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Merthyr Tydfil

<Click on the photograph to enlarge>




TROED Y RHIW : Rhiw means ‘slope’ or even ‘hill’, sometimes even a sloping ‘lane’ or ‘path’. In this case it most probably meant a ‘sloping path’ or ‘hillside’ as Troed y Rhiw was an ancient farm homestead at the foot of an ancient byway which linked Pont yr Ynn  and  Pen y Ddeugae and Pen y Rhiw Gymrwg. Although this village developed as a coal mining community, it has a much older history. In pre-industrial times there was a corn mill here and a large farm. Charles Wilkins, The History of Merthyr Tydfil, ‘Half a mile below Troed y Rhiw, between the railway and Afon Tâf, there is an old farmhouse. A portion is in ruins. An old yew and other old trees surround it.. Five or six centuries ago it was in its prime but the mansion is now decayed’. Around 1789  the property was sold to the Dowlais Iron Company. A newer Troed y Rhiw House was built when John Josiah Guest of the Dowlais Works lived here with his first wife, but she died in the first years of marriage. When he later remarried he lived in Dowlais and then in Dorset. The farm remained in evidence until the ancient-looking farm homestead and the field, Ynys Fawr, became the site of Afon Tâf School in 1967. Afon Taf was the first purpose built comprehensive school in the Merthyr Tydfil Borough. There was an early National school here founded in the eighteenth century.

An industrial community, Troedyrhiw had connections with a number of the Merthyr Ironmasters, Anthony Hill, the owner of the Plymouth Iron Works had St John’s Church built in 1852 and he was buried within this Church in an iron coffin. The nearby collieries belonged to the Cyfarthfa Ironmasters and Troedyrhiw farm belonged to the Dowlais Ironmaster, John Josiah Guest. However, as early as the sixteenth century Sussex Ironmasters constructed small iron works in this wooded area The local Pontrhun Ironworks dates from this period. Despite local names such as Furnace Row, this village is mainly associated with the coal mining industry There were 2 important coal mines  here, Castle Pit, one of the Cyfarthfa Collieries which closed in 1935 and Plymouth Pit at nearby South Duffryn which closed in 1940. The larger Merthyr Vale Colliery provided employment for many people here.  Enoch Morrell, C.B.E., the first Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil in 1905, was from Troedyrhiw. At one time he was the Welsh miners’ leader. There were a number of chapels here. Saron, Welsh Congregational, was opened in 1835 and then rebuilt in 1852; sadly it closed in 1983 and was demolished in 1990. Controversy remains over the overgrown Saron Cemetery and there is a community project to maintain it. The next chapel was Bethel, of Wyndham Street; opened in 1890, but within 5 years the congregation moved to Tabernacle as this building had become too small. This building has also been a Salvation Army Citadel and a upholsterers. The English Baptist Tabernacle was opened in 1895 and then renovated and altered in 1952.

An ancient traditional fair was held in every May in Troedyrhiw, on the site of the old farm; there were side shows and boxing booths. The Troedyrhiw Boy’s Club was founded in 1932 and has produced a number of skilled sportsman.

There was always good transportation through the village, as the Taff Vale Railway established the Troedyrhiw Railway Station and buses stopped to pick up in Troedyrhiw Square   from the early horse drawn era. 





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Troedyrhiw People



Troedyrhiw General View

(Photograph Courtesy of Dave Lewis)

Plymouth Colliery.


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Merthyr Road.


Merthyr Road, Troedyrhiw in 1986

(Photograph Courtesy of Robert Jones)


(Postcard Courtesy of the Leo Davies Collection)

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(Postcard Courtesy of the Leo Davies Collection)

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Welsh Football League Cup Final April 17th 1908. Troedyrhiw - V - Cwm, played at Treharris.

(Photograph courtesy of Viv Lloyd)




Welsh Football League Cup

Won by Troedyrhiw Stars April 17th 1908

(Photograph courtesy of Viv Lloyd)







Troedyrhiw Bandstand

(Photograph courtesy of the Kenneth J Gunter Collection)


Troedyrhiw - Park and War Memorial

(Postcard Courtesy of the Leo Davies Collection)


School Road, Troedyrhiw - 1986

(Photograph Courtesy of Robert Jones)



The Square


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Troedyrhiw Square

Troedyrhiw Square in the 1940s


Merthyr Road.

(Postcard Courtesy of Gill Thomas, West Grove.)

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Cardiff Road in the 1950's.

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Colin Oakes tells us:

The view is of the square taken from Cardiff road and looking towards Merthyr. The lady wearing the apron on the right hand side of the photo is my grand mother Mrs Davis. She has just washed the pavement down in front of the Dr Oliver’s surgery entrance. She did this every week. (You can just see the wet pavement). Originally my grand mother had a fish and chip shop there, but after closing it down in the early 50’s she allowed Dr Oliver to use the shop premises as a surgery. I was born in the house adjoining the shop. You can see two of the bedrooms above the shop. The main part of the house and the other three bedrooms was on Tyntaldwyn Road just around the corner to the right. In the early 60’s the whole building was demolished to make place for the new Troedyrhiw Labour Club. This to has now been demolished. The pub you can just see on the extreme right of the photo is the Masons Arms, now also demolished. On a different point interest, I am 99% sure that the man wearing the muffler standing between the beacon and the policeman is called Ted Rees.


Cardiff Road, looking towards the square.

(Postcard Courtesy of Mrs Gill Thomas West Grove.)

Cardiff Road, Masons Arms on the right.


V.E. Day celebrations at Industrial Buildings, Cardiff Road - 1945

(Photograph Courtesy of Terry Robbins)

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Heol Cymro

Cardiff Road in the early 1900's.


General View

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General View of Troedyrhiw from the A470 - 1986

(Photographs Courtesy of Robert Jones)


  The Bathing Pool, Corporation Gardens - 1936


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The Park and War Memorial

(Postcard Courtesy of The Leo Davies Collection)

Troedyrhiw_ParkAndWarMemorial_LeoDaviesCollection.JPG (137644 bytes)

Troedyrhiw Farm and Villas

(Postcard Courtesy of The Leo Davies Collection)

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The Villas, Troedyrhiw.


  Troedyrhiw Station

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