It’s more important than ever to remember the miners who made us (Wales Online – January 2018)

A new programme marks the 10th anniversary of the closure of Tower Colliery – the last deep mine in Wales

In the decades after King Coal lost his crown there was the sense that mining was a cliché the Welsh image-builders could do without. The tourist ideal of Cool Cymru was all chi-chi waterfront developments in Cardiff Bay and extreme sports on Snowdon.

Coal was on a par with sheep jokes and warbling male voice choirs for those whose obsession with a shiny new future erased the importance of our fascinating industrial heritage.

How they cringed when the National Lottery show was set against the pit-head wheels of Rhondda Heritage Park! How they fretted over the damaging PR of the Pot Noodle miners adverts!

A few years ago the organiser of the National Eisteddfod – backed by educational lobbyists Cyfanfyd – even suggested that little boys dressing up as colliers for St David’s Day perpetuated stereotypes and harked unnecessarily back to the past.

And what happened when developers turned one of the most iconic buildings in the story of Welsh mining into a swanky hotel? They extracted the word “Coal” from The Coal Exchange.

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