"Mango Tapes two"
This is the second tape recording of the Rhiw Manganese
Mines, by Wilf Ryan, Huw Jones
and Lewis Jones.
started work in 1902 did he?
Er mod i yn yr ysgol.
Ydw i yn cofio bod ni yn gweld yr hen drên bach hono yn
mynd heibio Bodwyddog pan o’n i yn yr ysgol.
Oedd na hen drên bach.
Oedd, o’n i efo’r hen beth bach hono yn hir iawn.
Yn dreifio honno?
Do yn tad, yn hir iawn.
He was one of the drivers.
Was he? On
the engine? That went from?
Right down from the beach up to the big farm, Bodwyddog.
Yes, I see. From
there up to the mine you went by cable? On
The other mine was working on the cable, you see.
The mountain went down to Hell’s Mouth.
That was the top mine, was it? If you’d rather speak Welsh, speak Welsh.
Both mines were boundering one another.
Yes, very close.
They were saying you were coming to my territory and
I’m coming to yours.
Oh, yes. The
surveyors were there often enough. You
know Ty Rhedyn? Huw knows Ty Rhedyn,
Hen Richard Jones Ty Rhedyn yn deud i bod nhw o dan dy
Dwad o Nant y Gadwan rwan.
Fynna fo ddim nag oeddan nhw o dan dy Ty Rhedyn.
A saethu medda fo, nes oedd o yn clywad y gwely yn codi o dano fo.
Fuo’n cael surveyor yno.
A tanio pan oedd y surveyor yno, a’r surveyor yn deud,
“I don’t hear.” “They’re
there,” medda fynta, “It’s my territory, they are there.”
Os ydi well gynno chi siarad Cymraeg, you can speak in
Please, please speak in Welsh because probably it’s
easier for you, oh, I can translate this in the winter, my Welsh is very
Not long ago, three weeks I think, there’s a lady here
had heard of someone born in Rhiw, John Bryngoleu.
Glywsoch chi sôn amdano fo?
Ag oedd arni isio some history about Rhiw, he had a good
life, but he has not had many of these correct, you know.
She’s correcting them for many years, they wouldn’t be right at all
to book them in as they were, they were proper lies.
Yes, that’s true.
The people who’s been telling her was not old enough.
Only, you have heard me say, yes, and then I’ve heard
someone else say, and the two stories were not the same.
Was this Eilwen Jones?
The young lady from Rhiw? Do
you know Tecwyn Jones? Do you know
Tecwyn Jones from Rhiw, do you?
I think so, yes.
I thought he’d got a mini-bus.
He’s got a sister, Eilwen Jones, who has written
something about the mines of Rhiw.
You haven’t met her, have you?
Olwen ia? Mae
wedi sgwennu rhywbeth. There is some relations to me, but it doesn’t matter.
There is some relations but the lady told me that Olwen
Jones has been telling about this like this, and this like that, she’d got it
written in a book.
That’s right, a thesis.
I told her, believe me, that is not right.
She said “I will leave it as it is, and put what you say down.”
Those two stories are absolutely different, you know.
Yes, this is the problem, you see, that’s why I want
to try and get an accurate statement now before everybody forgets.
You know. I went to school in when, when, well it was
nineteen what was it? I was about
six years of age when I went to school, it wasn’t compulsory that time for you
to go to school, but some were going, the children who were nearer school, they
were going at five, something like that, but I was six, and I remember many,
many things, there is nobody alive today that can tell you.
There isn’t anybody.
Because I am, how old I am?
I’ll be ninety in February next.
I thought so.
If I’ll be alive.
Oh you’ll be alive all right, ha ha.
you got for me to start with? In
the very beginning when I was at school, the mine was going.
In Nant Gadwan, Porth Ysgo? In Nant Gadwan or up here?
Where was it going? Was it
And Nant Gadwan as well?
Yes, when I was at school, we were running down at
meal-time you know, esgob, not a meal you know, we got a crust in one hand.
And down to Porth Ysgo to look at them working, then we
were about an hour-and-a-half coming to school in the afternoon.
