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  1. ITV Report

Take a look inside the historic Hetty Pit colliery winding house

A 140-year-old Victorian colliery winding engine has gone on display to the public... for one day only!

The giant machine wound miners and coal at the Hetty Pit near Pontypridd.

Volunteers have spent a more than a decade restoring it.

Mike Griffiths went to see it in action.

Drive into Rhondda Valleys from Pontypridd and the Hetty Pit will be something of a landmark.

Formerly part of the Great Western Colliery, it hasn't been a working coal mine for more than thirty years.

Now a team of volunteers are determined to save the buildings that remain.

The main attraction - the steam winding engine that for more than a century helped transport miners underground.

For a long period of time it was left, the building was broken into, copper wire was stolen, brass fittings were stolen.

We've come a long way.

As you can see, it does really interest people to see a large piece of Victorian machinery actually working, not static.

The mining industry in Wales really was at the cutting edge of engineering and science, and that's an aspect of its history that we tend to forget.

– Brian Davies, Great Western Colliery Preservation Trust
The Hetty Pit (left) and Ty Mawr Colliery (right) Credit: ITV Wales archive

The mine opened in 1875. For the last decades of its life it was part of the nearby Ty Mawr and Lewis Merthyr Collieries.

In 1983, it closed for good.

The name of the last man to operate the Hetty winding engine before the shaft was decommissioned is written inside the winding house

Lewis Merthyr is now a popular mining museum, but the Hetty has been largely off-limits.

Now, the public have had a rare opportunity to see inside.

The public had a chance to operate the winding engine

Many of the volunteers have given up weekends over the last twelve years to restore the engine.

Some of them have a very special link with the site.

The engine now operates on compressed air

I started an apprenticeship in the Ty Mawr Colliery that this was part of.

I've known the engine since those days and then on hearing it was being restored, I had to join in and see what I could do to keep it

– Alan Hill, volunteer

Running the engine isn't cheap, and these open days are a rarity.

The team now hopes to refurbish the giant headframe above the old mineshaft.