Four Legged Hero of Hafod Colliery.
A deep mine was sunk at Hafod in the 1860s by Ruabon Coal Company and, at its peak production employed nearly 2,000 workers and worked for a hundred years. Millions of tons of coal were dug up and sold. Gas was also piped out of the mine to fire the quarry tiles made nearby. The clay works and the mine at Hafod were often in joint ownership. Many of the miners’ homes in Rhosllannerchrugog are made from the bright red clay dug up and fired at Hafod. The local chapels exerted a strong influence underground. Miners had to keep to high moral standards. Many miners walked the mile or two to work or rode in buses.
At the end of the 6 O’clock shift the mine’s hooter blew, a signal for the wives at home to get the potatoes on because their husbands and sons would soon be home for dinner. To reach the coal seams, over 25 million tons of waste stone and shale had to be dug out. This material was banked up to form the spoil hill at Hafod. The amount of coal dug out was far greater, look at the spoil hill at Hafod and imagine an even larger hill of black coal. This coal was the reason why Johnstown and Rhos were built, with families moving from other parts of the country to work in the mines. Coal was the driving force of the area’s economy and social structure for a century.
Among the Hafod Colliery pit ponies arriving at a horses’ rest home in Halewood in June 1947 was a white pony called Moon. At the time surveyors used a measuring instrument called a miners’ dial, which was centred on a horsehair sight. Invariably it was a hair from Moon’s tail which was used for this purpose. So, long after his career at the colliery ended, Moon would still have been helping in the development of tunnels and the discovery of new seams.
Sources: Coal Mines of Denbighshire. The North Wales Coalfield: A collection of pictures. Vol 1 by Ithel Kelly.