Pontypridd: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°36′09″N 3°20′32″W / 51.60252°N 3.34215°W / 51.60252; -3.34215

Pontypridd is located in Wales2

 Pontypridd shown within Wales
Population 29,781 
OS grid reference ST075895
Principal area Rhondda Cynon Taf
Ceremonial county Mid Glamorgan
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district CF37
Dialling code 01443
Police South Wales
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Pontypridd
Welsh Assembly Pontypridd,
South Wales Central Electoral Region
List of places: UK • Wales • Rhondda Cynon Taf

Pontypridd (English pronunciation: /pɒntəˈpriːð/) is both a community and a principal town of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales and is situated 12 miles/19 km north of the Welsh capital city of Cardiff. Pontypridd is often abbreviated "Ponty" by local residents. Pontypridd comprises the electoral wards of Cilfynydd, Glyncoch, Graig, Hawthorn, Pontypridd Town, 'Rhondda', Rhydyfelin Central/Ilan (Rhydfelen), Trallwng (Trallwn) and Treforest (Trefforest).

The town sits at the junction of the Rhondda and Taff / Cynon valleys, where the River Rhondda flows into the Taff immediately south of the town at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. The community of Pontypridd is the second largest in Wales, just behind Barry.[1] Pontypridd community had a population of 29,781 according to census figures gathered in 2001.[2] while Pontypridd town itself was recorded as having a population of 2,919 also as of 2001.[3]

Pontypridd community is made up of the town of Pontypridd and its immediate suburbs, settlements and villages. These are -



The name Pontypridd is from "Pont-y-tŷ-pridd" the Welsh for "bridge by the earthen house", a reference to a succession of wooden bridges that formerly spanned the River Taff at this point. Pontypridd is, however, more famous for the Old Bridge a stone bridge across the River Taff built in 1756 by William Edwards. This bridge was the third attempted by Edwards, and at the time of its construction was the longest single-span stone arch bridge in the world. Rising 35 feet (11 m) above the level of the river, the bridge is a perfect segment of a circle, the chord of which is 140 feet (43 m). Notable features are three holes of differing diameters through each end of the bridge. The purpose of these was to reduce the weight of the bridge, although their aesthetically pleasing nature is a bonus. The utility of the bridge was debatable, however – the steepness of the design making it difficult to get horses and carts across it – and in 1857 a new bridge, the Victoria Bridge, paid for by public subscription, was built adjacent to the old one. Pontypridd was known as Newbridge from shortly after the construction of the Old Bridge until the 1860s.

Old Bridge, dating from 1756

The history of Pontypridd is closely tied to the coal and iron industries, prior to the developments of these Pontypridd was largely a rural backwater comprising of a few farmsteads, with Treforest initially becoming the main urban settlement in the area. Sited as it is at the junction of the three valleys, it became an important location for the transportation of coal from the Rhondda and iron from Merthyr Tydfil, first via the Glamorganshire Canal and later via the Taff Vale Railway, to the ports at Cardiff, Barry and to Newport. Because of its role in transporting coal cargo, its railway platform is thought to have once been the longest in the world during its heyday.[4] Pontypridd was in the second half of the 19th century a hive of industry, and was once nicknamed the ‘Wild West’.[5] There were several collieries within the Pontypridd area itself, including –

  • Albion Colliery, Cilfynydd
  • Bodwenarth Colliery, Pontsionnorton
  • Daren Ddu Colliery, Graigwen & Glyncoch
  • Dynea Colliery Rhydyfelen
  • Gelli-whion Colliery, Graig
  • Great Western/Gyfeillion Colliery, Hopkinstown
  • Lan Colliery, Hopkinstown
  • Newbridge Colliery, Graig
  • Pen-y-rhiw Colliery, Graig
  • Pontypridd/Maritime Collieries, Graig & Maesycoed
  • Pwllgwaun Colliery/'Dan's Muck Hole', Pwllgwaun
  • Red Ash Colliery, Cilfynydd
  • Ty-Mawr Colliery, Hopkinstown & Pantygraigwen
  • Typica Colliery, Hopkinstown & Pantygraigwen and
  • Victoria Colliery, Maesycoed
Pontypridd during an early 1910s coal strike

...not to mention countless coal levels and trial shafts dug into the hill sides overlooking the town from Cilfynydd, Graig, Graigwen and Hafod. Infamously, the Albion Colliery in the village of Cilfynydd in 1894 was the site historically of one of the worst explosions within the South Wales coalfield, with the death of 290 colliers (see Keir Hardie).

