1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aberdare

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Aberdare, a market town of Glamorganshire, Wales, situated (as the name implies) at the confluence of the Dâr and Cynon, the latter being a tributary of the Taff. Pop. of urban district (1901), 43,365. It is 4 m. S.W. of Merthyr Tydvil, 24 from Cardiff and 160 from London by rail. It has a station on the Pontypool and Swansea section of the Great Western railway, and is also served by the Llwydcoed and Abernant stations which are on a branch line to Merthyr. The Taff Vale line (opened 1846) has a terminus in the town. The Glamorgan canal has also a branch (made in 1811) running from Abercynon to Aberdare. 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 1486 in 1801) increased tenfold during the first half of the century. Ironworks were established at Llwydcoed and Abernant in 1799 and 1800 respectively, followed by others at Gadlys and Aberaman in 1827 and 1847. These have not been worked since about 1875, and the only metal industries remaining in the town are an iron foundry or two and a small tinplate works at Gadlys (established in 1868). Previous to 1836, most of the coal worked in the parish was consumed locally, chiefly in the ironworks, but in that year the working of steam coal for export was begun, pits were sunk in rapid succession, and the coal trade, which at least since 1875 has been the chief support of the town, soon reached huge dimensions. There are also several brickworks and breweries. During the latter half of the 19th century, considerable public improvements were effected in the town, making it, despite its neighbouring collieries, an agreeable place of residence. Its institutions included a post-graduate theological college (opened in connexion with the Church of England in 1892, until 1907, when it was removed to Llandaff). There is a public park of fifty acres with two small lakes. Aberdare, with the ecclesiastical parishes of St Fagan's (Trecynon) and Aberaman carved out of the ancient parish, has some twelve Anglican churches, one Roman Catholic church (built in 1866 in Monk Street near the site of a cell attached to Penrhys Abbey) and over fifty Nonconformist chapels. The services in the majority of the chapels are in Welsh. The whole parish falls within the parliamentary borough of Merthyr Tydvil. The urban district includes what were once the separate villages of Aberaman, Abernant, Cwmbach, Cwmaman, Cwmdare, Llwydcoed and Trecynon. There are several cairns and the remains of a circular British encampment on the mountain between Aberdare and Merthyr. Hirwaun moor, 4 m. to the N.W. of Aberdare, was according to tradition the scene of a battle at which Rhys ap Jewdwr, prince of Dyfed, was defeated by the allied forces of the Norman Robert Fitzhamon and Iestyn ab Gwrgan, the last prince of Glamorgan.