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pierre
Webmaster

United Kingdom
13893 Posts

Posted - 22/09/2009 :  17:24:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A classic uploaded by our very own Uncle Bob

Fill us in with story Bob...

uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 22/09/2009 :  20:10:22 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
photo taken about 30 years ago we used to explore old levels as an extention of a common hobby of ours, caving this photo is at the same location as a photo in an old book on tredegar showing a chap inspecting mineworkings the location of this photo is roughly 300--500 feet below the town clock! we had dai briggs with us (thats him on right a qualified fireman with the davey lamp)tredegar is a rabbit warren of old workings,with most entrances sealed so a load of foul air i would not like to visit today.
If one turned to the left ty tryst could be reached,back on yourself to No9 grahams navagation pit, both a long walk underground
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Cloud-Collector
Advanced Member

203 Posts

Posted - 22/09/2009 :  20:49:25 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bob that is a very interesting picture and story behind it. Got anymore like that? I'm sure I'm not the only one who never knew such things lay underneath an area many times walked over or driven over.




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mike
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
385 Posts

Posted - 22/09/2009 :  22:01:03 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's amazing! I never knew that so many underground workings were still accessible. Is it still possible to see the Yard Level (from where the Lump of Coal was cut), or the tunnel from Sirhowy to Ebbw Vale?

Mike
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 23/09/2009 :  00:24:11 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yes you can still get into the levels there is an access from near bethel chapel near the river ---loads of fern fossils but be very careful as so many entrances have been blocked up there is no movement of air any longer it is highly dangerous please don't visit these areas you may be the first for many years and I would not recommend it
In fact I actively would discourage any entry whatsoever YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!YOU CAN STILL WALK TO THE YARD (HARD) LEVEL
BUT READ THE RED WORDS I DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT YOUR BODY IN THE GWENT GAZETTE!I believe the guy in the old book about Tredegar was named Harding his job was to walk all the underground workings in the area and report to the N.C.B.
I am pleased with your interest and photo at one time you would be able to walk all the way from the yard level Tredegar to Oakdale and into the next valleys underground since the end of deep mining these workings have been allowed to flood. When winning coal water was pumped at the rate of millions of gallons a day!
Don’t forget many of these workings lower down the valley were BELOW SEA LEVEL! This is a fascinating subject and it is all beneath our feet! Still millions of tons of coal there I can see the day when mines will be reopened in south Wales (tower ETC)


Edited by - uncle bob on 23/09/2009 00:55:05
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Panda
Super Member

United Kingdom
873 Posts

Posted - 23/09/2009 :  17:29:30 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dai looks so much different there, haha!
Have seen the entrance in my street (Bethel), but what's the story about them finding two paedophiles hiding there or something along those lines there years ago?

Is this the same tunnel that eventually leads up to another that gives access to Ebbw Vale, where the horses used to go?
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 23/09/2009 :  18:21:19 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Panda
most if not all workings join together at some point or other for ventilation, and water dranage.
i don't think that this is a large bore route to ebbw vale i may be wrong. a visit to RTB archive centre at cwm draw ind.est. will be worthwhile they have a large map of underground workings depicting as many as three tunnels joining Tredegar to Ebbw vale, a great place to visit helpful people most, retired steelworkers with huge archive of maps and photos.
The zoomable old map on this website shows a tunnel enterance on the hillside above no9 housing estate but of course the landscape has been graded and no doubt another part of our industrial past has been lost for ever
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Bryan Rendell
Super Member

United Kingdom
1788 Posts

Posted - 23/09/2009 :  22:31:17 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In the 1940's, when I was a young boy my friends and I used to wander all over the Black Tips and climb over the old workings of No.9. I can disinctly remember, on the way to Sirhowy a large hole in the hillside - gated. I was told by my grandfather, who used to work at No 9, that it was the start of the tunnel which ended up in Ebbw Vale.
We used to fish in the river Sirhowy and go into the tunnel below Bethel Avenue, not too far as we usually became very scared of the dark.
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emrys
Advanced Member

715 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  15:37:36 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, uncle Bob. Thoroughly enjoyed your most recent post. I am sure others will join me in urging you to set out more memories of past workings (and hopefully photographs) and about the town generally. I still know some older people in Tredegar who have marvellous stories to tell but not being on the internet or published eleswhere all that will soon be lost. I pretty well grew up in Tredegar and my memories parallel those of Bryn Rendell, roaming around number nine pit and Ty Tryst, trying hard to topple the rocking stone etc, but never found any old tunnel entrances. Played around the old patches but didn't find much there to explore. Emrys.
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  18:12:34 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
when I returned home to Tredegar I had two pals to get rid of rubbish remaining at my house unfortunately they had an idea that all of my negatives were trash and burned them all -- my lifetimes photography till that date, no one to blame but myself, I often rue the day I said those words!! it was quite an archive A few photos servive.
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KenJ
Advanced Member

