Miners' Tribute, Cinderford
|Council:||Forest of Dean|
|Forest of Dean|
The town is relatively young, coming into existence in the 19th century, following the rapid expansion of the local iron and coal industries.
A visual clue to Cinderford's origins can be seen in the style and layout of the town; with long rows of identical terraced housing; similar to many found in towns of the mining valleys of Monmouthshire and Glamorgan. During the decline of the coal industry, in the 1950s and 1960s, Cinderford suffered more than Coleford, the other main town of the Forest, as most of the male population was employed in coal-mining. Today, Cinderford is home to a wide variety of industry, including light and heavy industry.
Cinderford is within the Cinderford with Littledean Benefice has 5 churches in 3 parishes:
- The Parish of St Stephen's with Bilson Mission covers the central town and northern parts of Cinderford.
- The Parish of St John the Evangelist covers the south of Cinderford, Ruspidge and Soudley with St Michael's Chapel of Ease in Soudley Village.
- The Parish of St Ethelbert's Littledean is further down the hill and serves the community there.
There is also a Baptist church.
The name Cinderford, used for a crossing-point, is recorded as early as 1258. The name reflects the site of early ironmaking which created deposits of cinders, sometimes in large mounds.
Following the construction of Cinderford Ironworks in the late 1700s, and the opening of large mines nearby, the town was laid out on a fairly conventional urban plan. In 1841 there were two inns and at least ten beerhouses in and around Cinderford. A new church was consecrated at Cinderford in 1844 and dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. By 1845 Cinderford also had a Baptist church which became by far the largest Baptist meeting in the Forest of Dean. Methodists and Primitive Methodists also had chapels in the area, and there was even an iron building which became known as the Ark, which was registered in 1886 by a group called the Blue Ribbon Gospel Army.
A coke-fired furnace was established in around 1797. It was situated 800 yards north of Cinderford bridge and used coke brought from Broadmoor, to the north, by a short canal. The furnace struggled to compete with iron furnaces elsewhere, and fell idle ten years later. It was revived in 1829 when new works on the old site were established by the Forest of Dean Iron Company, and in 1841 there were three furnaces producing 12,000 tons of iron a year and employing 100 men and boys. Only one furnace at the works was in blast in 1890 and the works closed in 1894.
By the 1840s Cinderford had a number of foundries and small engineering firms supplying the mining industry with machine parts, and it remained a centre for metal industries in the early 20th century.
For many years coal mining was the principal industry in the area. Lightmoor coal mine was being deepened in the late 1830s. Trafalgar colliery which was in production in 1860, was the only large mine in the coalfield run by free miners in the later 19th century. Trafalgar closed in 1925. A deep mine, called Northern United, was began north-west of Cinderford in 1933, but Lightmoor, with a workforce of 600 in 1934, was the main colliery in the Cinderford area until it closed in 1940. There were still many smaller collieries in the Forest of Dean, employing 84.5 per cent of the adult male population in the Cinderford area, until the industry declined in the 1960s.
Iron ore mines were also worked near the town in the 19th century until the closure of the Cinderford ironworks led to the abandonment of Buckshaft and other ore mines near the town in 1899.
Cinderford's High Street and Belle Vue Road lie on the A4151, which links with the A48 (Gloucester-Chepstow road) to the east.
In former times, Cinderford had a railway station that was opened by the Severn and Wye Railway and later run by the Great Western Railway and Midland Railway as Cinderford Joint railway station, but this was axed as part of the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
A new Parkway station to serve the town is proposed for development at Newnham, and would be serviced by trains on the Maesteg-Cheltenham Spa services.
Freeminer Brewery is a brewery based at Steam Mills. It produces of range of traditional ales. The Freeminer name comes from the ancient right to mine coal or iron in the Royal Forest of Dean.
Cinderford sports clubs
- Football: Cinderford Town AFC
- Rugby: Cinderford RFC
- Swimming: Cinderford and District Swimming Club
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- [Forest of Dean: Industry – Victoria County History
- Flaxley – Victoria County History
- Forest of Dean: Introduction – Victoria County History
- Forest of Dean: Social life - Victoria County History
- Forest of Dean: Churches - Victoria County History
- Forest of Dean: Protestant nonconformity - Victoria County History
- Pope, Ian; Karau, Paul (1997). The Forest of Dean Branch - Volume 2. Didcot: Wild Swan Publications Ltd. p. 410. ISBN 1-874103-36-4.
- Freeminer Brewery/Co-operative Beers