March Meeting of Society
Mr Jeff Childs has been a regular speaker to the History Society for well over a decade. However, this year he came as Chairman of the Swansea Valley History Society, and attracted quite a few Pontardawe residents to swell the large audience. His talk was a continuation of his lecture in 2008 on the parish of Cil-y- Bebyll as he continued his illustrated journey towards Alltwen and Pontardawe.
One of the many successful aspects of Mr Childs’ lectures is his attention to detail all given without the aid of notes. Each farm, homestead or industrial works is covered with an immense amount of detail which betrays a lifetime of careful research. His talks also use the ecclesiastical map of the area as general backdrop. However the weft and weave of his talk is always the influence of people both ancient and modern, humble and grand.
On reaching Alltwen and Rhos the influence of industry became apparent. Coal, steel, tinplate, chemicals, foundries and mills were all represented within the current confines of the current settlements. It was fascinating to note how much of the industrial archaeology was now masked by the ubiquitous presence of a Tescos and how much the area has changed within only a few decades. Mr Childs also discussed the role of chapels and pubs in the area and the role of the entrepreneur Howel Gwyn in the development of Alltwen and Pontardawe.
Mr Gwyn Thomas thanked Mr Childs for his talk and remarked that it was a tragedy that so much of our heritage is masked by new development which hides the past.
Members should note that the date of next month’s Lecture will be Monday April 6th since our normal meeting date falls on Easter Monday.