dates of each of those collieries and superimposed on top is Ogmore Vale Primary School in its modern location.
Plaque 4: The Aber Colliery, sunk in 1865 and closed in 1914. The 16th Century Aber Farm can be seen top right, it is a private dwelling today. The letter of condolence, dated 14th July 1899, is from the workmen of the “Aber-Rhondda” Colliery to Mrs R. Ham on the death of her husband, a much respected colleague.
Plaque 5: The Wyndham Colliery, sunk in 1865 and closed with the demise of the nations coalfield in 1984. Also pictured is the “square” Lamp Check (there were also round Lamp Checks used), and a 1907 pay slip when the colliery was owned by Cory Brothers.
Plaque 6: The Ocean Western Colliery, sunk in 1872 and closed with the demise of the nations coalfield in 1984. Again a Lamp Check is featured along with a “Death Commemoration Card” for John Sinnett of Pembroke, killed by a fall at Edwards Pit (a former name of the “Ocean Colliery”) on the 8th May 1877, aged 27. He was interred at Glynogwr Cemetery as the valley had no cemetery of it`s own at that time.
Plaque 7: The Nantymoel Industrial & Co-operative Society store in High Street, Ogmore Vale. The co-op was once one of the largest employers in the area with the obvious exception of the mines and had stores as far afield as Bridgend. (See Journal 2000).
Plaque 8: The short lived Nantymoel to Barry Docks Railway, which was built c1876 directly as a result of trying to obtain cheaper transportation of the Valleys Coal to the ports as the Cardiff Merchants were constantly putting their prices up. It is believed that the line was open until c 1930. All that now remains of the viaduct are the impressive stone support pillars.
Plaque 9: The generating plant of the Ogmore Vale Electric Light & Power Supply Company, situated on the site of the old Coke Ovens. Ogmore Vale primary School lies partly on the southern end of this site (left hand side of the picture). The OVEL &PSC was a cutting edge company at the turn of the 20th century and eventually grew to supply 3 Valleys, 2 Councils and five collieries before it was nationalised in 1944. Very unusually the complete records of their company have survived to this day, despite an official Government letter instructing their destruction in 1949. The Society are extremely grateful to the current owners of the Company Records who allowed us to borrow both the Share Ledger and the Company Book so that we could get them professionally scanned by “Digitise-it.com” and have a permanent record for our archive.
Plaque 10: An image of the Mines Rescue Team of the Ocean Western Colliery, with Mrs Peggy Hughes ’s grandfather kneeling front left. All large mines had a rescue team, with competition to be a member of each team fierce, with team members taking great pride in being members of the vital teams. Some Collieries would have had more than one team with the following known teams:
Cory Brothers (1922) probably for Wyndham colliery.
Ocean No 1, (prior to 1918) No 2 and No 3.
Plaque 11: Tynewydd School, or more correctly the third building bearing the name of the School. The first was a room in northern end of Tynewydd Row and was set up initially by the Aber Coal Company as a company school around 1865. Sometime after 1874 a custom built wooden school was built at the bottom of Cardiff Street, this was vacated in 1892 when the first stone built Tynewydd was opened in the position familiar to most valley residents today. The wooden building (Tynewydd No.2), was later used as the second “Ogmore Workmen`s Hall & Institute” until 1910, then it became the offices of the Aber Coal Company and became known locally as the “University Buildings” until they were demolished in the late 1960`s as part of the road widening scheme to remove “caution corner”. Oxford Court flats now occupy the site.
Plaque 12: Penllwyngwent Colliery, 1906 - 07th Feb 1969. Opened by Cory Bros Ltd. In the far left middle of the picture is part of the power station run by the Ogmore Vale Electric Light & Power Supply Company, (1891 -1944) and in the background can be seen the aerial ropeway taking the spoil from the Wyndham colliery to the tip. The gentleman on the left of the picture is the Valleys well known photographer Louis Lusardi.
