The Decline In The Mining Industry In Wales History Essay

At the extremum of the excavation industry about 300,000 mineworkers were employed. In 1945 there were over 120,000 mineworkers working in over 130 cavities in the vale of South Wales. That figured decreased to merely 20,000 by the 1980 ‘s. This diminution came as a consequence of the closure of over 150 pits ensuing in a monolithic lessening in mining occupations available. The excavation period can crudely be divided into two subdivisions. ( Arnot, 1975 ) The first period was in full swing until 1939, this chiefly involved employer action to keep the competitory economic facet of excavation, this had a profound consequence on the local communities. Communities became cohesive and politically active to cover with this and the assorted wellness issues associated with the excavation profession. The 2nd period involved the diminution of the excavation industry after the Second World War, this diminution of the excavation industry efficaciously destroyed the political and societal coherence created within communities. Although shuting the mines reduced the wellness jobs implicated within the excavation profession, this was the start of other psychosocial conditions within the communities. The wellness and societal related jobs arose as a consequence of economic inaction and desperation. Many mineworkers lost their topographic point in society taging a new epoch in the societal coherence of Welshman community life. ( Kenway, 2007, Smith, 2009 )

Period 1 – Until 1939

Until 1939 the excavation industry was in gradual diminution as cheaper coal was progressively being imported from abroad. Welsh mines attempted to stay competitory by cutting mineworkers ‘ rewards, cut downing the cost of wellness and safety policies and curtailing the benefits of mineworkers. During this period there was a passage from authorities run mines to private mines. ( Coombes, 1945 ) The authorities merely ran the mines as a strategic plus during the two universe wars. Privately owned mines were progressively concerned with money and non with the well-being of mineworkers who were seen as a production factor. The mineworkers had to happen ways of lasting the rough conditions and hardship imposed on them. A strong sense of community and societal coherence evolved as a consequence of this in excavation communities. Several organisations groups and brotherhoods gave a intent and construction to the community ; ( Dolan J. , 2009 )

Co-operative motion

The co-operative motion became progressively more popular in Wales. These were economic groupings which rewarded the people of Wales consequently based on the sum of purchases made from the co-operative. ( Dolan J. , 2009 )

Strong chapels and spiritual groups

Each mineworker ‘s household gave a little sum of money towards chapels and deacons that were formed in each excavation small town. These chapels provided a strong sense of local individuality in rural towns and allowed a corporate assemblage topographic point for the mineworkers. ( Coombes, 1945, Dolan J. , 2009 )

Social activities

Activities were created and based around the economic unit of the excavation small town. These activities included Galas, Eisteddfods and many other athleticss activities. Each excavation small towns had their ain rugger squads and had many celebrated rugger stars in their thick. Mining small towns were besides the beginning of many of the celebrated voices for the Welsh Male Voice Choirs. ( Coombes, 1945, Dolan J. , 2009 )

Politicisation of the community

Many political groups were set up to run for better conditions and rewards for mineworkers. The celebrated hungriness Marches in 1927 and 1932 were chiefly organized by mining communities. Major work stoppage action in 1926 was to a great extent promoted by the Welsh excavation communities. Mining support groups formed and these created societal coherence within the local communities. Aneurin Bevan ( laminitis of the National Health Service ) grew up in a excavation community and was motivated by the agony encountered by the mineworkers. He obtained his political cognition through the mineworkers ‘ institutes funded by mineworkers. Many mineworkers besides empathised with other battles against subjugation. This united them in support for the anti-Franco forces in the 1936-39 Spanish civil war, many voluntaries came from the excavation communities. ( Wales, 2008 ) Although the excavation profession was a unsafe one which provided plentifulness of wellness and safety hazards, the societal coherence formed between communities as a consequence of this hardship had a profound good consequence on the persons involved. The construction and organisation involved in the tightly knitted communities likely reduced mental wellness issues dramatically. Many persons who suffer from depression to the present twenty-four hours would profit from holding tight societal groups in order to get the better of single jobs. ( Coombes, 1945, Wales, 2008 )

