The Mining Explosion

Having already looked into the population of Blaengarw from the 1841-1911 censuses inclusive, I have attempted to carry out a similar approach for the other Garw mining communities. However, I have restricted my research to the population immediately before housing development, and immediately afterwards.

Due to size of the project which I did not fully anticipate, I had to retire to a darkened and quiet room; the headache still haunts me. The way that the census returns, as available; are laid out is such a hotchpotch, not making it easy to find where one community ends and the next begins. Another hiccup was that in 1881 Victoria Street, Price Street, and Stiles Street, Pontycymmer, were not found in the returns for Llangeinor parish but instead were in Bettws parish. (See comment below).

It must be born in mind that in the earliest returns not all the areas under research were named as they are today. Stating the obvious, Pontycymmer could not have been named as such until the “bridge” had been built. Many modern road lines were in the past simple track ways which forded the water courses with later a crude footbridge set on the up-stream side. This was the situation where the road to Bettws forded the Garw River at the future Llangeinor Railway Crossing.

The following figures may well be found as incorrect by more educated researchers, and I will have to plead the headaches if challenged. However the initial knock-on effects of the “explosion” may become apparent once the dust (between my ears) has settled.

*The figure for Pontycymmer for 1891 * is incomplete. In a page by page viewing of the three Enumeration Districts (E.D.) for Llangeinor Parish and the one E.D. for Bettws Parish has not revealed anything lying between Tymeinor Farm, Blaengarw, and Waun Bant, Pontycymmer, save for Ffalda Farm.

In 1881 the names Victoria Street, Price Street, and Stiles Street, may well have been over the river in Bettws Parish with a population of 223, and if added to the 2358, they would not provide an reasonable figure owing to further housing being built during the interim; such as the Adare Streets, Hill View etc. However, in the 1901 census there were listed 2 persons in Ffalda Villas and 286 in Gwynfryn Road. No mention of any other road lines. Could then Gwynfryn Road have been re-named as Victoria Street? If so the total for Pontycymmer may well have been 2581 in 1891, increasing further after that census had been taken.

Submitted by Colin Davies

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