Tower Colliery Social Welfare Club Still Represents our History Today
Monday 6th of October 2014 17:13
Tower Colliery SWC was formed in 1951, at that time 1200 men worked at Tower. A general meeting was held and the men agreed to have 5p (1 shilling old money) deducted from their wages. This would be used for parties for the children of employees at Christmas. £1.50 would be used for retired miners to have "a get together” at the St Johns Ambulance Hall at Hirwaun.
Mr Francis David Jones was appointed as Secretary and Windsor Davies was elected as youth representative in 1953. He was appointed as Secretary in 1965 and still remains in post to present day. In 1953 a further general meeting was held to increase deductions to 7½p so that the children would have an annual trip to the beach each year.
Three trains were organised to take the children and their parents to either Porthcawl, Barry or Swansea, these went from Aberdare, Merthyr and Hirwaun for a day at the seaside.
Mystery trips were also organised to Weymouth, Paignton, Eastbourne, Rhyl and Torquay. Two trains carrying 500 passengers were organised from Aberdare High Level Station, 10 buses were organised to transport everyone to the trains and pick them up on their return.
In 1953 it was agreed that all retired miners would be invited to an Annual Presentation Dinner at the Miners Hall, Merthyr Tydfil, this was always attended by the Colliery Manager who was President of the Club. In 1996 after the Colliery closed the Dinner was held at Merthyr Labour Club. As the years progressed many collieries in the area closed including Tirherbert which is now part of the opencast site being operated by TRL. All the employees from other collieries that came to work at Tower were obliged to contribute to the Social Club.
When the Miners Dinner was held at the Miners Hall in Merthyr it was attended by 250 people but when it moved to Merthyr Labour Club attendance grew to around 400, the reason being retirement age had dropped from 65 to 60 due to the increase in colliery closures in the south Wales valleys. During the years many prominent people in Welsh Government have attended these functions.
In 1976 a Special General Meeting was called and it was agreed that all the men pay 50p a week towards the Social Club this would enable every retired miner to receive an authentic Miners Lamp as a momentum of their time at the colliery. John Donovan was the owner of the Lampworks and in the first year he made 400 lamps at a cost of £8000. This debt took 3 years to clear, since then 1400 lamps have been presented including one to every member of the Social Club when the colliery closed in 1994.