News from NPT Council re. Recycling and Refuse

The following information, from NPT Council, will be sent to all local households soon.

 

News from Resolven Seniors Club

Resolven Village Seniors are pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant of £800 from the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC

The club meets every other week between 11 am and 12.15 pm in the Community Hall. There are  lively discussions, tea and biscuits, a game of bingo and the occasional guest speaker.  Annual cost to join is £5 and then £1.50 per meeting

 

Everyone is very welcome and the next meeting will be on Monday Oct. 29th

 

 

Mike Davies battles the elements to get some images of Storm Callum

Aberdulais Falls Entramce

 

Aberdulais Falls

 

Aberdulais

 

Porthcawl

Mike Davies, our RDN photographer, weathered conditions in the Neath valley and also went to Porthcawl, just after full tide, to try and record the storm, The weather conditions there were some of the worst he has experienced in a long time, so trying to photograph with storm force winds and lashing rain, he was fortunate to get a few images. 

Ynysarwed

 

Resolven

All photos by Mike Davies

Click on link below to view his youtube presentation

Chinese Auction in Church Hall

Report from October Meeting of Resolfen History Society

The History of Skewen

This month’s speaker hardly needed an introduction since former Neath College lecturer, Mrs Carole Wilsher has been a resident of the Forest Lodge in Glynneath Road for thirty seven years. However, despite being well on her way to gaining her permanent -residency in Resolven, she described herself as being “Skewen through and through”.

She began her talk by given a brief account of why she had undertaken the work of producing a book on the history of her home village. The chief motive was the increasing march of globalisation in the modern world which was fast erasing the folk memories and even the buildings that had given rise to settlements in general.  At first, her family were sceptical as to why she wanted to embark on such an epic journey, but this was justified by her realisation that her entire family, back to her great grandparents had emanated from the Skewen  area. She praised the contribution of Gareth Richards, former proprietor of Gwasg Morgannwg in Skewen, for his encouragement and practical help in her endeavour. She started the work with an attempt to interpret the history of Skewen, by analysing the street names of the village, but failed when she realised that this called for some more serious research. The fruit of which was her book on the history of Skewen.

The story began with a look at the background to the development of the Skewen area.  In 1129, the Cistercians at Neath Abbey were granted lands amounting to ten square miles in order to clear and manage, a process known as “assarting” in Old English. The work of the monks can be seen today in the prefix “cwrt” or grange(self-sufficient farms) which are still evident in local place names. In the Skewen area many names included ‘cwrt’for example ,Cwrt-y –Betws; Cwrt -y – Clafdy; Cwrt Herbert; and Cwrt Sart ( in Briton Ferry) is a corruption of “assart”. (And of course, Melincwrt in the Resolven area, referring to a mill. Ed.)

In the 1600s, the now dissolved monastery was acquired by the Hobby family and later bought by Lord Dynevor. Parcels of land were leased for the use of both industry and the concurrent agricultural revolution. In 1801, the famous Neath Abbey Ironworks was established in the Skewen area, and copper works were situated along the river Neath. Another catalyst in the development of the settlement was the building of the Tennant Canal by George Tennant (1821) which took products to the docks at Swansea (Port Tennant).  However, the first embers of a sizable settlement came with the opening of the new turnpike road in 1830 to Swansea. This now forms the main thoroughfare through Skewen, as against the “old road”, which runs now to Llandarcy passing the Abbey.

It is difficult to give an exact date to the birth of Skewen, however, Mrs Wilsher showed that the area was almost exclusivel y farmland in 1770, however in 1816 a newspaper report on a robbery refers to the area as “Skewen Hill”, for the first time.  By 1801, Coedffranc  Parish ( still the name of the community council, Ed.) had some 50 scattered dwellings and in the 1811 census the area had 454 residents. The important aspect here is that instead of individual holdings, houses were now being built in clusters, surrounding industrial enterprises alongside the existing tracks on Skewen Hill, especially around the Crown Copper Works (There is a Crown public house to this day, Ed.). An estate map of 1838, shows that commercial premises were also being established in Skewen, and  Mrs Wilsher noted that her family were residents at that time. Living conditions were squalid and epidemics of cholera (1840s), smallpox (1872) and Scarlet Fever (1890) were endemic. By 1871, Skewen was firmly established as a community with 2,500 residents.

