Posted: November 1, 2017

'The Life of Elliot' exhibition opens

The Winding House Museum in New Tredegar has opened its new exhibition on 'The Life of Elliot'. 50 years since the closure of Elliot Colliery – which once stood on the site of the museum. ‘The Life of Elliot’ will explore the rise of the town, the impact of the colliery and life underground.

The museum, which is built on the site of the former Elliot Colliery, has launched a film starring local ex-miners as part of the new exhibition, which celebrates the life of the colliery that employed thousands of local people between 1888 and 1967.

Working together with Vision Fountain and Communities First, the ex-miners were able to share their experiences working at the Colliery to feature in the video.

82 year old Leslie Lewis who worked Road Tunnelling, said, "I started at the colliery when I was 16 years old and I worked there until it closed when I moved over to Bedwas. I have really enjoyed taking part in this project, reminiscing with my old friends and workmates and sharing stories has been lovely. I loved every minute of working at the Colliery, I had men working for me at the age of 17 because I was the perfect dap, short and stocky, I had an ideal miners body, I did not have to stoop like many men and I was a hard worker."

The film was dedicated to local resident and ex-miner David Price who sadly died during the production of the video, his daughter Judith Richards attended on his behalf and said her Dad would have been proud to be a part of the exhibition.

The exhibition also features a 'Wall of Fame' with images from those local residents who worked at the Colliery. Images include that of Cllr. John Bevan who is currently serving as the Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough Council, who is also a former employee of the Colliery.

Bill Gabb, another former employee, wrote the poem for the beginning of the video and set the scene for the stories told by those involved. He commented, "It was very hard working at the colliery, we saw a lot of people die, young people, boys, just like us when we started. It is important to do things like this exhibition to remind people of how tough it was, but also to remember a much simpler time. We were very happy, we didn't have cars and televisions and houses were bought for £200, but we worked hard for everything we had and we had such a good sense of camaraderie and community spirit."

Guests attending the launch were also invited to view a photographic exhibition created by Arwyn Evans of Newbridge U3A. Arwyn and Tony Lewis used colliery photos from the Museum's collection alongside their own photos to produce a 'Then and Now' exhibition.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Heritage Cllr. Sean Morgan, said, "This exhibition is the latest in a long line of fantastic displays created by the in house team over the past 9 years. This is one is particularly poignant as it depicts the history of the Elliot Colliery 50 years after it was closed in the place where is once stood. I must express my thanks to everyone involved in creating this impressive exhibition and I would urge members of the public to pay a visit to the Winding House."

The family friendly museum is free to attend and open 7 days a week. It offers free onsite parking and easy access and a tempting coffee and gift shop. Find us on Facebook and Twitter by searching for Winding House to keep up to date with the latest events and information or contact the museum on 01443 822666.