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Former deepest anthracite mine in world to be turned into ‘major heritage attraction’ in Dulais Valley

28 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Museum and culture expert Chris Delaney has recommended Neath Port Talbot Council should retain Cefn Coed Colliery Museum and make it a visitor attraction. Picture: Neath Port Talbot Council.

A museum at what was the deepest anthracite mine in the world – known locally as ‘the slaughterhouse’ – will be turned into a “major heritage attraction”, it has been decided.

Neath Port Talbot councillors have opted to retain Cefn Coed Colliery Museum with a view to developing it as a tourism hotspot.

Museum and culture expert Chris Delaney was brought in to look at options for the future of the site with one being to hand back the lease to the Welsh Government/Cadw and another being to use the site for non-heritage purposes.

But his recommended third option, for the council to retain the museum and make it a visitor attraction and gateway to the local area as part of its developing Heritage Strategy, has now been adopted by members of the Education, Skills and Wellbeing Cabinet Board.

Cllr Sian Harris, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, who represents Crynant, Onllwyn and Seven Sisters, said: “This museum is of great importance to people in this area – that colliery holds our history.”


The heritage attraction which opened in 1978 is steeped in history, being on the site of what was once the deepest anthracite coal mine in the world. The museum, near Crynant in the Dulais Valley, is currently closed due to health and safety issues requiring more than £1m of remedial building works.

The museum now incorporates the remaining mine buildings including two iconic head frames, the boiler house with the largest collection of steam boilers in the UK and the compressor house with the largest winding engine in Wales.

Cllr Harris added: “There are many people in the local area who would have worked there or who have family who worked at the colliery. It is also a reminder of dangerous times – there were so many accidents there, Cefn Coed was known locally as ‘the slaughterhouse’”.

Cllr Harris paid tribute to staff and to volunteers who had given their time to help at the museum over the years.

Council Leader Cllr Steve Hunt, who also represents Crynant, Onllwyn and Seven Sisters, said: “There are a large number of artifacts here which tell the story of coal and thr communities in this area and they should be displayed proudly. I look forward to seeing the museum develop over the years.”


Mr Delaney, of Chris Delaney and Associates, said as the council progressed its Heritage Strategy with the help of arts consultants Counterculture, grants could be obtained to develop the museum.

He said: “Cefn Coed Colliery is a significant survival from the coal industry in Wales and is worthy of preservation. It is one of a small group, from the hundreds of collieries in Wales, that survive as distinct monuments to the industry and are accessible today as museums.”

He forecast – if sufficient grant funding was available – a possible growth in average annual visitor numbers from 8,432 to 37,870 after five years.

He added: “Museums are services that not only contribute to the preservation of heritage, particularly portable heritage, but also to learning, economic growth, tourism, citizenship, the Welsh Language, community identity, a sense of place but also wellbeing. For a very small annual investment the returns for the community are substantial.”

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paul ware
paul ware
2 months ago

Its at Crynant Neath nowhere near Port Talbot. Come on!!

2 months ago
Reply to  paul ware

Scribbler probably doesn’t know that NPT authority covers a big patch way beyond Port Talbot. People in Cardiff still think that it not safe to travel along A465 around Resolven – Glynneath – Hirwaun after dark because of the bogey men and witches snatching people for their pots. Places like Crynant, 7 Sisters Onllwyn and Banwen don’t show up on their maps cos it’s not safe to even think about going there so you’ll never see any of the Bay bubble set up there !!

Last edited 2 months ago by hdavies15
2 months ago

Creunant is nowhere near Port Talbot.

Joe Krasucki
Joe Krasucki
2 months ago

This mine is NOT an Anthracite mine. The only Anthracite in the world is in the US in Pennsylvania. All Anthracite coal mines are in Northeast Pa. The DEEPEST Anthracite vertical mine shaft was located between Nanticoke and Wilkes Barre. It was specifically part of the Glen Alden Truesdale Colliery and the Loomis Colliery. This DEEPEST shaft was right off the western side of Dundee road. I remember it well because
I lived near it.

Brian Lewis
Brian Lewis
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe Krasucki

You’ve lost your marbles joe !!! In fact the coal mined at cefn coed was known to be as hard as MARBLES!!! Hardly soft steam coal joe

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  Brian Lewis

Yes I’m not sure what he’s on about. There’s anthracite in Wales, and Ireland for that matter. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. As an ex-miner myself really ought to go some time

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