From 1962 until 1965 a series of 72 lectures on the history of Aberdare were given
by Rev R. Ivor Parry, minister at Siloa Chapel, Aberdare. In his class
were D.G.E.Roberts and Tom Evans. Much later, around 1993, the two ‘pupils’ decided
to write up the notes they had taken in Ivor’s classes. This exercise resulted
in a substantial volume of some 88,000 words. Since 1994, the notes have
been available in the reference library in Aberdare.
The committee of the CVHS decided to make these accessible to a wider audience
through adding them to the Society’s online documents. Consequently, visitors
to this website can now delve into this resource about Aberdare’s past derived from lectures that were delivered
by Ivor Parry over fifty years ago.
It is worthwhile to note the following about this work:
The twentieth century, in some chapters, is covered in minimal detail, giving
scope for a future author to cover this period.
Some sections present information in far more detail than is to be found in others.
The essence of the notes is to present historical knowledge about who, when, where,
and what — rather than to present analysis and full background information about the
The lectures were delivered before the CVHS was established in 1971, and since
then there has been a succession of books about the local history of
Aberdare published by both the Society and others. These books provide
information that is more detailed and comprehensive about some
topics presented here.
Although the notes include a bibliography, a more recent and a longer list of sources
has been published by RCT Libraries and is available online here. *
About the lecturer and authors:
Robert Ivor Parry was born in Holyhead on 7th April 1908. He entered the University
College of North Wales at Bangor in 1926, and graduated three years later with a first-class
honours degree in history. In 1933, he accepted the call to Siloa Congregational Chapel
in Aberdare; his pastorate continued until 1964 when he became Head of Religious Studies
at the Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School. He died in 1975. An appreciation of his life
appears in Old Aberdare, Volume III, 1984. An edited version can be found online at, http://www.abgs.org.uk/Teachers/rip/rip.htm
Tom Evans was Head of Geography at Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School. He was also
a noted authority on the local history of the Aberdare area. He graduated
from UCW Aberystwyth in 1939. After war service in the army, in 1948, he
joined his old school as a member of staff and remained there until retirement in 1979.
By this time, the school had become a comprehensive school for boys. Tom died in 2011,
D.G.E.Roberts, “Dafydd,” was a dental surgeon who practised for most
of his career in Aberdare. He attended both Cowbridge Grammar School and
Pontypridd Boys Grammar School and trained at Guy’s Hospital in London,
graduating in 1936. As well as his local history interests, he was for
a time active in local politics for Plaid Cymru, and in amateur dramatics
at the Little Theatre. His father, D.O.Roberts, headmaster at Gadlys Boys’
Central School, was the chairman of the local executive committee of the
1956 National Eisteddfod at Aberdare. Both Dafydd’s parents were Aberdarians,
his mother from Cwmdare and his father from Trecynon. Dafydd and his wife
Nesta, a doctor, lived in Ynyswen, Broniestyn Terrace, and in retirement
in Cardiganshire. He died in Aberystwyth in 2017, aged 99.