Other instrumental industries in Pontypridd were the - Brown Lenox/Newbridge Chain & Anchor Works south east of the town, and Crawshay’s Forest Iron, Steel & Tin Plate Works and the Taff Vale Iron Works, both in Treforest near the now University of Glamorgan. The town is also home to a large hospital, Dewi Sant Hospital. The Welsh national anthemHen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ (Land of my Fathers) was composed in Pontypridd by local poets/musicians Evan James and James James. Pontypridd was also home to the eccentric Dr. William Price who performed the first modern cremation.

Transport Links

Pontypridd came into becoming because of transport, being on the drovers route from the south Wales coast and the Bristol Channel, to Merthyr and onwards into the hills of Brecon. Although initial expansion in the valleys occurred at Treforest due to the slower speed of the River Taff at that point, the establishment of better bridge building meant a natural flow of power to Pontypridd.



The establishment of Pontypridd over Treforest was finally confirmed with the building of the Glamorganshire Canal to serve the coal mines of the Rhondda valley. However, the volumes of coal extraction soon brought about the construction of the Taff Vale Railway, which, at peak, resulted in two trains alighting at Pontypridd railway station every minute. The station is a long single island, at one point the worlds longest platform, a reflection of both the narrow available geography of the steep valley side, as well as the need to accommodate many converging railways lines on what became the nineteenth-century hub of the valleys. Due to the restrictive geography, only parcels and mail were handled at Pontypridd, while heavy freight was handled at Treforest. The station today as operated by Arriva Trains Wales is reflective of reduced coal mining activity, with one up (valley) and one down platform, and only one passing loop.


A tram service began on March 6th, 1905, running from Cilfynydd through Pontypridd to Treforest. It was replaced on September 18th 1930 by trolleybuses, which today are replaced by buses which replicate an almost exact route. Today bus services are principally provided by Veolia Transport Cymru (on the local town services and longer distance routes to Cardiff, Beddau, Talbot Green and Aberdare) and Stagecoach in South Wales (on long distance routes to Cardiff, Rhondda, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly etc).

Entertainment and social history



  • Pontypridd has its very own community radio station GTFM, which is in partnership with the University of Glamorgan. It has local news, information and music from the last four decades, and is run by a voluntary management committee.
  • The Pontypridd and Llantrisant Observer[1] is the local newspaper for the town.


  • Pontypridd hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1893.
  • Tom Jones, born on 7 June 1940 at 57, Kingsland Terrace, Treforest and the World-famous son of Pontypridd frequently references his hometown in interviews[8] [9]. A 65th birthday concert was held at the town's Ynysangharad Park at which he headlined.
  • Pontypridd is home to rock icons, Lostprophets - an internationally-acclaimed group.

Cultural References

  • The name of the fictional town of Pontypandy, in which children's television programme Fireman Sam is situated, is a portmanteau of Pontypridd and Tonypandy.[10]
  • The Welsh TV show Belonging was shot in Pontypridd
  • The BBC hit sci-fi shows Doctor Who and Torchwood have filmed at various location around Pontypridd and nearby, such as at the Market Tavern pub in Market Street and the Lido in Ynysangharad Park. Other locations include at - Treforest, Hawthorn, Graigwen, Upper Boat, Trallwng, Ynysybwl and others.


Pontypridd is twinned with Nürtingen, Esslingen, south Germany

Initial contact between the two communities occurred in 1965 with a visit by Côr Meibion Pontypridd Welsh male voice Choir to visit a choir called called "Liederkranz" based in the Oberensingen area of Nürtingen. The Liederkranz returned the visit to Pontypridd one year later. On the occasion of the next visit of Côr Meibion to Nürtingen the partnership between the two communities was formally established - on 26 July 1968. Since then reciprocal visits between the two choirs has taken place on a regular basis. It was as a result of this successful partnership that Pontypridd Urban District Council decided to have a formal Twinning link at a civic level and to join in partnership with Nürtingen. In July 1968 an agreement was signed by John Cheesman J.P., mayor of Pontypridd and Karl Gonser mayor of Nürtingen. This resulted in the first twinning link in Rhondda Cynon Taf and the longest established twinning links with Nürtingen.

Notable people from Pontypridd


  • Tobin, Patrick F. (1991). The Bridge and the Song, Some chapters in the story of Pontypridd. Bridgend: Mid Glamorgan County Libraries. ISBN 1872430058. 


