The worst bit about it, so I’ve heard, was that people around the world were shocked by what had happened. No, that’s not bad. So they tried to show that they cared and no, that’s not bad. So they sent toys.

And there were no children left.

12 thoughts on “Aberfan”

  1. What a terribly sad story Tm, never heard that.

    Mind you it is also a comment on a lot of people’s stupidity but also decency. Curious, and desperately sad.

  2. There were warehouses full, apparently.

    But there were children who survived. Before she retired my mother worked for one.

  3. This is a tragedy that really affected those old enough to have experienced it first hand. Near enough an entire generation wiped out in one fell swoop.

    As Edward Lud says, coal was a brutal industry, even for the innocent. People may mourn the loss of “community”, but no one really wants to go back to the days of such dangerous and deadly work.

  4. I was listening to R4 and the story went that there were other spoil tips and that they needed to be removed. But, the Coal Board refused to pay and the authorities of the day raided the fund set up for disaster relief of the victims.

  5. @Ken

    This is what Wikipedia says

    “He (Alfred Robbens, NCB chairman) took a very narrow view of the NCB’s responsibilities over the remaining Aberfan tips. His opposition to doing anything more than was needed to make the tips safe (even after the Prime Minister had promised villagers the tips would have to go) was overcome only by an additional grant from the government and a (bitterly opposed and subsequently much resented) contribution from the disaster fund of £150,000 (nearly 10% of the money raised).”

  6. My grandfather and some of his brothers went there to help afterwards, like the war something he never talked about the rest of his life.

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Even though it happened before I was born, it was sufficiently recent for it to be something I sort of osmotically absorbed when I was small. I knew the name Aberfan when I was very little (i.e. early 70’s). It’s so awful the mind shies away from thinking about it. And yes, the NCB did not exactly cover itself in glory in the aftermath. Robens was exactly the sort of creepy-crawly that thrives in a corporatist swamp like Wilson’s Britain.

  8. Rhyds,

    That’s the left all over. Lost a child, but the politics of those responsible still matters. This is how the Soviets managed to get families to turn on one another. Chilling stuff.

  9. Tim Newman,

    This wasn’t about left or right, but rather how a community was let down by their elected representatives because, quite frankly, the Government knew that they would never lose the votes of the mining communities of South Wales. There wasn’t a chance in hell they were going to vote Conservative (the party of the mine owners of the past) and Plaid Cymru were still not an effective political party. The Liberals (if they were standing at all) made very little impact. So they kept returning Labour members with 50% majorities.

    As a comparison, just look at the Hull North By Election of the same year (1966). Hull got the Humber Bridge out of that election because there was a chance they might lose it.

    What did Aberfan get for its years of loyalty? A bill to remove the coal waste tips that had devastated its community, that was to be paid from from a disaster relief fund raised by the public, and no-one brought to justice over the affair.

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