Colliery Offices Destroyed in Avalanche

20 members of the clerical staff  at the International Coal Company Ltd, at Blaengarw, had a miraculous escape on Tuesday 4th November, when a substantial portion of  the 100 foot high colliery waste tip behind the office came down and fell right on top of the buildings, which were completely destroyed.

Mr. Evan Jones, a local Butcher, was riding on horseback along the mountain-side when he saw the tip start to move. He turned his horse and galloped at speed towards the offices,shouting out to warn anyone in the vicinity. Just as the very last man evacuated the building there was a heavy thud and the buildings were engulfed with about a half acre of spoil.

All the men were very grateful to their heroic rescuer. “We were busy working,” said one,” when we heard  yelling, and the clatter of hooves. We thought that a pit-horse had broken loose and was running away so we dashed to the windows to look. We did not realise that we were moments away from death!”

No damage was caused to the pit-shaft, which was about 50 yards from the avalanche site, but, as a precaution, work underground was suspended, and the men were brought to the surface. A few years ago there was a similar occurrence, but on a smaller scale.

The recent heavy rain, together with the mountain springs which abound in this area is believed to be responsible for the landslide. A  lot of the debris also fell onto the railway siding below, and smashed tracks and a number of railway trucks.

There are about 40 houses in Pwllcarn Terrace, but none were threatened by the landslide, On Wednesday night, a large number of men were out under the supervision of Mr. W. J. Morgan, Manager for the International Colliery Company.  Strong efforts were being made to divert the spring water which had forced its way through the tip. A Great Western Railway breakdown gang was also in attendance and rendered valuable assistance repairing the damaged tracks.

Blaengarw Fire Brigade were called out to extinguish the flames caused by a fire in timber of the wrecked building. Officials present said that it was hoped to recover colliery records from the building once the debris was cleared.

Gerald Jarvis, taken from the Glamorgan Gazette, 4/11/1927

2 comments Add yours
  1. What a close shave! If the houses, offices, and the pit head had been damaged instead of Calon Lan Park, we would have had a mass grave to visit.

  2. This was not the only ‘avalanche’ that took place. There were at least three others in the collieries history. Interestingly this story also gave rise to the ‘legend/urban myth’ that there is a car and the colliery safe(full of sovereigns) still buried at the old International site to this day?

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