Second Volume of Resolven History Book Launched


Following on from his well-received photo-book ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ last year, Resolven author William Willis has just published a second volume in this series. ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW – VOLUME 2’, is on sale from early November 2018. The author has catalogued another selection of rare and largely unpublished photographs of Resolven and District from 1879 to the present day. As ever, it is the author’s intention to portray village life through the ages – whether domestic, social, rural or industrial – using black and white images accompanied by well-researched captions and potted histories of the subjects.


RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW- VOLUME 2’ has 18 chapters covering a new range of subjects such as historical village views, craftspeople and characters, Resolven Carnival, sports, entertainment, old inns and farmsteads. There are also dedicated chapters about Resolven’s lost buildings, Rheola House and Rheola Aluminium works, plus an interesting final chapter illustrating and describing Resolven’s Grade II listed structures.

The book is presented in paperback with a glossy cover. It has 100 pages, containing nearly 200 black and white photographs. The full colour inside covers portray the work of local artists, whilst the full colour back cover has an iconic photograph of Melincourt Waterfall in its full glory.

P.32 Resolven Silver Band at the Band Room, 1950
{Photograph courtesy of Brynmor Morgan}

William spent approximately six months gathering and taking photographs and compiling the annotated histories of the subjects. This could not have been achieved without the unwavering support and assistance of the people of Resolven, to whom the author acknowledges a great debt. Once again, it was demonstrated how strongly the community feels about its past and its present, and how this sense of belonging impacts on its future.

p.81 Resolven Boys’ Blackpool Trip, 1961
{Photograph courtesy of Brian Pritchard}

Such has been the cumulative effect of photograph-gathering, that the author plans to publish a third [and final] volume of ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ in the Autumn of 2019. New subjects will include traditional shops and ‘front-room’ shops, cottage industries, old pastimes, Resolven children at play throughout the ages, military matters, local artists and vintage transport. Anyone wishing to contribute is asked to contact the author via the address contained in the book.

RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW – VOLUME 2’ may be purchased directly from the author, or from Marcia’s Shop [Resolven Post Office]. The  retail price is £10.00 per copy. There is only a limited number, so buy your copy now!!

~ ~ ~ ~

About William

William Alun Willis was born in Resolven. His parents, Joan and Vic Willis, ran the village Post Office for more than 40 years. His mother, Joan, was a serving Justice of the Peace for more than 20 years. William attended Ynysfach Primary School, Resolven (see photo below).

Ynysfach School pupils, 1969
William is the 4th pupil from left in the back row

He started writing comedy scripts with his close friends Eurfyl Davies and Geraint Evans whilst studying for ‘A’ Levels at Dwr-y-felin VI Form College, Neath. Publishers W.H. Allen took an interest, and encouraged the author to try to write professionally.

William attended the University of Wales at Swansea, gaining a combined honours degree in Social History, Sociology and Social Anthropology. However, much of his ‘studying time’ was spent writing and editing the University ‘Rag Mag’ – a charity publication. William was also editor of ‘The Beck Mail’, a residential hall newspaper.

In 1984, William gained his post-graduate qualification in Social Work Studies (specialising in Childhood and Adolescent Behaviour) at Southampton University, before returning to Swansea University to take up the post of Press Officer.

He worked in the training department at Milland Road (under the auspices of Neath Borough Council) for more than twenty years, specialising in special needs teaching and, later, key skills training. He became Training Officer for Neath Borough Council at Milland Road in 1988.

Between 1990-91 William took a gap year, first back-packing around Egypt, Libya and the Sudan; then accepting a year’s TEFL contract at the English Education Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he taught English to professional groups such as doctors, architects and businessmen.

William returned to work for Neath Borough Council in 1991, where he met his partner, Joanna, in 1994. They have been together for 23 years, and have two wonderful children.

In 2001 he decided to re-train as a Law Costs Draftsman [legal accountant], from which job he recently withdrew to take up professional writing again.

Also in 2001, he began writing for radio and television and he entered a competition run by the BBC – ‘The Celtic Nations Comedy Cup’ – which was aimed at developing new comedy writers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. William was fortunate to be chosen as one of the winning Welsh entries, with a prize of his winning comedy play being staged at the West End in Glasgow. As a result of this, William was given a commission to write a comedy series for the BBC.

