I live in Pontyberry

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Question – do any of you recognise this view? And yes it is cheating if you live in the area and yes it’s cheating if you personally know me. 

So did you get it? Comment down below if you did and award yourself 5 points, yay you!!!

If you watch Sky One’s tv show Stella than you might be one of the people who got the answer right because this view is often featured in the comedic series. Lean a little to the right and you would see the location where the bench is placed, which Stella and Co frequently sit on admiring the view of Pontyberry.

But you see it’s not actually Pontybery that they are admiring, it’s a small Welsh Valley’s town called Tylorstown and that is where I live.

I thought it might be fun to give some background to the area and chat about what Pontyberry is really like.

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Coal not dole // Tylorstown is one of a collection of towns that sits in the Rhondda Valleys, a mining community to the West of Cardiff. It’s a beautiful landscape but is plagued by poverty and high rates of unemployment and is often rated as one of the poorest parts of the EU. The Rhondda’s population boomed between the 1880s and 1920s as people from across the country came to work in the coal mines. As a result when these pits were closed it left a deep scar on the community, a mark that is still prominent today. There’s a really interesting documentary on Youtube about Maredy the last pit in the Rhondda, which was closed by Margaret Thatcher after the Miners strike and in one clip you can see me as a baby with my parents (26.14 seconds in this part, if anyone is interested).

The Big Tip // The hill (or tip) in the picture at the top of this post is actually an old coal tip and is where the slag from the mine was tipped. After the Aberfan disaster in 1966 in which 116 children and 28 adults were killed when a coal tip slid on top of a school, the Tylorstown pit had major reconstruction done to it in a bid to prevent a reoccurrence. Originally it would have looked like it does in the image below. Image has been taken from here.

Coal tip

Canary in a mine // The mines were extremely dangerous places to work with a number of different factors coming in to play and over the years many men and boys lost their lives in the pits. At the time it was believed that many men were being killed as a result of the explosions but one man had a different theory. Professor John Scott Haldane was convinced that these men were being killed by the lack of oxygen that was present in the aftermath of an explosion and not by the explosion itself. Thousands ridiculed his theory and for almost a year he was awaiting an opportunity to test out his theory. On 27 January 1896 there was an explosion in No 8 pit Tylorstown (the one in the back of the above picture) and upon hearing that there was a significant death toll, Professor Haldane knew that this was his chance. After examining the scene and the victims, he was able to confirm that it was in fact the presence of Carbon Monoxide that killed most of the miners and not the explosion itself. As a result canaries began to be taken in to the pit with miners as a method of testing the air in the pit.

I loved writing this post. I’ve always been really interested in the history of my local area and after writing this post I have a sudden urge to learn even more!!

Are you interested in the history of your area? What interesting facts can you share about where you live?

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P.S. If you liked this post then you might like to read about why I am an atheist.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Porcelina July 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Oo you’re just over the hill from me then! I didn’t realise. I always wondered why the top of the hump was flattened, I guess they did it to make it stable. Thanks for the history lesson! I’m still getting to grips with understanding Rhondda’s history. Did you know that there used to be a tram running through Llwynypia? xx

    • Reply admin August 3, 2015 at 7:24 am

      How funny is that? We should definitely grab a coffee one day! Haha I LOVED writing this post! No I didn’t know that, how awesome, I do really love the history of the Rhondda and South Wales. So much more to it than people might think xxx

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