About the Society
Historical Notes






1 The Aberdare Philosophical Society flourished in 1837 under the Rev John Jones, minister of Hen Dŷ Cwrdd. Diary August 29th 1837, “Had the Phantasmagoria Lantern from the Bristol Philosophical Society, the cost £5..12..6 plus carriage of 7/6”.


2 The Cymreigyddion Society 1846. Used to meet at The Stag Inn, Trecynon, supported by leading agents of different works and several commercial and professional gentlemen.


3 The Aberaman Literary Society founded by the Rev John Davies of Saron, Aberaman. It flourished until at least 1863.


4 The Aberdare Scientific Society. Object: “To instruct young people and others of the working class at Aberdare in Music, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic etc in English and Welsh”. A branch was to be set up in every school to meet fortnightly or weekly from Aberdare to Mountain Ash. The main centre was the Temperance Hall where important meetings were to be held. Those over 18 paid 6d a month, boys under 18 and women 3d a month. The first secretary was Mr. H. Mainwaring.


5 The Calfaria Literary Society. An example of numerous chapel societies, Calfaria had over a 1,000 members. There were weekly lectures on biblical history, geography, theology and classes on rhetoric, composition, philosophy and thrift. A significant part of every meeting was devoted to English reading. Fees were 3d a quarter, and an additional class every evening to study English grammar and spelling — 6d a quarter.


6 The first meeting of the Aberdare Flower Show Committee under the presidency of Dr. Evan Jones (Tŷ Mawr). The honorary secretary was Mr. D. Tudor Williams. This was a very successful organization for many years, especially during the 80s and 90s of the 19th century.


The Aberdare Flower, Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Bird Show held at Abernant Park by kind permission of James Lewis Esq. Over £500 in prizes.


7 “Society for the Utilization of the Welsh Language”, which had been advocated for years by Dan Isaac Davies, was inaugurated at Tabernacle. Chairman was The Ven. Archdeacon Griffiths of Neath.


8 The Glamorgan Annual Agricultural Show held at Aberdare in 1887 at Ynys Meadow on a Wednesday and Thursday in August. Prizes amounted to nearly £1,000. Attendance was 1,600 on the first day but the second day was much better because the collieries closed. There were 620 entries, 65 more than in Cardiff the previous year.


9 Mr. Leonard Acomb, manager of Brecon Old Bank, held a meeting at St. David’s Masonic Hall to inaugurate the Aberdare Naturalists Society. This provided its members with excellent papers by local experts. There was a good class in botany conducted by Mr. John Morris of Montague Terrace. The Society visited interesting places in the neighbourhood, such as the Mellte Falls, Pontneddfechan, Llygad Cynon, Cairns and Llanwonno Church etc. It secured for Aberdare, The Gilchrist Trust Lectures, which were held under their auspices. Credit for the


first must go to Siloa in January 1890 when the Astronomer Royal of Ireland, Sir Robert Hall, gave a Lecture on “The Moon” accompanied with “Limelight Illustrations”. There was a large and appreciative audience.

1890 Feb 27

Lecture at the Temperance Hall: “A Geological Sketch of the Earth’s History Illustrated by the New Oxy-Hydrogen Lantern”, by R.D. Roberts Esq. M.A. Cantab., D.Sc. London, F.G.S., Fellow of Clare and late lecturer in geology at Cambridge.

1890 Dec

Lecture by Prof J. Bland Sutton: “The History of the Brain and Spinal Cord”.

1891 Jan

Lecture by the Rev Father J. Gerrard, S.J., “The Observations of a Field Naturalist”.

1891 Mar

Prof. C.M. Thompson, University College Cardiff, “Spectrum Analysis”.

1891 April

Sir John Rhys: “Welsh Folklore”


10 Aberdare Chess Club met regularly twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Black Lion Hotel. Subscriptions were 10/- annually, later reduced to 7/6. The first president and founder was Mr. Rees Williams, Registrar of the County Court.