In 2002, the comedy series ‘Do It Yourself’ was completed, which followed the exploits of the staff at Dragon DIY and Pet Store. All six episodes of this first series were recorded before a live audience at Resolven Miners’ Welfare Hall in February 2003. The series was directed by ‘Only Fools and Horses’ director Gareth Gwenlan, produced by Darren Broome, and featured an all-star cast from Welsh comedy television and radio. The show was a resounding success, and over the next 5 years another four series (24 episodes) of ‘Do It Yourself’ were commissioned from William, and were recorded before live audiences in a range of local theatres, such as the Coliseum in Aberdare and in the Cwmaman Institute.

In 2007, William wrote another series for the BBC – ‘The Harder They Fall’ – a six-part comedy which followed the trials and tribulations of a compensation law firm. Gareth Gwenlan directed, and Paul Forde produced the series. The cast included veteran actress Margaret John (‘High Hopes’), Brian Hibbard (‘Twin Town’ and ‘The Flying Pickets’), and Richard Mitchley (‘Blackadder’ and ‘Dr Who’). This time, the complete series was recorded before a live audience at the BBC studios in Cardiff.

The First Volume of

William returned to professional writing in 2017 after taking time out to be with his two young children. 



Limited numbers of copies of ‘RESOLVEN THEN AND NOW’ Volume 1 are still available directly from the author or by request from Marcia’s (Resolven Post Office). The retail price is £8.95 (softback; 88 pages of black and white photographs plus full colour covers).



Among other local history projects, he is currently working on a comedy series for television.

~ ~ ~ ~

Resolven District News wishes William all the very best for his future projects.

~ ~ ~ ~

HL {RDN Team}

Resolfen History Society December Meeting

Note that even though it is a Members Night it is not exclusive to members, just that they will be taking part. Everyone is welcome – mince pies, mulled wine and a historical quiz to finish.









New Family Business in Resolven

A new family business has arrived in Resolven opened by mother and daughter Helen and Kelsey Sandry.

They offer various aesthetic treatments.

“In essence”, explains Kelsey,” our clinic offers a range of skin rejuvenation treatments, dermal filler enhancements and anti-wrinkle injections. We also hold monthly microblading and massage clinics.”


  Time has been spent on giving the premises a full make over to a high professional standard.  Their  clinic is on Commercial Road, Resolven–next to Hers and Sirs


Both are local ladies who are fully qualified, bringing something new to the village and we wish them every success in the venture.


It’s run on an appointment basis that can be made by telephoning 07970735244






























Both are local ladies who are fully qualified bringing something new to the village and we wish them every success in the venture.

It’s run on an appointment basis that can be made by telephoning 07970735244

Sardis Hosts Grand Choral Concert



On Saturday, December the 1st, at 5pm in Sardis Baptist Church, SOMA CHOIR will present a collection of songs and words entitled:—–God’s Messengers





Christmas Fayre News

It is with regret to inform you that we will not be hosting a Christmas Fayre on the Square this year, due to financial and time constraints.

We’d like to thank you all, for your support over the previous years and hope to return next year.

Resolven Carnival will return Saturday 6th July 2019 and look forward to seeing you then.

Resolven Community Events Group.

Purple Heron- a Rare Photo

The bird, one of the rarest in the UK, breeds in southern Europe.  I spotted this unusual coloured heron on the banks of the canal at Cadoxton, Neath, on a frosty morning.  At the time, I did not think of the colour difference between the grey and the purple as the sun was pretty strong, and I was concentrating on capturing the heron on camera, which was difficult to do.  As I moved, so did the heron!  Apparently It only visits Britain in small numbers each year.  I have photographed the grey heron over many years, as they were nesting on Cadoxton Mountain—that was well before the trees had to come down,



It’s exciting for people who want to catch a look at this rare bird.  RDN readers keep your eyes out for them.  You may spot him/her on on the Resolven Canal

If so, please let us know.

