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Aberfan 1966

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The Aberfan disaster occurred at 9:15am on Friday October 21st 1966. Coal waste from the mountain above the village rushed down the mountain, first destroying a cottage, and then engulfing the school and some houses in the village. 144 people were killed including half the children in the school and five of their teachers. The cause was an underground spring, and two days of heavy rain which caused the coal waste on the mountain to loosen. A mass funeral was held on the 25th October, and the children buried on the hillside. A disaster fund was launched, and it collected over £1 million in the four months it was open. Some money went to the families, and towards house repairs, a community hall, and a memorial. As the National Coal Board refused to accept full financial responsibility for the disaster, money from the fund had to contribute towards the removal of the remaining tips overlooking the village. This money was not refunded until 1997. 

As a result of the disaster, The Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act 1969 was passed, which states it is 'An Act to make further provision in relation to tips associated with mines and quarries; to prevent disused tips constituting a danger to members of the public; and for purposes connected with those matters'.1 The requirements to comply with this act are laid out in The Mines and Quarries (Tips) Regulations 1971.



Austin, Tony. Aberfan: the story of a disaster. (Hutchinson, 1967).

Doel, Melanie. Is it still raining in Aberfan?: a pit and its people. (Logaston Press, 1991).

Madgwick,Gaynor. Aberfan: struggling out of the darkness: a survivor`s story. (Valley and Vale Community Arts, 1996).

Miller, Joan Beatrice. Aberfan: a disaster and its aftermath. (Constable, 1974).

All items listed in the further reading are available for consultation in either the South Wales Miners' Library or the Library and Information Centre, University of Wales Swansea. Click here to link to the library catalogue. 


The Aberfan Disaster

British Pathe News


 1 British Geological Survey; Minerals UK


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