THE MERTHYR TYDFIL ‘THROTTLE VALVE’
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
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
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.