Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
The lead mining industry
  A new village for the lead miners  

As the output of lead from the Van Mines increased after the new source was found in 1865, a whole new community began to grow around the mines.
As the mineworkings needed more and more workers, a new village was created with its own school and chapels.

Some of the miners came from less productive mines in the district and many were attracted to the rich new mine from further afield in Wales.
The manager of the Van Mines did not approve of drinking and was very religious, so the new village had two chapels, but no public house ! A pub called the Van Vaults was opened in Llanidloes in 1877 for thirsty miners, but they had a long wait for a drink !

A terrace of miners
cottages at Van Village,
showing the new railway
line to connect with
the main line at Caersws.
The Post Office
in Van Village
in the 1890's

The village lasted for many years as a lively community, but the Van Mines were doing less well towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign. Cheaper metal ores were being imported from other countries as transport systems improved, and many miners moved with their families to south Wales to work in the coal mines.

The mines closed and reopened at various times, but by 1910 what had once been the largest lead mine in Britain was failing and it closed completely in 1921. As the jobs disappeared the village lost most of its people and many of the buildings became derelict.
Another once famous lead mine farther away from Llanidloes had a similar tale to tell...

The lead mine with the huge wheel...


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