Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall paid tribute to Wales’s coal mining past during a visit to Senghenydd on Thursday morning as part of their tour of Wales.
The Royal couple laid a wreath at the foot of the Welsh National Mining Memorial, before touring and officially opening the Aber Valley Heritage Centre.
The Wales National Mining Memorial is dedicated to all miners who lost their lives in mining disasters across the country. The memorial was officially unveiled last year on the 100th anniversary of the Universal Colliery Disaster.
On Tuesday 14 October 1913, it was an ordinary day as the 950 miners working had just began their shift. At 8.10 am a massive roar was heard followed by an enormous bang. The blast was so powerful that it hurled a ton-ton cage lift hundreds of yards up through a mine shaft. A half a mile away, windows were smashed. The blast was heard a few miles past the town.
The explosion had been triggered by an accumulation of fire damp gas. Fire damp is a flammable gas, usually methane, which collects in pockets next to the coal face. The blast had moved coal dust on the mine floor, causing clouds that then also caught on fire, proliferating the destruction further.
The 1913 Colliery Disaster was and to this day remains one on Britain’s worst mining disasters. A total of 439 miners and one rescuer lost their lives when tragedy struck this small town.
The Aber Valley Heritage Museum, located inside the Senghenydd Community Centre, focus is to honour mining disasters as well documenting the broader history of the Welsh Valleys disaster.
Following their visit to Senghenydd, the Royal couple had separate engagements in Monmouthshire.
The award-winning town of Usk welcomed The Duchess of Cornwall as she visited a number of sites which are taking part in the ‘2014 Britain in Bloom’ competition. As Patron of the Landmark Trust, Camilla toured a number of locations in Usk to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition, now run by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The Prince of Wales made a visit to Llwyn Celyn, in Crucorney Fawr, Monmouthshire, which is a rare existing example of a Grade 1 late 15th century farmstead.
According to the Landmark Trust, the farmstead is “now in a state of dire disrepair, and in urgent need of restoration, Llwyn Celyn remains a rare example of a complete high status medieval manor house and farmstead. An extensive programme of research by a team of experts will continue throughout 2014 to understand more about the history, development and current state of the building. This includes archaeology, structural analysis and documentary research. Local residents will also have the chance to contribute and learn new skills through a community history project.”
At the end of the day, Charles stopped at a family-run farm in Crickhowell. It is here The Prince observed the production processes which make the award-winning Welsh Farmhouse Apple Juice.
On Friday, Charles will visit the Plough Chapel in Brecon and will view its magnificent Victorian interior, which has recently been restored in Brecon.