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The Tonypandy Riot of 1910.

Rhondda Valleys, Tonypandy Miners 1910

Rhondda Valleys, Tonypandy Miners in 1910, most of whom would have been involved in the strike - the photograph was taken by a Tonypandy Photographer - L. Ladd

By 1910 a cartel of mine owners named the Cambrian Combine were setting wages and conditions, and a new seam had opened at Ely Colliery in Penygraig. The miners maintained that the seam was difficult to work, whilst the mine owners insisted the miners were on a go slow.

In August of 1910 the mine owners pasted up lock-out notices, and shortly afterwards the miners went on strike, followed by thousands of their comrades in other coal mines.

 

The miners were enraged at the below subsistence wage that they were being offered, and unrest led to shop windows and colliery officials houses being targeted by the strikers. Police were drafted in from the Glamorgan, Bristol, and later Metropolitan Constabularies, and during one protest a miner - Sam Rhys - died as a result of being hit by a policeman's baton.

The military - at the behest of Winston Churchill - were drafted in, and one fracas is recorded whereby the striking miners (many accompanied and aided by their women) fought with troops who were wielding rifles with fixed bayonets. During the actual Tonypandy Riot (just one day in August 1910) 80 policemen and over 500 others were injured.

After court appearances, several of the strikers were sent to jail for periods of up to six weeks, and in protest up to 10,000 miners marched in their support.

This was a fight they were destined not to win, as hunger amongst the poor families hit hard. The strikers returned to work for a wage of just £2.1s.2d - a wage barely on a level where a family could exist. After almost one year on strike the brave miners returned to work.

Tonypandy Page



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