Mike Davies RDN photographer














































Funeral Notice for Mr Spencer Thomas

Autumn Scenes from Mike

Resolven Canal

Rheola Lake

Many thanks to our RDN photographer. Mike Davies, for these lovely images





Rheola Lake

V-Trees Festival Report

Could I please give you some information regarding the recent Festival and fundraising that is being done for the village ?

Resolven from Pentwyn


V-Trees Festival was set up with a view to bring the community closer, generate revenue for the village and to try and put Resolven on the map (for a positive reason).
Since the credit crunch and the closing of TRW, Resolven has struggled as a community with very little to offer to the generations growing up as well as the generations who have lived here for many moons.


As a direct result of V-Trees Festival it secured employment for the following:-
over 20 acts/artists
SIA door staff
bar staff(in excess of ten)
food outlets,
marquee companies,
stage company,
sound systems and sound engineers,
printers and designers,
Aviation company (easy jet),
Fencing and timber,
Local business through advertising and increased tourists to the community.

Despite the appalling weather on 28th July 2018, which affected trade, V-Trees was still able to raise £250 for Noahs Ark Appeal as well as a generous gesture of £50 to My name5 Doddie, which is research into Motor Neurones Disease.
All of which was generated with a trouble free day.It is the aim of V-Trees to bring further entertainment to Resolven to help the community as well as generate funds for both local and national charities.

Stephen Harris and Matthew Young

V-Trees Presents is presently organising a Christmas party on 28th December 2018 where international DJ Ian Van Dahl is returning to Resolven, with this events Fundraiser going to Building Blocks Family Centre, Resolven. BBFC has been chosen because of the work it already does within the community is amazing and is essential to the village.


I would like to thank all the local business that have supported V-Trees and look forward to working with you in the New Year where we have events penned in on 16th March 2019 and the main Festival on 26/27th July 2019.



Matthew Young













Despite the appalling weather on 28th July 2018, which affected trade, V-Trees was still able to raise £250 for Noahs Ark Appeal as well as a generous gesture of £50 to My name5 Doddie, which is research into Motor Neurones Disease.
All of which was generated with a trouble free day.

It is the aim of V-Trees to bring further entertainment to Resolven to help the community as well as generate funds for both local and national charities.

V-Trees Presents is presently organising a Christmas party on 28th December 2018 where international DJ Ian Van Dahl is returning to Resolven, with this events Fundraiser going to Building Blocks Family Centre, Resolven. BBFC has been chosen because of the work it already does within the community is amazing and is essential to the village.

I would like to thank all the local business that have supported V-Trees and look forward to working with you in the New Year where we have events penned in on 16th March 2019 and the main Festival on 26/27th July 2019.


Matthew Young

Sent from my iPad








Challenge! Find Us on the UK Web Archive


National Library of Wales

You can read stories featured  on RDN going as far back as April 2016  on the UK Web Archive — but only if you take a slightly complicated the moment!  The site is being updated and there are earlier editions to be added too.. Also getting to RDN  is not yet straightforward.  The National Library of Wales  archives our site and  told me it will be  easier to access it soon.  In the meantime –follow me as I attempt to lead  you there!

Google UK Web Archive 


See dropdown list -Click on any one of them that has our name attached

See a FULL  page from one of our editions

At top of that page R  in blue bar see BACK TO CALENDAR–Click on it

A black page will appear and all the RDN editions that have been archived are listed.

Click on the month and then week you are interested in seeing 





































Also, you can look as far back as     on our site by using our own archive (on right of Home pag))



2018 Service of Remembrance at Resolven

The 2018 Service of Remembrance

At Resolven


The Annual Service of Remembrance is held to commemorate all those who gave their lives serving their country. The service at Resolven was conducted by Moira Randall, the Church Warden of St David’s Church, Resolven and the Flag Bearer on behalf of the Resolven Branch of the Royal British Legion was Ashley Philbrick.

Moira Randall
Church Warden at St David’s Church

Ashley Philbrick
Royal British Legion Flag Bearer












The Original Site of Resolven Cenotaph

‘The Cenotaph’ The Resolven War Memorial  (one of many countless others all over the world) was built to honour and pay homage to a generation of our small village who were lost in the Great War of 1914-1918.


‘The Cenotaph’ has been a familiar everyday part of the village life as far back as any living person can remember.

