Industry in Wales 1900-1914
In no part of Britain was the divide between the rural economy and industrial society more obvious. The mountainous farming areas of central and northern Wales were in depression from the 1870s. The industry in these areas, such as copper in Anglesey and lead mining in northern Cardiganshire were in decay. By 1911, only 12% of the workforce worked on the land.
By contrast, industrial Wales, above all the mining valleys of the south (as well as Monmouth, Wrexham and southern Pembrokeshire), were swept along in intense, almost uncontrolled expansion. In the years from 1880-1914 it was among the most successful centres in the world for industrial production, and for manufacturing and commerce. Above all, coal was 'king' in these years. The ports of Cardiff, Newport, Barry, Port Talbot and Llanelli benefitted greatly from this. At no period was Wales with its industry more important to the economy of the country.
Key facts about the coal industry are:
· In 1913 Wales supplied over 1/5th of the entire coal production of the British mines.
· Nearly 30 out of the 56.8 million tons of coal produced in 1913 were exported. This was 1/3rd of all coal exported in the world.
· Welsh collieries numbered 485 in 1913, of…