Blaenllechau


Blaenllechau

Blaenllechau is a small village located in the Rhondda Fach valley of the South Wales Valleys (Rhondda Cynon Taff). Neighbouring villages are Ferndale, Maerdy and Tylorstown. The population of Blaenllechau is far less than 1000.

History

The town was founded as a colliery village in 1857 [Parry G, Williams M A, "The Welsh Language and the 1891 Census", UoW Press, 1999, ISBN 0-7083-1536-4, p 83] . Until the beginning of the 1950s it had two collieries (Ferndale Nos. 1 and 5) producing steam coal [Colliery Guardian "Guide to the coalfields", 1955, p 384] : the pit-head workings were still extant in the early 1960s, but now they have been removed.

Until Dr Beeching wielded his axe on British Railways the village and its nearest largish town of Ferndale was served by a branch line from Pontypridd and Porth. The line was still operating as a mineral railway until the closure of the last of Rhondda’s collieries, Maerdy, by the government of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

The sites of both railway and colliery have been ‘landscaped and where a slag and spoil tip, called the ‘Banana tip’, because of its shape, once stood now a cricket and sports ground stand.

Geography

Blaenllechau is typical of its kind for the topography of the Rhondda Fach Valley (Cwm Rhondda Fach). Three or four rows of stone houses cling to the mountainside.

Blaenllechau is well-known for its waterfall.

The village has a park, a community centre and a working men’s club called the Blaenllechau Radical Club, or the ‘Rad’. The village used to have an infant school, but due to a lack of pupils attending, it has been closed since July 2006.

References

External links

* [http://www.ggat.org.uk/historic%20landscapes/Rhondda/English/Rhondda_020.htm Village history (Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust)]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=2802442 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Blaenllechau and surrounding area]
* [http://www.welshcoalmines.co.uk Welsh Coal Mines - all the pits, all the histories]


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