‘The Cenotaph’ structure was erected and completed by November 1925, situated ‘pride of place’ in a prominent position on the Square, (the main hub of the village at the time), where it could be seen from Commercial Road, Neath Road, and Tan y Rhiw Road.

During the mid 1960’s, it was decided to moved the Cenotaph, probably due to the amount of traffic coming through the village, and relocate it to its present position, alongside the Church Hall (opened 1965).  It is still very much a feature of the village.

As time has gone by, sadly new names have been added to the list on ‘The Cenotaph’, all who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country in other conflicts of war. This has therefore, given the cenotaph a respectfully new meaning to a younger generation.


On 11th November 2018, 100 years after the end of the Great War, the large local crowd gathered around ‘The Cenotaph’, after the Service in St David’s Church Hall, to pay their respects to all those who were once part of the village community, but never returned home.






Ms Karen Partridge

Mr Ashley Philbrick lowers the flag











Walking away after the service, watching the crowds leaving quietly it was good to remember that ‘The Cenotaph’ and its importance is a meaningful part of our history.


HL & LL (RDN Team)

Centenary Armistice Day Remembrance at Clyne War Memorial


Father Andrew Davies took the short service in Clyne,
We were all keeping an eye on the heavy clouds thankfully passing over, but fortunately for us it kept dry until the end.
There was a good attendance  from the village

Report and pictures and YouTube presentation by Mike Davies you tube link here



Ynysfach School at War Memorial

Armistice Centenary

Armistice Centenary

It is exactly one hundred years since that historical secret meeting on a train of three significant representatives of Britain, France and Germany who came together to discuss the terms of the Armistice Agreement, a document of such immense importance that would finally lead to ‘the peaceful sound of silence’ in the trenches and on the battlefields of a four year war that changed the world.

The signing of the ‘Armistice’ took place, after three days of deliberations, at 5.15am on 11th November defining the long awaited moment of the beginning of the end of the 1914-1918 War.

A ‘peace without victory’ was hoped for by the defeated armies of Germany, but stern terms and conditions were imposed to ensure that there would be no further hostilities and the fighting could not be restarted.

But even though the Armistice took effect officially on eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it was many months before the Peace Treaty of Versailles was negotiated and signed on 28 June 1918.

The ending of the conflict echoed throughout the world but even though ‘normal’ life resumed, life would never be the same again.

100 years on, we must always remember those who never came back, and gave all their tomorrows for our today.


The following are some photographs of men, with local connections, who were involved in the conflict.





This memorial in France honours soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the French Army – so what is the connection with Resolven? Mike Davies ex Abergarwed boy explains:

“This is thought to be the place where Gabriel Funning of Cross Street Resolven lost his life.

Gabriel grew up in the Welsh Community and according to family tales, could speak little French.   He courted my grandmother and they were engaged to be married, but in 1914 because Gabriel and his father Walter had not become naturalised British, they were both conscripted into the French Army.  Walter survived the War but on the 12th June 1918, as Gabriel was due to come home on leave, he was killed in action. For his bravery he was posthumously awarded the ‘Croix de Geurre’ with a Silver Star.  The citation reads:- For leading an attack on enemy positions.

Gabriel’s name is listed on the Resolven Cenotaph and on the same side of the Memorial at the very top; Captain Mark Haggard is also remembered.


Captain Haggard can’t be claimed as a Resolven born man but he married the elder daughter of Vaughan of Rheola in 1913.  Sadly, he was killed in action just over a year later in 1914 while serving in the trenches with the Royal Welch Regiment.  He is said to have uttered the words ‘Stick it the Welsh’ as he lay wounded and that quotation, to this day, is above the clock in Maindy Barracks, Cardiff.  The man who carried him from the battlefield, William Fuller, was the first Welshman to receive a VC in World War One for his brave action.





This photograph is of Stephen Jones serving with the South Wales Borderers in the Great War.  He was a Resolven man married to Hilda and had three children, Eric, Jeanette and Brenda – Brenda being well known to the village as ‘Brenda the Shop’.

Brenda says “My dad was exposed to mustard gas. He served on the Somme, at Gallipoli and Passchendaele where he was taken prisoner and he spent the rest of the war as a POW.

