THE first of two autumn lectures at Blaenavon’s Big Pit National Coal Museum will take part on Saturday, September 16, charting the success of two local men.

The former colliery, which closed as a working mine in 1980 before re-opening as a museum three years later, will be welcoming Dr Barrie Jones CBE for the first lecture, entitled “Coal Mining Underground – A Personal Journey to its End”.

Dr Jones, originally from Llanelly Hill, started his mining career at Big Pit before working for the Coal Authority, Mines Rescue Service and latterly for the Institution of Mining.

He was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2012 for “services to mining.”

In his talk, Dr Jones will be asking and investigating if there has ever been an industry which has been the subject of greater public and political debate than underground coal mining.

He said, “Over the past 150 years or so, thousands of mines have opened, worked and closed down, and the evidence of their being removed from the landscape.

“Big Pit itself is somewhat unique in its preservation as a museum of past mining, but is far removed from current mining technology.”

The second lecture, is on Saturday, November 4 when photographer Walter Waygood, born and bred of Blaenavon, will be talking about his two photography exhibitions which are currently on show at Big Pit.

The images look at the lives of miners and working people in Blaenavon in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Both lectures are free to attend and supported by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Big Pit is free to enter and is open daily between 9.30am and 5pm and for more details, visit