Aber Valley Heritage Museum
Gwern Avenue
CF83 4HA
Tel: 02920 830445


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Heritage Lottery Fund Helps Commemorate Centenary of Britain’s Worst Mining Disaster



The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £48,800 to Aber Valley Heritage Group to mark the 100th anniversary of Britain’s worst mining disaster. On the 14th October 1913, 440 men and boys were killed at the Universal Colliery, Senghenydd. This followed an earlier explosion in 1901 which had claimed 81 lives.

These disasters have long been commemorated by the communities of Senghenydd and Abertridwr, where a Memorial Service involving local residents and school children is held each year. A community led Museum has also been created within Senghenydd Community Centre to collect donations of artefacts and photographs and provide a focus for both local people and visitors to learn more of the area’s industrial heritage.

This award will enable the development of a commemorative Memorial Wall to be unveiled on the date of the centenary. Local school children will learn of the explosion and the life of a miner before taking part in ceramic workshops to create individual name tiles for every victim of both the 1901 and 1913 explosions.

Work will also involve volunteers recording and collecting oral history recordings which will be accessible through an audio post at the Memorial site. Groups of young people will develop digital stories, adding to the resources already held at the Museum. These will be shared with facilities throughout Caerphilly to promote wider interest. Leading up to the anniversary the wider community will also be encouraged to take part in a variety of planned events and activities to commemorate this important anniversary.

Roy Noble, patron for Aber Valley Heritage Group, said: “The name Senghenydd stands in the annals of industrial South Wales as a poignant, stark reminder of the true cost of coal. The HLF grant of £48,800 is hugely celebrated in gratitude and is a true reflection of the Fund's recognition of what is Wales, where is Wales and who is Wales, in terms of places, people and events that have shaped our country”.

Jennifer Stewart, Head of HLF in Wales, added: “Our industrial past is an important part of Wales’ heritage, particularly in the south Wales valleys. It’s great that HLF funding is enabling Aber Valley Heritage Group and the community to mark this important event by creating a lasting memory of the courageous miners who risked their lives every day. This poignant memorial and the Aber Valley Heritage Museum will act as permanent reminders encouraging present and future generations to explore the stories of their brave ancestors.”  

Heritage Lottery Fund


A typical act of bravery took place on 17th August 1917 when Sgt Gilbert Lloyd, (Senghenydd), South Wales Borderers who, together with five others soldiers, held an isolated position until his battalion had been relieved and then brought out their wounded whilst still under fire.

He was awarded the MM at a local ceremony held on “The Rec” in August 19, 1919.  At this same ceremony where the villagers turned out in their thousands to see Colonel H E Morgan Lindsay, CB, DSO award the decorations to Sgt Lloyd and the men and also to the families of those Killed in Action (KIA). All listed below.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)   Military Medal (MM)

Cpl. Tom Locke Sapper Robert Jackson

Pte. William Higgs Bdr. H C Fleet

Dvr. R G Taylor

Gnr. David Davies

Sgt. King Humphries

Pte. Syd Edwards


Distinguished Conduct Medal Military Cross (MC)

Sgt. T H Brown (KIA) Lt. J A Roberts(KIA)

(accepted by his wife) (accepted by his father)

Photo of Sgt Gilbert Lloyd


Wounded on three occasions before winning the MM in 1917.  Became a


Lieutenant in Home Guard, Aber and

and Senghenydd Platoon 1940-46.

Secretary of local Ex-Servicemen’s

Club for over 50 years.