Welcome to a new website dedicated to compiling the definitive photographic history of Senghenydd. This small Welsh village is unique as the site of the worst coal mining disaster in the history of the United Kingdom, which killed 439 men on October 14, 1913.
Shortly after the tragedy, an unknown photographer named W. Benton arrived from Glasgow, and in the days that followed he (or she) documented the event in powerful and moving photographs. The resulting pictures were distributed as a series of 25 postcards at the time, and remain the authoritative visual record of the event. A dozen years prior to the 1913 catastrophe, the village had already suffered through a previous mining accident in 1901, at the same mine, which took the lives of 81 miners.
And so it was that in the early part of the 20th century Senghenydd came to be defined by these horrors of coal mining tragedy. But since those momentous events, the village has been photographed over the years for less newsworthy reasons, in pictures that, above all, depict a place which remains, essentially, and thankfully, unchanged.
My primary wish is to learn more about the place where I was born; and my grander one is to leave a visual record of the village to serve as a memorial of the past for the generations that follow. This will take time. I anticipate that the gathering of unique and quality photographs will be a gradual and evolving process over the coming years, the success of which will be dependent on the input and support of others, like you.
If you have original photographs to assist me with this project, please contact me, I'd be delighted to hear from you.
Princeton, New Jersey
March 17, 2008