Abertillery and Six Bells

Abertillery was recommended to me by my tutor as a place where I could absorb myself in the atmosphere of a town where mining was such huge part of its history. I walked to the site of the Six Bells Colliery to see the memorial statue named ‘Guardian’. This statue was designed by Sebastian Boyesen and  is fabricated with thousands of steel ribbons. This structure is cleverly thought out and enables the statue to let the sky come through it from afar and up close seem like a solid steel structure.(Se pics) It is placed on the site where on the 28th June 1960, 45 men where killed by an explosion in the mine. The statue was commissioned 50 years after the disaster.

It took me a while to find the statue but eventually I saw it. Its name is appropriate as it is a tall presence that stands over Abertillery at a hight of 20 metres as if it is guarding the town. I walked along the path in the area that is now landscaped over the old site of the Six Bells Colliery. It was so quiet. I did not see any other person on the walk there and back which at times made me feel slightly unnerved.  The atmosphere was very still and I read the information about the site and the disaster on the placard, I then walked around the statue and read the names of the men lost. The overcast weather, the silence and the fact that I was standing on the site where this disaster took place while reading about it created an atmosphere that made the experience even more poignant. It definitely effected me as I felt a mixture of emotions which  is too hard to articulate in words and can only be fully understood by visiting this place. For my research, the visit to Six Bells was so valuable as it allowed me gain a sense of how important mining was to this town and to Wales as a whole. More importantly I was able to feel the sense of loss in this town, a loss that came out of coal mining.




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