Coordinates: 51°36′57″N 3°25′03″W / 51.615938°N
3.417521°W / 51.615938; -3.417521
Map showing location of the
Valley within Wales
Rhondda Cynon Taf
38.59 sq mi (99.94 km2)
1,935 ft (590 m)
1,600/sq mi (630/km2)
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CF postcode area
Rhondda /ˈrɒnðə/, or the
Valley (Welsh: Cwm
ˈr̥ɔnða]), is a former coal mining valley in Wales, formerly a
local government district, consisting of 16 communities built around
the River Rhondda. The area is, in fact, made up of two valleys: those
of the larger
Rhondda Fawr valley (mawr large) and the smaller Rhondda
Fach valley (bach small). The singular term '
Rhondda Valley' and the
Rhondda Valleys' are both commonly used. In 2001 the Rhondda
constituency of the National Assembly for
Wales had a population of
72,443; while the National Office of Statistics described the
Rhondda urban area as having a population of 59,602.
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough and is part of the South
Valley is most notable for its historical link to the coal
mining industry which was at its peak between 1840 and 1925. The
Rhondda Valleys were home to a strong early
movement which manifested itself in the
Baptist chapels which moulded
Rhondda values in the 19th and early 20th century.
Rhondda is also
famous for strong masculine cultural ties within a social community
which expressed itself outside industry in the form of male voice
choirs, sport and politics.
4 Early history
4.1 Prehistoric and Roman Rhondda: 8,000 BC – 410 AD
4.1.3 Bronze Age
4.1.4 Iron Age
4.2 Medieval Rhondda: 410–1550 AD
4.2.1 Settlements of medieval Rhondda
4.3 Post-medieval and pre-industrial Rhondda: 1550–1850
4.3.1 Settlements of post-medieval Rhondda
5.1 Industrial growth (1850–1914)
5.2 Population growth in the industrial period
5.3 Decline of coal and economic emigration (1914–1944)
5.4 Mining disasters
8 Political activism
9 Culture and recreation
9.1 Role of women
9.2.1 Rugby union
9.3.1 Male voice choirs
9.3.2 Brass bands
9.4 Culture and nationality
9.4.2 Cadwgan Circle
9.4.3 National Eisteddfod
9.4.4 Communal activity
11 Notable residents
11.3 Film and television
11.5 Visual arts
11.6 Science and social science
14 External links
A rough layout of the main villages of the
Rhondda shown along the two
tributaries of the River Rhondda
The larger of the two valleys, the
Rhondda Fawr, extends from Porth
and rises through the valley until it reaches Blaenrhondda, near
Treherbert. The settlements that make up the
Rhondda Fawr are as
Blaencwm a district of Treherbert.
Blaenrhondda a district of Treherbert.
Cwm Clydach a community.
Cwmparc a district of Treorchy.
Cymmer a district of Porth.
Dinas Rhondda a district of Penygraig.
Edmondstown a district of Penygraig.
Gelli a district of Ystrad
Glynfach a district of Cymmer
Llwynypia a community.
Pentre a community.
Penygraig a community
Porth a community that sees itself as the unofficial capital of the
Rhondda, mainly due to its geographic location.
Pentre a district of Pentre.
Tonypandy a community.
Trealaw a community.
Trebanog a district of Cymmer
Trehafod the most southernmost and smallest of the
Treherbert a community.
Treorchy the largest community in either of the valleys.
Tynewydd a district of Treherbert
Williamstown a district of Penygraig.
Ynyswen a district of Treorchy.
Ystrad a community.
Rhondda Fach is celebrated in the 1971 David Alexander song 'If I
could see the Rhondda'; the valley includes Wattstown, Ynyshir,
Tylorstown and Maerdy. The settlements that
make up the
Rhondda Fach are as follows:
Blaenllechau a district of Ferndale.
Ferndale a community.
Maerdy a community.
Penrhys a district of Tylorstown.
Pontygwaith a district of Tylorstown.
Tylorstown a community.
Stanleytown a district of Tylorstown.
Wattstown a district of Ynyshir.
Ynyshir a community.
River Rhondda in the Fawr
Valley near its source in Blaenrhondda
In the early Middle Ages, Glynrhondda was a commote of the cantref of
Penychen in the kingdom of Morgannwg, a sparsely populated
agricultural area. The spelling of the commote varied widely, and the
Cardiff Records shows the various spellings:
Glyn Rhoddni (1268)
Many sources state the meaning of
Rhondda as 'noisy', though this is a
simplified translation without research. Sir Ifor Williams, in his
work Enwau Lleoedd, suggests that the first syllable rhwadd is a form
of the Welsh adrawdd or adrodd, as in 'recite, relate, recount',
similar to the
Old Irish rád; 'speech'. The suggestion is that
the river is speaking aloud, a comparison to the English expression 'a
With the increase in population from the mid-19th century the area was
officially recognised as the
Ystradyfodwg Local Government District,
but was renamed in 1897 as the
Rhondda Urban District after the River
Residents of either valley rarely use the terms '
Rhondda Fach' or
Rhondda Fawr', referring instead to 'The Rhondda', or their specific
village when relevant. Locals tend to refer to "The Rhondda" with the
definite article, despite its non-usage on sign posts and maps.
Prehistoric and Roman Rhondda: 8,000 BC – 410 AD
Valley is located in the upland, or Blaenau, area of
Glamorgan. The landscape of the
Rhondda was formed by glacial action
during the last ice age, as slow moving glaciers gouged out the deep
valleys that exist today. With the retreat of the ice sheet, around
8000 BC, the valleys were further modified by stream and river
action. This left the two river valleys of the
Rhondda with narrow,
steep sided slopes which would dictate the layout of settlements from
early to modern times.
The earliest evidence of the presence of man in these upper areas of
Glamorgan was discovered in 1963 at Craig y Llyn. A small chipped
stone tool found at the site, recorded as possibly being of
'Creswellian' type or at least from the early
places human activity on the plateau above the valleys. Many other
Mesolithic items have been discovered in the Rhondda, predominantly in
the upper areas around Blaenrhondda,
Blaencwm and Maerdy, mainly stone
age items relating to hunting, fishing and foraging which suggests
seasonal nomadic activity. Though no definite
have been located in the area, the concentration of finds at the Craig
y Llyn escarpment suggests the presence of a temporary campsite in the
The first structural relic of prehistoric man was excavated in 1973 at
Cefn Glas near the watershed of the
Rhondda Fach river. The remains of
a rectangular hut with traces of drystone wall foundations and
postholes was discovered; while carbon dating of charcoal found at the
site dated the structure as late Neolithic.
Llyn Fawr Reservoir in 2008
Although little evidence of settlements has been found in the Rhondda
that date between the
Bronze Age periods, several cairns
and cists have been discovered throughout the length of both valleys.