Ew annwyl, yes.
Well, it was working.
Well, before the First War.
There was no sign of any war, you know.
Well I wasn’t there, but where were they sending the
That time, you know, they were sending it to
Yes, to start with, then Germany was having all the
stuff you know.
Uw annwyl yes, every ounce of it was going to Germany.
Germany, before the First World War?
To prepare for the war.
That’s what they were like, every pound.
They were sending ships to Porth Ysgo.
Well I’m sure some of them were carrying two thousand tons, you know.
As big as that? Big
ships like that?
Yes, from Germany.
Two thousand tons?
They were sending them from Germany.
They were going there, without not half their load they were taking away,
there was not enough water for them to float, you know, with not much more than
four hundred tons.
They were going to Germany with four hundred tons, and
they could carry two thousand.
So that must have been very important to them.
Well it was very important for them, or they wouldn’t
send two thousand ton ships to get four hundred tons.
And they had enough water to load four hundred tons?
Then they were digging up in the mountain, we say Gwaith
y Mynydd, a’r llall yn Waith Gerddi, the lower one, Gerddi Ty Croes, ynte.
Well, they were working there in the mountain, and was named British
British Manganese, that’s right.
The other was .
. . There was
manganes and iron wasn’t there?
Yes, in the mountain, we call, we call Gwaith y Mynydd,
this was up in the mountain, then they were working a vein that was about four
yards wide on that ground, I can’t tell you how high it was, and they stored
it outside in the mountain, and I think there is some there today.
So we saw.
They sent some of that away to Gwaith Isa, They both
came to Porth Ysgo. Quarry load was
this, it wasn’t a big load, about three hundred-weight, then three hundred
tons, they took it to the blast furnace.
Yes, somewhere, I can’t remember the name of the bally
I know that there was a blast furnace there somewhere.
That’s right, yes.
Well, this load went off to somewhere, to Gwaith Isa,
gentleman came there a couple of weeks after that, and told them they would not
pay them a single penny for what they had sent them.
That that wasn’t manganese at all.
It was muck, they said.
This gentleman owned the furnace, you see.
“You know we have to clear our furnace now, and
re-build it, the furnace is damaged.”
this was from the seam that was four yards wide?
Yes, well there you are, stop there and go somewhere
else. Then a short time after after
that, you know, Germany was
listening, it must be, because this went to their ears, the story about
destroying their furnace, and they came there and wanted to see it, talking in
Gwaith y Mynydd, I’d been taking samples of it for him from half-a-dozen banks
or more than that, and then they were taking them away to Germany.
After taking them to Germany and analysing it in
Germany, the Germans said, “We are coming there for the whole bally lot
you’ve got,” and they say there were about four thousand tons, that’s a
big heap, I remember that alright, you know.
They took away every ounce, and there was no more, they
were not going to work it, and they said they would pay the men for digging it
up, well, it was no use putting two different kind of men working, was it?
You were on that vein and I was on this one,
they haven’t had it anyway, but the thing is, what did Germany found in
bank that you’re sending such a goods to carry it away?
It was funny, wasn’t it?
Very funny, very
funny, and the Chester people didn’t think it was manganese?
It wasn’t at all, and yet they called it manganese
Blue manganese they called it, I’m sure there’s some
of it there today, and about there somewhere, you know.
It wasn’t as hard as the ore, you know.
No, not half as hard, that
ore in Gwaith y Mynydd, in the top thing, you were chopping it with the sledge
You’d beat the sledge?
It would sing like a bell.
Ah, yes I
know, I’ve done it.
There was something in it, you know.
The manganese in the other mine wasn’t the same thing
altogether, more reddish colour.
That’s the mountain manganese.
Blue, black. Black-blue,
Black, that’s at the top of the mountain.
I’ll go and find some, yes. Most of the manganese I’ve seen has been either reddish, a
reddy colour, or blue-black.
Where did you find that?
On the mountain near the mine, Second World War, the one
by tan y Pisgah.
Ty Canol, it’s bluey-black, nearly black.
