March Meeting Resolfen History Society

End of an Era


2018 is a very sad year  for sport in the village of Resolven, for after 24 years, and hundreds of children passing through their ranks, Resolven Junior Football Club has folded.

Club Chairman Mr Clive Chambers said, “This is a very sad time not only for myself, but for the village of Resolven. I never thought I would see this day, I saw this club grow from a handful of children in our first year, to having sides in every age group from under 7’s to under 16’s, the club has been declining over the past few years, so with a very heavy heart we have had to call it a day.”

Clive formed the side alongside Mr Steve Hadley back in 1994, when they realised that if children of the village wanted to play football on a Saturday morning, they had to travel to Neath, Glynneath or even Skewen.

Things were really hard to start with, but as the years went by more and more children wanting to play and their parents getting involved with coaching the different ages, and the club went from strength to strength.

Clive stated “This club was set up so that children could get out on a Saturday morning to get some fresh air in their lungs, make new friends and above all to have fun”.

Clive continued “We’ve seen hundreds of children going through this club, and I am so proud of what this club achieved, it’s been a fantastic journey, but after all these years we have decided to call it a day, due to circumstances beyond our control we have to close the club down.”

The club was set up for the children of the village, and at the end of each season the club would hold a presentation to reward the children for their commitment over the season. At the presentation every player would be presented with an article of clothing, with the club badge, and a trophy.

Final Resolven Junior Football Club Under 16’s Squad

At the final committee meeting there was a special presentation made by Clive to two of the clubs longest serving members. Mr Peter Gibson has served the club for 20 years and Mr Bob Low for 17 both have served as committee members and as coaches over the years, and without who’s help the club would not have lasted for all the years

Chairman Clive Chambers Presenting Mr Peter Gibson With A Plaque

Chairman Mr Clive Chambers Making A Presentation To Mr Bob Low



                                                                                    PETER GIBSON


                                                       BOB LOW


Women’s World Day of Prayer

Women’s World Day of Prayer takes place the first Sunday in March every year.  It is a Service put together by women and the same service is celebrated across the world, starting in Oceania and then across to the Americas.

Also, each year a different country compiles the programme and this year the women of Suriname, a small country to the north of Brazil with a population of 540,000 with 90% of those living in the coastal areas.

Why not come along and join us to find out more of this small country and to take part in what is always a beautiful service.  Everyone is welcome including men (although not many do.)

St. David’s Church Hall, Friday 2nd March at 2.30pm

Report by Ruth Jones

“Sweet Bêr Dâr: Queen of the Valley”

A  report on the monthly meeting of Resolfen History Society

This month’s speaker was the highly amusing and entertaining Huw Williams of Merthyr Tudful. Huw has visited us on many occasions and also held an adult education class in Resolven some years ago, an experience he recalls with affection. His topic this year was “Sweet Bêr Dâr”, a term which was used by its residents to describe Aberdare and its district. Its bilingual construction is indicative of the complex history of the valley and betrays far more of its history than the English version of “Queen of the Valley”. To others, including the residents of the Neath Valley, the residents were known as “Snakes”, its derivation unclear, though it may refer to strike breaking or be biblical in origin.

He described the valley at the beginning of the eighteenth century as being heavily wooded with oak trees. Indeed, a popular and probable myth in the Cynon Valley was that Nelson’s poop deck on the Victory at Trafalgar in 1805, came from Aberdare. Its geographical location as an open ended valley made migration easy for the residents of rural west Wales to migrate to the area as it was industrialised with iron smelting and coal mining in the early years of the eighteenth century. The migrants had to confront the challenge of a dangerous if comparatively well paid employment, but this was compensated by the lure of opportunity and housing which the pioneer mining valleys provided. They had to learn a new language of industrialised terms, though they and their owners remained Welsh speaking (the Cynon Valley has a distinctive Welsh accent in Welsh closer to that of Montgomeryshire which is now rarely heard, Ed.) The nature of the coal seams arranged in a syncline meant that the prized steam coal which fuelled the world became deeper and collieries such as Deep Navigation were operating over a mile underground. Recent scholarship has pointed out that much of the capital investment came from Bristol and thus the connection with the slave trade. Mr Williams pointed out that this should be viewed in the context of its time and not propelled into our more politically correct era. The prize at Aberdare was the 4’ seam, and this was eventually located by Thomas Powell at Dyffryn, so maximising a fortune and the founding of the famous Powell Duffryn Coal Company. The increase in production was the 1840s the production was around 12,000 tons which was largely used for smelting, but by the 1870s it stood at two million tons which was being exported around the world, fuelling the Royal Navy. Brunel himself had realised the importance of the Cynon Valley and between 1839 and 41 constructed the Taff Vale Railway which allowed the less efficient canals to be replaced by rail. This led to the development of Cardiff and Barry as major coal exporting ports.