Health affairs and prescribed diseases

The deficiency of wellness and safety enforcement in the mines lead to dust induced prescribed diseases such as pneumonoconiosis. No protective masks were offered to mineworkers to forestall pneumonoconiosis and silicosis. This was non recognized as a disease that could be caused by the excavation profession until 1931 when the Workmen ‘s compensation act allowed mineworkers to use for silicosis compensation. ( Fletcher, 1948, Dolan J. , 2009 ) There were no communal bath installations until 1939 doing the mineworkers to put on the line unwellness by coming back from work soaking moistures and dirty. Children were encouraged at an early age to travel down the mines to supply for their households. This led to deficiency of instruction and a life of unskilled work. Few houses in the excavation communities had basic hygiene installations taking to an addition in infection rates. ( Bennett, 2009, Michael, 2008 )

The deficiency of wellness and safety protocols for mineworkers lead to hideous accidents. The celebrated catastrophe being that of Aberfan. This was where a scoria pile collapsed and buried a primary school in October of 1966. This caused the decease of over 140 people many of whom were kids. This could hold happened in any other excavation community in Wales and led to the passing of the 1969 excavation act. ( Johnes, 2000 )

Period 2 – After 1945

The terminal of the Second World War marked the rapid diminution of the Welsh excavation industry due to economic factors. Imported foreign coal became cheaper than Welsh coal. In add-on to this it became progressively un-economic to mine for coal in Wales as it was necessary to mine really deep in order to happen good quality coal. ( Bennett, 2009 ) After the Second World War the mines were nationalized and reclaimed by the authorities. This increased wellness and safety facets well but the economic position lead to mines being increasingly being shut down as they became progressively uncompetitive. This caused a downwards spiral of unemployment. ( Bennett, 2009 )

The diminution of excavation

The coal mines of South Wales accounted for about one tierce of the entire universe exports of coal. The loss of the excavation industry in Wales has destroyed its chief industry and many think this is why South Wales is now considered to be the one of the “ sickest ” countries of Europe. ( Morgan, 2007 ) Once the cavities were closed whole communities fell apart. Families lost their major beginning of income and, without the trade that the mineworkers brought, stores and concerns went bankrupt. This caused many people to travel off from the rural communities to seek for work, for those who stayed it was really hard to stay in work as they had really small makings. ( Michael, 2008, Hughes, 1995 ) Sociologists have studied former coal excavation communities. They have found many societal jobs within them: hapless school attending ; household jobs ; really immature teenage gestation and many individual parents. Former mineworkers are afflicted with pneumonoconiosis and COPD, for those who have non had wellness issues they are afflicted with hapless diet and intoxicant maltreatment due to hapless instruction. Obesity is a large job every bit good as junior-grade offense and drug maltreatment. The prevalence of hapless quality and moistness Victorian lodging contributes to asthma and bronchitis particularly in immature kids. The persons of post-mining communities frequently have really low ego regard as a consequence of their loss of place in society. The national assembly for Wales one-year study on societal inclusion 2003 stated that Wales was enduring from pronounced want and low criterions in wellness with really small people having good makings. ( Michael, 2008, Broomfield, 1981 )

Fiscal impact on mental and wellness jobs

Many parts of South Wales are so hapless that they qualify for EU development assistance, this is normally reserved for badly financially hard-pressed states. A survey conducted by the Joseph Rowntree foundation stated that 17 of the 180 poorest countries in the UK were situated in Wales and estimated that a 3rd of kids in Wales suffered from poorness. ( Kenway, 2007 ) Professor Kevin Morgan of Cardiff university echoed that the jobs in Wales are jobs that developing states have, such as hapless diet and deficient lodging. ( Morgan, 2007 ) Once the coal excavation industry collapsed many people ‘s lives were shattered as coal excavation provided the economic base for many communities. The combination of industrial diseases caused by the excavation profession and the depression as a consequence of the closing of the mines means that South Wales has some of the worst wellness issues in Western Europe. Mental unwellness is a big factor for former excavation communities every bit good as a deficiency of assurance and an involuntariness to work because of fright of redundancy. Former mineworkers in peculiar have lost their topographic point in society and accordingly have no ground to be. Alcoholism and substance maltreatment have proliferated out of the desperation. ( Sewel, 1975, Michael, 2008 )

