Senghennydd 1913


Senghennydd 1913

Plant ardal Senghennydd sy'n edrych yn ol ar danchwa mawr, pwll glo'r Universall, ym 1913. Children from the Senghennydd area look back at the explosion at the Universal mine in...


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Transcript


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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

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-"At the turn of the century...

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-"..Wales witnessed

-its biggest disaster."

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-Senghenydd 1913

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-Hello, I'm Hailey.

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-I'm Evan.

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-I'm Evan.

-

-I'm Eleni.

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-I'm Evan.

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-I'm Garin.

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-I'm Garin.

-

-I'm Ellie.

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-And I'm Caitlin.

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-Senghenydd is down there.

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-Senghenydd is a small village

-that's famous for its coal.

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-It's in a valley above Caerphilly.

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-The town famous for its castle...

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-The town famous for its castle...

-

-ALL: ..and cheese!

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-You might not have heard

-of Senghenydd.

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-But 100 years ago, in 1913,

-the world knew about this village.

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-It was the site of the biggest

-explosion in a coal mine.

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-What is the story of Senghenydd?

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-Why was there a colliery

-and what caused the explosion?

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-What happened after it?

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-ALL: Hmmmm.

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-Two hundred years ago,

-there was nothing in this valley...

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-..apart from farms, green fields

-and sheep on the hills.

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-SHEEP BLEATS

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-One day,

-a man who lived in the valley...

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-..discovered coal in the area.

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-Following this, in 1891...

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-..the Universal Colliery

-was built in the valley.

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-The new colliery brought people...

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-..shops, streets

-and a train station.

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-The village of Senghenydd

-practically appeared overnight!

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-This is High Street, one of

-the first streets in Senghenydd.

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-It leads to the centre

-of the village.

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-It was a busy village...

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-..that played an important part

-in the Industrial Revolution.

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-Our friend at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni

-can tell us about it.

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-The Industrial Revolution

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-Hello, I'm Doctor Industrial and

-I'll teach you about the revolution.

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-Wow!

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-To put it simply, the term,

-Industrial Revolution...

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-..describes a major event

-in a short space of time.

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-Many people moved from rural areas

-to the industrial sites...

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-..to earn more money.

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-Unfortunately,

-it damaged the Welsh language.

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-BOOING

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-The miners led difficult lives.

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-The got up at 4.30am

-and finished work at 6.00pm...

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-..but there was a strong comradery.

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-Wales was important.

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-Half a million tons of coal was

-produced in Senghenydd every year.

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-Merthyr Tydfil had one of the

-biggest ironworks in the world.

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-Wales was number one.

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-Wales was very important...

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-..and the South Wales collieries

-were world-famous.

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-In 1913, they produced

-56 million tonnes of coal.

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-One of these wagons

-can hold a ton of coal...

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-..so 56 million of these

-would go around the world.

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-In 1913,

-there were 620 coal mines in Wales.

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-One in five men in Wales

-worked in a coal mine.

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-Men and boys

-worked hard underground...

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-..to mine this valuable coal.

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-The coal was exported

-all over the world...

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-..and used to produce steam.

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-The Universal Colliery in Senghenydd

-was just like this mine in Rhondda.

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-There were two wheels

-at the top of two shafts.

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-They pumped oxygen in and out of

-the mine so the miners could breath.

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-Hundreds of men

-came and went to work every day.

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-The miners had four

-essential pieces of apparatus.

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-They had a water flask

-to hold their cold tea.

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-There was a cage to hold a canary

-that detected poisonous gases.

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-A food tin that kept the mice out.

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-A food tin that kept the mice out.

-

-And the safety lamp.

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-Why was the lamp important?

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-A miner needs light

-when he's working underground.

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-This lamp carries a flame

-but this is a very special lamp.

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-It stops any explosions

-from happening underground.

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-The Davy Lamp was designed in 1815

-by Sir Humphry Davy.

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-Every miner was given a lamp when

-he went down the pit each morning.

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-It helped them to see in the dark

-without causing a fire...

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-..because the flame was in the lamp.

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-It could also detect any methane

-that was in the mine.

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-Methane is a very dangerous

-and highly explosive gas.

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-If there wasn't any methane

-in the pit...

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-..there was a small, yellow flame.

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-A large, blue flame would burn

-when there was methane in a pit.

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-This indicated whether it was safe

-for the miners to work underground.

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-The Davy Lamp

-is still used in mines today...

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-..for safety reasons.

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-The miners had another little friend

-who detected methane - the canary.

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-A canary will faint

-in the presence of methane gas.

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-This gave the miners time to leave

-the pit and get some fresh air.

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-They didn't have helmets in 1913

-but we have to wear them today.

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-Here you are, boys.