The best example of a round-cairn was found at Crug yr Afan, near the
summit of Graig Fawr, west of Cwmparc. The cairn consisted of an
earthen mound with a surrounding ditch 28 metres in circumference and
over 2 metres tall. Although most cairns discovered in the area
are round, a ring cairn or cairn circle exists on Gelli Mountain.
Known as the '
Rhondda Stonehenge' the cairn consists of 10 upright
stones no more than 60 cm in height encircling a central
cist. All the cairns found within the
Rhondda are located on high
ground, many on ridgeways, and may have been used as waypoints.
In 1912 a hoard of 24 late
Bronze Age weapons and tools was discovered
during construction work at the
Llyn Fawr reservoir, at the source of
Rhondda Fawr. The items did not originate from the
Rhondda and are
thought to have been left at the site as a votive offering. Of
particular interest were fragments of an iron sword which is the
earliest iron object to be found in
Wales and the only 'C-type'
Hallstatt sword recorded in Britain.
The ruins of the Hen Dre'r Mynydd settlement at the head of the
With the exception of the
Neolithic settlement at Cefn Glas, there are
three certain pre-Medieval settlement sites in the valley – Maendy
Camp, Hen Dre'r Gelli and Hen Dre'r Mynydd. The earliest of these
structures is Maendy Camp, a hillfort whose remains are situated
Pentre and Cwmparc. Although its defences would have
been slight, the camp made good use of the natural slopes and rock
outcrops to its north-east face. Maendy camp consisted of two
earthworks, an inner and outer enclosure. When the site was excavated
in 1901 several archaeological finds led to the camp being
misidentified as Bronze Age. These finds, mainly pottery and flint
knives, were excavated from a burial cairn discovered within the outer
enclosure but the site has since been classified as from the Iron
The settlement at Hen Dre'r Mynydd in
Blaenrhondda was dated around
the Roman period when the discovery of fragments of wheel-made
Romano-British pottery were discovered at the location. The site is
made up of a group of ruinous drystone roundhouses and enclosures and
is thought to have been a sheep farming community.
The most definite example of a Roman site in the area is found above
Blaenllechau in Ferndale. The settlement is one of a group of
earthworks and indicates the presence of the Roman army during the 1st
century AD. It was thought to be a military site or marching camp.
Medieval Rhondda: 410–1550 AD
The 5th century saw the withdrawal of Imperial Roman support from
Britain, and the succeeding centuries witnessed the emergence of a
national identity and of kingdoms. The area which would become the
Rhondda lay within Glywysing, an area that incorporated the modern
area of Glamorgan, ruled by a dynasty founded by Glywys. This
dynasty was later replaced by another founded by Meurig ap Tewdrig
whose descendant Morgan ap Owain would give
Glamorgan its Welsh name
Morgannwg. With the coming of the Norman overlords after the 1066
Battle of Hastings, south-east
Wales was divided into five cantrefi.
Rhondda lay within Penychen, a narrow strip running between modern
Glyn Neath and the coast between
Cardiff and Aberthaw. Each
cantref was further divided into commotes, with
Penychen made up of
five such commotes, one being Glynrhondda.
Relics of the Dark Ages are uncommon within the
Glamorgan area and
secular monuments are still rarer. The few sites discovered from this
period have been located in the Bro, or lowlands, leaving historians
to believe that the Blaenau were sparsely inhabited, maybe only
visited seasonally by pastoralists. A few earthwork dykes are the
only structural relics in the
Rhondda area from this period and no
carved stones or crosses exist to indicate the presence of a Christian
shrine. During the
Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages communities were split between
bondmen and freemen. The bondmen lived in small villages centred on a
court or llys of the local ruler to whom they paid dues; while the
freemen, who enjoyed a higher status, lived in scattered homesteads.
The most important village was the 'mayor's settlement' or maerdref.
Maerdy in the
Rhondda Fach has been identified as a maerdref, mainly
on the strength of the name, though the village did not survive past
the Middle Ages. The largest concentration of dwellings from this
time have been discovered around Gelli and Ystrad in the
mainly platform houses.
During the late 11th century, the Norman lord, Robert Fitzhamon
Morgannwg in an attempt to gain control of the area, building
many earth and timber castles in the lowlands. In the early 12th
century the Norman expansion continued with castles being founded
Kenfig and Coity, while within the same period Bishop
Urban established the
Diocese of Llandaff
Diocese of Llandaff under which Glynrhondda
belonged to the large parish of Llantrisant.
Upon the death of William, Lord of Glamorgan, his extensive holdings
were eventually granted to Gilbert de Clare in 1217. The
subjugation of Glamorgan, begun by Fitzhamon, was finally completed by
the powerful De Clare family, but although Gilbert de Clare had
now become one of the great
Marcher Lords the territory was far from
settled. Hywel ap Maredudd, lord of Meisgyn captured his cousin Morgan
ap Cadwallon and annexed Glynrhondda in an attempt to reunify the
commotes under a single native ruler. This conflict was unresolved
by the time of De Clare's death and the area fell under Royal control.
Settlements of medieval Rhondda
Little evidence exists of settlements within the
Rhondda during the
Norman period. Unlike the communal dwellings of the
Iron Age the
remains of the Medieval buildings discovered in the area follow the
pattern similar to modern farmsteads; with separate holdings spaced
out around the hillsides. The evidence of Medieval Welsh farmers comes
from the remains of their buildings, with the foundations of platform
houses having been discovered spaced out throughout both valleys.
When the site of several platform houses at Gelligaer Common were
excavated in the 1930s potsherds dating from the 13th-14th century
Rhondda also has the remains of two Medieval castles. The older is
Castell Nos which is located at the head of the
overlooking Maerdy. The only recorded evidence of Castle Nos is a
mention by John Leland who stated that "Castelle Nose is but a high
stony creg in the top of an hille". The castle comprises a scarp and
ditch forming a raised platform and on the north face is a ruined
drystone building. Due to its location and form it does not appear to
be of Norman design and is therefore thought to have been built by the
Welsh as a border defence; and must therefore date before 1247 when
Richard de Clare seized Glynrhondda. The second castle is
Ynysygrug, located close to what is now
Tonypandy town centre. Little
remains of this motte-and-bailey earthwork defence as much was
Tonypandy railway station was built in the 19th
century. Ynysygrug is dated around the 12th century or early 13th
century and has been misidentified by several historians, notably
Owen Morgan in his book 'History of
who recorded it as a druidic sacred mound and
Iolo Morganwg who
erroneously believed it to be the burial mound of king Rhys ap Tewdwr.
This earliest Christian monument located in the
Rhondda is the shrine
of St. Mary at
Penrhys whose holy well was mentioned by Rhisiart ap
Rhys in the 15th century.
