The Glamorgan Archives will soon be able to preserve records of the coal industry in South Wales thanks to a new grant – the largest ever award of its type in Wales.
The grant, which was announced this week, will see the Leckwith-based archives receive £200,000.
It was awarded by the Wellcome Trust Research Resources, and is intended to catalogue and conserve records of the National Coal Board (NCB) for the area.
These records are already held at the office, but the £203,456 grant means a project archivist will now work full-time on producing a good quality catalogue for the coal-based archives.
That will increase the accessibility to the records for researchers and members of the public, and with the money, the archives will also hire a conservator to ensure the stability of the collection, and that it’s preserved for future generations.
The records cover all aspects of the coal industry, from geological surveys and the impact of mining on the environment to information on individual pits.
It also includes details of coal miners and their work, their families and their health, and union or welfare association efforts to improve this.
The Glamorgan office serves Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Vale of Glamorgan, and the grant received this month is the second largest Research Resources Grant awarded in the UK, and the largest ever awarded in Wales.
The office said the NCB records are some of the most significant held at Glamorgan Archives, and the new three-year project has been given the name Glamorgan’s Blood: Dark Arteries, Old Veins – Cataloguing and Conserving the Records of the National Coal Board.
According to the archives, coal fuelled the development of Glamorgan, attracted its population and fed its ports which exported materials and technology to the world. These developments were of major international significance and attract academic interest from across the world.
The NCB collection is one of the largest held by Glamorgan Archives, comprising 344 boxes, 575 rolls and 707 volumes, ranging in date from 1799 to 1989. It includes both paper records and photographic media.
Despite difficulty in searching the records, the collection is still the fifth most frequently consulted at the archives.
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Susan Edwards, Glamorgan Archivist, said: “To understand South Wales today we need to understand the history of its communities and coal is a major part of that history.
“This grant means that we can open up a large collection of significant records for communities and academics to explore.
Grant opens up ‘large collection of significant records’
“We are very grateful to the Wellcome Trust and pleased to have attracted such a major award to Glamorgan.”
Work on the three-year project starts in the autumn, and progress will be reported on the Glamorgan Archives blog. To keep updated, visit: https://glamarchives.wordpress.com/