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We have had some more feedback regarding our chair artwork from Mel Brimfield. She has sent us a video and some photos.

A Boxing Day Mining Disaster at a Maesteg Colliery

You can just imagine the news paper headlines in 1863.

At the meeting of the Shedquarters Men’s Shed last Thursday 10th June, Mr. Roy Meredith gave a talk and power point presentation on the disaster at the “Gin Pit” Maesteg. No it was not names the Gin Pit because they produced gin. It did produce coal and also iron ore to be used in the iron works. Which was where the Tesco’s store is situated today, just below the Gin Pit. It is believed it was named the Gin Pit after the horse driven machinery that wound the coal and iron ore up the shaft. The depth of the shaft was only 345 feet deep. Maesteg town centre is built where the coal seams come very close to the surface.  The coal was worked on an incline, so the actual workings would have been lower than that.
The colliery shaft is situated in what is now Maesteg Welfare Park, in front of the hospital. The area is fenced off because whatever they used to fill the shaft has started to settle. There is now a memorial to the 14 man and boys who died on the 26th December 1863.
The coal part of the pit was worked using the “Pillar and stall” method. The stall was a narrow road way driven into the coal in a grid fashion. Leaving the pillar squares to help hold up the roof. The stalls are worked to the boundary and then worked in retreat. It is then that the coal within the pillars is removed and the roof allowed to fall in. This method of working was notorious for the difficulty of ensuring good ventilation for clearing any gas(methane) out of the workings.
During the inquest it was stated the on an inspection that took place on Christmas Eve, the “Fireman” did not find any gas. Christmas day was a holiday so no inspection took place. It was when the work started back up on Boxing Day that the incident took happened. The incident was blamed on a 21 old man and a 14 year old boy who it is thought took a naked flame into the workings and that was what caused the explosion. The verdict of the inquest was accidental deaths. Both the 21 year old and the 14 year old were among those who died in the explosion.
It was not known what compensation was paid to the families of the men and boys killed.


For several years the Shed has had a close relationship with the village of Llangynwyd and its church, St cynwyds. We have repaired and restored a communal bench in the village and made book rests for their record books when they hold open days. We have also contributed to their Quilt and Craft Festivals by showing some of our members’ crafts.

This year we were asked if we would like to have a table to display and sell what we make in the Shed, we said yes. This year was different as the festival would have to be held in St Michael’s church, Maesteg. St Cynwyd’s Church dates back to before the time of Elizabeth I and the church hall was one of the first schools in the valley and are in need of renovation. Because of that, the three day festival needed to be moved for this year.

 Shed members spent weeks making wooded planters, bird tables and turned items, tatted jewellery and since it was a craft festival tatted scissors keeps. Friends of the Shed also made needle cases and pin cushions.

The work on show was amazing as you walked in the door you were met with waves of colour. I mean that as the quilts were draped over the pews and they look like wave all the way from the back of the church to the front. As St Michaels is a much larger church than St. Cynwyds the organisers were afraid they would not be able to fill it, but they did. The organisers made over £1000 for St Cynwyds.

Anyone who has done any handycraft work would appreciate the thousands of hours of work that had gone into producing enough quilts to fill such a huge space. There was only one quilt for sale it was for £110 and it went very quickly. For those who were interested in quilting there were dozens and dozens of different patterns as no two quilts were

The Shed table was manned for the three days. The turned items went on the first day. All the planters went and we had to take orders. Altogether we made £76. Selling the goods, was only part of why we took the table it was also to use the opportunity to sell idea of a Men’s Shed. We were able to talk to men and women from a wide area of S Wales. We find that women are our best recruiters. One woman begged me to get her husband out of the house, not for her benefit but for his.


Men’s Sheds Members Visit Modular Factory

Men’s Sheds’ are social groups or enterprises set up in local communities for the benefit of men who would normally spend large amounts of time alone.

The idea originated in Australia and was developed by the health board to tackle growing concerns of social isolation amongst the male population.

They found that boredom caused by retirement, unemployment or long term illness could manifest itself in declining mental health.

Sheds spread to Ireland and then the rest of the UK – which now boasts 500 sheds at the time of writing.

Men’s Sheds bring together men with skills in a variety of areas to learn from each other, socialise, enjoy days away and share a meal. ‘Shedders’ can be artists, collectors, carpenters, archers, story-tellers, amateur radio enthusiasts, train spotters and model makers.

Anyone is welcome – and any interest, skill or project is given equal consideration, especially if it could attract new members or gain valuable income to support the development of the group.

Two members from a shed local to the Wernick Buildings factory originally visited to collect off-cuts of timber for their woodworking shop.

The guys were so excited by the facility that a tour was arranged for the whole Maesteg group. Eight Men’s Sheds members were shown the inner workings of the modular building factory, with the Wernick Buildings team remarking that the group was “the most enthusiastic, inquisitive group witnessed on a factory tour”.

John Gates, Men’s Sheds Maesteg Chair commented: “I think we were all impressed and surprised. We all had the wrong idea of the type of buildings you produced. Some of us were brought up in prefabs after the War or saw the classrooms that our children were taught in, hot in summer and cold in winter. We were impressed with the method of production and the quality of the workmanship. Thank you again for arranging such an enjoyable visit.” 

Garfield finished his waistcoat and is proudly showing it off:

Loss of our friend Roger

I expect that by now most of you would have heard of the death of our friend and member Roger Akerman. His very quick, dark humour will bemissed. He had a way of saying things that were at the same time dark but funny. He had a way of bringing you down to earth by cutting across your argument but he would not just point out where you were wrong but also come up with an alternative.

He was someone who cared about our shed, our members and what our shed stood for. He worked hard behind the scenes with his wide range of contacts and worked hard to bring in new members for the shed. His common sense, advice and enthusiasm will be missed by us all.  

Roger was a founder member of ShedQuarters and served as Treasurer for the first two years, until his health started getting the better of him. He helped cook our food and sometimes stepped in to cook the whole meal when Les was away.

His funeral service was held on Monday 18th March, 2:00pm in Saron Chapel Nantyffyllon. Followed by a service at Coity Crematorium, Bridgend, at 3:15pm. The reception was held at the Harlequins Club, Maesteg.