See also

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Pontypridd is a town in Glamorgan. It sits at the confluence of the Taff and Rhondda rivers. The name Pontypridd was adopted in 1856 at the behest of Mr Charles Bassett who was the founder member of the Pontypridd Market Company. Up until that time the town had been known as Newbridge.

Taff St
Taff St

The name Pontypridd is from "Pont-y-tŷ-pridd" the Welsh for "bridge by the earthen house", a reference to a succession of wooden bridges that formerly spanned the River Taff at this point and a mud brick dwelling at the crossing. The Maltster’s Arms Hotel now stands on what is believed to be the site of the original earthen house.

The current bridge (NB not the Victoria Road Bridge) is now referred to as the Old Bridge and is the symbol of Pontypridd. William Edwards, builder and minister of Groes Wen Chapel, constructed it in 1756. He took a contract to build a bridge that would provide vehicle access across the Taff and would last for seven (7) years. Success was not easy and his first two attempts in 1746 and 1751 both ended in failure. His third design however, initiated a major engineering advance with the introduction of six large round openings, three each side, that effectively reduced the overall weight of the structure, giving the bridge great strength. The bridge was a success and at the time of its construction (1756) its 43-metre span probably made it the largest single span bridge in Europe and possibly the world. Although no modern traffic flows across the Old Bridge it is still available to pedestrians and is in good condition. Mr Edwards greatly exceeded his seven-year warranty.

The twin valleys of Rhondda Fach (small) and Rhondda Fawr (big) commence at Pontypridd and extend some sixteen miles (each) to the northwest of the town. The valleys are steep and narrow never more than a mile wide and were the powerhouse of the South Wales coal industry during the 19th and 20th century. Their cultural and industrial character are the essence of everything the region is known for and stands for. Today the mines are gone and rivers run clean, although their banks still yield quantities of small coal. The slag heaps and local hills have been grassed and planted with new forests. These are now the domain of tourists, Hikers and Hill walkers who enjoy valley views and the friendship readily available in the local pubs.

Tourism is now a serious business.

To the north of Pontypridd the upper valleys of the river Taff reach into another historic industrial heartland, that of Merthyr, Hirwaun and Dowlais. Here the ironmasters of the 19th century produced Pig iron at the great Cyfartha iron works and shipped it via the Glamorganshire canal to the Chain and Tinplate works of Pontypridd, Treforest and the port of Cardiff. Pontypridd being at the junction of these industrial valleys became a major transportation centre for road, rail and water traffic to the ports of Cardiff, and Barry becoming prosperous and growing quickly during this period.

Because of its location Pontypridd was the great meeting place. Valleys converged here, so particularly on Saturdays did the people of the valleys. The market company founded by Charles Bassett became an institution on Saturdays and Wednesdays filling the town with people. These markets still function today however the volume of customers is greatly diminished as the motorcar and modern road systems now allow many potential customers to bypass the town on the way to Cardiff and beyond.

Pontypridd’s location is still a valuable resource. The town is ideally placed to provide a cost effective centre for tourists who wish to explore the industrial heritage of the area, the nearby Brecon Beacons National Park, the beautiful vale of Glamorgan and it’s coastal features or the Castle and museums of Cardiff and St Fagans.

Get in

By car

Pontypridd is easily accessible by car from Cardiff. Take the A470 north off from the M4.

By train

Train services run from Cardiff Queens street and Cardiff Central stations. Journey time is about 20 minutes from either station.

Get around

Pontypridd is easily explored by foot.


William Edwards “Old Bridge”. Walk to the top of the arch and enjoy the views to the north, with the 677 ft Darran escarpment on the left, and south to the confluence with the Rhondda River and the bulk of the Craig mountain as backdrop to the town.

A short distance from the “Old Bridge” stands the Tabernacle chapel. Built in the late 19th century, it no longer functions as a church but is now the “Historical and Cultural” museum. This museum although small is well worth a visit as it contains many fascinating exhibits concerning the industrial and political past of Pontypridd and the surrounding area. .

Visit Ynysangharad Park and the memorial to Evan James and James James the father and son creators of the Welsh National Anthem - Mae hen Wlad fy Nhadau ( Land of my fathers). Music by James words by his father Evan. The sculpture was created by Sir William Goscombe John and unveiled by Lord Treowen on 23 July 1930.