The next period of development surrounded the coal industry and the main railway line. Edward Ackland Moore and his son ( brother in law of Neath entrepreneur  Howel Gwyn) bought and ran a large colliery at Cwrt Herbert. In addition, large railway sidings were built nearby  in order to transport the coal via Birchgrove to Swansea. They also acquired the Cwmdu estate in Skewen, but changed the name of the emerging settlement to Mooretown, which gave rise to a nascent” upper” as against “lower”, Skewen. This is a distinction which persists to this day. All Saints Church was built at this time.

The dawn of the twentieth century saw a massive boom in the population of the village, with the population in 1901 standing at 5, 410, this increased exponentially to 8,125 by the next census of 1911. The reason for the explosion is obvious since the Main Colliery Company had opened two new pits in Skewen , in 1903 and 1904. New houses were built for the workers along Dynevor Road ( formerly Coronation Road) , thus joining upper and lower Skewen for the first time. The streets were built on a typical grid pattern and organised by the Coombe- Tennant family, indeed Stanley Road refers to the famous H.M.Stanley ( a friend of the family) and Christopher Road is a son of the Coombe-Tennants. However, this blossoming development came to a crashing halt with the outbreak of the Great War in 1914. The Skewen collieries failed to gain an Admiralty contract for their coal which sent them into permanent decline, closing in the early 1920s. Another unwelcome guest at the time was the Spanish flu which decimated the population.

The saviour of Skewen without doubt was the coming of a large oil refinery in 1920 to nearby Llandarcy.  This undoubtedly saved the village economically, and it was considered one of the wealthiest settlements in Wales because of the 3,000 well paid and varied jobs which came from the refinery.  This is noticeable in the prevalence of mainly 30s style detached and semi-detached houses along Crumlin Road and Wern Road. The vast Skewen Park was established alongside the nine acres of Tennant Park. The Ritz cinema opened along with a dog track for racing and other notable buildings. The Refinery was a target during the second world war but mercifully was not badly bombed.

After the war, a period of council housing saw one hundred and fifty new houses in Skewen and also a move to clear the derelict land was undergone by Coedffranc Community Council following the Aberfan disaster of the mid-1960s. Another development was the setting up of new private estates following the closure of Llandarcy . Indeed, the only two original shops which are left are the Italian café run since the early twentieth century by the Cresci family and the Jeffreys Stores ( now Arborne) which was opened by a Jewish family.  With a population of 8,500, Skewen is recognised as the largest village in Wales if not the UK.

Following a lively question and answer session, Mr Gwyn Thomas thanked Mrs Wilsher for a memorable evening.

(All proceeds from the book are donated to theTŷ Olwen Hospice, and remaining copies are still available from Mrs Wilsher at a cost of £12).

REPORT by Trefor Jones

 

 

News From Resolven Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest Pics from Site of Vale of Neath New Health Centre

 

 

Taken by Mike Davies, our RDN photographer,  on Saturday the 29th 0f September

 

 

 

 

 

Lord Elis-Thomas Visits Miners’ Welfare Hall Resolven

 

 

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister of Culture, Media and Sport for Wales (seen right in photo above) visited Resolven Miners’ Welfare Hall on Wednesday, September 12th.  He was accompanied by Mr Phillip Abraham who represents Visit Wales, a tourism organisation that promotes Wales as a tourist destination across the world. The meeting was arranged by Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, Mrs Bethan Sayed. During his visit we were able to open a dialogue to ascertain funding streams and what the government can do to aid us in our plans to firstly keep the building open for the community to use, as well as long term funding for the charities plans for restoration

The minister was taken on a full tour of the building and he was very impressed with what he saw. Gaining support from ministers like Lord Elis-Thomas drives the charities passion and dedication to the restoration project they have planned. It also allows the charity to add further backing to funding applications they wish to submit.

Over the next few weeks, if they haven’t received them already, residents will be getting a newsletter and donation pack through their doors, delivered by Resolven Scouts. Donations will allow the charity to continue to invest in the repair jobs that are so desperately needed to allow the building to remain open whilst the trustees continue their hard work in the background, gaining support and funds for the project to develop.

