Meet the men who once worked in dangerous conditions, hundreds of metres underground in our coal mines, as an epic tale of industry and community unfolded above them.
They are returning to the pit head to share their experiences and memories with you as part of the Black Gold Underground Tour.
All retired miners, Graham Williams, Peter Griffiths and Anthony Fidler are a ‘mine of information’ when it comes to coal-mining, and they are keen to share their experiences and stories with all of our visitors.
Graham started his career at Abercynon Library in 1957 before moving on to Cwm Colliery, Merthyr Vale Colliery and Taff Merthyr Colliery, where he stayed until it closed in 1989, ending an amazing 39 years as a miner.
The married father-of-two, from Abercynon, has been a tour guide at Welsh Mining Experience for over two decades.
He said: “I enjoyed my job as a miner, but I enjoy this job even more. It is wonderful to be able to share my mining memories with all of our visitors – many of whom don’t even remember a coal mine being open during their lifetimes.”
Peter started work at Ty Mawr Colliery in 1970 before moving on to Nantgarw Colliery, Lady Windsor Colliery and Penallta Colliery, before finishing in 1991.
However, the married father-of-three, from Blaenrhondda, returned to work at Aberpergwm Drift Mine in the Neath Valley from 2009 until 2013, celebrating his 25th year as a miner.
He said: “Don’t get me wrong, working in the coal industry was one of the hardest jobs out there, but it was so rewarding and the friendships made underground were friendships that last forever.”
Anthony started his training at Britannia Colliery as a 17-year-old before working at Deep Duffryn Colliery and Merthyr Vale Colliery until it closed in 1989.
The married father-of-three, from Mountain Ash, spent 17 years underground.
He said: “Coal mining was not the easiest job in the world - it was hard graft and very demanding, but coal miners are an iconic image of the South Wales Valleys, and I am so proud to have been one.”