Post-medieval and pre-industrial Rhondda: 1550–1850
In the mid-16th century the Rhondda, at that time known as the Vale of
Rotheney, belonged to the large but sparsely inhabited parish of
Ystradyfodwg, St. Tyfodwg's Vale. For administrative purposes the
parish was divided into three hamlets: the Upper or
Rhigos Hamlet to
the north, the Middle or
Penrhys Hamlet and the lower or Clydach
Hamlet. Throughout the post-Medieval period the
Rhondda was a
heavily wooded area and its main economic staple was the rearing of
sheep, horses and cattle. The historian Rice Merrick, in describing
the upland area of the Vale of Glamorgan, stated that there "was
always great breeding of cattle, horses and sheep; but in elder time
therin grew but small store of corn, for in most places there the
ground was not thereunto apt". While English cartographer John Speed
described that the rearing of cattle was the "best means unto wealth
that the Shire doth afford". As there was no fair held in the
Rhondda the animals would be taken to neighbouring fairs and markets
at Neath, Merthyr, Llantrisant,
Ynysybwl and Llandaff. However, to be
self-supporting, the farmers of the area grew crops such as oats, corn
and barley in small quantities. Crops were grown in the lower part of
Rhondda on narrow meadows adjoining the riversides, though during
Napoleonic Wars scarce supplies forced the cultivation of the
upland areas such as Carn-y-wiwer and Penrhys. Merrick would
describe the diet of the upland inhabitants as consisting of "bread
made of wheat ... and ale and bear" and over two hundred years
later Benjamin Malkin showed how little the diet had changed when he
wrote that the people still ate "Oatmeal bread, with a relish of
miserable cheese; and the beer, where they have any, is worse than
In the first half of the 17th century a rising cost of consumable
goods and a series of bad harvests brought about economic changes in
Glamorgan. Those with enough wealth were able to seize on
opportunities created by these unsettled conditions and set about
enlarging and enclosing farm lands. The enclosure of freehold lands
that began in the later
Middle Ages now gained momentum and farms that
were once owned by individual farmers were now owned by small groups
of wealthy landowners. By the 19th century most of the Rhondda
farms and estates were owned by absentee landlords, such as the
Marquis of Bute, Earl of Dunraven,
Crawshay Bailey of
Merthyr and the
De Winton family of Brecon.
Settlements of post-medieval Rhondda
1735 Welsh (Powys) longhouse typical of those found in Medieval
Between the Acts of Union in the mid-16th century and the English
Civil War in the mid-17th century, a period of great rebuilding took
place in the Kingdom of England, of which
Wales was now annexed, and
this is reflected in the structures that were built within the Rhondda
Valley. The fluctuating economic state of the late Tudor period
resulted in farmers taking in more land, creating higher levels of
surplus goods and therefore producing higher profits. This profit was
reflected in the new farm houses built in the
Rhondda and for the
first time an emphasis on domestic comfort became apparent in the
design of the dwellings. Many of the new farm buildings were
simple structures consisting of two or three small rooms, though of a
much sturdier and permanent quality than the Medieval platform houses.
A popular style of building was the long-house, a building which
combined the house and cowshed into a single building. By 1840, at
least 160 farms existed in the Rhondda, but most were destroyed
with the growth of the mining industry. Of the few surviving
buildings, those of note include
Tynewydd ('New House') in
Blaenrhondda, a 17th-century house thought to have given its name to
the neighbouring village of
Tynewydd and Tyntyle in Ystrad dated
There were few industrial buildings pre-1850; those of note include
the 17th-century blast furnace at Pontygwaith which gave the
village its name and the fulling mill established by Harri David in
1738, which in turn gave its name to Tonypandy. Corn mills existed
sparsely throughout the valleys as did early coal pits, with two early
pits recorded as being opened in 1612 at
Rhigos and Cwmparc; though
these would have mined from exposed rock in the hillside and not deep
Industrial growth (1850–1914)
Further information: List of collieries in the
Llwynypia looking north towards
Llwynypia Hospital, (c. 1912)
The southern coalfield of
Wales is the largest continuous coalfield in
Britain, extending some 113 kilometres (70 mi) from
the east to
St Brides Bay
St Brides Bay in the West, covering almost 2,600 square
kilometres (1,000 sq mi). This coalfield took in the
majority of Glamorgan, and the entirety of the
Rhondda was situated
within it. Although neighbouring areas such as
Merthyr and Aberdare
had already sunk coal mines, it was not until
Walter Coffin initiated
the Dinas Lower Colliery in 1812 that coal was first exported from the
Rhondda Valleys on any sort of commercial scale. This coal was
originally taken by packhorse, before the extension of Dr. Griffiths'
private tramline, to
Pontypridd and then by the Glamorganshire Canal
to the port at Cardiff. The lack of any transportation links was one
of the main problems that curtailed exploitation of the
coal fields, along with the belief that the coalfields beneath the
valley were thought to be too deep for economic working. It was
therefore seen as an expensive risk and deterred anyone looking for a
quick profit. The exploration of the
Rhondda was undertaken by the
Bute Trustees, agents of the third Marquess of Bute, who not only
owned large tracts of valley farmland but also possessed a large
financial interest in the
Cardiff Docks which would export the
coal. The trustees sank the Bute
Merthyr Colliery in October 1851,
at the top of the
Rhondda Fawr in what would become Treherbert. The
Merthyr began producing coal in 1855, the first working steam
coal colliery in the Rhondda.
In conjunction with the sinking of the first colliery at the head of
the Rhondda, the second issue of transportation was being tackled at
the same time with the extension of the
Taff Vale Railway
Taff Vale Railway (TVR) line.
After Royal Assent was given to construct the railway in 1836, the
original line was laid from
Cardiff to Abercynon, and by 1841 a branch
was opened to link
Cardiff with Dinas via Pontypridd. This would allow
easier and faster transportation for Walter Coffin's Dinas mine, an
unsurprising addition considering Coffin was a director of the TVR. In
1849 the TVR had extended into the
Rhondda Fach and by 1856 the
railway had reached the furthest areas of both the Fach and Fawr
Maerdy and Treherbert. For the first time the Rhondda
Valley was connected by a major transportation route to the rest of
Wales and the exploitation of its coalfields could begin.
The TVR line would dominate the transportation of coal throughout the
Rhondda's industrial history, and its monopoly was a point of
contention, as with no rivals the colliery owners could not negotiate
for haulage rates. Several attempts were made to break the
monopoly including the opening of the
Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway,
between 1885 and 1895, which linked
Blaenrhondda at the head of
Rhondda Fawr to the Prince of
Wales Dock. To achieve this rail
Rhondda Tunnel was constructed through Mynydd Blaengwynfy
to Blaengwynfi; at the time the longest railway tunnel in Wales.