That is not the same quality at all, as
The mountain is better quality, is it?
O wannwl yes, many times,
You couldn’t get that, Analysing it would be very good
for you to get forty per cent.
Very good. Yes,
. it was doing about fifty,
fifty to fifty-five.
More than that at times you know.
Ty Canol, I read that Ty Canol was doing from twenty to
I thought it was more.
You think it was more than that?
Oh yes, yes it was between thirty and forty.
And the top one about sixty or seventy?
That’s very good.
They wouldn’t tell you how much they were analysing,
you know, in the top.
No no, I
bet, ha ha.
When they came there during the last war you know, they
were working there during the war, weren’t they? Soldiers.
came along and found new rocks that nobody has ever been near them.
And they know where they are today too.
I don’t know, yes.
Do you know? Do
you know where they are?
Well, I know.
I know in some places, how deep they were this time.
They were not so deep when we were working there.
They were working above two levels, you know.
Where’s this now?
In Nant Gadwan, or the hill?
On the hill. When
we were working last. Have you been
down in Nant Gadwan?
Well, been just down on the beach have you?
You know that we were working below the sea level down
there, when we were working there last, we were below sea level.
Is that why you had water trouble?
You had trouble with the water?
They had to get some electric pumps to find the other
ones once. They couldn’t do
anything with it, you know.
Oh no, when
them electric pumps came there to search for the others, a foot pipe, and that
was when the water was going all day, a lot of water going out, wasn’t it?
Going like hell it was too.
There were electric pumps, where was this?
In the last war.
In Nant Gadwan?
yes, they broke into certain water, they lost the pumps, so much water in, they
couldn’t get any at all.
Duw annwyl, yes.
They didn’t work in Nant Gadwan the last war, did
No, there was nowhere to carry them away, the pier was
We had that engine out, remember?
Mr. Roger Prys.
Prys, Roger Prys didn’t know anything about the dying wonder.
He did all right.
By gum he did some good money out of it.
Ew wannwyl, he made money out of it, he didn’t know
anything between manganese and muck.
But he owned the mineral rights, did he? He
owned the rights to all the minerals?
Yes, yes, the estate you know, Nanhoron, he was some
agent in Nanhoron, wasn’t he?
then once he got some manganese out, well, the Ministry came in then, didn’t
He had full house to it, it was their station.
Oh he did all right, didn’t he. He
wasn’t chewing the bones, but the flesh.
And putting on fat.
He did all right, and every time, I don’t see him very
often, you know, he ask me, “Sut wyt ti heddiw, Llew?”
Do you see him sometimes, do you?
Is the solicitor still alive?
lives towards Rhyl or somewhere.
he comes to Pwllheli quite often, I’ve seen him, “Sut wyt ti heddiw
Llew?” Then, we were at
school, and there was some noise that there was something coming up to Gwaith y
Mynydd, we were talking about Gwaith y Mynydd now, the mountain, and there were
some big engines coming there or something every day, for things to come, I
wanted to get off four o’clock, then along to Lôn Parciau, to see if there
was anything, and one day it came, two steam engines, dwy hen dracsion fawr, yn
dwad a nhw, y weiran i fanno.
Oeddan nhw yn mynd a nhw i Borth Neigwl, Lewis?
Ffordd fydda yr hen dybia rheini yn mynd, hen betha rheini oedd yn mynd
ar y weiran?
They are still there.
One is still there.
Over the top to Porth Neigwl.
I Borth Neigwl oedd rheini yn mynd?
co’ gen i iddyn nhw fynd i Nant Gadwan.
‘Dwi’n cofio hono’n mynd, pan oeddan ni yn yr
ysgol yn hen blant, heibio Bodwyddog.
One of these engines is one I showed you last night.
They are still there, you said?
Yes, one is
Wedyn, mae yr hen injan stêm ar yr ochor yna o hyd,
medda fo, oedd hi yn mynd?
Do you see that? I’ve
got photographs of this, and I didn’t bring them with me, you see.
I left them in London, which was a big mistake.
