Point of Ayr

The Point of Ayr Colliery Company was established in 1883, located close to the village of Ffynnongroyw on the coast of the Dee Estuary. On the eve of nationalisation it was the only colliery in Flintshire and one of eight that remained in North Wales. The colliery had its own brass band, welfare club, and sports teams. On 4 July 1952, six men were killed developing a new shaft. The Rhyl and Prestatyn Gazette described Point of Ayr ‘with its 150 Joneses … as the happy colliery’. In 1986 some miners from the closed Bersham Colliery in Wrexham moved to the pit, but the number of workers was cut to 494. It was privatised in 1994 and under the ownership of RJB Mining it further developed American methods of extraction using shuttle cars and roof bolting. The colliery ceased production in the summer of 1996.      

A Cosmopolitan Pit

 

Until the 1960s the colliery had drawn miners from local villages but by the 1980s its workforce was very diverse. Welsh miners were complemented by men from England, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Spain, and the Caribbean. 

Paul Parry
00:00 / 00:54

Interview with Keith Gildart, 9 March 2019, Transcript

Working under roof bolts at Point of Ayr in the 1990s (Crown Copyright)

Accidents and Injury

Miners had to confront the threat of injury, disability, death on a daily basis. Men lost fingers, experienced crush limbs and permanent damage to their ears, joints, and lungs. 

John Wiltshire
00:00 / 04:40

Interview with Keith Gildart, 10 February 2018, Transcript

Women and the 1984–5 Strike​

In the dispute against pit closures in 1984–5 the majority of the 600 miners continued to work with around 86 remaining on strike for twelve months. Women formed a Point of Ayr women's support group after going to Barnsley to a women's rally. Les Kelly, Secretary of Point of Ayr NUM, also discussed women and the strike in his autobiography

Heather Parry
00:00 / 04:25

Interview with Keith Gildart, 9 March 2019, Transcript

Point of Ayr miners' wives and children (Ian Campbell, published by Gomer Press)

Joan Williams
00:00 / 02:01

Interview with Keith Gildart, 19 November 2018, Transcript

A single plage typewritten
A single page typewritten

Documents relating to North Wales Miners' strike support, (Keith Gildart Personal Collection), Transcript

Changes and closure

Front page of a booklet.  Two pictures of the pit with a grey border, one in black and white, and the other in green and white

Point of Ayr Souvenir Brochure (Keith Gildart personal collection, Crown Copyright, digitised for this project under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence) Transcript

Point of Ayr was considered a long-life pit.  In 1987, a new drift was opened. The full souvenir brochure celebrating this event is available here.

British Coal was privatised in 1994. Point of Ayr Colliery continued for two years after privatisation and closed in 1996.  Below are the last pages from the Point of Ayr NUM branch minute book.

Two lined pages from a book (the pages are numbered) written on in black pen.

Point of Ayr Minute book, (Keith Gildart personal collection), Transcript

University of Wolverhampton logo in black and white. Logo is a swoopy 'W' half white on black background and half black on background of a white shape.
Northumbria University Newcastle logo in black and white.  Crest next to text with two castles a wall and book.
Arts and Humanities Research Council.  Text is black on a white background.  image is in colour a number of circles on a blue background in white blue green and orange.