We’ve started making recordings and 3D portraits of ex-coalminers from the Afan Valley, north of PortTalbot, for the Heritage Funded project, Kings of the Underground exhibition that will appear in the National Waterfront Museum in October.

With the help of the local community and the wonderful staff and volunteers from the South South Wales Miners Museum, that’s located right in the middle of the valley, we’ve managed to make a fantastic start.

The recording will be edited down and used with the several primary schools that form part of the Afan Valley schools federation.

Recording miners’ memories at Cymer Methodist Chapel. Here Richard Jones talks to ex-miner Ernyst James, 84. ( Photo by work experience photographer, Tiz)

TheAfan Valley was once a thriving industrial and commercial centre and home to deep coal mines in the north of the valley at Abergwnfi, Glycorrwg, Croeserw and Cymmer. The Afan valley was linked to the Rhondda valley by the The Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway that took coal via Maestaeg and Port Talbot.

We’ve been learning a lot from ex-miners as we record their personal mining histories.