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The Throttle Valve





Merthyr Tydfil had a long struggle to achieve a Charter of Incorporation.

As early as 1837 this was considered to be worth applying for but there was opposition from the Ironmasters. During the failed Incorporation Inquiry of 1897 the Carmarthen Arms and the Bluebell Inn were satirically referred to as being a 'Throttle Valve' blocking the important flow of traffic to and from Cardiff into the centre of the town. Before Merthyr Tydfil again applied for the Royal Charter it was felt that a number of crucial public improvements had to be made and that  the ‘Throttle Valve,’  was an obstruction which must be removed  to improve traffic access to the town.

In 1903 the Merthyr Tydfil General Purposes Committee began negotiations with Mr Gomer Thomas for the proposed acquisition of the two large public houses at the lower part of the High Street. This block of buildings, known as the Throttle Valve,’ was acquired by the Urban District Council from Messrs. Thomas Brothers, for the purpose of widening the roadway at that spot. There are so many people in the photograph because on the morning of the 21st May 1904, prior to the final stage in the demolition, a large number of townspeople assembled in the neighbourhood of the doomed pile to have their picture taken next to this local landmark. The photographs show Carmarthen Arms and the Bluebell Inn actually in the process of being pulled down. The graveyard of the Old Parish Church of St Tydfil was also reduced in size to widen the road and many graves were disturbed for reburial in Cefn Coed Cemetery. These measures proved to be highly successful in the long term; after several abortive attempts, in 1905 the Town was at last successful in obtaining the important Royal Charter. In 1908 Merthyr Tydfil was granted County Borough Status.

Carolyn Jacob