A PERMANENT memorial to more than 300 men and boys who died in mining disasters will be unveiled in March, thanks to a public fundraising campaign.

Last July, Black Vein Miners’ Memorial Society asked the community for help to raise the funds for a memorial plaque to commemorate those who died in the ‘death pit’ of Black Vein Colliery.

In January, the plaque was installed in front of the bandstand in Waunfawr Park, Crosskeys. The official unveiling ceremony will be on Sunday, March 1 at 2.30pm.

Represented on the plaque are 307 men and boys who died in four mining disasters. Three of the disasters took place at the Black Vein Colliery and one at the Risca North Colliery.

Thirty-five died at Black Vein in the 1846 disaster, 10 died in the 1853 disaster, and 142 died in the 1860 disaster.

At the time, the staggering loss of life made the 1860 Black Vein explosion the biggest mining disaster in Wales, and the second-biggest in the UK.

READ MORE: Keeping the memory alive - a look back at the 1860 Risca mining disaster that killed 142 people

The memorial also commemorates the 120 people who died in the 1880 explosion at Risca North Colliery.

The plaque depicts two widows – an older woman who lost her husband in the 1860 disaster, comforting her younger counterpart during the aftermath of the 1880 explosion.

The heart-breaking image is taken from an ink drawing showing the events of the 1880 disaster at Risca North Colliery.

At the ceremony on March 1, conducted by Reverend Marc Owen from Moriah Baptist Church, members of the society will be joined by relatives of those who died, as well as local leaders and members of the community.

Chris Evans and Rhianon Passmore – Islwyn's MP and AM, respectively – will be joined by Caerphilly council's leader, Philippa Marsden, and mayor, Julian Simmonds. Local councillors Sue Thorne and Nigel George will also be in attendance.


The plaque was funded by members of the community, Monmouthshire Building Society, Risca East Community Council and Caerphilly council.

South Wales Argus:

The initial plaque design which was created by secretary of the Black Vein Miners' Memorial Society Stephen Lyons

South Wales Argus:

The 1880 ink drawing of the disaster at Risca North Colliery which was the inspiration for the imagery on the plaque