Cwmbrân shown within Torfaen
Population 47,254 OS grid reference Principal area Torfaen Ceremonial county Gwent Country Wales Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town CWMBRÂN Postcode district NP44 Dialling code 01633 Police Gwent Fire South Wales Ambulance Welsh EU Parliament Wales UK Parliament Torfaen List of places: UK • Wales • Torfaen
Cwmbrân ( //, also spelled Cwmbran and Cwm Bran according to Enwau Cymru) is a new town in Wales. Today forming part of the county borough of Torfaen and lying within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, Cwmbrân was established in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield. Cwmbrân means Crow Valley and refers to a local stream named Y Brân (The Crow). Cwmbrân is twinned with Bruchsal in Germany and Carbonne in France.
Based around the villages of Old Cwmbrân, Pontnewydd, Upper Cwmbrân, Croesyceiliog, Llantarnam and Llanyrafon, its population had grown to 47,254 by 2001. This makes it the sixth largest urban area in Wales.
Cwmbrân is a new town established in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield; though there is evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people used the area, with the Iron Age Silures tribe also occupying the region before being subdued by the Roman legions based at nearby Usk and Caerleon.
Around 1179, Hywel, Lord of Caerleon gave a gift of money and land to found the Cistercian Abbey at Llantarnam in Cwmbrân. After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the Abbey was closed and was bought by a succession of wealthy landowners. By the 18th century the Abbey had passed into the ownership of the Blewitt family, who were to become key figures in the early industrialisation of Cwmbrân. Brickmaking, lime kilns, iron ore mining, quarrying and coal mining were established during this period along with a canal to transport goods to the docks at Newport. In 1833 the Ordnance Survey map of Monmouthshire shows Cwmbrân as a farm situated in the area now known as Upper Cwmbrân, in the valley named Cwm Brân. Cwmbrân now covers approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2) and has a population of around 50,000.
Following some investigation by local residents Richard Davies and Mike Price, the Ancient Cwmbran & The Cistercian project was created and a £48,000 grant has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore some previously unrecorded sites of interest in the Greenmeadow and Thornhill, Cwmbran areas.
Unlike other areas of Wales that have Anglicised versions of place names, such as Caerdydd to Cardiff, Cwmbrân (meaning Crow Valley in English) is the official name in both Welsh and English; it has simply been common practice to ignore diacritics in written English. It remains true, nevertheless, that this new town created in 1949 was given a Welsh name, Cwmbrân; the correct spelling of which is now, with advances in typography, probably the form most frequently to be seen in official usage. Following the passing of the 1946 New Towns' Act, ministries and county councils were asked to nominate sites. For Wales, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government proposed Church Village and Cwmbrân. The Church Village proposal was vetoed by the Ministry of Power as new housing there would have interfered with plans for the expansion of coalmining in the area; however, "Cwmbrân" was passed in 1949. The BBC notes, "Cwmbrân (valley of the river Brân) was the name given to a new town created in 1949 under the New Towns Act 1946. It took the name of the older village located in the valley Cwm Brân which had developed around tinplate works and forges of the Cwmbran Iron Co."
Whether or not the iron company cared, or 1940s British typewriters and typesetters were capable of easily producing the necessary character, Brân was, and is, the name of the stream running through the valley, and Cwmbrân the name of the community which arose there. It is a convention in Welsh toponymy that when the reference is to a natural feature the words are written separately (e.g. Cwm Brân : valley of the Brân); when they refer to a settlement named after that feature the words are joined up (Cwmbrân). Another example: Pont ar Dawe ("bridge on the Tawe": the bridge itself) / Pontardawe (the village that grew up by the bridge).
Sitting as it does at the corner of the South Wales Coalfield, it has a hilly aspect to its western and northern edges, with the surrounding hills climbing to over 1,000 feet (300 m). The Afon Llwyd forms the major river valley, although the most significant water course is probably the remains of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. To the east of Cwmbran the land is less hilly, forming part of the Usk valley.
Cwmbran Shopping Centre
Built in the late 1950s the New Town Centre hosts a main bus station, supermarkets, small commercial units and a cinema. Over a period of 30 years the shopping centre was extended and refurbished several times. In spring 2000, a new development was brought forward in the north-west corner of the shopping centre. A supermarket, two-storey car park, a health clinic, and another small commercial unit was built. Another re-development of the old Asda building in 2006 supplied more shops in the new vicinity called "Llewelyn Walk".
On 31 October 2008, Leisure @ Cwmbran, a 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) complex, opened on Glyndŵr Road - formerly a disused multi-story car park in the north-east of the town centre. It hosts a Vue 8-screen cinema with a Bowlplex 20-lane bowling alley, a Frankie and Benny's New York Italian Restaurant, a Tiffins Indian Restaurant, a Gravy Train restaurant and a children's crèche.
On 9 July 2011, the much anticipated 'Delilahs' cocktail & music bar opened at Leisure @ Cwmbran. This is the first 'nightclub' in Cwmbrân town centre since 'The Pleasure Dome', which before being closed and demolished in September 2004, was situated only a few hundred feet south of the current nightclub on Glyndŵr Road.
The biscuit maker Burton's Foods Ltd employs 1000 people at a factory in Cwmbrân to make its Jammy Dodgers and Wagon Wheels biscuits. As of 2005, the Cwmbrân plant produces over 400 million Wagon Wheels a year.
Cwmbrân Brewery is a small, independent brewery in Upper Cwmbrân that opened in 1996 as Cottage Spring Brewery. The name was changed to Cwmbrân in 2002 in order to avoid conflict with the Cottage Brewery of Somerset. The owners are brewer Martin Lewis and business partner and former drayman Keith Gullick.
