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Earning a living
  Coal mining in the area  

The main coal deposits in South Wales lie to the South of the Crickhowell area but there are coal levels which just come into this corner of Breconshire. It is known that coal was dug from the hillsides around Llanelly since at least 1600 if not earlier.
By the early years of Queen Victoria's reign there were three collieries in production in the area.


The collieries at Gellifelen and Llwyn-y-pwll employed about a hundred men at this time. There was also another colliery North of Brynmawr called Ellwoods which was managed by a Scotsman.

These local collieries produced coal for the local ironworks and also transported coal to Brecon by canal barge. When the local iron smelting finished this was a problem but the building of the railway down the Clydach valley meant that these local collieries could send their coal further afield.

  Working in the coal mines was harsh and dangerous with children as young as five working underground in Breconshire. Sometimes the miners were paid a sum for every ton of coal they dug rather than a set wage. The miners often took their whole families underground in the struggle to dig more coal and earn enough money to live.  
  Visit the pages on coalmining around Ystradgynlais to find out more about the industry in Breconshire.  

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