Fonds GB 0210 MSWION - Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association Records,

Identity area

Reference code



Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association Records,


  • 1842-1957. (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

13.571 cubic metres (1,072 boxes).

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

The Aberdare Steam Collieries Association was founded in 1864 and, over a period of years, went through many internal changes and restructuring. The Association was first reconstructed in 1870 and named The South Wales Steam Collieries Association. It then formed a coalition with the Iron Masters in 1873 and was re-named The Monmouthshire and South Wales Collieries Association. The Association was reconstructed again in 1880, and in 1890 was re-named the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association, remaining active until 1955. The Association was guided and managed by a group of officers, comprising a Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Association and each of its three districts, Chairmen for the Sliding Scale and Finance Committees, and a Solicitor, as well as a succession of Secretaries including Alexander Dalziel (1874-1884), W. Gascoyne Dalziel (1884-1916), Finlay A. Gibson (1916-1946) and Iestyn R. Williams (1947-1950). The Association’s activities were overseen by committees (Joint Sliding Scale Committee, Finance Committee, Conciliation Board, District Boards, Commercial Committee, Disputes Committee and Coal Cutters and Conveyers Committee, among others), and its members were organised into three districts: Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. While the workers formed trade unions, the Association represented the owners of the mines. Its main purpose was the presentation of a common front in their dealings with the miners and their labour issues, achieving higher productivity, and opposing wage increases. The Association established the Sliding Scale, a system which regulated wages across the industry, based on the selling price of coal; the administration of this scheme resulted in a large body of casework arising from disputes between members. The Association fiercely opposed the introduction of safety legislation, reductions in working hours, and recognition of trade unions, and was involved in a series of labour disputes arising from these issues. The Association also represented the coal owners in responding to proposed legislation and in court cases arising from disputes. With the nationalisation of the industry in 1947, the Association gradually came to an end.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

An initial donation of press cuttings (Series P3) was received by NLW in 1944/5, followed by deposits by the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association, Cardiff, in 1947, and in 1954 and 1955 per the Chairman of the Association, Mr. R.W. Burgess

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records, 1842-1957, of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association (MSWCOA), including printed deeds of association, 1864-1945; Association general minute books and circulars, 1873-1944; Cardiff, Newport and Swansea District minute books, 1874-1947; Conciliation Board minutes, verbatim minutes of proceedings, agreements and awards, 1901-1946; Finance Committee minutes, 1888-1956; Transport Committee minutes, 1933-1936; Joint Emergency Committee minutes, 1893-1917; Commercial Committee minutes, 1919-1947; Coal Cutters and Conveyors Committee minutes, 1923-1945; Coal Dust Committee minutes, 1940-1946; General Research Committee minutes, 1940-1946; Parliamentary Bills Committee minutes and papers, 1895-1897; Anthracite and Steam Coal Collieries Committee minutes, 1897-1900; Rescue Brigades Committee papers, 1907-1908; Eight Hours Committee minutes, 1909; Coal Mines Act Committee minutes and papers, 1923-1946; Special Purposes Committee minutes, 1927-1947; Colliery Pit Production Committee minutes, 1943; Education Committee minutes, 1945-1946; Joint Sliding Scale Committee meeting verbatim accounts, 1875-1902; Enginemen Wages Committee minutes, 1908-1944; Joint Standing Disputes Committee minutes and papers, 1917-1947; South Wales Coal Shipment Advisory Committee minutes and papers, 1923-1936; South Wales Committee on the Physical and Chemical Survey of the National Coal Resources minutes, 1928-1943; Safety in Mines Research Committee minutes and reports, 1930-1947; Disputes Finality Committee minutes and papers, 1936-1945; Joint Coal Production Committee minutes, 1940-1942; Pneumoconiosis Joint Sub-Committee minutes and papers, 1942-1946; minutes and papers of several committees of the Mining Association of Great Britain, including its Central Committee, 1919-1954; copies of court judgements, 1848-1939; Railway Rates Tribunal proceedings and papers, 1921-1939; financial account books and balance sheets, 1873-1940; scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings relating to the Sliding Scale, strikes, disputes, wages, and other industry issues, 1874-1948; papers relating to strikes and disputes at associated collieries, 1890-1946; statistics on coal production, prices, transportation, wages, etc., and foreign bulletins, 1842-1950; administrative files of the Commercial and Pitwood Departments, 1890-1950; applications for membership, 1887-1947; subject files containing copies of Association notices, reports, minutes, etc. and papers received from other organisations relating to mining, miners’ health, labour agreements and wages, 1890-1957; and printed material, including coal mine surveys and research reports, and government legislation and other industry reports, 1849-1947. The archive represents a major source of information for the history of coal mining in Wales, and the study of mining practices and industrial relations in the South Wales coalfield prior to nationalisation.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records deposited in NLW have been retained apart from duplicates, which have been destroyed..


Accruals to the collection are unlikely.

System of arrangement

Arranged at NLW according to provenance into 7 sections: administrative records; board and committee papers; disputes records; financial records; legal records; printed and manuscript material, and statistics.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • English
  • Welsh
  • French

Script of material

Language and script notes

Mostly English, with some French and Welsh (see appropriate file level descriptions).

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

68 printed volumes, 1905-1939, have been transferred to the Library's Printed Collection. Photographs of some Association officers, events, and of pit ponies have been transferred to NLW's Photographic Collection. Sixty-five framed (photographic) portraits - 62 of chairmen of the Association, 2 of the first Secretaries of the Association, and a composite portrait of the members of the Sliding Scale Joint Committee, are in NLW's Picture Collection.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds. The minutes of the Finance Committee extend until 1956, one year after the winding up of the Association. The archive contains some printed material pre-dating the establishment of the Association. Original file titles, where present, have been retained.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

March 2012.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Lorena Troughton. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of Coalowners Association Records (now superseded by this catalogue); Archives Wales website (, viewed 5 March 2012; and material within the archive itself;

Accession area