Mr Williams, now turned to four unique features of the history of the Aberdare compared to the rest of south Wales. Firstly, the area was the first to have an iron bridge spanning a river. He discussed the claims of Abraham Darby at Ironbridge and other claimants on the Taff but was convinced that the first was on the Dare. Secondly, the Cynon Valley was the first valley to become exclusive to the production of coal. By 1870, the coal foundries had disappeared and coal mining dominated, twenty years before the Rhondda Valleys. This over reliance was remarked upon at the time as being very dangerous economically, since any hiccup in the coal trade would affect the area disproportionately. This became apparent when the still productive coal mines closed in the twentieth century.

Secondly, the Duffryn Colliery was the site of the first modern industrial dispute in 1843. Powell Duffryn dismissed 69 men and replaced them with another 200. This caused uproar, especially among the wives, who caused havoc by throwing pans and kettles at the new workers in favour of their partners. Cornish workers from the tin mines lasted one day when brought in to work, in the face of this militant sisterhood. Mr Williams stated that the role of women in the coalfield had always been prominent and that it was untrue that this had only appeared in the 1984/85 strike.

A third feature, was the fact that Aberdare was the scene of the first explosion and major coal disaster, when in August 1845 scores of men and boys as young as 10 years of age were killed by a combination of an explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning at Powell Duffryn. The Jury at the inquiry which was composed mostly of coal owners,met at the Boot Inn Aberdare and suggested that the cause was the poor ventilation of noxious gases at the colliery. This was later rectified by Nixon at the Deep Navigation colliery.

By 1851, the population of Aberdare stood at nearly 15,000, which though this would be eclipsed by Merthyr, gave it the fourth unique claim to be the first truly industrial community dominated by KingCoal.

Following a lengthy question and answer session, Trefor Jones thanked Mr Williams for a highly informative talk.

Trefor Jones

Resolven Bowlers in Welsh Team

Congratulations to Simon Ace (seen left) and Stephen Allen (seen right) on being selected to represent Wales at the British Home Series Internationals in Paisley (Scotland) in March.

This follows on from them gaining their first caps in 2017 in Belfast.   Simon will also represent Wales in the British singles championship after he won the Welsh National title in 2017. He has followed that up by reaching the 2018 Champion of Champions Final losing out to Daniel Salmon in a close fought match.

Both the players play for Pontardawe Indoor B.C. in the Welsh club championships along with other Resolven bowlers: Nigel James, Ned Kelly; Gareth Evans; Martin Addis; Godfrey Brown; Shane James.

Currently Pontardawe are having a good season having won the West Division to qualify for the Play offs for promotion to the Premier and they are still in the Welsh Cup their next opponents being Heatherton. The over 60’s team have also reached the quarter finals of their team championship.

With the indoor season ending in March there is still much to look forward to before the outdoor season starts on Resolven Bowling Green

Good luck to Simon and Stephen in the March Indoor International Series









Both photos courtesy of Trevor Robinson Photography









Community Companions

Table Tennis in Resolven

Table Tennis has been played in Resolven since the 1950’s at both the Miners’ Welfare and George Kent factory.


Some of the Welfare players: John Wicks, Ken Lewis, Denzil Sandry, Evan John Evans.

  Viv Hill, Denny Funning, Ron Rees, Len Jones, Selwyn Twaite.

Also seen L and R at end of top row—Fred Monk and Ces Funning

The George Kent team in 1958 included Ivor Lewis, Hopkin Richards, William Thomas, Ron Davies, and Glyn Vivien

In the 1960’s & 70’s Resolven YMCA carried on the tradition under the leadership of Don Fearn and Bill Owen who entered a team in the Swansea League, such was the success that very soon there were as many as 7 teams playing from the YMCA. In this time they won every division from 1 – 7 the only title to elude them being the Premier.

John Fryer, Dennis Bailey, Godfrey Brown,

Ken Guard, Glyn Davies, Royston Stock, Ken Davies. Keith Jones

There were so many players it is hard to remember them all but they included:

 Rennison Edwards, Glyn Howells, Royston Stock, Keith Arnold, Conway Rogers, Keith Jones, Idris James, Paul Rees, Keri Guard, Peter Guard, Godfrey Brown, Dennis Bailey, Tony Sharpe, John Fryer, Ken Lewis, Len Jones, Ken & Glyn Davies, Terry Edwards Bert Geoghan, David Beynon, Gareth Evans. If anyone from these eras knows of more please let us know.

In 1977 due to the declining interest in the YMCA, 2 teams moved to the Cam Gears Sports and Social Club where we are still playing. Players at that time were Gareth Evans, Paul Rees, Keri Guard, Ken Davies, John Fryer, Tony Sharpe, Terry Edwards.

The club runs a thriving social night on Mondays (6 – 9) where players of all abilities and ages play each other and have some good exercise the club has 4 tables and supplies the bats and balls, if you want to try it out.   For anyone interested in playing an alternative sport which can help to keep you healthy and can be played by all ages from 8 – 80 you might consider table tennis as a social evening or if you are really interested you could progress to playing in the Swansea League and even further afield depending on your ability.  We run 4 teams in the Swansea League- one in the Premier division, two in division 1 and one in division 2. (Besides Resolven residents we have players from the Neath area, Hirwaun, Merthyr and Tredegar.)