Initially the shallower pits at
Aberdare proved a bigger attraction
for prospective mine owners, but once
Aberdare became fully worked by
the 1860s the
Rhondda saw a rapid growth in development. During the
1860s–1870s 20 collieries opened in the
Rhondda Valleys with the
leading coalowner in the
Rhondda Fach being David Davis of Aberdare,
and David Davies in the
Rhondda Fawr. In 1865 the output of coal
Valley was roughly one quarter of that of Aberdare;
ten years later the
Rhondda was producing over two million tons, more
Aberdare Valleys. These figures would later be dwarfed by the
massive excavation rates seen in the last quarter of the 19th century
up to the beginning of the First World War. In 1913 it was recorded
Rhondda Valley's output was 9.6 million tons.
By 1893 there were more than 75 collieries within the
and although most were initially owned by a small group of private
individuals this trend changed towards the start of the 20th
century as companies began buying up the existing collieries. The
widespread adoption of limited liability status began a trend towards
a concentration of ownership, reducing some of the economic risks
involved in coalmining: unstable coal prices, inflated acquisitions,
geological difficulties, and large scale accidents. The emerging
companies were formed by the individuals and families who sank the
original collieries; but by the start of the 20th century, they were
no more than principal shareholders. These companies included the
Davies's Ocean Coal Company, Archibald Hood's
Glamorgan Coal Company
and David Davis & Son.
Population growth in the industrial period
During the early to mid-19th century the
Rhondda Valleys were
inhabited by small farming settlements. In 1841 the parish of
Ystradyfodwg, which would later constitute most of the Rhondda
Borough, was recorded as having a population of less than a thousand
inhabitants. With the discovery of massive deposits of high
quality, accessible coal during the mid-19th century the Rhondda
Valleys experienced a large influx of financial immigrants. The first
immigrants came to the lower
Rhondda villages of Dinas, Eirw and
Special sinkers came from Llansamlet, while the first miners
were from Penderyn,
Cwmgwrach and the neighbouring areas of
Llantrisant and Llanharan. The 1851 Census lists apprenticed
Temple Cloud in Somerset, some of the earliest English
immigrants. From a mere 951 in 1851, the population of
Ystradyfodwg parish grew to 16,914 in 1871 and by 1901 the Rhondda
Urban District had a population of 113,735. As more and more coal
mines were sunk the population grew to fill the jobs needed to extract
the coal. In the 1860s and 1870s the majority came from the
neighbouring Welsh counties, but with the improving rail
transportation and cheaper transport immigrants came from further
afield. The 1890s recorded workers from the South West, places such as
Gloucester and Devon, by the 1900s people came from North Wales, the
lead mining area of
Anglesey and the depressed slate-quarrying
villages of Bethesda,
Ffestiniog and Dinorwig. Although there are
records of Scottish workers, mainly centered on Archibald Hood's
Llwynypia mines, there were only small numbers of Irish, less than
1,000 by 1911. The low immigration levels of Irish workers is
often blamed on the forcible ejection of the Irish who lived in
Treherbert during three days of rioting in 1857. The population of
the valleys peaked in 1924 at over 167,900 inhabitants.
The mass influx of immigrants during this period were almost totally
English and Welsh; the most notable exception being an immigrant
nationality from outside the United Kingdom, the Italians. In the late
19th century a group of Italian immigrants, originally from the
northern area of Italy, centred on the town of Bardi, were forced out
of London by an over-saturation of the market. These immigrants set up
a network of cafés, ice cream parlours and fish & chip shops
Wales and these businesses became iconic landmarks in
the villages they served and they and subsequent generations became
Welsh Italians. Particular to the Rhondda, the shops ran by the
Italian immigrants, were known as 'Bracchis', believed to have been
named after Angelo Bracchi who opened the first café in the Rhondda
in the early 1890s. By the early 21st century several of the
original Bracchis were still open for business in the Rhondda.
Decline of coal and economic emigration (1914–1944)
See also: Great Depression in the United Kingdom
Commemorative statue to the "Mining Communities of Rhondda" Robert
At the start of the First World War, the economic prospects in South
Wales were good. Although production fell after the 1913 high, demand
was still strong enough to push the coalfields to their limit. In
February 1917 coal mining came under government control and demand
increased as the war intensified, ensuring a market for sufficient
supplies of coal. After the war the picture began to change.
Initially the British coal industry was buoyed by a series of
fortuitous economic events, such as the American coal miners' strike,
and by 1924, unemployment for miners was below the national average.
But the belief that the mining industry would experience a permanent
demand for coal was shattered by the Depression, and the Rhondda
experienced a massive upturn in unemployment. The situation
worsened in 1926 when, in response to coalowners reducing pay and
lengthening working hours of miners, the TUC called a general
strike in defence of the miners who had been locked out following A.
J. Cook's call "not a penny off the pay, not a minute on the day".
The TUC called off the strike just nine days later, without resolving
the miners' cut in wages. The miners disagreed and stayed on strike
for a further seven months until they were starved into surrendering.
Rhondda saw many schemes set up by miners to aid their plight,
such as soup kitchens and fêtes and 'joy' days to support them;
Maerdy the local miners set up a rationing system. By the
time the miners returned to work there was little desire for further
action through strikes, which saw a decline in the popularity of 'The
Fed' and greater emphasis on solving problems through political
and parliamentary means.
With the advent of the Great Depression, employment within the Rhondda
Valleys continued to fall. This in turn led to a decline in public and
social services, as people struggled to pay rates and rents. One
of the outcomes of a lack of funds was a fall in health provisions,
Rhondda lead to a lack of medical and nursing staff, a
failure to provide adequate sewage works and a rise in deaths from
tuberculosis. By 1932 the long-term unemployment figure in the
Rhondda was recorded at 63%, and in Ferndale the unemployment
figure for adult males rose as high as 72.85%.
With little other employment available in the Rhondda the only
solution appeared to be emigration. Between 1924 and 1939, 50,000
people left the Rhondda. During this time life was difficult for
communities built solely around a singular industry, especially as
most families were on a single wage.
The start of the
Second World War
Second World War saw a complete turnaround in the
employment figures, and by 1944 unemployment figures in the Rhondda
ranged from 1% in
Treorchy to 3.7% at Tonypandy.
Merthyr Colliery, now part of the
Rhondda Heritage Park
As with any heavy industry, the possibility of serious injury or death
was an everyday risk for the mine workers of the
Rhondda Valley. The
most notorious form of colliery disaster was the gas explosion,
caused by either a buildup of methane gas or coal dust. As the mines
became deeper and ventilation become more difficult to control the
risk increased. The worst single incident in the
Rhondda was the 1867
Ferndale disaster in which an explosion saw the loss of 178 lives.
However, the major disasters only accounted for roughly 20% of overall
fatalities, with individual accidents accounting for the bulk of
deaths. The list below shows mining disasters which saw the loss
of five or more lives during a single incident.
