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A History of the World: Coal mine token
Coal miner's token
The token came from Number Seven Pit in Tylorstown, South Wales

A History of the World, a partnership between the BBC and the British Museum, is drawing to a close.

It has seen collaborations between teams across the BBC and schools, museums and audiences across the UK.

The project focuses on the things human beings have made from flint tools to mobile phones.

Items contributed by people in Wiltshire during the course of the project included a cash register, a child's jigsaw and a spinning wheel.

Also sent in for consideration was a coal mine token.

The mine token was given to Levi Davies, when he worked at Number Seven Pit in Tylorstown in South Wales in the early 1900s.

His job was as a 'haulier' - tasked with looking after the pit ponies who spent most of their life underground dragging wagons filled with coal through the narrow mine tunnels in order for it to be brought to the surface.

This particular coal mine token has the number 1066 stamped on it as Mr Davies' son Trevelian explained: "Each miner was given a token with a number on it.

"They would then collect their Davey lamp and hand the token in each time they went down the mine.

"This meant that those running the mines on the surface could keep a log of how many men were down the mine at any one time."


Mr Davies died in 1971 but his son has kept the token all these years. Trevelian said: "My father gave me the token as a memento and I took it from him and put it on a keychain."

He continued: "My main memory of my father is of him coming home from the pits black with coal dust and having a bath in front of the fire."

Working in the mines for so many years took its toll on Mr Davies and he suffered the effects of coal dust on the lungs.

He and his family decided that the countryside of Wiltshire would be a healthier place for him to live.

Working within the-then thriving railway industry in Wiltshire was also considered a more appealing profession than coal-mining, so just after the second world war, Mr Davies and his family moved to Westbury.

At the time, other folk from South Wales also had the same idea, and West Wiltshire still boasts a large Welsh population.

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