A heritage group which is trying to trace unaccounted funds equating to nearly £12 million in today’s value has been given a boost in its hunt.
The Aber Valley Heritage Group has discovered that around £114,000 of a relief fund set up for the families of the 440 victims of the Universal Colliery explosion in Senghenydd in 1913 was left unspent.
The unspent funds – which according to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator equates to around £12m in today’s money – formed a portion of £127,000 raised, as documented in a contract drawn up by the relief fund’s trustees in 1914.
Without an account number, the group have found tracing the historical funds difficult, and have since spent time at the Richard Burton Archives in Swansea, where the indenture was originally discovered.
However, a UK Government Treasury Minister has suggested the group’s search was not yet over.
In March, Wayne David, while serving as Caerphilly MP, wrote to the UK Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, regarding the relief funds and received a response from the Treasury earlier this month.
Treasury Minister, Simon Kirby, said: “While there is a potentially lengthy process for accounts over 100 years old, particularly where there is only partial information available, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) will be happy to look further in to this specific case, with the banks involved, to see whether or not there is a record of remaining account monies in respect of the relief fund.”
Aber Valley Heritage Group was established by volunteers to preserve and promote the history of Senghenydd and the surrounding area, and helped to unveil the National Mining Memorial in the village in 2013 on the centenary of the Universal Colliery disaster.
If found, the funds would help to maintain the memorial and attached garden.
The group’s chairman, Jack Humphreys, said they were remaining positive on the possibility of tracing the funds.
Mr Humphreys added: “We were back in Swansea researching last week, but didn’t learn a whole lot more than we already know.
“We’ll be visiting the Glamorgan Archives to see what we can find, and getting back in contact with the BBA, but the banks aren’t being particularly co-operative.”