A poignant memorial to the victims of the Aberfan mining disaster by acclaimed artist Nathan Wyburn has been installed at A Welsh Coal Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park.
Visitors to the award-winning attraction are encouraged to spend time at the striking display, called 21.10.1966 144 9.13AM, 2021, to reflect and appreciate the significance of the creation.
Made from concrete and steel, the artwork contains 144 clocks – the same number of adults and children who died when a colliery spoil tip collapsed into homes and Pantglas Junior School. Each of the clocks are set to 9.13am, the exact time the disaster happened, on October 21, 1966.
The devastating loss caused by the tragedy, as well as the impact it had on not only survivors, but the Aberfan community for generations, will never be forgotten. Thousands across Wales fall silent on October 21 each year in remembrance of Aberfan.
It is fitting that, 55 years later, a memorial to those lost in the disaster has been unveiled at A Welsh Coa Mining Experience, which has been built on the footprint of a former coal mine.
With the men who once worked in the mines as your guides, visitors are taken on a tour underground and back in time, learning about the history of coal mining through the moving memories and stories of the former miners.
A Welsh Coal Mining Experience also has interactive displays and exhibitions that explore further what life in the area was like in the days of the search for “black gold” the Rhondda coal which was shipped all over the world.
Learn about our links to the industrial revolution and HMS Titanic, how the industry in the Rhondda inspired great minds such as George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel and learn what life was like for the miners, their families and the wider community.
Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Heritage Services, said: “The lives lost in the Aberfan tragedy will never be forgotten, nor will the devastation that day caused to the community for generations to come.
“We are extremely proud A Welsh Coal Mining Experience has been chosen as the location for this spectacular artwork for the next 12 months as we tell the story of coal mining.
“Our landscape, heritage, culture and communities were shaped by centuries of coal mining, as our guides, displays and exhibitions tell.
“We also have the beautiful 6ft miner’s lamp at the entrance to the museum, which is our tribute to the miners who lost their lives in mining disasters over the years.”
A Welsh Coal Mining Experience is located at the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery in Trehafod, with excellent transport links and free on-site parking. Black Gold Experience Underground Guided Tours are led by men who themselves worked in mines and they share their emotional personal stories.
The attraction also has DRAM! a cinematic experience in which you ride the last dram of coal to the surface of the mine, interactive displays and exhibitions which change and update regularly.
The on-site Caffe Bracchi is a nod to the Italian migrants who flocked to the area to take advantage of industry, opening coffee shops and ice cream parlours known as “bracchis” some of which remain open to this day.
A Welsh Coal Mining Experience is also home to the award-winning Craft of Hearts, which is a well stocked craft shop offering a range of techniques.