When I went, when I was at school, about the time for me
to come out from school, it was 1902,
was it? I was at school in 1902, I remember
these mines were working then, and in the time from
1902 to three four fives,
something like that, the aerial ropeway came to Gwaith y Mynydd, you understand
Gwaith y Mynydd, don’t you?
That aerial ropeway came to Gwaith y Mynydd.
Over the top to Hell’s Mouth?
Towards Hell’s Mouth.
To Craig Ddu?
To Craig Ddu, yes,
and then, I think they say it was ten tons in weight, that two tractors
were dragging it there from somewhere, I don’t know, and gone on the road
after they passed just when you enter by the incline to that bottom mine, the
two tractors stopped, the two broke their axles at the same time, and the two
steam engines were in the ditch, they had to get more big tractions from Felin
Newydd; William Felin Newydd used
to store many kind of things, you know, and he had two very, very big steam
wagons, same as they had working the hobby-horses, you’ve seen them, haven’t
He’s got two like that, at Felin Newydd there, and he
brought them there and pulled the two to pieces and take them away, and take the
aerial rope-way up to the mine, and on the way, very near to get through to the
mountain from the road, something happened again to the reel, and it went and
smashed into the ground.
Well by gum.
How big was it?
What was to do after that? So they went for the carpenter, and he put some new ends to
And they got it together, finish it then took it to the
Mynydd, then there it was on the stand, ready to be pulled down to Hell’s
Mouth, and they came, I remember all right, we were at school the first day that
the cables were actually working, the schoolmaster was alright, that they were
going on to work, and he was watching for us through the window, and when they
started, and he said “Get out now and everybody to be silent and must not get
to the road. If anybody get on the
road they must come in to the school.” And
there we are, and it went on to Hell’s Mouth, then it turned on to the wheel,
and now then, they want to get the other end up now, they were winding them, you
Until it went up to the top of the mountain.
Well, that was the end of the rope-way?
The end of the rope-way was near, was it near the crossroads in Rhiw?
Further on towards Sarn?
In the Sarn direction?
It was only a few yards off the road.
A hundred yards?
On a big circle and the wires down another big wheel at
the bottom, and wires back up, but there are no signs of the foundations there
now, I can’t find any.
They’ve gone years ago, they carried the foundations
away to somewhere, the scrap merchants have been there, getting all the iron up,
more than that too, they took everything that they could get hold of.
they were loading the boats on Hell’s Mouth, I told you about some boats
coming from Germany, and in the end, in 1912,
Hitler came over with the manganese and straight all over us.
that, don’t you?
I wasn’t born.
I wasn’t born until
1917, I’m only a boy,
I’m only sixty three.
It was at Porth Ysgo, the incline was working there, you
Running them down.
What was driving the incline, was there an engine there
for the incline?
Weight of the one truck pulling the other up?
The full ones pull the other up.
They put the aerial along the jetty.
Yes, but the thing didn’t work.
Didn’t work at all, you know, it was the same
principle altogether, there was an engine turning that wheel, it was a
cog-wheel, that was the engine, but it wouldn’t go, they had to take the
old-fashioned, the heavy ones to pull the empty to the top.
How old do you think he is?
He’s just told us, he’s just a boy isn’t he, just
a boy, he’ll tell us about you
What was the old engine that we took up?
Pumping? That old engine
that we took up.
Oh yes. The
water. Do you know where that is?
Well, we were told that someone came here to buy, bought
it and took it away to India somewhere.
Ew, it went to India?
Yes, they took it to India. They couldn’t get one anywhere else.
I don’t know. Aeth
honno i India? Pa fêc oedd hi?
Pa fêc oedd hi, dydw i ddim yn cofio?
National? Dwi ddim yn cofio,
oedd hi yn injan fawr yn doedd? Trio
dyfeisio pw fêc oedd yr hen injan oel oeddan ni, ond fuo chi â’r hen John
Criga Bach yn dreifio hono.
Na, fuo Jac ddim arni, ‘doedd John Criga Bach ddim yno
Yn yr hen Nant Gadwan?
Na, efo ryw hen graen oedd hen John, ysdi.