The town is home to three secondary education schools: Croesyceiliog School, Llantarnam School and Fairwater High School. There are numerous primary and nursery schools as well as the Welsh medium school, Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbrân. The town centre also boasts a "Learn-IT" centre (part of Coleg Gwent).
The town is perhaps most widely known for its international sports stadium, home to international athletics events in the 1970s and 1980s. British athletics coach Malcolm Arnold used to train some of his athletes at Cwmbrân in the 80s and early 90s while he was the Welsh National Coach. Athletes who trained there regularly under Malcolm include former World 110m Hurdle Champion and World Record Holder, Colin Jackson; Commonwealth 110m Hurdle medallist, Paul Gray; and Nigel Walker who had two sporting careers, first as an Olympic hurdler and then later as a Welsh rugby union international player. The 1999 World Indoor 400m Champion Jamie Baulch also used the stadium as a regular training track under a different coach. The stadium is also the home of the football teams, Cwmbrân Town and Cwmbrân Celtic as well as Cwmbrân Men's Hockey Club and Cwmbrân Ladies' Hockey Club (which are independent clubs).
Separate grounds at Pontnewydd and Croesyceiliog house the town's two senior rugby teams, Cwmbran RFC and Croesyceiliog RFC, although many more of the town's residents support the rugby teams of the older, adjacent town of Pontypool, the city of Newport and the Newport Gwent Dragons regional team.
Cwmbrân also has several martial art clubs including a Shotokan Karate club (affiliated to the KUGB), which is part of the Wales based Tekki Karate Academy. Junior karate is also available throughout Cwmbrân via the Junior Karate Club.
Cwmbrân railway station is served by trains on the Welsh Marches Line., with through trains south to Newport and Cardiff. Northbound local trains serve Pontypool and Abergavenny, with longer distance services running to Hereford, Shrewsbury, Crewe, Holyhead and Manchester. The station was not opened until 1986, as one of the last acts of the Cwmbran New Town Development Board. Prior to this, Cwmbrân had been without a train service for 24 years, its original station having been on the Newport-Blaenavon branch line which ran to the west of the town centre. Along with a number of other passenger train services in Monmouthshire, this line closed in April 1962 and was therefore not (as is often wrongly remembered locally) a casualty of the Beeching Axe, having closed eighteen months before the Beeching proposals were announced.
The town has a comprehensive local bus service.
- See also Category:People from Cwmbran
- Helen Adams, Big Brother Contestant/TV presenter/Hairdresser.
- Rachel Rice, Big Brother winner
- Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, sometime Member of Parliament and campaigner for the preservation of Churches.
- Gary Lockett, World title challenging boxer and TV/Radio analyst.
- Daniel Gabbidon, professional footballer for West Ham United and Wales.
- John Williams (VC), real name John Fielding - Zulu War and Rorke's Drift veteran, born in Abergavenny, buried in Llantarnam.
- Jamie Arthur, Commonwealth Games medal winning boxer.
- Green Gartside, born in Cardiff, singer with Scritti Politti
- Dame Gwyneth Jones International Opera Singer, Bayreuth, Covent Garden, ENO and others.
- Margaret Price, International Opera Singer, Covent Garden, ENO, ON and Australian Opera.
- ^ Enwau Cymru results when searching for 'Cwmbrân'
- ^ Geograph.org.uk
- ^ Statistics.gov.uk
- ^ News.BBC.co.uk
- ^ Why Cwmbran
- ^ BBC etymology of "Cwmbrân"
- ^ Geograph.org.uk
- ^ http://www.macraesbluebook.co.uk/company/company.cfm?company=9749_Burtons_Foods_Ltd.
- ^ http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/wagonwheels
- ^ "Cwmbran Brewery". www.quaffale.org.uk. http://www.quaffale.org.uk/php/brewery/431. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- ^ "Cwmbran Brewery - Homepage". www.cwmbranbrewery.co.uk. http://www.cwmbranbrewery.co.uk/. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- ^ Geograph.org.uk
- ^ Geograph.org.uk
- ^ Cwmbranharriers.co.uk
- ^ Fairwater-runners.co.uk
- ^ Griffithstownharriers.co.uk
- ^ Geograph.org.uk
- ^ Geograph.org.uk
- Village Publishing (1985). 'The trains don't stop here anymore....' - A pictorial history of Cwmbrân from the 1930s to the present day. Village Publishing. ISBN 0-946043-07-8.
- Cwmbrân & District Writers (2004). Cwmbrân - And other Routes as the crow flies. ISBN 1-872730-34-5.
- Philip Riden (1988). Rebuilding a Valley. Cwmbran Development Corporation. ISBN 0-9510548-1-3.
- Cwmbran Squadron Air Training Corps
- Animal Sanctuary
- Gwent Army Cadet Force - Find out about Cwmbran Detachment
- Cwmbran's War Dead
Torfaen County Borough Principal settlements Electoral wards
Abersychan • Blaenavon • Brynwern • Coed Eva • Croesyceiliog North • Croesyceiliog South • Cwmynyscoy • Fairwater • Greenmeadow • Llantarnam • Llanyrafon North • Llanyrafon South • New Inn • Panteg • Pontnewydd • Pontnewynydd • Pontypool • Snatchwood • St Cadocs/Penygarn • St Dials • Trevethin • Two Locks • Upper Cwmbran • Wainfelin
Places of interest Rivers and canals
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