Site dedicated to thousands of lives lost officially recognised as the National Mining Disaster Memorial Garden of Wales

A memorial garden in Senghenydd, which commemorates those who died in the worst disaster in the history of British mining, has been given the “recognition it deserves” and formally acknowledged by the Welsh Government as the National Mining Disaster Memorial Garden of Wales.

The village’s garden of remembrance was officially opened on the 100th anniversary of the 1913 disaster when 439 miners were killed after an explosion tore through the Universal Colliery.

Now, it has been added to the Statutory Register of Historic Parks and Gardens for Wales and received endorsement from First Minister, Mark Drakeford and the Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden to become a dedicated site remembering the many thousands who died in mining disasters throughout Wales.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“Mining is a big part of our identity as a nation. More than a century after the Senghenydd disasters, and as we mark the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strikes, the legacy of coal is still an essential part of our history.

“It is only right that a site of such symbolic importance as Wales’ National Mining Memorial receives formal recognition – honouring the thousands of miners who died in colliery tragedies across Wales, while keeping the culture and memory of pit communities alive.”

The site includes a bronze statue, which depicts a rescue worker coming to the aid of a survivor after a mining disaster, a wall of remembrance, dedicated to those who lost their lives in the two Senghenydd mining disasters in 1901 and 1913, and a path of memory with a tile for each of the 152 mining disasters that have occurred across Wales.

Many local authorities contributed to the fundraising campaign when the memorial was established in 2013 and on a visit to the garden and nearby Aber Valley Heritage Museum, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden said:

“We are conscious that the memorial garden commemorates not just those who died at Senghenydd, but also in mining disasters across the length and breadth of Wales.

“It’s such an important site of public commemoration and memory with an important role to play in connecting people with the past so I’m delighted we have been able to give it the recognition it deserves.”

Gill Jones, of Aber Valley Heritage Group, added:

“We are so very proud that our wonderful Garden of Remembrance has now become the ‘National Mining Disaster Memorial Garden of Wales’ and has been added to the statutory register of historic parks and gardens in Wales.

“It is through the determination and hard work of our volunteers, who spend many hours in all-weather to maintain it to the high standards required for such an honour.

“It is a lasting legacy by our volunteers to the 530 men and boys killed in the Universal Colliery disasters in 1901 and 1913, as well as the many thousands who died in disasters throughout the Welsh coalfields, all of which are all listed in the garden.”