PROBUS CLUB OF PONTYPOOL - EARLY COALMINING: Mr Clive Davies and Gwyn Tilley, joint authors of a recent book on the above subject, entitled The Iron Heart Of Gwent (ISBN 978-1-84306-401-5), and with the aid of their excellently produced DVD, were the guest speakers at the Probus Club of Pontypool meeting on Wednesday, January 16.

Clive's DVD commentary on the above subject was very factually informative, and illustrated the diligent research they had made to establish the necessary historical facts about early coal mining, with all the associated dangers connected with extracting such minerals from the coal fields.

It was said that Clive and Gwyn were primarily motivated in producing the DVD by a youngster saying to them: "Oi, Misters, what is coal?" and "What is it used for?"

These questions made them realise that with the virtual closure of all coal mining in Wales and elsewhere in the UK, coal is now rarely used in homes and rail transport, etc, so such questions by young children were valid today, and the authors considered that it was essential to make the facts readily available now within the living memories of the dwindling former mining community, in areas such as ours, hence, the making of the DVD.

The chairman, Mr Wayne Rogers, thanked Clive and Gwyn for their well illustrated talk, which then resulted in some personal recollection of coal mining by one of the members who had been a miner.

In response to the speakers asking if anyone present had any family tragically involved in the numerous mining disasters mentioned in the DVD, it was sad to hear that one member's great-grandfather and two uncles had been killed in the disastrous mine explosion at Llanerch Colliery, on December 1, 1860, when 176 men lost their lives.

The member's relatives were interred in the St Cadoc's (Church in Wales) graveyard at Trevethin, but many other churches' burial grounds in the area were also used.