286 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  18:24:28 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here's what Oliver Jones wrote about the Sirhowy to Ebbw Vale Tunnel:

"Cut off from the rest of the valley, Sirhowy found itself utterly dependent upon the work of the Rassau Tram Road for traffic clearance and this became a limiting factor on any further development.
By the late 1820's the tramroad was struggling under heavy pressure to keep things moving, making it imperative that something had to be done.
Consideration was given to the possibilities of laying a tramroad over Pen y Bryn but as this would involve the making of a rather steep incline the idea was soon dropped.
Then someone had a bright idea; why not tunnel straight through the mountain to Ebbw Vale?
Experience in underground working undoubtedly gave rise to this suggestion, though a tunnel walled and arched all the way was a slightly different sort of undertaking for men used to mining.

Such a venture, it was argued, would take the strain off the Rassau Tram Road, obviate the need for inclines and make all-weather traffic possible.
Moreover, it would shorten the journey by almost half.
With these advantages in mind the work was soon under way and one can almost detect the hand of the mineral agent, Zephaniah Williams, in all this.

One and a half miles long, the tunnel was finished and working by 1832.
It entered the mountain about half a mile to the south of the Sirhowy Iron Works and emerged on the other side near the site of the first Ebbw Vale furnace.
A stone over each entrance bore the inscription "James Harford Tunnel. 1832" - the James Harford so commemorated being one of the original members of the Ebbw Vale Company.
The Ebbw Vale entrance is still in fairly good condition, the inscription being still faintly decipherable, but the Sirhowy end lies buried under the shale tips about half way between Sirhowy and Georgetown.

In its time the tunnel became to Sirhowy what the valley tramroad was to Tredegar - the outlet to the ever growing iron market.
In 1844, when the Ebbw Vale and Sirhowy Iron Works were both sold to Abraham Darby at a sale in Bristol, the tunnel ("constructed at great expense") came in for special mention as one of the outstanding features of the Harford undertakings."
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GOM
Super Member

United Kingdom
3786 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  18:51:43 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very interesting UB than you for posting allso interesting comments.

Would be so good to open some of the tunnels for people to view and see what life used to be like.


The G.O.M. enjoys a good bit of history mind a bit of herstory is good to must be PC.




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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  18:57:48 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
please refer to my post of the 23rd sept there were as many as three tunnels linking tredegar to ebbw vale.ref chart on the wall at r.t.b. archives @ cwm draw ind. est. ebbw vale (they will alow a photo to show your pals at the forum)

Edited by - uncle bob on 24/09/2009 18:59:59
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mike
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
385 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  19:28:43 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Fear not, Uncle Bob - I'm too old (and fat) to consider tackling the levels myself. Besides, I tried caving many years ago with a couple of mates somewhere in Clydach Gorge; it's not anywhere near the top of my list of "fun things to do"

It would be great if someone could mount a proper exploration, though, and take lots of photos.



Mike
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 24/09/2009 :  19:52:17 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
uncle bob is like yourself old, fat and bald,
but if it were possible place my name at the top of the list i've still got a spark left!
And i've got a nice camera!
I am sparctacus!!

Edited by - uncle bob on 24/09/2009 19:55:28
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 28/09/2009 :  19:05:19 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Found on blaenau gwent web site!
(Sirhowy Ironworks, Harfods tunnel)
The story of the Industrial Revolution in Blaenau Gwent begins with the establishment of the Sirhowy Ironworks. Work on the site began in 1778 and the first furnace went into production in 1779. Early in its history, Sirhowy was run in tandem with the Tredegar Ironworks, established about a mile away in 1800. The site was taken over by the Ebbw Vale Ironworks, in the adjacent valley in 1818, and by 1841 just over 1,000 people were employed here. Sirhowy pig iron was sent to Ebbw Vale via ‘Harford’s Tunnel’ - a two-mile long tunnel built under the mountain in 1835. At Ebbw Vale, the pig iron was worked into wrought iron and, from the late 19th century, into steel. Iron making ceased at Sirhowy around 1882.
The impressive remains at Sirhowy represent the only 18th century ironworking complex still visible in the County Borough. They comprise the ruins of two stone-built blast furnaces, a dramatic range of arches in the furnace wall, the housing for a waterwheel and the remains of a large, iron-clad blast furnace built in about 1865
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 28/09/2009 :  19:18:21 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Message Preview

In an article by "The Works" (archive material from website)

A tunnel for a horse tram road was driven for over a mile under the hillside to the Sirhowy Works enabling iron to be brought to the Ebbw Vale forge speedily. The Works also introduced steam locomotives on its own tram roads.

