One Village with Two Names

by Gethin Thomas August. 03, 2020 305 views

Blaengwynfi and Abergwynfi are two sides of the same valley in the South Wales coalfield. It is where one branch of my family originated. Over a hundred years ago several of my ancestors lived in various houses in one street. My Grandmother was born here and my Great Grandfather died here. My Great Great Grandfather settled here from rural West Wales when he became the librarian in The Workmen's Hall in the late 19th century. Before my Grandmother was born she had an older sister and brother both of whom died very young, both in the same week, in the last great pandemic.

After my Great Grandfather died, quite young himself, my Great Grandmother re-married and left the area to run a pub in West Wales and also to work as the local midwife.

Today Blaengwynfi/Abergwynfi are suffering from the end of the industry that created them. Afan Colliery was sunk by Sir Daniel Gooch between 1877 and 1882. The Inspector of Mines noted that it employed 559 men producing steam coal in 1896. It was taken over by the Great Western Railway Company in 1905 and by 1908 had a workforce of 907. In 1912 the Ocean Coal Company took over the running of the colliery. It closed in 1969.

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Tsao T-F 1 year, 1 month ago

Thank you for sharing the story. 
According to your photos, this village seems to have very few people inhabited. It makes me sad.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Tsao T-F 1 year, 1 month ago

There is very little employment in the village itself and it was a school day so most people were absent from the streets.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited
Tsao T-F Replied to Gethin Thomas 1 year, 1 month ago

Now I see.

1 year, 1 month ago Edited