Craen coch oeddan nhw yn i alw fo.
Fuo’n dreifio’r hen graen. Y boi ddoth a hi, .
Glywsoch chi sôn am hen Owans Barbar yn dre na?
Oedd o yn frawd i hwnnw.
Oeddan ni yn sôn am osod yr hen injan fawr yma hefyd
ynte, y ddwytha.
Yr hen beth fawr hono, oedd hono yn fawr gynddeiriog, yn
Oedd, faint o bowar oedd hi?
Ow, oedd hi’n beth ofnadwy yn doedd.
Eso bach oedd. Fedra’i
Mae yr hen waith yma yn mynd ers talwm felly, yndi?
Rhwng Gwaith y Mynydd a phob man, yn tydi?
Ew yndi, ers dau neu dri chan mlynedd yn ôl.
The Gwaith y Mynydd was the first mine, then the Nant
Gadwan was second, then back to Gwaith y Mynydd.
There was . .
All going together?
was a mine at Ty Canol as well.
At the same time?
Yes, same time as Gwaith y Mynydd.
But not the same company?
Then there was another mine at Tyddyn Meirion, yes, that
was another company.
I see, so there were four companies?
Four companies there.
O lle ‘roedd yr hen dracsions yn cario yn y Rhyfal
Cynta, Lewis? Lle oeddan nhw yn llwytho, dwch?
Oedd ‘na hen dracsions a Martin a rheina efo nhw, ‘dach chi’n cofio?
Oedd gynnyn nhw le i lwytho?
Oeddan nhw wedi gneud hopar felly te, fedra nhw fagio yr
Run fath ag oeddan nhw yn llwytho y tro dwytha?
‘na ddwy neu dair o’r hen dracsions mawr rheini yn mynd, yn doedd.
Oedd tad, oedd ‘na bedair. Â mynd. Mynd
nes oedd cwbwl yn dipia. Pedair
welis i. ‘Dwi’n cofio Martin yn
dwad o’r dre, oedd Martin ddim yn
cweit iddi, ysti, amsar hono ces i leisans dreifio, ysdi.
Fuo raid i mi fynd efo Martin.
I’r dre, ne ddou y diawl ddim adra y diwrnod.
Ddou o ddim adra y diwrnod, oedd raid i minna’ fynd
efo fo, i nadu iddo fynd ar y bws, ar y bws, o ni yn ei nadu o waethaf yn fy
nannadd. If he went there for more
than a glass, the whole dealing would be off.
fuom yn dwad efo fo rhyw dro efo llwyth o lo, a oedd yr hen dracsion yn y gwaith
amsar hynny, yn y gwaith.
Ac oeddan ni yn pasio yr hen dracsion yn Beudy Bigin,
efo’r motor, yn de, a Martin yn mynd fel y fflamia a gafal yn yr olwyn i gadw
fo ar y lôn, de.
Yn Congol Cae fanna, mae ‘na bwll mawr, dwn i ddim
ydio yno o hyd ai peidio?
Mae nhw wedi i gau o rwan.
Wel dyma Martin yn i gneud hi yn union ô’r lôn i’r
pwll, i’r blydi pwll, i’r blydi pwll. Wel
dyna fo, oedd rhaid mynd a trio crafu i agor y drws, ar gamfa-lêd ar i gefn o,
a trio mynd at i ben o. Mi ddoth
Martin odd’no dat i groen. Oedd
Martin ddim yn gwbod rwan, y dracsion i ddwad i fyny, de, a dyma nhw yn trio, a
beth oedd wedi digwydd iddo fynd i’r pwll?
Ddaru o ddim trio peidio, me fi. Mi
roethon cheinia, fydda nhw byth heb cheinia, heb ddigon o cheinia, wedyn ar ryw
ochor wedi iddi fwrw glaw, myn diawl, a mynd a rhaffa a cheinia efo ni i bob man
lle bydda ni yn mynd, yn de. Rwan,
dyma y cheinia yn yr hen lori rwan, dew, off a ni, trio cael hyd iddi, wel,
gaethon hyd iddi, y stîm wagon, a’i phen blaen at y wagan, y motor, yn de.
