Welsh Miners in Marsden
The New Standedge Tunnel, the third railway tunnel from Marsden to Diggle, was begun in 1890 and completed in August 1894. Its successful construction relied upon skilled tunnel miners who were not to be found in the local area.
Much of the workforce was recruited in North Wales, particularly Anglesey, where the copper mining industry was in decline.
By the time of the 1891 Census, 99 inhabitants of Marsden gave Wales as their birthplace. Half of the men were married but few of them brought their families with them.
The miners were predominantly Welsh speakers and lived on the outskirts of the village, at Redbrook and Gilberts in specially constructed wooden huts. It seems likely that they kept themselves to themselves, organising their own religious services in Welsh. And there is some evidence of friction between them and locals.
By the 1901 census, after the tunnel was completed, only one Welsh family remained in Marsden, many of them having moved back to Wales.
Welsh Miners in Marsden - from the 1891 Census
|Name||Age||Marital status||Occupation||Place of birth|
|William Davies||27||M||Tunnel Miner||Anglesey|
|William H. Davies||7||son||Anglesey|
|John Thomas||23||S||Tunnel Miner||Anglesey|
|Benjamin Ellis||30||M||Engine Driver||Amloch|
|James Francis||23||S||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|Richard Francis||19||S||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|Owen Hughes||30||S||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|William Hughes||30||M||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|Richard Jones||24||M||Engine Driver||Amloch|
|Edward Owen||19||S||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|Evan Roberts||18||S||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|Hugh Thomas||49||M||Tunnel Overlooker||Amloch|
|Hugh H. Thomas||26||S||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|John Williams||60||W||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|Richard Williams||40||M||Tunnel Miner||Amloch|
|William Williams||54||M||Tunnel Overlooker||Amloch|
|(Father - Alexander McGregor. Civil Engineer, born Liverpool)|
|David Williams||30||S||Tunnel Miner||Bangor|
|Griffith Griffiths||46||W||Tunnel Miner||Llanstephen|
|Robert Hughes||33||S||Tunnel Miner||Dulyddelan|
|David Jones||19||S||Tunnel Miner||Llanllechild|
|David Jones||46||M||Tunnel Miner||Llandegai|
|William D. Jones||38||M||Tunnel Miner||Llandegai|
|Griffith Lloyd||54||M||Engine Fitter||Llanwodd|
|John E. Owen||46||M||Tunnel Miner||Penmorfe|
|Robert W. Parry||25||S||Tunnel Miner||Rhostryfan|
|John Roberts||57||M||Tunnel Miner||Dolyddlen|
|John Roberts||56||M||Tunnel Miner||Trewyde|
|Richard Roberts||57||M||Tunnel Miner||Penmachno|
|Owen Thomas||37||W||Tunnel Miner||Tremadog|
|Robert D. Thomas||25||S||Tunnel Miner||Rhostryfan|
|John Williams||64||M||Tunnel Miner||Portinorwig|
|Evan Edwards||53||M||Tunnel Miner||Cardigans|
|David Edwards||29||M||Tunnel Miner||Glynceiriog|
|Sarah Ellen Jones||31||wife|
|Edward Shore||34||M||Tunnel Miner|
|(Husband - Henry Wade, general labourer, born in Middlesex)|
|William J. Wilkins||8||New Bridge|
|(Children of John Wilkins, general labourer born in Dorset)|
|John Roberts Roberts||33||M||Tunnel Miner||Tallyllyn|
|David Williams||20||S||Tunnel Miner||Tallyllyn|
|(wife of Phillip H. Poole, Joiner born in Wellington, Salop)|
|John Vaughan||26||S||General Labourer||Welshpool|
|Chas Thomas Bonner||18||S||Clerk|
McKenna, Krista (2022) A fleeting 'little Wales' in Marsden? The motivations and impact of Welsh miners who migrated to Marsden, Yorkshire in the early 1890s.
Student dissertation for The Open University module A329, The making of Welsh history.