Social coherence devastation

Miners ‘ institutes were owned by groups that gave a little sum of their rewards into a communal fund to pay for the building and running of the edifice. These institutes normally contained a library and reading room to let the working mineworker to educate himself adequately. As discussed antecedently Aneurin Bevan owes his rational art to a mineworkers ‘ institute. ( Thomas, 2010 ) At the clip of the Second World War there were over 100 mineworkers ‘ institutes. Many of these institutes managed to last into the 1970 ‘s, nevertheless, without the fiscal backup from the mineworkers these institutes crumbled. At the recent election for the Welsh assembly in 1999 there was merely a 45 % turnout. Sociologists have been puzzled over this issue as it does non do sense that there is non a stronger Welsh political patriotism when there is such a strong emotional Welshman pride. The account for this may be that there is a deficiency of national assurance due to the steep diminution of the major industries such as coal excavation. The diminution of the coal industry has had a profound consequence on Welsh civilization particularly in South Wales. It is difficult to appreciate the extent to which towns and communities have been devastated by its diminution. ( Higgitt, 2010 )

Solving the job

There may non be an easy solution for work outing the societal jobs caused by the diminution of the coal industry in Wales nevertheless the town that Aneurin Bevan originated from has a new strategy set up by an establishment known as “ Timebanking Wales ” . This strategy aims to reform the societal coherence that has been lost in the community. Time banking Wales is an administration which has been put in topographic point in the town of Tredegar in order to better the general mental wellness and societal coherence of the local community. Tredegar is about 35 stat mis off from Cardiff and is a little Welshman town with about 10,000 dwellers. During the war epoch Tredegar had a flourishing coal industry along with a big proportion of Wales and this provided occupations and fiscal stableness to the town and dwellers within it. With the autumn of the coal industry due to many grounds Tredegar has followed a reasonably declivitous way of all time since and the societal coherence, mental and fiscal stableness of the population has suffered a great trade. The wellness service within Tredegar has ever been of extreme importance to the local dwellers and Tredegar can do the bold claim that it is the “ cradle ” of the NHS. This implies that it was within Tredegar itself that the thought of the NHS was foremost thought up so to talk. Geoff Thomas claims that over the class of the last 50-60 old ages the manner the community interacts with wellness professionals has changed dramatically. He claims that this may perchance be the root of the job itself. ( Thomas, 2010 )

In the past the relationship between the wellness professionals ( such as physicians, advisers and nurses ) and the community and dwellers of Tredegar was purportedly a much more common 1. The patients were thought to play a much more active determination in their interventions and therapies. Geoff Thomas argues that the wellness system has changed in the last 50 old ages and that this is non the instance any longer. He believes that the community members of Tredegar have now become “ inactive donees ” that take the word of professionals for Gospel and are non involved plenty in the determination devising procedure. ( Thomas, 2010 )

Timebanking Wales purposes to “ reinvent ” this common relationship between professionals and citizens in order to animate the societal coherence nowadays in this community long ago. A currency of clip has been created in order to accomplish a displacement in the community and alteration people from “ inactive donees ” to “ active citizens for alteration ” as portrayed on the timebanking Wales web site. ( Thomas, 2010 )

There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to Geoff Thomas ‘ thoughts. Re-establishing societal coherence within the town would clearly be an advantage to the community and would supply a much needed encouragement to mental wellness in the town. However the currency of clip has several obvious defects. If clip is to be used as currency this will clearly non better the desperate fiscal state of affairs the town is already in. Besides can the societal coherence of the community of all time be re-established to the same grade as when the excavation profession was in full swing? Possibly this is non a realistic end and more attempt should be focused on reconstructing industry in the town. ( Thomas, 2010 )


The diminution and prostration of the coal excavation industry has had a profound consequence on communities that relied on it – in wellness, political, economic and societal footings. The societal and political coherence created in the communities to digest the effects of diminution up to the first portion of the twentieth century, have been reversed in the 2nd half as the industry has efficaciously about disappeared. With such a dirty and unsafe industry, wellness jobs have ever existed. However, the unhealthy effects of direct coal excavation were replaced to some extent by the unhealthy effects of economic inaction, unemployment and desperation. The new Wales of the twenty-first Century has an chance to mend the harm by investing in the industries of the hereafter.