Na hi ddim cynnig, ddim cynnig, dim ond troi a malu’r lôn yn dipia,
wel, “Dos a hi i droi yn fanna a tro hi yn ôl,”
mynd a hi, i gael i gwynab hi at y lôn, mi trowd hi yn ôl, a cheinia
wrth yr hen fotor, a bachu yn rwla fedra chi, te.
Ceuson ni hi, mi startiodd beth bynnag, lluchio rhyw friga a ryw eithin,
mi cawson hi, mi ddoth, ond roedd Martin wedi mynd, odd o yn chwil gaib, wydda
Martin ddim byd lle oedd o, wydda fo ddim lle oedd o.
Wel rwan, doeddwn i ddim wedi pasio yn ddreifar, ar y rôd, yn te.
Oedd raid i mi i dreifio hi rwan, o fan’no i Nant Gadwan.
Duw, iawn taswn i yn cael heddwch, oedd Martin yn deud mod i yn rhy ara
deg, wel doedd ô ddim yn rhy ara deg, nagoedd?
Waeth pa’r un, mi ges i un (leisans), ymhen hir a hwyr.
Oedd ‘na le ar y cythral yno.
Oedd yr hen dracsions yma, oeddan nhw yn cario o Nant
Gadwan hefyd, Lewis?
Nag oeddan, nag oeddan, dim ond o Benallt, ia, o Benallt
oeddan nhw’n gario fo, fedra nhw ddim mynd, fedra nhw ddim i gâl o ô Nant
Gadwan, ysdi, fedra nhw ddim mynd i lawr.
Na fedran siwr. Wedyn
pan oeddat yn ei godi o, oedd o yn mynd i lawr inclên, yn doedd?
How did you become the driver of the engine?
Well, the first licence,
-I’ve got it today, -
and I got it.
Wel wedyn, fuo chi yn dreifio yr hen injans yn y gwaith
am flynyddoedd felly, Lewis, yn do?
Do, do yn
O, fuo chi
ar yr hen drên bach hefyd yn do?
Do yn tad achan, duw do, fuo fi ar yr hen loco yn hir
Wel, oedd hi yn mynd a dipyn o wageni, Lewis?
Ah. A wedyn mynd ar hyd y dydd yn ôl a blaen felly?
Ia, reit hwnna arni dywydd glyb a ballu, a dwad a
phedair wag yn ôl. Ond oedd raid i
chi dendio am ych bywyd efo mynd a phedair i lawr, pan fyddai yn ‘lyb.
Mae’n siwr, yn doedd.
Ew annwyl dad, oedd.
Un waith oedd hi yn dechra llithro, oedd ‘na ddim ond trio i dal hi
a’i phen i’r clawdd, un waith y dechra gwelach chi hi yn slipio, y munud
hwnnw, dim i weitiad i udrach stopia hi, oedd hi yn no good, achan.
Oedd ‘na dipyn o waith wedi bod i wneud y rêl bob
cam, ‘doedd, i Nant Gadwan.
Wannwyl oedd. Oeddan
nhw yn gosod yr hen rêl pan oeddwn yn yr ysgol,
‘ffyla oedd ‘na i ddechra, pedwar o ‘ffyla mawr gynddeiriog, hen
‘ffyla o Birmingham ne rwla, hen ‘ffyla duon.
Horses doing it.
Before the locomotive.
Yes. Ah, I
thought they were.
Horses, he said.
Four horses. Oeddach
chi’n nabod ‘r hen Griffith Ty’n Cae, d’wch?
Hen Griffith oedd efo nhw fel certmon, te.
Wannwl oedd golwg arno ngwas annwl i.
Oedd o yn frawd i Owan Plascoch yn doedd.
Oedd yr hen Griffith yn frawd i Owan Plascoch.
Dwn i ddim.
Benallt a Griffith Benallt.
Where were the horses stabled?
At Ty Croes Bach.
Just by, the
farm by the road just opposite.
