Betws mining memorial 'needs a plaque'

RELIC: This shearer drum marks the site of the former Betws New Drift Mine. Picture by Mark Davies.

RELIC: This shearer drum marks the site of the former Betws New Drift Mine. Picture by Mark Davies.

First published in News

BETWS councillors would like to see "the finishing touches" made to a memorial to Betws Colliery in Maesquarre Road – which still bears no plaque five years after it was created.

The memorial – featuring an old shearer drum for a coalcutter typical of the type used at the last deep mine sunk in Wales – was the brainchild of former county councillor Dr John Dorian Evans, who worked down the mine himself.

Cllr Rhydian Murray said it was virtually the only evidence that a colliery which had once employed hundreds of men had ever existed.

"There should be some explanation as to what it is," he told colleagues.

"There should be a plaque there – when you talk about the old pit people want to know what this piece of equipment is."

Dr Evans told the Guardian the memorial was created after he was allocated £5,000 as a county councillor. "I donated some of my allocation to the village school, some towards seats in the village and the rest towards the memorial," he said.

"Putting a plaque there is continuously on my mind – Betws New Drift Mine was one of the most productive in south Wales. In its heyday it was producing 26,000 tonnes of coal a week and was nicknamed "The Coal Factory".

"The money is currently being held by the Miners Welfare in Ammanford – I've spoken to the secretary, Anthony Jones, about it as well as to the local member Ryan Bartlett and developers TRJ – and I don't see what else I can do.

"Having said that I have drawn up an inscription and would like to see a plaque put up to highlight the success of Betws New Mine and the work of the men employed there."

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