If anyone would like to donate online then we have a Local Giving website – www.localgiving.org/charity/resolvenwelfare OR our own website www.resolvenwelfare.co.uk  If anyone would like further information on the restoration project or how they can help, please email info@resolvenwelfare.co.uk

ROBET SIMS (Trustee)

 

 

 

 

Save Resolven Miners’ Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macmillan Coffee Morning in Sardis

Macmillan Coffee Morning

On Friday 28th of September

From 9.30 a.m. -12 noon

 In Sardis Chapel Vestry

 

Please call in and support this worthy Charity.

 

How did the Macmillan Biggest Coffee Morning all begin?

“The first ever Coffee Morning happened way back in 1990. It was a rather small affair with a simple idea: guests would gather over coffee and donate the cost of their cuppa to Macmillan in the process. It was so effective; we did it again the next year – only this time nationally  Since then, Coffee Morning has raised over £200 million for Macmillan.with 2,600 supporters taking part”

“The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. We ask people all over the UK to host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to Macmillan. Last year alone we raised over £27 million and together we can make this another successful year”

 

ALL WELCOME THIS YEAR

 IN SARDIS VESTRY

 FRIDAY 28th SEPTEMBER-9.30-12 NOON

 

Harvest Thanksgiving Service

Capel Melincwrt

A Harvest Thanksgiving Service will be held at Melincourt Chapel {Mother Chapel of Jerusalem} at 2.30pm on Monday, 17 September.

Officiating minister will be Rev. D M Hughes, Clydach.

Melincourt Chapel is a wonderful example of a traditional Welsh chapel still in use today.

Everyone welcome

 

Jerusalem Chapel

Neath Great September Fair 2018

If you’ve missed Neath Fair this year, enjoy some or the sights as photographed  by Mike Davies

 

 

 

 

Photos by Mike Davies.  Click on link below for his youtube coverage

 

 

Resolven Mother and Daughter Meet in Bowls Final

The last tournament game of the season for Resolven Ladies’ Bowls Club turned out to be a  spellbinding one.   Carwen Thomas faced her daughter Ceri Holmes in the Four Woods Final in an attempt to become Club Champion for the first time. Carwen was a founder member of the club in 1986.and she became treasurer in 2002 , then secretary/treasurer in 2008.  But the coveted title of club champion has eluded her. It was left to daughter Ceri, who only began playing in 2016 to walk off with the trophy for the first time last year. Since Carwen, Ceri and family all live in the same house, interestingly, whoever won this year the trophy would “stay put” in Glynneath Road, Resolven!  But who would have the honour of dusting it this year?

Club captain Brenda Rees congratulates the winner Ceri !  What a close match!  Down to the wire!  After 29 thrilling ends, daughter beat mother by just 4 shots.

 

 

Christine Twaite, many times winner of the trophy, marked the game for Ceri and Carwen

Comment from Ceri:

“We both played to win, but I would have been delighted for my mother if she’d won:”

Carwen said ” As long as we both had a good game I didn’t mind who won.  But she’s not having tea tonight!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funeral Notice for Mr Nigel Chappell

Annual Meeting of Resolfen History Society

A Report on the Annual Meeting of Resolfen History Society

 The attendance was rather sparse in this year’s Annual Meeting with only 13 members in attendance. The Chairman, Mr Gwyn Thomas drew attention to the fact that even the Society President was absent owing to a long term medical condition and hoped that he would soon be able to attend meetings once again.

The Treasurer, Mrs Julie Hicks, gave a very positive financial report and noted that membership of the Society was very good value and stood steady at 33 full members. On another positive note the committee and officials agreed to carry on for another year en bloc.

In his address, Chairman Gwyn Thomas, thanked the officials and committee for their hard work during the year. He also stated that he had not played an active part in the Society over the preceding year owing to the final illness of his wife, Jean.

The meeting itself finished earlier than usual and in order to give the members some historical entertainment the Secretary read the first chapter of the autobiography of Joe Cookson, a resident of Melincourt during the early decades of the twentieth century. The fascinating story of Joe’s first day at work in Clyne Merthyr colliery in April 1920 brought another era back to life. It also sparked animated discussion on the days of the small private mines which proliferated in this area.

Members were also reminded that two open days will be held at Neath Abbey on the 29th and 30th of September with official guided tours of the site from 2o’clock in the afternoon

Trefor Jones