Mining disasters in the
Ferndale No. 1 Pit
Ferndale No. 1 Pit
Dinas Middle Colliery
Cambrian Colliery No.1
Cwmparc leading into
Treorchy in the
The coal mining industry of the
Rhondda was artificially buoyed
throughout the war years, though there were expectations of a return
to the pre-1939 industrial collapse after the end of the Second World
War. There was a sense of salvation when the government announced the
nationalisation of the British coal mines in 1947; but the following
decades saw a continual reduction in the output from the Rhondda
mines. From 15,000 miners in 1947,
Rhondda had just a single pit
within the valleys producing coal in 1984, located at Maerdy. The
decline in the mining of coal after World War II was a country wide
issue, but South
Rhondda were affected to a higher degree
than other areas of Britain. Oil had superseded coal as the fuel of
choice in many industries and there was political pressure influencing
the supply of oil. Of the few industries that were still reliant
on coal, the demand was for quality coals, especially coking coal
which was required by the steel industry. Fifty percent of Glamorgan
coal was now supplied to steelworks, with the second biggest
market being domestic heating, which the 'smokeless' coal of the
Rhondda became once again fashionable after the publication of the
Clean Air Act. These two markets now controlled the fate of the
mines in the Rhondda, and as demand fell from both sectors the
knock-on effect on the mining industry was further contraction. In
addition exports to other areas of Europe, traditionally France, Italy
and the Low Countries, experienced a massive decline; from 33 per cent
around the start of the 20th century to roughly 5 per cent by
The other major factors in the decline of coal were related to the
massive under-investment in
Rhondda mines over the past decades. Most
of the mines in the valleys were sunk between the 1850s and 1880s,
which, as a consequence, meant they were far smaller than most modern
Rhondda mines were in comparison antiquated, with
methods of ventilation, coal-preparation and power supply all of a
poor standard. In 1945 the British coal industry cut 72 per cent
of their output mechanically, whereas in South
Wales the figure was
just 22 per cent. The only way to ensure the financial survival of
the mines in the valleys was massive investment from the NCB, but the
'Plan for Coal' paper drawn up in 1950 was overly optimistic in the
future demand for coal, which was drastically reduced following an
industrial recession in 1956 and an increased availability of oil.
The British government and Welsh employment bodies funded and
subsidized external businesses to locate new ventures within the
valleys to replace the vanishing heavy industries. The first attempt
to bring in business not connected to the coal mining industry began
in the 1920s when David Jones, Town Clerk to the
Council, gained government support in attracting outside businesses to
the area. Companies included Alfred Polikoff's clothing
factory, Messers Jacob Beatus, manufacturing cardboard boxes and
Electrical and Musical Industries Ltd. Following the end of the
Second World War, 23 companies were set up in the
eighteen of them sponsored by the Board of Trade. Most companies had
periods of growth and collapse, notably Thorn
EMI in the 1970s and
Burberry in the 2000s.
Rhondda Heritage Park, a museum commemorating Rhondda's industrial
past, is situated just south of
Porth in the former Lewis Merthyr
Colliery in the small former mining village of Trehafod.
Statue to "Our Lady", the pilgrimage site at Penrhys
The commote of Glynrhondda was coterminous with the earlier parish of
Ystradyfodwg, but little is known of the Celtic saint Tyfodwg, or
Dyfodwg after whom the parish is named. Saint Tyfodwg is thought to
have existed around 600 AD, and although the parish bears his
name there are now no religious monuments or places of worship named
after him within the
Rhondda boundaries. There are two churches in
Wales outside the area named after the saint; Y Tre Sant in
Llantrisant and Saint Tyfodwg’s in Ogmore Vale.
The earliest known religious monument is the Catholic holy well in
Penrhys first mentioned in the 15th century, though it may have been a
place of pagan worship before this. This pilgrimage site was
identified as a 'manor' belonging to the Cistercian Abbey of
Llantarnam and was seen as one of the most important religious
sites in Wales, because of its Marian shrine. This holy site was
the main reason people would pass through the commote; it was even
thought to be the main reason why the first bridges were built over
the River Rhondda.
St Peter's Church, Pentre, 'The Cathedral of the Rhondda'
Middle Ages the
Parish church of
Ystradyfodwg near the bank
River Rhondda served the parishioners of the
while the families of the
Rhondda Fach attended Llanwynno church. The
inhabitants of the lower Rhondda, in the vicinity of
Porth and Dinas,
would need to trek to
Llantrisant to hear a service.
Despite the importance of the
Anglican Church in the lives of the
parishioners the growing strength of Nonconformity would make itself
felt in the 18th century. In 1738 the Reverend Henry Davies formed the
Independent Cause in Cymmer and five years later a "Ty Cwrdd" or
meeting house was opened there. Although attracting families from
as far away as
Merthyr and the parish of Eglwysilan, there were no
Nonconformist Causes until David Williams began preaching in the
Rhondda in 1784. In 1785 six people were baptised in the river near
Melin-yr-Om and in 1786 "Ynysfach" was opened in Ystrad and was "a new
house for religious services". This was the first
Rhondda and later became known as Nebo, Ystrad Rhondda.
Cymmer and Ynysfach chapel would be the forerunners in a new religious
movement in the valley for the next 150 years. In the early 19th
century there were only three places of worship in the Rhondda; the
parish church (now dedicated to St. John the Baptist), Cymmer and
Ynysfach chapels. This changed rapidly after 1855 as the coal mining
industry brought in an influx of population and by 1905 there were 151
chapels in the valley.
Chapel life was central to valley life throughout the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, but as with many communities throughout Britain,
the post wars saw a decline in regular membership. To some extent, as
the population declined the number of places of worship also declined,
but this was exacerbated in the
Rhondda by a process of linguistic
change which saw a severe decline in the number of Welsh speakers. As
a result, it was the
Welsh language chapels, in particular, that saw a
severe drop in membership from the 1950s, and the next half-century
saw many chapels close. By 1990 the
Rhondda had less than 50 places of
worship, and many of the buildings had been demolished.
Lodge banner depicting Unionist A.J. Cook
Political activism in the
Rhondda has a deep link with trade unions
and the socialist movement but was initially slow to develop. In the
Amalgamated Association of Miners won support, but was
destroyed by employer hostility. The Cambrian Miners' Association was
more successful and the creation of the South
Wales Miners' Federation
after the 1898 coal strike, gave the South
Wales miners a reputation
for militancy, in which the
Valley played its part. As
part of the Redistribution Act of 1885 the
Rhondda was granted its
first seat in Parliament which was won by the moderate trade union
leader William Abraham, who was notably the only working-class member
elected in Wales.
