The Old Bridge in Pontypridd, built in 1756 and, at the time, apparently the longest single span bridge in existence. A local publicity brochure begins by noting, somewhat apologetically, that Pontypridd "is not an old town," but does have an interesting history.
Pontypridd, 2011. For my blog entry on the area see http://regionalgeography.org/101blog/?p=1955
Old timers, Pontypridd
St. Catherine's Church, Pontypridd
Pontypridd, the town at the confluence of the Rhondda and Taff Rivers
B pud for breakfast, anyone?
Globalization at work in South Wales
The town center
Another sign of the economic times in this part of Wales
Local establishments, Pontypridd
This cuisine would probably not have been available in South Wales in my grandmother's day
But this would. At least the pasty part.
Beware of dangers lurking beneath
Pontypridd Municipal Building
The spire of St. Catherine's Church, built in 1866-1870.
A fountain, a gift from Pntypridd's Member of Parliament in 1895.
Some of the heroes, usually unsung, of research are librarians. I stopped in here, without an appointment, and received from one of the librarians a great deal of help, information, and above all motivation to continue my research. My special thanks to Hull Matthews.
The street in Tongwynlais, near Cardiff, where my grandmother lived as a small child
My grandmother spent her childhood in a house probably just like one, on this same road in Tongwynlais. According to census records, she lived at no 38 Wyndham St, but there is no longer a number 38.
1901 Census record showing my grandmother, Hathaway Mary Lewis, living with her mother, grandmother and sister (who died soon afterward) in Tongwynlais
William Philby (left) on his first day of work at the Big Pit mine. He was 13 years old, and the year was 1903.
The Big Pit Museum, Blaenavon
What progress used to look like. Blaenafon World Heritage site
Coal Owners' Ten Commandments to Mines, c. 1928 (from Blaenafon Open Pit Museum.)
Blaenavon Working Mens Institute, 1894.
Blaenafon. Some scars from the coal mines are still visible on the hillslopes in this area.
One the the valleys of South Wales, with small towns squeezed into narrow valleys between coal-bearing hills. Most hillsides in the area are now grassy or tree-covered; a local senior citizen told me that 20 years ago the scene was very different.
These probably would have been miners' homes a century ago.
Porth Rhondda, looking down upon the Llwyncelyn Public House
Thomas & Evans Welsh Hill Works, with a 21st century landscape creeping over the hilltop in the background
Coal mine museum
A common sight in the vallies of South Wales in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Undated photograph, presumably late 19th century
The last load of coal came from here in 1986
The end of the Welsh coal mining industry
The industry that, until its demise, was the economic lifeblood of this region
What the valleys looked like in 1905
A list of coal mine disasters reads like a directory of place names. Thousands lost their lives in accidents like this one.
At a pub entrance, Uplands, near Swansea. From a poem by Dylan Thomas, whose house as just around the corner from here. A framed Thomas quotation on the delights of beer hangs on a wall inside the pub.
Uplands Tavern, where I had several interesting and very informative conversations with remarkably friendly local people
Enjoying an evening at the pub, Swansea
Welsh language signs in a Pontypridd supermarketmarket
Localization and supranationalism
Use of the Welsh language is on the rise, particularly among young people
Welsh Nationalism is alive and well in Merthyr Tydfil