We visited the The Big Pit (The National Coal Museum) at Blaenavon in South Wales earlier this week. It was the first opportunity I have had to go underground and get some sense of what a coal mine was like. I had hoped to take some photographs underground but any devices with batteries have to be left on the surface, so the nearest I got was capturing this pithead conversation.
The visit to The Big Pit was part of a fascinating trip with a boy from the valleys to see industrial South Wales. The reality though is that, Port Talbot apart, there is no industrial South Wales. The pits and the iron works have all disappeared. The tips are returning to grass and heather and trees are re-greening the valleys. Our trip was actually a visit to post-industrial South Wales. Before 1740, the valleys were green and untouched by industry. You could imagine that by 2040 they will have returned to the same state with the remaining communities essentially acting as commuter suburbs to Cardiff.