That’s it. There
Dwn i ddim, ddaru nhw fildio, ddaru nhw fildio un stabal
Ella wir ichi.
Where was the engine shed?
Down in Nant Gadwan.
There’s a ruin there now, the old ruin is still there,
In Nant Gadwan?
In there, I don’t know.
Let’s see if I’ve got a picture.
Dos na neb yn fyw sydd rwan dest yn cofio, Lewis, yn
cofio dim am yr hen weithydd yma.
Dydy nhw wedi mynd i gyd.
Meddyliwch faint o bobol oedd yno yn gweithio, yn
gweithio de, adag es i yno o’r ysgol, oedd ‘na tua pedwar cant yn gweithio
rhwng y ddau fein.
Can you see that?
About four hundred people working there when he went
Pa bryd aethoch chi yno, Lewis, i’r gwaith?
Beth oedd hi dwad?
and there were four hundred people working there altogether?
Between Nant Gadwen and the Mynydd?
Was this the old engine shed?
I thought it might be, you can see where it veers in,
you can see where the line used to go into the shed and then come out on the
main track, I thought it was when I went down there, ah well, that’s cleared that mystery. I don’t know if you’ve asked him about the drum, Huw?
In the field above, you can see it in the distance, hold
on, do you know that drum?
Gai roi ‘r hen sbectol yma?
Do you see it?
oh yes, this is the wire rope, isn’t it?
It is still there.
Ew annwyl, no.
Yea, it is, we saw it today.
Not the rope?
The rope is there, yes.
Yes, a bit rusty, but it is there.
I thought it was scrap, that it had been taken away.
Look, there is another, the same one, and you can see
the rope on that.
You can see it on that, can’t you Huw?
I took those pictures about three months ago, so it’s
You know the fellow living there or next door or house
after, he wanted you to come with him, he heard about the mines like this and
the mines like that, his grandfather was working there, duw annwyl, his
grandfather had gone and know nothing about it, nothing there that the
grandfather . . .
he was out of time, the time was good when the first war was over.
they operated between the wars, but not very much, then they stopped in
Why did they stop, do you know?
When the war stopped.
There was nobody there, no marketing, the war, you know.
After that they couldn’t get it away, the ore, and
that was expensive, very expensive. The
two jetties have gone, Porth Neigwl and Nant Gadwan, they’re in pieces.
Loris oedd yn cario rhyfal ddwytha, loris.
Was the quality of the ore getting poor?
There’s plenty of it.
You know, the deeper you get down the better the thing is.
Yes, every time. Because
I’d been talking to them borers, that were there during the war, “Is it any
better or worse the deeper you go? Better
or worse?” “Every foot you get
down it’s better.” And they,
wannwyl, got no idea how many feet
they’ve been drilling down, they’re drilling for days and days, you know, on
And bringing up the samples? About that long, were they?
About that thick?
Smaller than that?
Something like .
top of a cup?
Not as big as that neither.
Somewhere about that size.
Were they analysing them on the spot, or were they
sending them away?
They took what they think the best for samples, and then
put samples in some certain box, and send them away, then number one and number
two, then get results back in certain time, you know.
These were the Canadians?
Yes, they’re not Canadians, they some nationality, not
Canadian, some Russian-Canadian or something like that.
I see, not real Canadians, they were mixed with some
were some buggers there you know, uw annwyl, you had to mind yourselves, myn
diawl. There was a sergeant there,
he is afraid of them, he was shaking like this when he was talking to them for
to do something, he was afraid to tell them something like this and like that,
ew annwyl, so he went away and left them, they’ve done good job too, I
wouldn’t stay with the buggers either.
Ew annwyl dad, they were ready with their knives, you know, ew annwyl,
Turning in those diamond drills.
Yes, and how was it, forty and forty five diamonds on
the drill, it would be a good job to fix them to the point of the drill, forty
on some, forty five on the others, they were only a ring like that, and they
were boring small holes there, then a chap would bsht with a sledge, and the
diamond was good, and they put a sledge on top of it, but it was there all
They drove the diamond into the metal, and it held it
while it drilled, that’s all it wanted, wasn’t it?
