At the Valley's End
“She was known globally as the Iron Lady, but the word that defines her legacy in Wales is coal.” titled Wales’ Western Mail the day after Margaret Thatcher’s decease in April 2013.
South Wales, one of the major coal areas in the UK with its capital Cardiff having been the largest coal exporting port in the world from the beginning of the 20th century on, was severely hit by the
fiscally conservative policy of Thatcher’s government.
Wales, once an essential driver of the British industry now forms a bleak, closed chapter of former industrialization. Almost forgotten and definitively sealed by the defeat of the Miners in the Strike of 1984/85.
Notwithstanding, nearly three decades on, the legacy of the black gold in South Wales’ Valleys remains. While nature reconquers the surface of the former industrial sites, the excavated land, so extensively shaped by man still stands, now filled with memories. Melancholic memories held by those former shapers of the land. The miners.
Decline in South Wales' Valleys is inevitable. The landscape, once built for its extraction and export to the world, is devastated by both financial and cultural recession. As an early victim of
Globalization, Wales is in danger of vanishing from the world’s collective memory, despite still having enough capital in form of the highest quality coal reserves to last another half century.
Still untouched. Underground.