Take the Rhondda road (A4058) to Trehafod a few miles out of Pontypridd to visit the Rhondda Heritage Park – colliery museum. Explore this locally inspired exhibition created when the Lewis Merthyr Pit closed in 1983. All features of a working mine are available for the visitor’s pleasure – the Lamp room, Fan house, winding engine room etc.. Take the simulated “Trip underground” and experience the visual and sound effects that recreate the living and dying conditions of mineworkers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The roll call of mining deaths and a narration on the social costs of mining by the ex labour leader Neil Kinnock are very moving.

Open 10am to 6pm Daily April –September. Tuesday-Sunday October - March Last admission 4:30pm Admission Price Approx $12

Take a walk on the high side to the Pontypridd Common. This is easily located – look for the obelisk of the 1st world war memorial, which is clearly visible from everywhere in town. The common provides an excellent view of the town and valley and has an intriguing set of Celtic standing stones with the large "Rocking Stone" at its centre. A gravestone marking Philip Thomas's place of burial today stands in Glyntaff Cemetery. However, a gravestone intended for him also stands on Pontypridd Common. The story behind the stone that overlooks his workplace on the common has become part of the folklore history of Pontypridd.

Escape from the valley and walk the hills around the town. Map sheet 154 of the Ordinance Survey One inch Map series will be very useful if you wish to do this. Go east and walk the lanes and fields to the 1,254 ft top of Mynedd Eglwysilan or Mynedd Meio at 1054ft. The hills here are treeless and on clear days provide views to the Bristol Channel some 17 miles to the south.

Drive northwest on A4058 and A4061 for about 10 miles over the top of Mynedd Rhigos at the northern end of the Rhondda valley. You will be rewarded with sone of the best scenic views of south Wales , an unrivalled panorama of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. The road was built by welsh miners, who were out of work because of industrial disputes in the 1930’s. It reaches a height of 1600 ft at Craig-y-Llyn where a viewing point and car park are provided. From here a great sweep of escarpment towers over the Llyn Fawr Reservoir and Llyn Fach.

Take the A470 north for 3 miles then take A472 for 2 more miles to visit the time capsule of Llancaiach Fawr Manor. Be transported back to the 17th century in a most imaginative and creative way. The costumed servants of the manor will show you around the manor and explain all aspects of their 1640 lifestyle. Be prepared to get involved, to be questioned and to be given advice on how to load and fire a musket. Take the evening ghost tour –If you dare !!


John Hughes is an artist who specialises in producing ceramic figurines of famous and infamous people and other Celtic subjects . His most popular items are ceramic caricatures of welsh rugby players. His studio and shop are a short way south of Pontypridd in an old Public house on” Broadway”. His figurines have become collector’s items and are known as “Grogs” Buy your “Grogs” on Broadway.


Numerous fish & chips, Indian, and other restaurants are found throughout the town, and the Princess Café in Taff St is a favourite place for coffee with home made tarts, cakes and sticky buns.

Inside the town markets; accessed from “Market Square” is a section known locally as “The Farmers Market” where locally produced welsh specialties can be obtained such as Faggots and peas, Laverbread, and Caerphilly cheese.


A wide range of accommodation is available in the area. Eg.

The Heritage Park Hotel - 44 rooms , 3 Star Double Room Price guide $220 /night Coed Cae Road Trehavod Pontypridd Mid Glam CF37 2NP

Tyn-y-wern 3 Star Bed & Breakfast Double Room Price guide $80 - $87 per night Ynysybwl Pontypridd Mid Glam CF37 3LY Tel: +44 (0) 1443 790 551 Http://www.tyn-y-wern.co.uk

Llechwen Hall Hotel 3 Star Double Room Price guide $150 - $187 per night Llanfabon Cilfynydd Mid Glam CF37 4HP Tel: +44 (0) 1443 742050 Fax: +44 (0) 1443 742189


Pontypridd Tourist Information Centre Pontypridd Museum The Old Bridge, Pontypridd Mid Glamorgan CF37 4PE Tel: +44 (0) 1685 379884 Fax: +44 (0) 1685 350043

Bwrdd Croeso Cymru (Wales Tourist Board) Brunel House 2, Fitzalan Road Cardiff CF2 1UY Tel: +44 (0) 2224 99909

Get out

Pontypridd is a good location from which to access much that Glamorgan and South Wales has to offer the visitor. Go south and Cardiff the national capital is just 10 miles away, go north just 15 miles and you are in the Brecon Beacons National Park. To the northwest is the industrial heartland of the welsh valleys and to the southwest the rolling farmlands of the Vale of Glamorgan.

