Aberaman Riots

Aberdare Leader 12th November 1910
The Strike
Serious Riots at Aberaman 60 people injured windows smashed

On Thursday night stones were freely thrown and several windows were smashed. A huge stone was thrown the window into the shop of Mr Gwilym Evans, grocer at Cardiff Rd. Four valuable prize fowls were stolen from an outhouse in Belmont Terrace.

Serious riots occurred on Tuesday evening; the strikers concentrated their attentions on the coal washeries, which were owned by the Powell Duffryn Colliery Co. It had not been anticipated that anything untoward in the district would happen in view of that fact that the dispute will shortly occupy the attention of Coal Conciliation Board, and consequently the dispute came as a surprise and very quickly the news spread throughout the district that an attack was being made on the washery.

Some 200 or 300 people assembled outside the Aberaman Institute and marched in a body to the storm centre, which is situated between Cwmbach and Aberaman some mile and a half from Aberdare. Many hundreds of women accompanied the strikers. When within a few hundred yards of the washery some 200 lads were dispatched as a sort of advance guard to the washery, but they were turned to rout by the police. There were about 30 policemen guarding the washery, but they did not anticipate and serious trouble, and at the time when the 200 youths came on the scene a portion of the police were at tea. They were, however, immediately summoned, and were soon confronted by 2000 strikers, many of whom were armed with sticks and other weapons.

The policemen ranged themselves in front of the power house and the other premises but very quickly they were made the object of a most hostile demonstration, and stones and other missiles were hurled at them in a reckless manner and with a total disregard to life and limb or property.

The strikers climbed over a fence, and, with what object they had in view can only be conjectured, set fire to some straw which was stored in a railway wagon. This very quickly became a huge conflagration, but it was soon put out although it smoldered for hours.

The police played a water hose on the strikers, but they had to abandon this method of dealing with the crowd, as it had very little effect on them. Fusillades of stones were again hurled against the police and many were injured Inspector Rees of Llandaff and Sergeant Griffiths of Barry Dock and two other Constables being seriously hurt, more particularly the former who suffered a severe gash in the face.

Seeing that the demonstrators were in a ugly mood, the police had to resort to more severe measures, and they were compelled to charge the crowd with drawn truncheons. These methods proved successful, and the crowd dispersed in all directions, hundreds running along the railway line and others down the canal bank.

Scenes of a remarkable nature were witnessed on the canal bank, in consequence of the stampede many were jostled into the canal, but they struggled back on to the bank. It is stated that about 60 strikers were more or less injured. One person had his hand seriously burnt by contact with a live electrical wire, while another fractured his leg. The injuries of most of the others consisted of serious wounds to the head.

A reporter mistaken for a ‘blackleg’ was struck on the head and elbow with bones and sticks.

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