Friday 26th August 2016 marked the 124 year anniversary of the horrific mining explosion in 1892 that cost the lives of 112 men and boys. The site of the explosion, now a beautiful nature reserve, had a visit from The Mayor of Bridgend to mark the occasion.
Parc Slip Nature Reserve and Visitor Centre, located in Tondu, Bridgend, is now a beautiful place to admire the local wildlife. Its Visitor Centre can provide everything you might need from delicious food and drink, to binoculars on each table, but it wasn’t always a wildlife haven. Up until the 1980’s Parc Slip was used as an open-cast coal mine. Sadly on the morning of 24th August, 1892, there was an explosion in the mines, thought to be caused by a miner’s lamp. The explosion trapped and injured many people and a relentless rescue effort was put into motion. Unfortunately 112 men and boys lost their lives that day. It was without doubt one of the most important as well as tragic events in the history of our locality.
At 8:15am on the morning of Friday 26th August approximately 25 people gathered at the memorial site at Parc Slip to pay their respects. The Mayor, Councillor Reg Jenkins, and Mayoress, Mrs Teresa Jenkins, of Bridgend County Borough were among these. A speech was made followed by a silence and afterwards people shared their stories of family member’s experiences of the disaster.
Councillor Reg Jenkins, the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, said:
“It is absolutely vital that we should take time to remember this tragic disaster and the deep effect that it had on our local community. Fathers, sons and brothers lost their lives on that dark day, leaving sixty women widowed and 153 children without a Dad.
I was extremely proud to represent the county borough at this year’s memorial event and it is amazing to think that Parc Slip, now a beautiful nature reserve, was once such a busy hive of industry. As the years go by, I feel it is particularly important for the younger generations to be told of how life was back then, and remember those who died in the explosion.”
The miners who lost their lives in the horrific incident are remembered today at Parc Slip Nature Reserve with a stone memorial fountain in the Southern end of the reserve. The fountain is made up of 112 stones – one for every person who lost their life. The fountain is adjacent to the cycle track and bridle path, making the paths leading to it very easily accessible.