Descendants of David Davies celebrate his Blue Plaque
A Blue Plaque has been unveiled by the Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf to commemorate the life of reputedly the world’s longest working coal miner.
David Davies of Maerdy worked a staggering 73 years underground, a feat which once earned him a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
Mayor Cllr Ann Crimmings met the great-grandchildren of the Rhondda collier who started work in the local colliery in 1849 at the age of just seven. He retired from the mining in 1922 when he was 80 and despite so many faithful years service his only pension was free coal for the remainder of his life.
Cllr Crimmings said, “The staggering amount of years Mr Davies spent working as a coal miner is absolutely incredible and it is fitting we remember him today with the placing of the Blue Plaque on the house where he was born.
“Mr Davies represents hundreds of thousands of miners who dug for coal in the valleys of our County Borough and were the reason why this became the largest industrial coalfield in the world. We honour him and all those who worked in such horrific conditions in search for that precious “black gold” and in doing so established the communities which we still call home.”
David Davies was born in 1842 in North Terrace, Maerdy and today the most lasting impressing of himself remains in Russia.
During the 1920s when Maerdy was known as “Little Moscow” due to its Communist leanings, two soviet artists visited the town and asked to paint Mr Davies’s portrait. After being persuaded by trade union leader and communist politician Arthur Horner, Mr Davies agreed and his portrait remains in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
David Davies taught himself to read and write in both English and Welsh. He often went to the aid of his fellow miners, treating them for eye inflammations caused by grit dust with a herbal mixture he made himself.
A few years before he died in 1928, he and his wife celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary making them the longest married couple in the town – another record for David Davies.
The Blue Plaque unveiled in Maerdy is the latest to be funded by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. Following the highly successful Heritage Lottery funded scheme that saw the installation of 30 Blue Plaques in the Borough between 2008 and 2010, the Council decided to continue the scheme to recognise notable people, places and events within the County Borough.
The scheme has proved successful in raising the profile of the heritage and history of the area and has added to a sense of community, provided interest for visitors to the area and material for the education of both children and adults.
For further details visit www.heritagetrailsrct.co.uk