From the last two posts Tredegar and Ebbw Vale disagree on the length of hafords tunnel!!!--Tredegar 2 miles -----EbbwVale 1 Mile! These two towns can never agree on anything even industrial history
and Oliver Jones has the tunnel at one and a half miles! Whatever the true length I bet it was hard going for the builders, miners I suppose? it would still be there as it was brick lined throughout
but the entrance has to be found
if you go to the merthyr tydfil web site you will see a photograph of a old mine working that was broken into by accident and a coal dram still on the rails below a garage that was being extended on the goat mill road
maybe we also could be as lucky in Tredegar there are miles of workings and literally millions of tons of coal (glo in welsh)are under our feet all over our home town----gardeners dig carefully!!!





Edited by - uncle bob on 01/10/2009 16:29:23
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Supercal
Full Member

United Kingdom
72 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2009 :  22:08:01 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I remember No9 vividly. I'm 109 now but when I were a lad we were sent down pit, aged 9 at 4 o'clock int mornin with nowt but an apple and a lump o lard to last us all day till we came up int cage at 11 oclock, t next day.

Still we stuck together in those days and there were compensations underground. Down No 9 we ad ballroom dancin lessons in breaks from coalface. happy days!

p Morris
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Peregrine Honeydew
Super Member

United Kingdom
1136 Posts

Posted - 13/10/2009 :  13:03:14 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lard! Lard1 Lucky to 'ave lard! We had to buy lard and give it t'Overman to let us work!






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historyman
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 23/08/2010 :  23:39:14 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hi all just to bring you up to date on the E.Vale - Tredegar Tunnel issue . A small group of interested people are currently trying to reopen the No 3 tunnel in order to for a link between the E Vale rail head and Bedwellty park, part useful and part tourist. The line of the tunnel if it was surveyed has not survived the passage of time but both entrances are known; although now long gone. No 2 tunnel remains as it was(ie Harfords tunnel) incedently as was No1 as well and neither of these were the 'oliver Jones tunnel' which was no3 and not completed by Harford.If a feasabiltiy study gets up and running( we have a consultant & are seeking the funding) i will return to ask for verbal support, for now i can only ask for good luck.
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uncle bob
Super Member

United Kingdom
2458 Posts

Posted - 24/08/2010 :  00:37:07 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by historyman

hi all just to bring you up to date on the E.Vale - Tredegar Tunnel issue . A small group of interested people are currently trying to reopen the No 3 tunnel in order to for a link between the E Vale rail head and Bedwellty park, part useful and part tourist. The line of the tunnel if it was surveyed has not survived the passage of time but both entrances are known; although now long gone. No 2 tunnel remains as it was(ie Harfords tunnel) incedently as was No1 as well and neither of these were the 'oliver Jones tunnel' which was no3 and not completed by Harford.If a feasabiltiy study gets up and running( we have a consultant & are seeking the funding) i will return to ask for verbal support, for now i can only ask for good luck.

yes you've got it count me in would love to take part i've got a nice camera and printer to record the dig but my age rules me out 4 digging sorry
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fredd
Super Member

6216 Posts

Posted - 24/08/2010 :  20:29:35 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes that is interesting History man please keep posting the news. And yes good luck .
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nairod
Full Member

United Kingdom
147 Posts

Posted - 25/08/2010 :  21:16:16 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just wondered if anyone knew if there was any further news on Historyman's post of the 23rd Aug.
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pierre
Webmaster

United Kingdom
13893 Posts

Posted - 29/08/2010 :  22:32:32 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Historyman,

There are 3 tunnels going over to Ebbw, which one are you looking to re-open ?

_________________________________________
News & Information on Tredegar since 1991
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historyman
New Member

2 Posts

Posted - 29/08/2010 :  23:36:52 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi pierre & all, Quite correct there are indeed 3 'Harford' tunnels also at least two others. only No2 driven in 1832 is generally know as such tho. no1 was as described by B Baxter in 'Stone Blocks & Iron Rails' and no3 was not completed until some time after 1844 [april] and after Harfords time with the E V Co. the ref to 'brick lined' only appliea to no2 although from the drawings of no3 zat least the first few 100 yds was brick lined as far as it met No 5 tunnel. No 2 on the tred side is not accessible now but no3 still is as is the E V side. In EV it has moved north due to extensions of the works c1969-71ish. the tunnel was last used as an air raids shelter [the documents still survive regarding this] but the tredegar side was tipped over , if the maps are to be believed as early as 1880's. So we are talking about No3 started prior to 1844, no start date known and finished after that date [re sale papers for E V Co to Darby & Co]again date not known. several people i know have been in the tunnel in the recent past ,it no doubt has its problems but these can be reletively easily overcome using modern ring construction if needs be. It is not seen as a fast fix sort of job but a long term investment in local heritage and tourism. I hope this answers some of your questions , if not ask again and i will have another go at it. [ sorry about the spelling etc am writting this from site, in a field looking for Romans]
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pierre
Webmaster

United Kingdom
13893 Posts

Posted - 08/04/2012 :  18:30:32 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A picture (the only one I have come across), showing the Ebbw side of the Sirhowy-Ebbw tunnel.



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