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Miner's Baths and Canteen

A Grade II* Listed Building in Blaenavon, Torfaen

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Latitude: 51.7721 / 51°46'19"N

Longitude: -3.1069 / 3°6'24"W

OS Eastings: 323720

OS Northings: 208733

OS Grid: SO237087

Mapcode National: GBR F1.ZKZK

Mapcode Global: VH79C.3QCD

Plus Code: 9C3RQVCV+R6

Entry Name: Miner's Baths and Canteen

Listing Date: 9 February 1995

Last Amended: 9 February 1995

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 15290

Building Class: Industrial

Location: Situated at the top of the site to the south-west.

County: Torfaen

Community: Blaenavon (Blaenafon)

Community: Blaenavon

Locality: Big Pit Mining Museum

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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Opened in 1939, this building housed the baths, the canteen and the medical centre. It was initially financed by a levy on coal royalties, but maintained by weekly contributions from the miners. Big Pit was operated in connection with Blaenavon Ironworks, then by the National Coal Board from 1947 to 1980. Underground workings date from the early C19 but the shaft on this site was sunk in 1860. The present surface structures date from between c1900 and the 1970’s. This piecemeal development was typical of mines in South Wales and it is now the most complete remaining, having been reopened as a museum in 1983.


Modern Movement influenced single-storey concrete building on an asymmetrical plan composed of a series of white rendered blocks of varying sizes and heights, with flat roofs and mostly metal framed rectangular windows. The canteen block is on one storey; its concrete porch has three windows to one side, two to the other and a continuous run of eight windows, wrapping around 2 sides at its north-east end. The baths are also one storey, but roofs are on several different levels. The entrance doors are double, wooden with reinforced glass and set well back into a porch. Windows are of various sizes and rhythms. There is an iron ventilator chimney.


The baths complex includes a tiled boot cleaning area with boot greasing machine and long stalls with steel piping and air ducts for heating. In the adjoining ‘dirty locker room’ are steel lockers and benches. The medical centre is a white ceramic tiled room, fitted out with medical equipment. The canteen has been refurbished for use as the museum canteen, but retains its white and green wall tiles.

Reasons for Listing

Included at grade II* as the only pre-war miners’ baths building in Wales to retain its lockers and other internal fittings.

Group value with other listed items at this exceptionally complete colliery site.

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