Socialism and syndicalism ideals grew throughout
the 20th century and industrial struggle reached a crescendo in the
Tonypandy Riots. A year later
Tonypandy saw the
publication of Noah Ablett's pamphlet "The Miners' Next Step".
Tonypandy was at the centre of further public disorder when, on 11
June 1936 at Dewinton Field, a large group of people gathered to
confront the open-air address by Tommy Moran, propaganda officer of
the British Union of Fascists. The crowd, recorded as between 2,000
and 6,000 strong, turned violent and police were forced to protect
Moran's Blackshirt bodyguard. Seven local people were arrested.
Rhondda also has a strong history of communist sympathy, with the
Rhondda Socialist Society being a key element in the coalition that
founded the Communist Party of Great Britain. By 1936 there were
seven Communists on the
Rhondda Urban District Council and was
publishing its own Communist newspaper The Vanguard. In the 1930s
Maerdy became such a hotspot of Communist support it was known as
"Little Moscow" producing left wing activists such as Merthyr
born Arthur Horner and Marxist writer Lewis Jones. The Rhondda
miners were also active in socialist activities outside the valleys.
In the 1920s and 1930s the
Rhondda and the surrounding valleys
provided the principal support of some of the largest hunger marches,
while in 1936 more
Rhondda Federation members were serving in Spain as
part of the
International Brigades than the total number of volunteers
from all the English coalfields.
Annie Powell became Wales' only communist
Culture and recreation
Role of women
With an economy fundamentally dependent upon a single industry, there
was a scarcity of paid employment for women in Rhondda's coalmining
heyday. The Encyclopaedia of
Wales notes that the image of the Welsh
Mam, a wife and mother constantly at home and exalted as the queen of
the household, was essentially a
Rhondda creation. However the
Rhondda did produce the suffragette and social reformer Elizabeth
Andrews, one of only nine women among a list of a hundred greatest
Welsh heroes chosen by ballot in 2004.
Social amenities were rudimentary even before the formation of the
Rhondda Urban District Council in 1897. Due to the geographic layout
of the valleys, land was a scarce resource, and therefore leisure
activities that took up little space, time and money were sought. This
saw the popularity of activities such as greyhound races,
cockfighting, open air handball courts (often attached to a public
house), boxing booths, foot racing and rugby union.
Dai 'Tarw' Jones
During the mid-19th century the influx of immigrants from the older
mining towns, such as
Aberdare and Merthyr, brought with them the game
of rugby. At
Treherbert it took a five-month lockout in 1875 to see
the game establish itself at the various collieries where the
Amalgamated Association of Miners held their meetings. In 1877
Penygraig Rugby Football Club was formed, followed by
1879, Ferndale in 1882,
Treorchy in 1886 and
Tylorstown in 1903. In
the late 19th and early 20th century, the '
Rhondda forward' was a key
player in many
Wales teams. The heavy industrial worker was a
prime aggressive attack figure in early Welsh packs, typified by the
likes of Treherbert's Dai 'Tarw' (bull) Jones who at 6-foot
1 inch (185.5 cm) and 16 stone (100 kg) in weight
was seen as an animal of a man.
Due to the lack of playing fields in the valleys, many rugby teams
would share grounds, travel every week to away grounds or even play on
inappropriate (e.g. sloping) pitches. The valley clubs also had no
clubhouses, with most teams meeting, and changing, in the closest
local public house. Many more clubs, built around colliery and
pub teams, appeared and disbanded but many of the clubs survive to
Due to the dominance of rugby union there have been few football teams
of note in the history of the
Rhondda Valleys. Several teams were
formed around the end of the 19th century, but most folded during the
Cwmparc F.C. in 1926 and Mid-
1928. The most successful club from the area is Ton
The temperance movement, which had been absorbed into the moralistic
system of the
Nonconformist chapels, caused a shift in social
attitudes in the mid- to late-19th- and early-20th century Rhondda.
Alcohol was looked down upon and so were the increasingly violent
sports such as rugby, so young men looked for different and more
acceptable pastimes. Voice choirs were a natural progression from
chapel society, and brass bands would eventually gain acceptance by
Male voice choirs
A phenomenon of Welsh industrial communities was the appearance of
male voice choirs, believed to have been formed from glee clubs. The
Rhondda produced several choirs of note, including the
Society, who represented
Wales at the World Fair eisteddfod. The
Treorchy Male Voice Choir also enjoyed considerable success at
eisteddfodau and in 1895, the original Treorky Male Choir sang before
Queen Victoria. Many choirs still exist today including the
Cambrian Male voice choir, situated in Tonypandy.
In the mid-19th century brass bands had a poor relationship with the
Nonconformist chapels, mainly due to the heavy social drinking that
came hand in hand with being a member of a band. This changed
towards the end of the 19th century, and as well as becoming more
respectable, many bands had actually joined the temperance movement.
Rhondda brass bands who both started as temperance bands are the
Cory Band from Ton Pentre, who started life as Ton Temperance in
1884; and the Parc and Dare Band, formerly the
Cwmparc Drum and
Fife Temperance Band. The oldest brass band in
Rhondda is the
Merthyr Band, formerly Cymmer Colliery Band, who were founded as
the Cymmer Military Band in or before 1876
As the temperance movement faded the bands found new benefactors in
the colliery owners, and many bands took on the names of specific
collieries. A memorable image of the connection between the collieries
and brass bands came in 1985, when the
Maerdy miners were filmed
returning to work after the miners' strike, marching behind the
Culture and nationality
For the majority of its history the area now recognised as the Rhondda
Valley was an exclusively Welsh speaking area. It was only in the
early 20th century that English began to supplant Welsh as the first
language of social intercourse. In 1803, English historian
Benjamin Heath Malkin
Benjamin Heath Malkin mentioned while travelling through Ystradyfodwg,
that he had only met one person with whom he could talk, and then with
the help of an interpreter. This situation was repeated with John
George Wood, who on his visit to the area complained of the
awkwardness of understanding the particular dialects and idioms used
by the native speakers, which were on times difficult for other Welsh
speakers to understand. This dialect was once called 'tafodiaith
gwŷr y Gloran' ('the dialect of the men of Gloran').
As the industrialisation of the valleys began there was little shift
in the use of Welsh as a first language. Initial immigrants were Welsh
and it was not until the 1900s that English workers began settling in
any great numbers, but it was not these new workers who changed the
language; the erosion of Welsh had already begun in the 1860s in the
school classrooms. The educational philosophy accepted by
schoolmasters and governmental administrators was that English was the
language of scholars, and that Welsh was a barrier to moral and
commercial prosperity. In 1901 35.4% of
Rhondda workers spoke
only English but by 1911 this had risen to 43.1%, while Welsh speaking
monoglots had dropped from 11.4% to 4.4% in the same period.