Plaque 13: Ogmore Vale Workmen’s Hall & Institute 1909 - 1981. This picture was taken shortly after the official opening in 1912 and shows the magnificent building that it was. It was once the finest working mans hall in South Wales and was financed by subscription from the pay of the working men, mainly colliers, though it is known that the Nantymoel Industrial Co-operative Society workers also contributed to the fund, as did King Edward VII. One of the three foundation stones are also shown, this one was laid by Charles Burt, the oldest workmen in the Aber colliery, whose trucks can be seen in the background. The medal on the far left was presented by the Workmen ’s Hall to Gwyn Bowen (father in law to Ken James), in 1928 as winner of the Ocean Area Billiard Cup. The sugar shaker on the far right dates from c1912 and was a transfer printed “souvenir” of the valley! (See Journal 2004).
Plaque 14: Rhondda Main Colliery, 25th Aug 1909 - 08th Nov 1924. Sunk by Lewis Merthyr Consolidated Collieries Ltd., the shafts were named after the daughters of Sir William Thomas Lewis, head of the combine. The No. 2 Rhondda house coal seam was proved in the Catherine Pit at a depth of 749 feet and in the Anne Pit at a depth of 781 feet. The image shown dates from c1917 with “Catherine Pit” to the left and “Mary Pit” to the right. There was a third shaft sunk in 1923 to the West of the river Ogmore called the Mary Pit, but this was abandoned in running sand at a depth of 60 feet.
Plaque 15: WWI - The Great War for Civilisation; On the far left is the programme for Saron Chapels welcome home reception for members of the congregation that served in the war. The top row of gallantry medals are shown in the correct order of precedence and all of them were awarded to men of the Ogmore Valley: Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal. Also shown on the Victory Medal is the gallantry award of the “Mention in Despatches”, represented by a Bronze Oak leaf. The second row of medals are the campaign medals awarded in order of precedence; 1914 Star, also known as the “Mons Star”, awarded for service with the British Expeditionary Force 5th Aug 1914 to 22nd Nov 1914. the 1914-15 Star was a similar medal but without the “Aug” and “Nov” scrolls and was issued for those that saw service between 5th Aug 1914 and 31st December 1915, unless they had already qualified for the 1914 Star; War Medal; Mercantile Marine Medal; Victory Medal. The centre image is the Coal Miners Exemption Certificate for Jas. EVANS of 50 Station Road, Nantymoel, dated 24th March 1916. The colliery wage book for the Rhondda Main Colliery shows that Colliers were paid a “War Bounty” by the government of the day, but like today’s government, what they gave with right hand they took away with the left as they also had to pay an extra “war Tax”! Top right is the Blackmill War Memorial, erected by public subscription and unveiled in 1920 by Mrs Blandy-Jenkins, the wife of one of the largest land owners of the area. The image bottom left of the first great iron clad battleship, HMS Dreadnought is to illustrate the vital part played by this valley in particular to the Royal Navy ’s war effort as the coal from this valley was the finest non smoking coal available anywhere in the world and was chosen for the Royal navy ’s ships after extensive sea trials. It was after the Royal Navy’s acceptance of the valleys coal that it was named “Admiralty Best”.
Plaque 16: 31161, Corporal James Llewellyn DAVIES, VC; DAVIES, “C” Coy. 13th Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 31st July 1917. Age 31. Son of John and Martha Davies, of Ogmore Vale; husband of Elizabeth Ann Darby (formerly Davies), of 8, Nantymoel Row, Nantymoel, Glam.
Buried: Canada Farm Cemetery II. B. 18.
An extract from the supplement to “London Gazette,” No. 30272, dated 6th Sept., 1917, records the following:-
“For most conspicuous bravery during an attack on the enemy’s line, this non-commissioned officer pushed through our own barrage and single-handed attacked a machine gun emplacement, after several men had been killed in attempting to take it. He bayoneted one of the machine gun crew and brought in another man, together with the captured gun. Cpl. Davies, although wounded, then led a bombing party to the assault of a defended house, and killed a sniper who was harassing his platoon. This gallant non-commissioned officer has since died of wounds received during the attack ”.
The plaque images from L-R; Top left is the letter from George V and underneath is the medals that were awarded to Cpl James L. Davies VC, (Victoria Cross, 1914-15 Star, War Medal, Victory Medal). The top middle picture is new recruit, “Gunner” Davies, Royal Artillery, the bottom middle picture shows Cpl Davies training on the Lewis Machine Gun. Far right is the illuminated scroll presented to the widow of Cpl Davies VC. (See Journal 2000 and 2001).