11 The St. David’s Day Festival Dinner held for the first time at the Queen’s Hotel. President was Mr. David Davis, Blaengwawr.


12 Aberdare Photographic and Scientific Society was formed for the “Advancement of Practical Sciences in Photography, Chemistry, Electricity, Physiology and Botany”.

The Society’s Premises contain a Laboratory and a back room for experimental purposes. Open daily for members and meetings are held weekly.

1902 Oct

13 The Cwmaman Literary Improvement Society inaugural lecture: “Explosions, Their Cause Effect and Prevention”.


Mr. James Ray read a paper on “Bees”.

1907 Oct 4

14 The Cymrodorion Society of Aberdare was founded. First president the Rev R.J. Jones, vice-president John Morgan, treasurer D. Tyssul Davies. Secretaries Messrs D.M. Richards and Ogwen Williams. Membership was a shilling and meetings were held fortnightly.


The Vicar of Aberdare the Rev C. A. H. Green lectured on “The Book Of Llandaff”, and the non-conformist ministers were conspicuous by their absence. Not so in the next meeting when Dyfed lectured on “Islwyn”.


15 A Group of local people formed the Aberdare Ramblers Club. They were interested in local history. They started with a visit to Pontcynon part of the way along the banks of the Glamorgan Canal, which had fallen into disuse and passed “Llety Tyrnon”.






Some indication of the frequency of public lectures and their part in the cultural life of the district. During the late 50s under the patronage of the Iron Masters who made a genuine effort to provide cultural pursuits for their workpeople, these were held in local chapels and their subjects varied from the USA to the Bible and the Crimean War. A very popular lecturer locally was the Rev Edward Matthews of Ewenny who came many times and delivered some of his lectures more than once especially the one on Siencyn Pen Hydd. He was Jenkin Thomas, a noted preacher with the Methodists and a very notable character both in dress and mannerisms.


A Lecture at Elim, Cwmdare, by the Rev Hugh Hughes (Tegai), minister of Bethel at the time. His subject was “Charles II and his Times”. This was probably a celebration of the passing of the Act of Uniformity. The prize for the length of a lecture goes to the Rev David Price of Siloa, who in May 1864 delivered a lecture on the Life of Abraham. The chapel was filled to its capacity of 950 and the lecture took 3 hours.

1864 Oct

A panoramic exhibition of the American Civil War was delivered by a Welsh-American originally from Cwmbran.

1864 Nov

Lecture on The American Civil War at the Temperance Hall by Mr John Williams Jones, editor of the Welsh American.


Before Foster’s Education Act in September, the Rev T.T. Jones F.C.S., Minister of Bethel Abernant, gave a series of 10 lectures on geology. Lectures were in fact the only sort of higher education available. A good number of them were topical, dealing with events of the day.


Dr. Thomas Price lectured on the Franco-Prussian War and the details of the peace. In October, he delivered a lecture at the Temperance Hall on the lessons of the burning of Chicago City. The reverend gentleman gave a graphic description of the vices of the capital of the Middle West.


The notorious Titchborne Case. Claims to the Titchborne Estate dragged on and on until eventually the claimant was imprisoned as an impostor. Nevertheless, a meeting under the chairmanship of Thomas Whitty Evans, the High Constable, was to raise funds to support the claimant.


The Anglo-Oriental Society for the suppression of the Opium Trade in China.

1899 July 24

Yn Neuadd Gyhoeddus Aberdâr Noson gyda’r Delyn yng nghwmni Watcyn Wyn ac Eos Dâr.

1892 April

The Temperance Hall was filled to capacity for a lecture on “Capital Punishment” by James Berry the public hangman. Mr. Berry had been personally responsible for 183 executions during the previous 8 years. During his lecture, Mr Berry defended his conversion to the view that penal servitude was a more effective deterrent than the Scaffold.