About the Society
Historical Notes






Evan Hopkins, Trecynon


Mr Hopkins owned a bookseller’s shop in Bell Street where he stayed with his sister and brother-in-law, Mr and Mrs Wigley. Although he had lost his sight, he was still able to deliver newspapers in Trecynon, Llwydcoed etc. He was born near Cwmamman in Carmarthenshire but was descended from a very well known Glamorgan family — Hopkins. When he was very young, his family moved to Clydach, thence to Cwmgwrach and thence to Heolyfelin. He received about 12 months education in Llwydcoed and completed his formal education in a house near the Stag Inn. At the age of 9, he began working in the Gadlys Forge and became a blacksmith. His forefathers in their day had been noted engineers. His grandfather’s brother, Roger Hopkins, was an engineer employed by the government. Rice Hopkins, Roger’s son was the chief engineer employed in the construction of several important railways. He was also the author of some 25 volumes of maps dealing with railways, distribution of geological strata etc. in Wales. These are now in the British Museum. Evan’s grandfather, David Hopkins, was also an engineer and it was he who obtained the contract to build the road from Hirwaun to Aberdare to link up with the Aberdare canal. He lived at Craig Cefn Parc in the Swansea Valley but during the time he worked at Aberdare he lodged at the Bell Inn, Trecynon, and later at the Cap Coch Inn, Abercwmboi. It is interesting to note that he built the tram road on the narrow gauge principle before Stephenson worked out the idea for more important railways. David’s son, John, was also an engineering contractor before becoming a bookseller. He was employed at Grangetown and later on at Abernant.


Mr Fothergill, Abernant, gave the Sunday Schools of the Aberdare chapels a gift of £15 and it was decided at a meeting in Siloa to devote the money to erecting a drinking fountain in the town. “It is hoped that this will oppose the habit of going to Beer Parlours or Gin Palaces.”

1857 July 27

Foundation stone of the Temperance Hall laid by Mrs Williams, Ynyscynon.


50 persons signed the pledge at Ebenezer, Trecynon. Various Bands of Hope with exotic names like The Temple of Love or Blue Ribbon or Rechabites flourished in the 50s.


Tramcar system. The Transport General Manager was a Mr J. Abraham and Mr H. King was the Traffic Superintendent. The original inspectors were Mr S. Sumner and Mr S. Jones.


A Mr David Rhys was at the Gwladgarwr Office and was selected out of 24 candidates for the secretaryship of the Birkenhead Eisteddfod.


52 ships registered at Cardiff with total tonnage of 2,684.


314 ships registered at Cardigan total tonnage 12,954.


Hirwaun was celebrated for cakes. Teisennau Hirwaun were a must for all weddings in the valley. Recipe ¾lb lard, 1lb Flour, ½lb currants, 1lb raisins, 4 ozs lemon peel, 4 tots rum dipped in fresh cream and baked.

1912 June 27

Visit of Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary to Aberdare.

1896 Dec

2 young women were observed walking down Canon Street smoking cigarettes to the consternation of other passers-by.




The Ynyscynon Well

The Ynyscynon Well at Aberdare, which is visited by hundreds every day, has been covered over. A convenient bathing place, which is also covered over, has made it more popular than ever.




The A.U.D.C. first granted a week’s holiday with pay for all workmen whom had been in continuous employment of the council for the previous 12 months.


Boot Hotel sold in March for £4,600 exclusive of stock and fittings.


Inland Revenue Office at the Black Lion Hotel. Officers were Mr Abraham Gibson of 3 Station Street and Mr James Henry Hugel. The Collector was a Mr Richard Hill.


MERTHYR RIOTS: In June, some soldiers who were marching towards Merthyr were surprised by rioters and deprived of their “deadly weapons” at Bedd-y-Cawr between Nant Hir Reservoir and Hirwaun. Abernant House was sacked of beer, bread and cheese.

1910 May 10

Proclamation of the Accession of King George read by Col. Tom Phillips at the Town Hall and later a second time by Mr. Charles Kenshole, High Constable, in Victoria Square. The proceedings ended with the singing of God Save the King.

W. Jenkyn Thomas, M.A. compiled a book on Pennillion Telyn.

1868 Jan

Tin Works started. Situated “on the Banks of the Cynon about ½ mile from the Gadlys Works”. Work began there in September and it gave employment to about 150 men. Messrs Chivers Smith & Co. By 1871, they employed 100.


Lewis Noah Williams won a gold medal at the Crystal Palace in a mining exhibition for his safety lamp. He was also noted for the export of a duplex machine for weighing small coal, “Billy Fair Play”.


In November, the address of the Registered Office of Aberdare Cables moved from Old Jewry, London to Trecynon.


An Elizabethan coin dated 1561 was dug up in a potato patch in Hirwaun.


W.E. Phillips, the landlord of the oldest public house in Aberdare, Bôn-y-Groes, died at the age of 104.


At the Petty Sessions at Llantrisant it was ordered that from the 10th October 1834 to the 10th March 1835 all beer houses in the Hundred of Miskin should open at 7 in the morning and close at 9 in the evening; from the 10th March 1835 to 10th October from 6 in the morning to 10 at night.


There were 52 public houses in Aberdare and 3 residential hotels, The Boot, The Black Lion and the Cardiff Arms, Hirwaun.


There were 49 public houses.

1845 March

800 local inhabitants petitioned Parliament to restrict numbers of local licenses and prevent the sale of liquor on Sundays.






Mrs Hancock at the Boot

Ed Watkins at the Queens

Mrs Gabriel at the Angel in High St

Robert Jones at the Black Lion

John Jenkins at the Freemasons


1st Inn in Cwmaman, Tafarn-y-Coed

First Innkeeper Richard Rees (Shepherds)