The Ocean Coal Company and 'The Barry' David Davies's Extrordinary South Wales Enterprises (Lightmoor)

Back Order

With this book the author, Leslie M Shore, initially set out to write an history of the Ocean Coal Company, however the resulting book is a meticulously comprehensive, multi-layered story recording how David Davies’s hard work and initiative resulted in the creation of a prosperous business empire.

At the age of 11 years, following a basic school education, Davies worked on his father’s farm and as a sawyer in his father’s sawpits. At the age of 27 years, he was given the job of constructing the foundations and approaches of a new bridge crossing the River Severn at Llandinam, his work impressed the County Surveyor, who went on to give Davies other projects. In his career as a civil engineer, Davies constructed several bridges and railways across mid Wales.

In 1864, along with five others, David Davies became the principal investor in a partnership, 'David Davies & Co’, the intention being the acquisition of land with mineral leases, for the sole purpose of mining coal. Between 1864 and 1867 David Davies successfully negotiated six leases. The first coal pit was sunk at Parc Uchaf, followed by the Maindy Colliery in 1865; coal production at both commenced in 1866. The Ocean Steam Coal Collieries were first mentioned in October 1866 when, in advertisements for the building of workmen’s dwellings in the vicinity of the Maindy Colliery, the wording `Messrs David Davies & Co. of the Ocean Steam Coal Collieries’ was used.

Between 1866 and 1884 the Ocean Coal Company was the epitome of enterprise under the leadership of David Davies. As well as the Park and Maindy Collieries, pits were opened at Dare and Eastern in the Rhondda Fawr Valley, and at Western, Garw, and Lady Windsor in adjacent Glamorgan valleys. Thousands of jobs were created to work the ‘finest seams of coal in the world’ and the coal mined was used to power steamships, a ‘most lucrative monopoly’ for the South Wales Coalfield.

In 1882 the Barry Dock and Railway Company was conceived with the aim of overcoming the obstacles to transporting Rhondda coal. With David Davies behind the campaign, in 1884 the Barry Dock and Railways Bill was passed in the House of Lords and construction began the same year. Nicknamed ‘The Barry’ this notable dock and railway venture was to become Great Britain’s greatest shipper of coal. 1889 saw the opening of Barry Dock, along with a railway line which connected it to Hafod Junction. When David Davies died in 1890 his son, Edward Davies, took over the running of the two companies and continued to expand the railways to the dock. The company continued under the leadership of Edward Davies, and then under his son David Davies, until the government nationalised the coal industry in 1947, at which point the Ocean Coal Company and the United National Collieries Company ceased operation; Wilson, Sons & Company however was unaffected by nationalisation.

With The Ocean Coal Company and 'The Barry': David Davies's Extraordinary South Wales Enterprises Leslie has completed his sequence of books covering South Wales Coalfield’s 'Big Three'. The two companies he has written about previously were the Tredegar Iron & Coal Company and the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company.

232 black & white illustrations and 32 maps and plans. Hardback. 272 pages.

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.