“The Price we Paid for Coal”, 2019 | Josh Lyle


Josh Lyle is a landscape documentary photographer in his final few weeks at the University of Gloucestershire. The passion for stories about places has grown over the years but can be traced back to his childhood after growing up in Cornwall by the coast. 

We asked Josh to tell us more about his series.

This project is a documentary of the small village Aberfan, located in the South of Wales. It was a typical mining town with back to back terraced homes where people would sit on their front step and chat whilst their children played in the street. At approximately 9:15 am on that day the colliery spoil tip, positioned to the East side of Mynydd Merthyr Hill collapsed.

Pantglas Junior School was engulfed in the rubble which at the time was housing 240 students. Unfortunately, on that day 144 people lost their lives including 116 school children. At 7:30 am on the 21st October 1966 the tip had been reported to have slipped 20ft after several days of straight rain. By that time, it was too late and nothing could be done.

On the 27th October 1966 the town gathered to remember many of the people who lost their lives that day.

Included in the work is a personal story from Reverend Penberthy who was a minister at the time. Whilst I was photographing Reverend Irving for this project, his wife also passed away. The images became very thought-provoking and now offer a feeling of mourning in themselves.

Wandering up to the cemetery you feel a sense of tranquillity. The gardens hold pearl white arches which interlink the graves together as one. They symbolise a day of tragic loss.

To see more of Josh’ work, visit www.joshualyle.com

All images and text © Joshua Lyle