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-The miners at Senghenydd went down

-595 metres into the earth every day.

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-It's the equivalent of ten large

-chimneys pointing into the ground.

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-Or 195 elephants

-standing on top of each other.

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-In 1913...

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-..boys of our age worked

-alongside the men in the mine.

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-Mines were dangerous places filled

-with water and poisonous gases.

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-Coal produces methane gas.

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-If a spark and methane gas meet...

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-If a spark and methane gas meet...

-

-ALL: Bang!

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-It was important to have doors

-underground to control air flow.

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-The children opened and closed the

-doors to let the coal carts through.

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-The children were alone

-with only a candle for light.

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-What happened

-when the lights went out?

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-BOYS SCREAM

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-I can't believe that boys of our age

-worked in the mines.

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-There were thousands of horses

-in the mines too.

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-In 1913, there were 70,000 horses

-working in the coal mines in Wales.

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-Let's go and see the horses.

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-This farm outside Pontypridd...

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-..is a home for some horses

-who worked in the Welsh coal mines.

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-They are able to relax

-in the fresh air.

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-What is a pit pony?

-Did they really work underground?

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-The pit ponies worked in the mines.

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-They worked underground

-with the men.

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-They were called pit ponies but

-weren't necessarily small horses.

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-In Wales,

-the horses tended to be bigger.

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-Did they get the same respect

-as the miners?

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-That's a good question.

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-Many thought the pit owners valued

-their ponies more than the men.

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-The ponies were worth about 20...

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-..so the horses had better treatment

-than the men.

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-Did they have stables underground?

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-Did they have stables underground?

-

-Yes, there were stables underground.

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-There were as many as 50 horses

-in those stables.

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-Some of the men

-worked solely with the horses.

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-How far did they walk?

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-It depended on their work

-and where they were stationed.

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-They worked hard

-for full shifts with the men.

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-My grandfather worked underground.

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-He said that the best ponies

-often worked a double shift...

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-..instead of using the lazy horses.

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-It was a very hard life.

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-Was it cruel?

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-That isn't an easy question

-to answer.

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-They were well cared for by a

-large team of men and fed regularly.

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-The men who worked with the horses

-looked after them very well.

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-A life underground can't be compared

-with a life in the outdoors...

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-..where they can run, graze

-and live a typical horse's life.

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-Did the horse have holidays?

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-They had a fortnight's holiday

-every year.

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-They went underground aged four

-and spent their lives down there...

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-..apart from two weeks

-when the pits were closed.

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-What did they do on their holidays?

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-There are wonderful stories

-about the horses.

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-They galloped happily

-around the fields.

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-They ran for as long as they could

-before slowing down to walk...

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-..and then stopping to graze

-in the fresh air.

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-When did they stop using horses

-in the coal mines?

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-The last pit pony retired

-from working underground in 1999.

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-Some of the horses

-who were working in 1999...

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-..can be found

-on this farm in Pontypridd.

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-We've learnt about the period

-and the workings of a mine.

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-What about the women?

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-And what happened

-on 14th October 1913?

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-The first miners in Senghenydd

-had houses just like these.

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-But these are in Blaenavon.

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-They are just like the houses

-in Senghenydd.

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-We've come to learn about

-their way of life.

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-The coal owners built

-specific houses for their workers.

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-In 1891, the owner

-of the Universal Colliery...

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-..built a row of houses

-in Senghenydd for his workers.

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-They were simple houses

-and it was a difficult life.

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-By 1913, there were so many people

-working in the mine...

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-..that more houses

-were built in the village.

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-Every bedroom was full...

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-..with the men and boys

-who worked in the mine.

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-Did everyone have a house like this

-in 1913?

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-The workers had houses like these...

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-..but the mine owners

-lived in very grand homes.

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-However, they built specific houses

-for the miners.

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-They had two rooms downstairs...

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-..and two rooms upstairs,

-so they were quite small.

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-What did people wear?

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-Boys and girls

-dressed very differently.

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-The boys wore a shirt and trousers.

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-The girls didn't have the things

-we wear today.

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-They wore a lot of layers.

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-There was a cotton undergarment...

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-..a woollen layer

-and they sometimes wore aprons.

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-Did they have their own bedrooms?

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-Children and young people

-had to share a bedroom.

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-In some homes, eight to ten people

-slept on the floor of the one room.

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-Was there a kitchen?

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-Was there a kitchen?

-

-There wasn't a kitchen as such.

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-They only had a fireplace

-in the small downstairs room.

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-This was where they boiled water,

-cooked food and kept warm.

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-They didn't have electricity

-or running water...

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-..so there wasn't a microwave

-or an oven.

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-They simply had a fireplace.

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-What did they eat?

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-It all depended

-on how much the man earned.

