Rhondda Heritage Park marks 200-year mining anniversary

Rhondda Heritage Park
Image caption A blue plaque for the Mines Rescue Service will be unveiled at Rhondda Heritage Park

Over 200 years of mining in the Rhondda have been remembered at an event to mark the bicentenary of the sinking of the first deep mine in the area.

Rhondda Heritage Park also celebrated 100 years of the Mines Rescue Service at the Lewis Merthyr Day.

Choirs and a brass band entertained visitors on Saturday.

"Both these historical events are significant to the area," said Nicola Newhams from the heritage park.

Walter Coffin is recognised as the first person to exploit the rich coal fields of the Rhondda valley on an industrial scale during the 19th Century.

When he sunk the first deep mine in Dinas it marked the start of one of the most wealthy coal mining areas in the world.

A hundred years later, the Mines Rescue Service was launched - and a blue plaque will be unveiled at the heritage park to mark the anniversary.

"Coal mining in the Rhondda came into existence with the mine in Dinas. Without that it makes you wonder if the Rhondda would have had a mining industry at all," said Ms Newhams.

"And the Mines Rescue Service is hugely important, not just in colliery rescue but it was also heavily involved in the Aberfan disaster and the recent Gleision mining disaster.

"And although there's not many traditional mines left - there are a few drift mines left - they still play an important part.

"They also focus these days on health and safety training with the fire service - they've had to diversify."

The Mines Rescue Service (Dinas) team put on displays at the Lewis Merthyr Day, there were historical talks, a display of lodge banners, and musical performances.

Rhondda Heritage Park is based at the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery in Trehafod.

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