All the above evidence points to Kearsley's pit being sunk at the same time as the other balance pits and lifts sometime between 1838 and 1839. It may have been put into production for a limited period of time but, if it was, then it must have been moth-balled until 1880. When Big Pit was finally put into production, or back into production, Blaenavon Company invested heavily in making it successful. By 1895, Big Pit had become the company's showcase. Its strategic position and the quality of the coal produced helped ensure the survival of the steelworks and the prosperity of the town until after the First World War. And on until its final closure on 2 February 1980. Notes The pit was always referred to as Kearsley's Pit until the 1880s when it became known as Big Pit. I have followed this convention for the sake of clarity. 2 W.G. Thomas, Big Pit Blaenavon (National Museums and Galleries of Wales, 1981, Republished 1997). 3 The company went through many name changes but, again for the sake of clarity, I will refer to it as Blaenavon Company or the Company throughout. 4 Gwent Record Office, provisionally catalogued as SWR, 228 IB. (Gwent Record Office henceforth referred to as GwRO). 5 GwRO, D751.356. 6 GwRO, D751.356, 24 April 1840. 7 Thomas Deakin, was born in Staffordshire on 3 May 1776. As a young boy, he had worked underground pulling trams by means of chains around his shoulders. He came to Blaenavon to work as a mineral agent for Hill and Hopkins in the late 1790s. When he died on 28 June 1851, he was still an underground mineral agent at Blaenavon. The memorial inscription on his iron-topped box grave in St Peter's churchyard reads: Beneath these rocks I toil to earn my daily bread; Beneath this rock I rest my weary head. Till rock and ages shall in chaos roll On Resurrection's rock I'll rest my soul. and has been used as the basis of a contemporary folk song depicting the life of South Wales colliers. 8 GwRO, D75 1.356. 9 For examples of horse transport costs at Blaenavon see Morris & Williams, The South Wales Coal Industry 1841-1875 (Cardiff, 1958), p.68. 10 GwRO, provisional accession number Acc. 2943, SWR2354.