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Aberdare ( ) is an industrial town in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Walesmarker, situated (as the name implies) at the confluence of the River Dar and Cynonmarker. The population at the (1991) census was 31,619. It is south west of Merthyr Tydfilmarker and north west of Cardiffmarker.

From being, at the beginning of the 19th century, a mere village in an agricultural district, the place grew rapidly in population owing to the abundance of its coal and iron ore, and the population of the whole parish (which was only 1,486 in 1801) increased tenfold during the first half of the 19th century. It has since declined, owing to the loss of most of the heavy industry.

Ironworks were established at Llwydcoedmarker and Abernant in 1799 and 1800 respectively, followed by others at Gadlys and Aberamanmarker in 1827 and 1847. These have not been worked since about 1875]economy of the town was dominated by the coal mining industry. There were also several brickworks and breweries. During thetown, which became, despite its neighbouring collieries, a pleasant place to live. Its institutions included a post-graduate theological college (opened in connection with the Church of Englandmarker in 1892, until 1907, when it was removed to Llandaffmarker).

Aberdare, with the ecclesiastical parishes of St Fagan's (Trecynon) and Aberaman carved out of the ancient parish, had twelve Anglican churches, one Roman Catholic church (built in 1866 in Monk Street near the site of a cell attached to Penrhys Abbey) and at one time had over fifty Nonconformist chapels. The services in the majority of the chapels were in the Welsh language. The urban district includes what were once the separate villages of Aberamanmarker, Abernantmarker, Cwmaman, Cwmbachmarker, Cwmdaremarker, Llwydcoedmarker, Penywaunmarker and Trecynonmarker. There are several cairns and the remains of a circular British encampment on the mountain between Aberdare and Merthyrmarker. Hirwaunmarker moor, 4 miles to the north west of Aberdare, was according to tradition the scene of a battle at which Rhys ap Tewdwr, prince of Dyfed, was defeated by the allied forces of the Norman Robert Fitzhamon and Iestyn ap Gwrgant, the last Welsh prince of Glamorganmarker.

The Coal Industry

In the early years of Aberdare's development, most of the coal worked in the parish was coking coal, and was consumed locally, chiefly in the ironworks. In 1836, exploitation of the "Four-foot Seam" of high-calorific value steam coal began, and pits were sunk in rapid succession. This coal was valuable for steam railways and steam ships, and an export trade began, via the Taff Vale Railway and the port of Cardiffmarker. The population of the parish rose from 6,471 in 1841 to 14,999 in 1851 and 32,299 in 1861 and John Davies described it as "the most dynamic place in Wales". In 1851, the Admiralty decided to use Welsh steam coal in ships of the Royal Navy, and this decision boosted the reputation of Aberdare's product and launched a huge international export marketDavies, op cit, p 400. Coal mined in Aberdare parish rose from in 1844 to in 1850, and the coal trade, which after 1875 was the chief support of the town, soon reached huge dimensions. Steam coal was subsequently found in the Rhondda and further west, but many of the great companies of the Welsh coal industry's Gilded Age started operation in Aberdare and the lower Cynon Valley, including those of Samuel Thomas, David Davies and Sons, Nixon's Navigation and Powell Duffryn. In common with the rest of the South Wales coalfield, Aberdare's coal industry commenced a long decline after World War I, and the last two deep mines still in operation in the 1960s were the small Aberaman and Fforchaman collieries, which closed in 1962 and 1965 respectively.


Aberdare, during its boom years, was considered a centre of Welsh culture: it hosted the first National Eisteddfod in 1861, again in 1885, and in 1956 at Aberdare Parkmarker where the Gorsedd standing stones still exist.

The Coliseum Theatremarker is Aberdare's main arts venue, containing a 600-seat auditorium and cinema. It is situated in nearby Trecynonmarker and was built in 1938 using miners' subscriptions.

Aberdare was the birthplace of the Second World War poet Alun Lewis, and a plaque commemorating him is to be found, including a quotation from his poem, The Mountain over Aberdare.

The original founding members of the rock band Stereophonics originated from the nearby village of Cwmamanmarker. It is also the hometown of guitarist Mark Parry of Vancouver rock band The Manvils. Famed anarchist-punk band Crass played their last live show for striking miners in Aberdare during the UK miners' strike .

Griffith Rhys Jones - or Caradog as he was commonly known - was the Conductor of the famous 'Côr Mawr' of some 460 voices (the South Wales Choral Union), which twice won first prize at Crystal Palace choral competitions in London in the 1870s. He is depicted in the town's most prominent statue by sculptor Goscombe John, unveiled on Victoria Square in 1920.

Churches & Chapels

In the town centre is you will find St. Elvan's Church. This is a Church in Wales church at the heart of the Parish of Aberdare. The church is over 200 years old and has had extensive work since its erection in the 1800s. The church also has a modern, two-manual & pedal board pipe organ that is still used in services.

The nearby St John the Baptist Church of the same parish is also notable as a 15th century building that is still used for regular services. It currently has only a small electric organ.Also of the same parish is St. Matthew's Church in Abernant.

In the Parish of Aberaman & Cwmaman you will find St. Margaret's Church which has an old, but beautiful pipe organ with two manuals and a pedal board.Also of this parish is St. Joseph's church, Cwmaman.

In The Media

The Torchwood novel Almost Perfect by James Goss mentions a fictional nuclear blast taking place in the town.


Aberdare Athletic F.C. were members of the Football League between 1921 and 1927 before being replaced by Torquay United after finishing bottom. The club folded a year later. They played their games at the Aberdare Athletic Ground.

Aberdare Rugby Football Club are a rugby union team formed in 1890 which still play in Aberdare today at the Ynys Stadium.

The Aberdare Athletic Ground was also the venue of the first ever rugby league international played between Wales and the New Zealand All Golds on New Years Day 1908, which was won by the Welsh 9-8.


The town is served by Aberdare railway stationmarker and Aberdare bus stationmarker which are opposite each other in the town centre.

Schools and colleges


Primary schools

Secondary Schools

Notable people from Aberdare and district

Notable current and former residents and natives of Aberdare include:

Twin cities/towns

See also


External links

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