The true Anglicization of the
Rhondda Valleys took place from 1900 to
1950. Improved transport and communications facilitated the spread of
new cultural influences, along with dealings with outside companies
with no understanding of Welsh, trade union meetings held in English,
the coming of radio, cinema and then television and cheap English
newspapers and paperback books; all were factors in the absorption of
the English language.
Though the population of the
Rhondda was embracing English as its
first language, during the 1940s a literary and intellectual movement
formed in the
Rhondda that would produce an influential group of Welsh
language writers. Formed during the
Second World War
Second World War by Egyptologist
J. Gwyn Griffiths
J. Gwyn Griffiths and his German wife Käte Bosse-Griffiths, the group
was known as the Cadwgan Circle (Cylch Cadwgan), and met at the
Griffiths' house in Pentre. The Welsh writers who made up the movement
included Pennar Davies, Rhydwen Williams,
James Kitchener Davies and
Gareth Alban Davies.
Treorchy Gorsedd Stones
Rhondda has hosted the National
Eisteddfod on only one occasion,
in 1928 at Treorchy. The
Gorsedd stones that were placed to
commemorate the event still stand on the Maindy hillside overlooking
Treorchy and Cwmparc. In 1947
Treorchy held the Urdd National
Eisteddfod for children and young adults.
Rhondda had a strong tradition of communal activity, exemplified by
workmen's halls, miners' institutes and trade unions. Miners
began to contribute to the building and running of institutes - such
Parc and Dare Hall
Parc and Dare Hall in
Treorchy – from the 1890s onwards, and
they were centres of both entertainment and self-improvement with
billiards halls, libraries and reading rooms.
In 1884 the
Valley was served by local newspaper the Rhondda
Chronicle which became the
Rhondda Gazette and General Advertiser
Rhondda Fach and Ogmore Valleys in 1891. In 1899, the Rhondda
Valley was served by the
Rhondda Weekly Post while
Rhondda Post was also in circulation in 1898.
Rhondda Leader one of the more familiar local papers of the
region, was first published in 1899 and nine years later became
Rhondda Leader, Maesteg, Garw and Ogmore Telegraph. The Porth
Gazette was published from 1900 to 1944 and during that period
there was a newspaper called the
was in circulation from 1913 to 1919 while the
Rhondda Clarion was
available in the late 1930s.
Porth Gazette and
Rhondda Leader was published from 1944 to 1967
while also published in
Pontypridd during those years was the Rhondda
Fach Leader and Gazette. In more recent years the
Rhondda Leader and
Llantrisant Observer combined before the Rhondda
Leader became a separate edition once more.
In August 1952 the BBC transmitter at Wenvoe began broadcasting
Rhondda to receive television pictures for the first
time. This was followed in January 1958 with Commercial
Television provided by Television
Wales and the West (TWW), giving the
viewers of the
Rhondda a choice of two television channels.
A4061 Bwlch-y-Clawdd road was built in 1928. It connected the
Abergwynfi and made a lasting impression on
the landscape to be featured in National Geographic.
Due to the geological layout of the
Rhondda Valley, transport links
are fairly restrictive. The original road layout followed the valleys
with few connections between them. In the 1920s, a major unemployment
relief programme for out of work miners was created to build mountain
roads connecting communities together. The mountain roads had a
lasting effect and transformed the valleys from being dead-end
communities. In the late 20th and early 21st century, new
road projects such as the
Rhondda by-pass have been created out of
former railway lines.
Two main roads service the area, the
A4058 runs through the Rhondda
Fawr and the A4233 services the
Rhondda Fach. The
A4058 starts at
Pontypridd runs through
Porth before ending at Treorchy, where it
A4061 to Hirwaun. The A4233 begins outside
Tonyrefail, heading north through
Porth and through the
to Maerdy, where the road eventually links up with the
Aberdare. Two other A roads service the area; the
A4119 is a relief
road, known as the
Tonypandy Bypass and the other is the
Treorchy to the
Ogmore Vale before reaching Bridgend.
There is a single rail link to the Rhondda, the
Rhondda Line, based
around the old
Taff Vale Railway
Taff Vale Railway which serviced both the
Rhondda Fawr. The
Rhondda Line runs through the
Cardiff Central. The railway stations that once
Rhondda Fach were all closed after the Beeching Axe. The
railway line serves ten
Rhondda stations with the villages not
directly linked connected through bus services.
British Rail reopened some of the closed stations such as Ystrad
Rhondda railway station in 1986.
See also: Category:People from Rhondda
Due to the scarcity of inhabitants in the
Rhondda prior to
industrialisation, there are few residents of note before the valleys
became a coal mining area. The earliest individuals to come to the
fore were linked with the coal industry and the people; physical men
who found a way out of the
Rhondda through sport; charismatic orators
who led the miners through unions or political and religious leaders
who tended to the deeply religious chapel going public.
Boxer, Jimmy Wilde
The two main sports with which the
Rhondda appeared to produce quality
participants were rugby union and boxing. One of the first true rugby
stars to come from the
Rhondda was Willie Llewellyn, who not only
gained 20 caps for
Wales scoring 48 points, but was also the first
Rhondda born member of the British Lions. Such was Llewellyn's fame
that during the
Tonypandy Riots, his pharmacy was left unscathed by
the crowds due to his past sporting duties. Many players came through
Rhondda to gain international duty, and after the split between
amateur rugby union and the professional Northern League, many were
also tempted to the North of England to earn a wage for their
abilities. Amongst the new league players was Jack Rhapps, Aberaman
born, but living in the
Rhondda when he 'Went North', eventually
becoming the world's first dual-code international rugby player.
The most famous rugby player from the
Rhondda of the later half of the
20th century is Cliff Morgan. Morgan was born in Trebanog, and gained
29 caps for Wales, four for the British Lions and was one of the
inaugural inductees of the International Rugby Hall of Fame. Another
notable player is
Billy Cleaver from Treorchy, a member of the 1950
Grand Slam winning team.
During the 20th century The
Rhondda also supplied a steady stream of
championship boxers. Percy Jones was not only the first World Champion
from the Rhondda, but was the first Welshman to hold a World Title
when he won the Flyweight belt in 1914. After Jones came the Rhondda's
most notable boxer,
Jimmy Wilde also known as the "Mighty Atom", who
took the IBU world flyweight title in 1916. British Champions from the
Tommy Farr who held the British and Empire heavyweight
Llew Edwards who took the British featherweight title.
Although association football was not as popular as rugby in the
Rhondda in the early 20th century, after the 1920s several notable
players had emerged from the area. Two of the most important players
both came from the village of Ton Pentre; Jimmy Murphy was capped 15
times for Wales, and in 1958 managed both the Welsh national team and
Manchester United. Roy Paul, also from Ton Pentre, led Manchester City
to two successive
FA Cup finals in 1955 and 1956 and gained 33 Welsh
caps. Alan Curtis, who was best known for representing Swansea City
Cardiff City, came from the neighbouring village of Pentre, and in
an 11-year international career won 35 caps for
Wales scoring 6 goals.
