South Wales Coalfield Collection

[Located at the South Wales Miners' Library]

oFirst South Wales Coalfield Project 1972-74.
The First South Wales Coalfield Project, 1972-74, was sponsored by the Social Science Research Council; its aim being to produce an oral history collection from the South Wales Coalfield.

This first project concentrated largely on the labour/social history of the coalfield up until 1945. The project was grouped into various studies, including village life. These give insights into particular communities, such as Maerdy (Little Moscow) during this period of strikes, wars, unemployment and depression.

Other recorded groups include founder members of the South Wales Miners' Federation, local leaders, and Members of Parliament. There are also studies concentrating on the miners' institutes, libraries, and welfare halls, and adult education in the valleys, especially during the inter-war period.

With a "rank and file" group, which includes sportsmen, doctors, and other people from outside the mining industry, the First South Wales Coalfield Project gives a lively and unique account of life in the South Wales mining valleys before 1945.

oRecordings During The Period 1974-79.
The establishment of the South Wales Miners' Library in 1974, in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies at Swansea University, created a new use for the oral history collection compiled during in the First South Wales Coalfield Project 1972-74.

This part of the collection therefore concentrated more on compiling teaching-tapes from the previous project, which could be used for educational purposes. Topics include "Women in the coalfield", "The 1926 General Strike" and "Spanish Communities in South Wales". These compilation tapes are useful as a general introduction to the history of the South Wales mining communities.

In addition, many extra-mural lectures relevant to the South Wales coalfield were recorded, as were Llafur conferences. A small number of interviews were also recorded during this project.

oSecond South Wales Coalfield Project 1979-82.
The Second South Wales Coalfield Project, 1979-82, was again sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, its aim being to produce an oral history collection focusing on the national profile of the coal mining industry, although maintaining the South Wales Coalfield as its base.

The second project concentrated more on the post-1945 period, with greater attention being given to the national profile, management, and the "decision makers" within the energy sector.

This collection includes interviews with former Prime Ministers and mining constituency Members of Parliament; chairmen from the National Coal Board, British National Oil Corporation, and British Petroleum; as well as national figures of coalfield leadership.

Also included is a study on members from the NUM South Wales Area, local lodge officers, and discussion groups from Maerdy, Penllergaer, and Aberdare collieries.

With a "rank and file" group, which includes a chest physician, teacher, and factory workers, the Third South Wales Coalfield Project gives a vivid account of recent events at national and local level within the coal mining industry.

oSubject Based Projects.
This category is a collection of individual projects, all of which relate to the South Wales Coalfield, but have been seperately produced.

The 1972 and 1974 strike studies were collected during the course of a Social Science Research Council project, but are quite distinct from the theme of the project.

oRecordings of Conferences, Galas etc..
This section contains recordings of events such as conferences, eisteddfodau, galas and commemorative occasions. It also includes a variety of radio records.

The adult education theme is strong also, with many of the recordings being of seminars and residential courses.

These recordings represent a different aspect of the coalfield, giving vivid accounts of various gatherings of the coalfield workforce and their leaders.

These recordings mainly concern the South Wales coalfield. However they have been grouped together as they do not fit into any of the other project categories. This in no way reflects their research value.

The UniversityPeopleLifeStudyResearchAdmissions
University of Wales Swansea 02 July, 2007 LIS Web Team