He received three medals, which we treasure, and a letter from the King at Buckingham Palace on his return home.




This is Ioan Perkins who served in the Royal Engineers in the Boer War before fighting in World War One.   He served in the Dardanelle Landings with the British, Australian and New Zealand forces and after the War, he served in India, Africa and the Middle East.


Ioan’s son, also Ioan Perkins of Neath Road, was kind enough to lend us the above happy portrait of his father.





Gerald Billen from Clyne had two grandfathers who fought in the first World War.  His Grandfather David James Davies was known as Dai 31 because there were half a dozen men with the same name living in Melincourt at that time and he happened to live at 31 Bryn Terrace.

A photo of his other grandfather Eddie Billen was provided by another grandchild Kay Eagles (daughter of Phyllis).  She says “I’m afraid I don’t know much about my grandfather as far as his rank or regiment goes but I think my grandfather had something to do with horses in the Great War.

After the war he went down the mines in Resolven and worked there until he was over 65.  All I can say is that he was such a kind and gentle man who loved his children and grandchildren and his wife Eileen. We loved him very much”.









This family portrait was provided by Hugh Morgan, grandson of Samuel Morgan of Clyne – seen here in uniform as a Sergeant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Sam served in France for four years and was awarded the DCM for his bravery.  That medal was one of the highest awards given to non commissioned officers at that time.  Sam survived the Great War and his family was well known in Clyne. Sarah, his daughter was involved with Clyne and Resolven Youth Clubs for many years. She was also in charge of the Meals on Wheels Service in the Neath Area.



Marcia Watkins (The Sweet Shop/Post Office on the Square) provided us with this photograph of her great grandparents Thomas Henry and Sarah Anne Davies.  Thomas was in the Royal Field Artillery – the largest arm of the Artillery.  It was responsible for the medium calibre guns and howitzers deployed close to the front line.  During the first World War a whole new form of artillery was developed to meet the unusual conditions on the Western Front – trench mortar.  The Royal Field Artillery provided the man power for these mortars.  Unfortunately only 30 per cent of World War one records survived the London Blitz and even though I have my great grandfather’s service number, I have no more details of his service in France, but thankfully he survived what must have been a horrific experience for him and all the other men on the Western Front.

He came home safely and he and Sarah had five children, Thomas, Alma, Iris, Gus and my mother Jean Davies’s mother Louisa.



The following information and photographs are provided by Ann Evans, daughter of former Head Teacher Reg Morgan.

“The photo is of my grandfather Ifan John Morgan. I don’t know which regiment he was in but he was one of the lucky ones and survived the Great War.  But back home, working as a miner he had a narrow escape when he was trapped underground in the mine above The Farmer’s Arms for a couple of days. His nickname was ‘Ifan shammpy long’ because whenever he was told to hurry up and the shift was over he used to shout ‘OK.  Shan’t be long’.


Ann also provided us with this picture of the Jury boys – related to her on her mother’s side through marriage.


Tommy and Bob Jury from Melincourt came home safely, but their brother Fred was killed in action.  Ann thinks he may have been as young as eighteen.






The Following are the names of the fallen in Two World Wars listed at the Resolven Cenotaph.



















LL & HL (RDN Team)

WW1 Soldier Remembered by Resolven Family on Whitehall March


On Sunday, Pam Jones (nee Welbourne) and her daughter Joanne will be taking part in ‘The Nation’s Thank You’ procession in London as part of the Armistice 100 commemorations.

The march will be a unique opportunity for members of the public to take part and pay their respects to all those that served in the First World War. The Nation’s Thank You procession allows 10,000 members of the public, who were selected by random ballot, to join a procession past the Cenotaph in Central London, to pay their respects and help express the nations thanks to the generation that served, and those that never returned.

Pam and Joanne will be marching in memory of all of those who served and died in the Great Battle but particularly in memory of William Welbourne – Pam’s grandfather, Joanne’s great-grandfather. William served with the Welsh Regiment and saw fierce battle in France.

After the Royal British Legion Veterans’ March Past on Sunday, the Nation’s Thank You public procession will take place past the Cenotaph and pay its respects to those that served.