Brynkinalt Colliery, Chirk

Sunk during the 1860s by a Mr Blakewell, an eminent mining engineer, who owned the Brynkinallt Coal Co Ltd.  The mine was purchased in 1893 by Mr William Young Craig (formerly the MP for North Staffordshire) of Alsager. From the beginning, Mr Craig had a very good relationship with his workmen and disputes and strikes at the pit were a rare occurrence. In 1912, when all the mines in Denbighshire were out on strike, Brynkinallt colliers continued working. Soldiers were sent to Brynkinallt to protect the working miners and the mine property during the 1912 strike.  The Brynkinnalt miners feared that the pit might be ‘boxed up’, ie wagons and other items might be thrown down the pit shaft by the striking miners to prevent repairs being carried out to roadways and water being pumped out of the mine. If this occurred, there was a danger that the pit would not re-open when the dispute was over. 

There were 600 men from the Royal Suffolk Regiment, 400 men from the Royal Fusiliers and the Royal Welch Fusiliers, 50 men of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry as well as 50 additional police from Caernarfon and Merioneth assisting the local police at the colliery and they camped in Brynkinallt Park.  On one occasion, demonstrators from Cefn Mawr marched towards Brynkinallt Colliery, described in the national press as an armed mob but the smiling faces (of both miners and policemen) and the presence of youngsters in photographs suggests that this was an exaggeration. As the crowd approached the colliery, they were met by the elderly owner, Mr William Craig. He explained to them that his workmen already had the concessions which the remainder of the North Wales miners were on strike for and as he was not a member of the North Wales Coal Owners Association, his men were not in dispute and were continuing to work. He urged the crowd to return to their homes; at which point the crowd dispersed.

In 1913, when the Gertrude Shaft at Ifton was sunk, the Brynkinallt shaft became the ventilation shaft for the new colliery. In 1937, the wooden headgear on No.1 Shaft was replaced by the steel headgear from the Queen Pit at Brynmally, the work being supervised by Bert Johnson, the Surveyor at Brynmally. It closed in 1968 when Ifton Colliery ceased.

Present day

A natural landscaped Brynkinalt Park is a large area of community woodland and informal open space on the outskirts of Chirk, reclaimed from the old spoil heaps of the former Brynkinalt colliery. The park has magnificent views over Chirk towards the Berwyn hills and Shropshire. It’s features include wooded slopes, extensive areas of newly planted native woodland selected to be sympathetic with local indigenous varieties, a network of pathways leading through the undulating landscape and an agility trail for daily exercise.

The park also contains mining artefacts, a coal wagon and cutting disc to celebrate the park’s industrial heritage. Before the coal mining, the land was part of Brynkinalt Home Farm, and there is a covered reservoir at the highest point which still supplies the water to Brynkinalt Hall.

An area has been reserved for wildlife and wildflowers to flourish and for the natural regeneration of trees on the reclaimed soils.

Source: Denbighshire Coal Fields; Wcbc; I. Kelly; welshcoalmines.

North Wales coalfield Sites

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