A Tragedy at Loveston: Fascinating talk by David Llewellyn

Posted by Tenby Museum on Mar 17, 2019 Blog, Event Archive No Comments

As part of its continuing series of talks on local history, Tenby Museum once again welcomed David Llewellyn, an archivist with a keen interest in the history of local mining, to give a talk on the Loveston Colliery disaster of 1936.

Many knew of the tragic events that took place at Landshipping in 1844 but the events at Loveston were not so familiar to the audience. David began by relating how important the coalfields were to Pembrokeshire in the 18th and 19th centuries and how this importance was often overlooked. Most are now lost and abandoned mine workings lie below the surface of many fields but in the past they had a major impact on local employment. The last mine to close in Pembrokeshire was the Wood Level mine at Stepaside. The coal seams extended from the Gwendraeth Valley inland to Cresswell Quay and had been active since the 13th century. Although the quality of coal was high the working conditions in the seams were not, with some being as narrow as 24 inches at maximum width. As techniques and equipment improved, the mines were sunk deeper and in 1931 new mine workings were started at Loveston.

David took the audience back to a beautiful May day when the tragedy took place. He recounted in detail how the accident occurred. Seven miners who lived in nearby villages were killed. The mine was flooded rom an old mine, abandoned 80 years before, and water rushed into the tunnels and dramways. His vivid retelling meant that everyone in the audience felt the rush of the incoming water, the desperate struggle of many to save themselves, the selflessness of those who turned back to help others and eventually the grief o the five widows and 14 children bereaved by the accident. The poignancy of the story was felt more so by the large audience as several were direct descendants of those who had lost their lives and others who had survived. The talk was followed by lots of interested questions and new stories emerged.

The evening was oversubscribed and Tenby Museum hopes to schedule the talk, and other mining related events, shortly.