Have Your Say: Mines helped to shape us
COAL has been in the news recently.
The Unity mine, the last big underground mine in Wales, has a doubtful future and it is the centenary of the Senghenydd mining disaster when 440 men and boys were killed in a gas explosion.
Was the mining industry worth it? Rather, where would South Wales have been without the mining industry?
I come from a mining family, many of my relatives worked in the mines at one time. It was not an industry for the faint-hearted. Men worked in dirty, wet and often dangerous conditions. Some were crippled by injury or dust by their early thirties. It was not known for its good industrial relations.
Mine owners and their agents were often more concerned with profit rather than the well-being of their workers. But the Welsh have an inner spirit which is often at its best in adversity. The coming together of the mining communities produced some remarkable achievers. The British Empire owed much to the Welsh miners.
Times change as has the mining industry and events move on. The mining valleys in many respects are a pale shadow of what they once were.
But a miners lamp on the mantelpiece or perhaps a fading sepia coloured picture serve to remind us of our links to the past and who we are. Things that can never be taken away from us.