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The sinking of Bargoed Colliery began in 1897 and the first coal was produced in 1901. Bargoed Colliery consisted of three shafts: the North and the South Steam Coal shafts (at 705 and 625 yards’ depth respectively) and the Brithdir House Coal shaft, which was sunk in 1903.


Bargoed was built by the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company, the largest coal mining company in South Wales and also the UK as a whole. At its peak, the company owned over seventy collieries in South Wales and accounted for about one-third of the coalfield’s output. Alongside Britannia and Penallta collieries, also in the Rhymney Valley, Bargoed played a key role in underpinning the company’s performance through its low-cost production of vast amounts of high-quality steam coal.

Bargoed Colliery was located in the valley floor in a comparatively narrow strip of land, with the River Rhymney running through the colliery site.

Bargoed Colliery broke the world record for coal production in a single shift in 1909, when 4,020 tons were produced there. This record remained unbroken until 1950.

By 1910 the pit was employing 1,943 miners and was the largest colliery in the Rhymney Valley. In 1911, the annual output of Bargoed Colliery was 775,000 tons.

At the outbreak of the First World War, there were over 2,100 men working at Bargoed Colliery. In 1918, there were 2,033 men employed in Bargoed’s steam-coal pits and a further 567 at its house-coal pit. In 1923 there were 2,438 men employed, producing coal from the Rhas Las, Red Vein and Big Vein seams. In 1945 there were 1,146 men employed at the North and South Pits and 366 at the Brithdir Pit.

The site continued to grow in size and production and by 1947 included a large power station and eighty-six coke ovens on the site. The old coke ovens were demolished in 1949-50. Bargoed had the largest man-made colliery waste tip in Europe.

In 1947, following the nationalisation of the coal industry, Bargoed was taken over and run by the National Coal Board. Coal production ceased at the Brithdir pit in 1949 but it was then used as a training centre for many years.

In 1965 the famous Salford artist L.S. Lowry completed ‘Bargoed’, a large landscape painting in which the colliery and its spoil tip feature prominently.

Bargoed Colliery closed in 1977. Following the closure, the site was completely cleared. In the 1980s and 1990s the colliery tip was extensively landscaped and was subsequently developed into the Bargoed Woodland Park.

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