Going back in time – photographs of a small mine that still worked with pit ponies in 1981

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This original 12″ x 10″ print is available on etsy

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set of 4 mining postcards available at etsy

Whilst working on this blog, with the help of the WordPress Team, and the other hundreds of people on this online course, who come from every part of the globe, I have been reviewing and rethinking, and struggling at times with layouts and exactly what to say.

In my first blog for this course, I put up a couple of images that I published as sepia postcards, and I wondered why I did that, because I took them so long ago!   You can see that post HERE.

For whatever reason, I am prompted to put up two more of this set of images, my favourites. There was a small mine a little way up the hill from where I live that was still working with their well-loved pit ponies, in 1981 (the year I moved here from London).

I’d heard that they were there, but wasn’t sure how to find them.  I was out with my old olympus early one morning and just happened on them.

The mine was family owned and just above their house. Their land, their farm, and their mine, that had made them rich.

They were lovely people,, and at that time were happy in their work.  They must have had some stamina, because it was certainly heavy manual work, and they were no longer young.  They were part of the old Wales, the close knit mining community, and they knew there was no one to follow them into the dark.

Their ponies didn’t seem overworked – but it was such a strange sight – a tiny little industrial pocket in a dip of the grass and shrub clad hillside and the grazing sheep.  I could easily have passed them by and not noticed them – if it wasn’t for the noise of coal going down the chute.

They knew I’d published these photos, I gave them some of the originals, that I printed myself from the negatives, and some of the professionally printed ones I have for sale.

Because the morning mist had not yet disappeared, the negatives were really difficult to print from, and I tried many different variations, in my little darkroom.

Well, the darkroom is now dark, damp and unused, coal is no longer mined nearby, the mine closed sometime around the 1985 strike, and these are images of men and work that have passed into history and the Welsh Heritage Tourist Industry.

When I have these pictures on display, or give one to someone local as a gift, they all say, oh, I knew him, he was a lovely man – he was – you can tell that from his face.

Bye Bye 1981, and manual cameras – I’m in the digital world now, and learning more about it every day.  And oddly, despite the melancholy mood I have been expressing, I’m looking forward to something good happening in 2015.

If you click on the link on the captions of each photograph, it will take you to the listings on etsy.  On the other hand, you could just look here, but please don’t grab them off the screen, they are my copyright, and part of my life, and they don’t belong to you – smile.

I thought I’d see if I could link the to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

20 responses »

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    Like

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  3. Pingback: “julzcrafts.com”- yes I’ve registered the domain! + concerns about copyright | julz crafts

  4. Beautiful pictures and what a good memory! By the size of the pony I should think they count as a horse. The man standing beside the horse is the same size as the horse. I love horses of all kinds and sometimes meet a lot of them as my daughter works with horses. Always nice to meet them!
    Thank you for the peek into the past and a good day to you!

    Like

  5. Pingback: Going back in time to my comment…. | tripleclicka

  6. Those are strong looking draft like horses – I would be surprised if they were ponies – although ponies may be a general term. The build of them is quite amazing – they would have to be very strong to pull those carts. I love the little hat (skull cap) on the pony in the second picture – presumably to protect the top of the head from falling rocks. I’m glad you took the shots. 🙂

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    • Also, you caught the jovial attitude of the miners – such hard work – but they’re smiling! 🙂 Strong men too.

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      • that’s what I wanted to catch – but if you realise they were the owners of that mine, then they had every reason to smile, cos at that time, it was still profitable!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never thought of that! I’m not a horse person – in the sense that ‘pit ponies’ is a generic term for their use in a mine, I think you can call them pit ponies. However its usually understood that they used specially bred strong ponies, that were small enough to travel through the mine shafts underground.

      You might be right that they are draft horses, in which case they were possibly farm horses that worked the mine – which means that this family really cared, and certainly didn’t abuse them by leaving the ponies to sleep in the mine overnight. Some ponies never saw daylight!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. well get on with your project then, when its finished, use the contact me page, there is a box on there for messages, and I’ll reply by email, and you can attach them and – bingo!

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  8. I’m well. I love the way you wrote about the mine workers and their ponies. Your blog is amazing. I am in the process of refinishing a table out of a wrought iron base. I know you don’t want to use these comments for this sort of thing, going by previous comments here. Maybe when it is finished though I will send you the picture and whatnot once I find the link again for that part of your blog.

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    • I just read your latest piece and it was beautiful, it surprised me in fact – keep on going – thanks for the first part of your comment, don’t quite understand the 2nd – smile

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      • I meant that if I ever get my project finished, I would like to participate in your show and tell. Your idea with that has actually given me motivation to get to working on it, thank you!

        Like

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