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Located a short distance to the north-east of Blackwood, the sinking of the two steam-coal shafts for Oakdale Colliery began in 1907. The North (upcast) shaft was 626 yards deep and the South (downcast) shaft was 650 yards deep. Coal production commenced at Oakdale in 1911.


Oakdale Colliery was sunk and thereafter owned and operated by Oakdale Navigation Collieries Ltd, a subsidiary of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company (TIC). The TIC was one of the largest coal companies in the south Wales coalfield, with its various industrial enterprises located in the county of Gwent (then known as Monmouthshire).

Although the origins of the TIC lay in ironworking (Tredegar Ironworks had been opened by the Tredegar Iron Company in 1800), in the early 1870s it was renamed the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company to reflect the growing importance of coal within its portfolio of assets. By the beginning of the twentieth century the TIC was primarily a coal-owning enterprise.

Waterloo Pit was part of the Oakdale Colliery complex, located adjacent to the North and South Pits. Waterloo shaft was sunk in 1911 to a depth of 282 yards, from where it mined house coal. It later became the Oakdale Mines Training Centre. The original old Waterloo mine, also sunk by the TIC, was in production as long ago as 1815; it was named after the town in Belgium where Napoleon was famously defeated.

To accompany the opening of the colliery itself, the Oakdale Colliery Village was built in 1908-10 by the Oakdale Navigation Collieries Ltd. When it was built, it was considered to be a model village: it was one of the first mining villages in south Wales to have grass margins between the road and pavements, and many houses had front gardens – a unique feature in industrial south Wales at that time. This remains the geographical centre of the village of Oakdale down to the present day.

By 1918 Oakdale Colliery had a total workforce of 2,202 men. In 1923 there were 2,198 men working at the North and South Pits, 758 men working at the Waterloo Pit, and a further 351 were employed on the colliery surface – making Oakdale one of the largest collieries in south Wales at that time, with a combined workforce of 3,307.

At its peak in 1929-30, the output of Oakdale’s steam-coal pits was one million tons of coal per year. The total Oakdale workforce numbered 2,235 in 1938, a figure which had reduced to 2,001 by 1945.

Like every other British colliery, Oakdale was nationalised on 1 January 1947. The workforce for Oakdale’s three pits on that day was 1,911 men working underground and 343 men working on the surface. Thereafter, it was owned and operated by the National Coal Board (NCB).

Oakdale worked four coal seams in the 1940s: the North and South Pits mined the Big Vein, Meadow Vein, and Upper Rhas Las seams; the Waterloo Pit mined the Waterloo Red Ash.

In 1959, Oakdale was lucky to escape closure after underground water burst into and flooded the workings at the colliery.

Waterloo closed in 1970. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Oakdale was linked underground to the collieries of Celynen North (located in Newbridge) and Markham. The integrated production unit that resulted from this process was the largest colliery complex in Gwent. Between 1975 and 1985 the NCB invested £23 million in the Oakdale Complex.

Oakdale Colliery closed in October 1989, the last colliery to operate in Gwent. Following the closure of Oakdale Colliery the site was clearly completely. Since 2017 it has been the location for Islwyn High School.

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