Easy daily excursions my be made to many South Wales attractions such as :-

Dyffryn House and Gardens at St. Nicholas built for the Cardiff shipowner, John Cory in 1893. These are easily reached by taking junction 33 off the M4 which is just a couple of miles from the gardens. The gardens were designed by Thomas Manson for Reginald Cory and are one of the largest and best Edwardian gardens in Wales. All sections of the gardens are open to the public. Tearooms , toilets, and parking are provided and the gardens are open all year round. Admission charges apply – details from June Davies Tel: - 0222 593328

Blaengarw House and it’s oriental gardens just north of Bridgend. This is a fine example of a Victorian country house set in extensive gardens with the river Garw forming the eastern boundary.

In May a visit to Cefn-onn gardens should not be missed, These extensive gardens have one of the best displays of Azaleas and Rhododendrons to found anywhere. Just outside the gardens is “The Old Cottage” pub, which will serve you, lunch on their large front lawn together with some nice cool ale. The gardens are reached via the A470 going south to junction 32 on the M4 motorway take the motorway eastbound to junction 30 ( Cardiff Gate) then follow the signs to Lisvane and Cefn Onn park.

Dan-yr-ogof show caves at Craig-yr-nos on A4067 just 1 mile north of Pencae. A visit to this complex of caverns is introduced by a sound show presentation artistically describing how and when and by whom the caves were discovered. Admission is charged Contact Dan-yr-Ogof, Abercrave, Upper Swansea Valley, SA9 IGJ Tel: +44 (0) 1639) 730284 Fax: +44 (0) 1639 730293

Only 4 miles south of Pontypridd you can visit the largest castle in Wales at Caerphilly. Surrounded by a large moat the castle has an inner defensive area overlooking the outer walls. Entry is via the renovated Gatehouse, which now houses an exhibition about the castle’s history. From here you cross a bridge over the moat to the outer wall of the castle itself. On the southeast corner stands the famous leaning tower beside the large cleft created by Cromwell’s men when they tried to blow it up. The other main feature of the castle is the fully restored and reroofed Great Hall, built around 1317 by Hugh le Despenser. The castle is open daily at 9:30 am with the exception of Sundays during November to March when it opens at 11:00am. Entrance Fee approx $5.00

The Seaside towns of Lavernock, Penarth, Barry and Porthcawl

Ride or Walk the “Taff trail”

The Museum of Welsh life – St Fagans

The Big Pit and Ironworks at Blaenarvon

If you wish to go further afield why not visit The Wye Valley and Tintern Abbey

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PONTYPRIDD, a parish, market town, and urban district, in the eastern parliamentary division of Glamorganshire, Wales, situated on the Taff at its junction with the Rhondda, on the Taff Vale railway, and on the Glamorganshire Canal, 12 1n. N.N.W. from Cardiff, 12 S. from Merthyr-Tydfil, and 169 by rail from London. It is also connected with Newport by a Great Western line 184 m. long. Pop. (1901), 32,316. It receives its name from a remarkable bridge of one arch spanning the Taff, erected in 1755 by William Edwards, a self-taught mason. The bridge is a perfect segment of a circle, the chord being ,40 ft., and the height at low water 36 ft. A three-arched bridge was erected close to it in 1857. The town is built at the junction of the three parishes of Llanwonno, Llantwit Fardre and Eglwysilan, out of portions of which Glyntaff was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1848, and from this Pontypridd was carved in 1884. The urban district was constituted into a civil parish in 1894. The church of St Catherine, built in 1868, enlarged in 1885, is in early Decorated style; other places of worship are the Baptist, Calvinistic Methodist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels. The principal secular buildings are a masonic hall, town-hall built above the market, free library (1890), county intermediate school (1895) and court-house. Near the town is a far-famed rocking-stone 9 1 tons in weight, known as the Maen Chwyf, round which a circle of small stones was set up in the middle of the ,9th century under the direction of Myvyr Morganwg, who used to style himself archdruid of Wales. The place became, for a time, famous as a meeting place for neo-Druidic gatherings. Pontypridd was an insignificant village till the opening of the Taff Vale railway into the town in 1840, and it owed its progress chiefly to the development of the coal areas of the Rhondda Valley, for which district it serves as the market town and chief business centre. It also possesses anchor, chain, and cable works, chemical works, and iron and brass foundries. Pontypridd has, jointly with Rhondda, a stipendiary magistrate since 1872.

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