From Stamps of the World
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Cinderford is a small town on the eastern fringe of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. The town is relatively young, coming into existence in the 19th century, following the rapid expansion of the local iron and coal industries.
A visual clue to Cinderford's origins can be seen in the style and layout of the town; with long rows of identical terraced housing; similar to many found in towns of the South Wales Valleys, that also developed around the coal mining industry. During the decline of the coal industry, in the 1950s and 1960s, Cinderford suffered more than Coleford, the other main town of the Forest, as most of the male population was employed in coal-mining. Today, Cinderford is home to a wide variety of industry, including light and heavy industry. The name Cinderford, used for a crossing-point, is recorded as early as 1258. The name reflects the site of early ironmaking which created deposits of cinders, sometimes in large mounds.
By the 1840s Cinderford had a number of foundries and small engineering firms supplying the mining industry with machine parts, and it remained a centre for metal industries in the early 20th century.
For many years coal mining was the principal industry in the area. Lightmoor coal mine was being deepened in the late 1830s. Trafalgar colliery which was in production in 1860, was the only large mine in the coalfield run by free miners in the later 19th century. Trafalgar closed in 1925. A deep mine, called Northern United, was begun north-west of Cinderford in 1933, but Lightmoor, with a workforce of 600 in 1934, was the main colliery in the Cinderford area until it closed in 1940. There were still many smaller collieries in the Forest of Dean, employing 84.5 per cent of the adult male population in the Cinderford area, until the industry declined in the 1960s.
Iron ore mines were also worked near the town in the 19th century until the closure of the Cinderford ironworks led to the abandonment of Buckshaft and other ore mines near the town in 1899.