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-They ate simple food

-such as bread, cheese and butter.

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-They also drank tea because the

-water was dirty and tasted awful...

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-..so they added tea to the water.

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-The men took their food parcels

-underground and drank cold tea.

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-Where did they wash?

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-They didn't have a bathroom.

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-They had a tin bath

-that was filled with hot water.

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-All the men

-shared the water to wash...

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-..so it wasn't very clean.

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-There wasn't an indoor toilet

-so they kept a pot under the bed...

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-..and shared the pot

-during the night.

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-Despite this,

-the houses were very clean.

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-The wife or mother was expected

-to keep a very clean home.

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-Did they get sick

-after drinking the dirty water?

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-Yes.

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-We're have tap water but they had

-to fetch water from the river.

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-The water wasn't very clean.

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-It was used for drinking, washing

-themselves and their clothes...

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-..and to get rid of the waste

-from their toilets.

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-The water wasn't very clean...

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-..and it carried a lot

-of different diseases.

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-Would you want to live here in 1913?

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-Would you want to live here in 1913?

-

-ALL: No!

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-Senghenydd

-was a very different place in 1913.

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-On 14th October, it changed forever.

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-At 8.10am, I have my breakfast

-before walking to school.

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-But at 8.10am

-on 14th October 1913...

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-..450 men had started work

-in the mine.

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-This is what happened.

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-The men and boys went to work

-just like any other day.

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-The combination of the methane gas

-and coal dust in the mine...

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-..caused a massive explosion...

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-..that led to a huge fire

-and the shafts to collapse.

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-The fire stole the oxygen

-from the pit.

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-The men were trapped

-and couldn't breathe...

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-..so they didn't stand a chance.

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-Their wives and children ran to

-the pit to see what had happened.

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-They had to wait to find out

-who had died.

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-Rescue teams from across the Valleys

-came to help...

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-..but it was a very sad situation.

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-Only 18 men and boys

-came out alive.

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-439 men and boys were killed.

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-Every horse in the mine was killed.

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-542 children

-were left without a father.

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-Every house in Senghenydd

-lost a loved one.

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-The explosion and fire

-were terrible.

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-What was the chemical reaction

-that caused them?

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-Pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni

-have done a project on the disaster.

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-They have been recreating

-the explosion.

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-The name of the gases that caused

-the explosion is firedamp.

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-It's from the German word, dampf.

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-Methane is the main gas in firedamp.

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-The methane flows from the orange

-tube and gathers in the bubbles.

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-Methane burns fiercely

-in air that's rich in oxygen.

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-It meant that all the oxygen

-was used in the mine.

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-It produces a poisonous gas

-or afterdamp...

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-..that's made of carbon monoxide

-and carbon dioxide.

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-Many miners escaped

-from the initial explosion...

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-..but a number of men died

-because of the poisonous gases.

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-This is what killed the majority

-of the 439 miners at Senghenydd.

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-It's fun to create an explosion

-in a laboratory.

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-The effects of the 1913 explosion

-were no laughing matter.

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-The whole world heard of Senghenydd.

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-This film of the funeral

-for some of the victims...

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-..says it all.

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-People came from everywhere

-to pay their respects.

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-The procession of bodies

-went down the high street.

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-There were people everywhere.

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-The village

-would never be the same again.

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-Many families

-were thrown out of their homes...

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-..because they couldn't pay

-the rent.

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-There was a court case.

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-The owner of the pit was found

-guilty of causing the explosion.

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-The workers had told the owner

-that the pit was unsafe...

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-..but he wouldn't listen.

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-The community was stunned to hear...

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-..that the owner

-was only given a fine of 24.

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-What happened to the

-Universal Colliery and Senghenydd?

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-The First World War

-broke out in 1914...

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-..and everyone forgot the tragedy.

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-The mine reopened in 1916...

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-..to produce coal for the war.

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-The mine stayed open until 1928.

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-In 1965,

-the colliery was demolished.

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-Today, the village

-enjoys a new lease of life.

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-At Ysgol Gynradd Nant y Parc,

-the site of the Universal's shaft...

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-..there's a memorial

-for the men who died.

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-Ysgol Ifor Bach is also built

-on the site of an old coal mine.

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-The schools

-bring new life to the area.

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-Nothing remains of the mines.

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-A museum in the village

-tells this story.

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-This year, a garden will be opened

-to remember those who died.

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-This story is important and

-forms part of our family history.

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-We plan to

-keep telling this story...

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-..so that everyone knows about

-the Senghenydd Disaster of 1913.

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Plant ardal Senghennydd sy'n edrych yn ol ar danchwa mawr, pwll glo'r Universall, ym 1913. Children from the Senghennydd area look back at the explosion at the Universal mine in 1913.