Rhondda Valleys have also produced two world class darts players.
In 1975 Alan Evans from Ferndale won the Winmau World Masters, a feat
repeated in 1994 by
Richie Burnett from Cwmparc. Burnett surpassed
Evans when he also became BDO World Darts Champion winning the
tournament in 1995.
Leanne Wood, from Penygraig
Despite neither being born in the Rhondda, the two most notable
political figures to emerge from the area are William Abraham, known
as Mabon, and George Thomas, Viscount Tonypandy. Abraham, best known
as a trade unionist was the first Member of Parliament of the Rhondda
and the leader of the South
Wales Miners' Federation. A strong
negotiator in the early years of valleys' unionism, as a moderate he
lost ground to more radical leaders in his later years. Thomas was the
born in Port Talbot but raised in
Trealaw near Tonypandy. He was a
Member of Parliament for
Cardiff for 38 years and Speaker of the House
of Commons (1976–1983). On his retirement from politics he was made
Leanne Wood, current leader of
Plaid Cymru is from the Rhondda.
Film and television
The most well known actors to have been born in the
Rhondda are Sir
Stanley Baker and brothers Donald and Glyn Houston. Baker was born in
Ferndale and starred in films such as The Cruel Sea (1953) and Richard
III (1955), though it was as actor/producer of the 1964 film Zulu that
his legacy endures. The Houston brothers were both born in
Tonypandy, with Donald gaining better success as a film actor, with
memorable roles in The Blue Lagoon (1949) and Ealing's Dance Hall
Glyn Houston acted primarily in British B-Movies, and was
better known as a television actor.
Of the Cadwgan Circle, the most notable of their number is Rhydwen
Williams, the winner of the
Eisteddfod Crown on two occasions who used
the landscape of the industrial valleys as a basis for much of his
work. Writing in the
English language Peter George was born in
Treorchy and is best known as the Oscar nominated screenwriter of Dr.
Strangelove, based on his book Red Alert. Reflecting the lives of the
residents of the Rhondda, both Gwyn Thomas and
Ron Berry brought a
realism to the industrial valleys which was missing in the more
rose-tinted writings of Richard Llewellyn.
The area has not produced as notable a group of visual artists as it
has writers, though in the 1950s a small group of students, brought
together through a daily commute by train to the
Cardiff College of
Art, came to prominence and are known as the '
Although they did not set up a school or have a manifesto; the group,
which included Charles Burton, Ceri Barclay, Glyn Morgan, Thomas
Hughes, Gwyn Evans, Nigel Flower, David Mainwaring,
Ernest Zobole and
Robert Thomas, were an important artistic movement in 20th-century
The most notable members of the group include Ernest Zobole, a painter
from Ystrad, whose expressionist work was deeply rooted in the
juxtaposition of the industrialised buildings of the valleys set
against the green hills that surround them. Also from the Rhondda
Fawr was sculptor Robert Thomas; born in Cwmparc, his heavy cast
statues have become icons of contemporary Wales, with many of his
works publicly displayed in Cardiff.
Science and social science
In sciences and social sciences the
Rhondda has provided important
academics within the aspects of
Wales and on the World stage. Donald
Davies, born in
Treorchy in 1924 was the co-inventor of packet
switching, a process which enabled the exchange of information between
computers, a feature which enabled the Internet.
In the social sciences, the
Rhondda has produced Welsh historian John
Davies, an important voice on Welsh affairs, who was one of the most
recognised faces and voices of 21st century Welsh history, and was
also one of the main authors of The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of
Rhondda has also produced J. Gwyn Griffiths, an eminent
Egyptologist, who was also a member of the Cadwgan Circle. Griffiths
and his wife
Käte Bosse-Griffiths were influential writers and
curators in the history of Egyptian lore.
^ The Encyclopedia of
Wales (2008) does not give the area of the
Rhondda Valley, but gives the hectares for each of the 16 communities
as of 2001. Clydach (487 ha), Cymmer (355 ha), Ferndale (380 ha),
Maerdy (1064 ha),
Pentre (581 ha),
Porth (370 ha),
Trealaw (286 ha),
Treherbert (2156 ha),
Treorchy (1330 ha),
Tylorstown (590 ha),
Ynyshir (441 ha), Ystrad (714 ha). Total 9994 ha
^ "2001 Census of Population" (PDF). National Assembly of Wales. April
2003. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
^ "Key Statistics for urban areas in England and Wales" (PDF).
National Assembly of Wales. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
^ a b c Hopkins (1975), p. 222
^ Gwefen Cymru-Catalonia Kimkat.org
Rhondda Urban District Council records". Archives Network Wales.
Retrieved 19 February 2009.
^ Davis (1989), p. 5
^ a b Davis (1989), p. 7
^ Williams, Glanmor, ed. (1984).
Glamorgan County History, Volume II,
Early Glamorgan: pre-history and early history. Cardiff: Glamorgan
History Trust. p. 57. ISBN 0-904730-04-2.
^ Davis (1989), p. 11
^ a b Davis (1989), p. 12
^ Davis (1989), p. 9
^ a b Davis (1989), p. 14
^ Davis (1989), p. 15
^ Davis (1989), p. 16
^ Nash-Williams, V.E. (1959). The Roman frontier in Wales. Cardiff:
^ Davis (1989), p. 17
^ Davis, Wendy (1982).
Wales in the
Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages (Studies in the
Early History of Britain), Leicester University Press.
ISBN 978-0-7185-1235-4, p. 102
^ Rees, William (1951). An Historical Atlas of
Wales from Early to
Modern Times; Faber & Faber ISBN 0-571-09976-9
^ a b Davis (1989), p. 18
^ Davis (1989), p. 19
^ Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments (in Wales),
Glamorgan Inventories, Vol 3, part 2
^ Pugh, T.B. (1971).
Glamorgan County History, Volume III, The Middle
Marcher Lordships of
Morgannwg and Gower and
Kilvey from the Norman Conquest to the Act of Union of England and
Wales. University of
Wales Press. p. 39.
^ a b c d e f g Davies (2008), p. 746
^ Pugh, T.B. (1971).
Glamorgan County History, Volume III, The Middle
Marcher Lordships of
Morgannwg and Gower and
Kilvey from the Norman Conquest to the Act of Union of England and
Wales. University of
Wales Press. p. 47.
^ Davis (1989), p. 22
^ Aileen Fox (1939). Early Welsh Homesteads on Gelligaer Common,
Glamorgan. Excavations in 1938. Glamorganshire. 94. Archaeologia
Cambrensis. pp. 163–199.
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Rhondda Cynon Taf Library Service, Digital Archive Picture of the
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Villages and towns of the