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Black Pit of Tonypandy, The

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  • Black Pit of Tonypandy, The
  • ISBN: 9781845278298
  • Myrddin ap Dafydd
  • Publication: May 2021
  • Format: Paperback, 198x126 mm, 242 pages

At one time, the worlds ships and trains created a huge demand for steam coal and the best coal in the world was in Cwm Rhondda one of the South Wales Valleys. Dozens of pits opened, and thousands of workers flowed into the area. They created massive wealth . . . but not for everyone.

Further Information:

In this novel, we follow the lives of the Lewis family, a family of coalminers in Cwm Rhondda. It is 1910, a turbulent time of disputes, strikes and riots when the miners are fighting for fair wages and better working conditions. The heat of industrial strife bubbles over and engulfs the young and lively town of Tonypandy. We meet a family of Italians, who run one of the Valley's many Italian cafes. As families struggle to make ends meet, people from different backgrounds are thrown together, resulting in friendship and conflict ...

The novel discloses the real living conditions above ground as well as down in the pits: The industry was a dangerous one. Between 1900 and 1910, fifty miners a year were killed at work in Cwm Rhondda. The geology of the coal seams meant that the work of extraction was difficult and expensive. Because the pit owners were trying to squeeze the maximum money from the rock, the South Wales miners received lower wages than those in England and Scotland, and often worked longer hours for it.

However hard and dangerous the work underground, it's a shocking fact that more young women and children than miners died in the Rhondda. Of the 2,410 deaths in Cwm Rhondda in 1914, half were people under the age of 15. The infant mortality rate in the Rhondda was the highest in the British Isles. The quality and size of the houses, the lack of clean water and adequate sewerage, overcrowded living conditions and poor food meant that infectious diseases spread frequently and quickly through the terraced housing. English adaptation by Sue Walton