With so many players having played for our club it is rewarding to see that they have been recognised further afield such as Natasha Rees of Cwmgwrach who went on to represent Wales at a Commonwealth Games in India. The club has had 2 wheelchair players in Martin Evans (Tonna) and Neil Robinson (Laleston) who have represented Great Britain at various Paralympics and have won medals. Neil is now a coach for the British Paralympics table tennis team.

Martin Evans and Keith Jones with Betty Gray MBE (President of Swansea League

Players have also represented the Swansea League in the Welsh League including Gareth Evans, Randall Sims, Morgan Siddley and Ceri Higgon.


***Gareth has represented West Wales as a director on the board of Table Tennis Wales and for a number of years organised and ran the Welsh League Championship. He is currently secretary for the Swansea League.

As secretary of the Cam Gears table tennis club he would like to have more Resolven residents take up the sport either socially or with a view to play in the Leagues. He has been playing for 57 years and would like to pass some of his experience on to new players and old players if they would like to return to the game— Emphasis being on enjoyment, keeping moderately fit and meeting new people.

His telephone number  is 01639 710475, mob 07854032758.

 Email:  gareth_evans3

Some of the Monday night group in Cam Gears Club:

BACK ROW- John Jones, Bob Cutting, Nick Arnold, Paul Gillespie

FRONT ROW- Dai Davies,Gareth Evans, Richard Norton









Caretaker/Cleaner Needed

Resolven Community  Council has a vacancy for the above post.

Duties include opening and closing the Community Centre when required and general cleaning.

For further details and job description please contact the clerk by phone or email:

Clerc i’r Cyngor (Clerk to the Council)–Cheryl Payne

6, Llys Bethania, Railway Terrace, Resolven. Sa11 4HG

Tel: 01639 711139

Mob: 07814 777854

Applications to be received by 28th February 2018


                            Resolven Community Centre







Winter Returns to the Brecon Beacons





I took the  above images from the village of Defynnog on January the 2nd. 

Mike Davies 




Super Blood Moon Over Vale of Neath

Jan 31st —the super moon rose in the UK’s night skies and coincided with a supermoon, making it appear 14 percent brighter.  There is a supermoon when a full moon orbits closest to earth and a  blood moon is just another name for a full moon that’s going through a total eclipse. The nickname refers to the moon’s rusty-reddish tint caused by the reflection of sunlight, during the eclipse. Many viewers in certain parts of the world were blessed with seeing a lunar eclipse but not here in the UK


This image was taken over the Vale of Neath, and I was fortunate as we had heavy cloud, and when the moon was rising the clouds parted allowing me a fantastic view of our nearest celestial neighbour.

Mike Davies











Jobs Vacancies at Building Blocks



We currently have a number of vacancies at Building Blocks. 

The link to our website and the vacancies is below.


Ceri Pritchard (Manager)

Social Group For Ex-Miners and their Families

The CISWO Social group which meets in the Welfare Hall in Resolven is currently inviting new members to join.

The group meets at 10.30am every other Tuesday.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 13th February 2018.

Activities include guest speakers, quizzes, bingo and free day trips.

The group is supported by CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation) which is a registered Charity (no 1015581) and members must either have worked in the mining industry themselves or have been married to an ex-mineworker.

For further information please call Claire on 01443 485233

What species of birds visit your garden?


 MIKE DAVIES           I am very fortunate to have a garden on the edge of a field in which I get a variety of birds visit the feeders.  The changing seasons will bring in different species, although Blue Tits and the like will visit all year, and often build a nest in the bird box, and I have been blessed to see the youngsters fledge.



 I always keep a look out to see if “Woody” will return, as he has been visiting for many years.  Woodpeckers  can live up to 11 years, but later in the year they will bring their youngsters here to feed, and it is often the youngsters that will visit throughout the year,


Anoher species I love are the long-tailed tits they tend to arrive like a group of locusts.   They feed on/off throughout the day.  They are  pretty birds.


I have to watch out for the Sparrowhawk–a small bird of prey.  adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are an ideal hunting ground for them especially if there youngsters ready to fledge the nest. I happened to look out one morning and there he was on top of the shed waiting for the opportunity to attack. After taking this picture he was soon off.







Starlings are in decline, I used to have many over the years, but the last 2 years nothing then the other  afternoon I heard a commotion in the garden and to my surprise there were many starlings with their young.On route to their nesting place, the young were needing food and what better stop- over for 2 days than in my garden?

Here is the result of that afternoon, as you can see the parent bird was reluctant to feed the youngster till he/she settled down.

I am sure RDN readers would be delighted to see the birds in YOUR  garden.  Why not send them to us/

Here is the short but interesting video of the starlings in action in my garden!  Click on link below

MIKE DAVIES (story and pictures)




Resolfen History Society February Meeting




Meeting begins at 7: OO PM in



Membership: £10 (including refreshments)









Good News from Library

  Starting on Wednesday January 17th the library will be open from 5-7 every Wednesday evening 

We hope that this will benefit our customers that are unable to access the library during the day due to work commitments-we now have new up-to-date computers with windows 10 and colour A3 printer and scanner as well as our usual photocopying and printing facilities

Maureen Bradley

Cathy Hadley

(Library volunteers)