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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Harnessed – Colliery Horses in Wales
Ceri Thompson
ISBN: 9780720005912 (0720005914)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Mai 2008
Cyhoeddwr: Llyfrau Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales Books, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 225x190 mm, 72 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Ar gael Pris Llawn: £8.99 
Ein Pris: £5.99 
Rydych yn Arbed: £3.00 (33.4%) 
Sgôr y Cwsmeriaid ar gyfartaledd:
 
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
 
Darllen Adolygiadau...
Mae'r gyfrol hon yn cynnig atebion i gwestiynau am fyd y ceffyl yn y pyllau glo. Mae'n edrych ar waith y ceffylau hyn, eu safonau byw, pa bryd y byddent yn cael eu rhyddhau, a'r berthynas arbennig rhwng y ceffylau a'r gweithwyr. Cyfieithiad Saesneg o Cyfaill neu Gaethwas? - Ceffylau'r Pyllau Glo ISBN: 9780720005905 (0720005906).

This book answers all the popular questions and more. It explores the horses' work, living conditions, how they lived underground, when they were allowed back up, as well as the special relationship between horses and miners. An English translation of Cyfaill neu Gaethwas? - Ceffylau'r Pyllau Glo ISBN: 9780720005905 (0720005906).
This slim volume, published by the National Museum of Wales, provides a wealth of information on the use of horses in the coal mines of Wales and is of value both in itself and as an introduction for anyone who wishes to look further into the subject. It is plentifully illustrated, and Ceri Thompson draws on a broad range of sources to provide an even-handed analysis and honest commentary.

Some of the information is, of course, shocking. The average life expectancy of a colliery horse in 1893 was between eight and nine years and had increased to only ten to fifteen years in 1950; a domestic horse now might be expected to live well into its twenties and I once met one that was remarkably fit and healthy at the age of 42! There is a tendency to think of the use of horses in mining as being a thing of the fairly distant past, yet the last horses stabled underground at Tower Colliery were made redundant only at the beginning of the 1984–5 miners’ strike and there were two horses working above ground at Pant y Gasseg until as recently as 1999. Most disturbing of all, though, is the fact that horses were only used on a large scale underground after the 1842 Mines Act – before that, the heavy work they undertook had been done by women and children.

Thompson cites some memorable real-life stories, both heart-breaking and uplifting, and looks at both sides of the propaganda war that was waged between the industry and animal-welfare organisations. Whatever your take on it, the colliery horses shared the same conditions and dangers as the coalminers. Whether it can ever be justifiable to subject either man or beast (let alone children) to such a life is another matter.

Suzy Ceulan Hughes

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
This beautifully produced book answers all the popular questions and more. The author is an ex-miner who now works as a curator at Big Pit: National Coal Museum – so he knows as much about the subject as he does about people’s interest in it. While researching the book, he interviewed miners with vivid memories of working underground with pit ponies. The book resonates with their voices, and includes poignant archive photographs and cuttings.

There’s nothing else available at the moment that covers the subject as comprehensively. Harnessed explores the horses’ work, living conditions, how they lived underground, when they were allowed back up, as well as the special relationship between horses and miners. Crucially, the book highlights the issues people still feel strongly about today: was their use justified in order to produce much-needed coal, or simply inhumane? The book doesn’t offer a simplistic answer, but it does provide the evidence for the reader.

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In this book the lives of colliery horses and ponies are revealed with original, historic photographs and in the miners’ own words. Colliery horses once powered the coal-mining industry. Yet many people felt – and still feel – strongly about their use: animal lovers called their use ‘inhumane’ while the mine owners claimed they were treated as ‘pampered pets’.

The book tells of the suffering and injuries, but also how miners bravely – sometimes fatally – attempted to rescue horses from underground disasters. We learn how the horses lived, worked, and died. Above all, we learn of the close working bond that existed between the miners and these fascinating animals.
Rhoddodd Dr. R. Murray-Shelley o Brecon i'r teitl yma ac ysgrifennodd:
"Most children were taught at school that horses were used in the mines but few will have appreciated just how important they were to the economic development of Britain as a whole. Ceri Thompson cleverly brings together the economic and social aspects surrounding the controversial use of these "pit ponies". The book has been meticulously researched and benefits from original photographs and the often poignant reflections of ex-miners who were there. As well as being important as an historical reference, the book is readable and interesting to the casual reader. Highly recommended at a very reasonable price. "
 
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