How long did they last?
How long would a drill last before it wore out?
Ew, they’d be boring for hours. They’d be boring for hours and hours.
They’d be industrial diamonds, wouldn’t they?
I remember em coming in about one o’clock, thank God
they’d finished in that place, they’d been there for twenty hours, drilling
one hole. But mind you, that was
the length of it, the depth of the ore, it was yards and yards, wasn’t it?
very hard rock.
‘Cause all the rock around there is hard, isn’t it?
Even if it isn’t manganese, it is granite and dolerite?
Some of it is, yea, there is good granite in places,
rhyw hen chwaral Rowlands oeddan nhw yn i galw hi, mae ‘na granite da yna.
They’re not going to play with manganese that I’d been playing with,
uw annwyl, it’s hard enough for you to handle all the time.
To handle it all the time, I’m sure.
That side would be into it.
What sort of wages would they have got?
would be eighteen shillings, and miners a pound a week?
Not very good, is it? That was the First World War, I
Ew annwyl, ia,
they’d say a pound to hell today, wouldn’t they? Ew annwyl.
It wasn’t very much in the last war,
how much, Lewis? A few
Four pounds, something like that.
It wouldn’t buy you cigarettes now.
And it was wet in Porth Ysgo there, Lewis, wasn’t it,
it was very wet underground?
You were standing one side of the shaft, at the bottom,
and it was dry this side, and the water was pouring down, we couldn’t see one
another from here to there, that’s the kind of water it was.
That’s in Gwaith y Mynydd?
see one another, it was no use to put drive in, you wouldn’t be down for three
minutes and you’d be soaking wet, the only thing is to wear ragged clothes,
then change them for dry ones in the dry house, and put other warm on, you know,
and dive in and start working like hell to keep warm as soon as you get in.
You’d be soaking there. That’s
how it was dangerous to health, you know, no use, you’d get out of the place,
you’d have to go like hell and put dry ones on.
Was Ty Canol wet as well?
Not half so much.
Not half so much?
No, there was nothing like that there, it was deeper,
you know, into the mountain.
You go into the hell of a water, a stream, ew annwyl.
Ty Canol went about two hundred feet deep, the shaft?
I don’t think.
Not as deep
annwyl, no. No, I don’t think,
say fifteen to twenty yards, somewhere about that, the depth of the shaft.
They get into the main ore then.
And then they went on levels then?
Yes, and it was something funny, you know, I remember we
were working on a vein, you know, oh, we’d been on going for months and
months, on a vein, it was four yards or six, something like that, and we fancy
one day that the top was dropping down, we talking to one another, “Diar
annwyl, we’ve got to go somewhere else to find some more ore, is this going to
finish?” Duw annwyl yes, every
time we were blasting, the top was coming down.
Coming in, yes.
One evening we were working on the night shift, and one
of the fellows said, “I’m going to put a hole right in here, to see, this
side is sounding hard, but this one is not, the other side of the cutting, this
side is hard, I’d put a hole in here.”
And here they are drilling, after it went about eighteen inches, there
was a change in the thing. “I
going into something harder now, carry on.”
Went up to two feet, them we are in the rock.
“Be ‘nawn ni? What shall
we do now, shall we blast?” Ew,
yes?” I went for the dynamite,
fill it up, you know, there was another surface twice as big as the one we had
just gone through, the veins lay on one another, about two feet of muck between
the two. Well, I’d been there,
they’d been there for two or three years working on the vein.
And didn’t know the other one was there?
They worked on one vein and they found the other.
Oh no, they didn’t know it was there until the bit of
top was coming down. And that’s
how it is in Nant Gadwan too.
The top is dropping down there all the time.
’Doedd o yn gythral o le yn doedd.
Wannwl oedd, oedd ‘na ddwr yn gynddeiriog yn Nant
Alla i ddim deud wrthat ti, oedd dwr y môr yna, odd na
le iddo ddengyd, ne mi fasa wedi boddi, yn basa.
Thanks to Mr Wil Williams, for all his help.
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