39 Facts About Rhondda


The area of the former district is still used as the Rhondda Senedd constituency and Westminster constituency, having an estimated population in 2020 of 69,506.

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Many sources state the meaning of Rhondda as "noisy", though this is a simplified translation without research.

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Rhondda Valley is located in the upland, or Blaenau, area of Glamorgan.

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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.

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The items did not originate from the Rhondda and are thought to have been left at the site as a votive offering.

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The area which would become the Rhondda lay within Glywysing, which incorporated the modern area of Glamorgan and was ruled by a dynasty founded by Glywys.

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The Rhondda lay within Penychen, a narrow strip running between modern-day Glyn Neath and the coast between Cardiff and Aberthaw.

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Maerdy in the Rhondda Fach has been identified as such, mainly on the strength of the name, though the village did not survive past the Middle Ages.

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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 possessed a large financial interest in the Cardiff Docks which would export the coal.

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In 1865 the coal output from the Rhondda Valley was roughly one-quarter of that of Aberdare; ten years later the Rhondda was producing over two million tons more than the Aberdare valleys.

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In 1841 the parish of Ystradyfodwg, which would later constitute most of the Rhondda Borough, recorded a population of less than a thousand.

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Peculiar to the Rhondda was that shops run by Italian immigrants were known as bracchis, believed to have been named after Angelo Bracchi, who opened the first cafe there in the early 1890s.

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The Rhondda saw many schemes set up by miners to aid their plight, such as soup kitchens and fetes and "joy" days to support them, while in Maerdy the local miners set up a rationing system.

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The worst single incident in the Rhondda was the 1867 Ferndale disaster, when an explosion took 178 lives.

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Coalmining industry of the Rhondda was artificially buoyed in the war years and there were expectations of a return to the pre-1939 industrial collapse after the end of the Second World War.

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From 15,000 miners in 1947, Rhondda had just a single pit within the valleys producing coal in 1984, located at Maerdy.

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The Rhondda mines were comparatively antiquated in their methods of ventilation, coal-preparation and power supply.

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In 1996 Mid Glamorgan County Council was abolished and Rhondda merged with the neighbouring districts of Cynon Valley and Taff-Ely to become Rhondda Cynon Taf.

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Rhondda is a conurbation of numerous smaller settlements along the valleys.

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Larger of the two valleys, the Rhondda Fawr, extends from Porth and rises through the valley up to Blaenrhondda, near Treherbert.

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Rhondda Fach is celebrated in the 1971 David Alexander song 'If I could see the Rhondda'; the valley includes Wattstown, Ynyshir, Pontygwaith, Ferndale, Tylorstown and Maerdy.

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Political activism in the Rhondda has deep links with trade unions and the socialist movement, but was initially slow to develop.

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Rhondda 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.

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The Rhondda miners were active in socialist activities outside the valleys.

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However the Rhondda did produce the suffragette and social reformer Elizabeth Andrews, one of nine women among a list of a hundred great Welsh heroes chosen by ballot in 2004.

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The Rhondda produced several choirs of note, including the Rhondda Glee Society, which represented Wales at the World Fair eisteddfod.

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The oldest in Rhondda is the Lewis-Merthyr Band, formerly Cymmer Colliery Band, founded as the Cymmer Military Band in or before 1855.

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Tom Jones, David Alexander and Paul Child have been among those who sang songs about the Rhondda as has Max Boyce who was born in Treorchy, Rhondda.

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Rhondda has hosted the National Eisteddfod on only one occasion, in 1928 at Treorchy.

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Rhondda had a strong tradition of communal activity, exemplified by workmen's halls, miners' institutes and trade unions.

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The Rhondda Gazette was in circulation from 1913 to 1919, while the Rhondda Clarion was available in the late 1930s.

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Two main sports with which the Rhondda appeared to produce quality participants were rugby union and boxing.

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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 the first Rhondda-born member of the British Lions.

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Maurice Richards, born in Tynntyla Road, Ystrad Rhondda, was a Welsh international and British Lion of note, still known today for his scoring achievements playing in this code.

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Rhondda was a Member of Parliament for Cardiff for 38 years and Speaker of the House of Commons.

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Best-known actors born in the Rhondda have been Sir Stanley Baker and the brothers Donald and Glyn Houston.

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Also from the Rhondda Fawr was the 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.

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In sciences and social sciences, the Rhondda has provided important academics for Wales and on the world stage.

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The Rhondda has produced J Gwyn Griffiths, an eminent Egyptologist, who was a member of the Cadwgan Circle.

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