Clock stopped at the moment of Aberfan disaster to be displayed in museum

A clock that stopped the moment an unstable coal tip hit a primary school in south Wales, killing 116 children, is to be displayed in a museum.

The Aberfan disaster, on October 21 1966, was one of the worst in British history and came after the National Coal Board ignored repeated warnings that the tip was unsafe.

The small clock, recovered from the rubble, froze at 9.13am, just as tonnes of slurry slipped down Merthyr Mountain and engulfed Pantglas Junior School and a row of houses.

The school had been settling into its first lesson of the day when the wave of soil, shale and crushed rock buried the building and those in it.

In total, 116 children and 28 adults died in the disaster.

Mike Flynn, a postman and paramedic in the Territorial Army at the time, was one of hundreds who helped rescue survivors.

The father-of-three found the clock, which came to be an enduring symbol of the tragedy, and had kept it safe in his home ever since.

His son Mike Flynn Jnr has now donated it to St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, the home of much of the nation’s art, history and science collections.

He said: “I am delighted that Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales – has accepted the clock.

“I always thought I would like to see the clock and similar items go on permanent display in a location like St Fagans National Museum of History, because it is a museum of Welsh history and that would be the most appropriate place for it.”

Sioned Williams, the museum’s principal curator of modern history, said: “Once it is transferred here to St Fagans, we will display it as soon as possible in the Wales Is… gallery which explores the stories of Wales across the ages and (is) available for all to see.

“We at St Fagans look forward to working with Mike and the community in Aberfan as we prepare to display this important part of Welsh history.

“We hope to collect many more items linked to the Aberfan disaster.”

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