Edwardsville

Picture above from Lee Dare who has contributed quite a few excellent photographs to the website

http://www.leedarephotography.co.uk/

I first started the website in spring 2009 but it constantly needs help, content and updating so during the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, I had time to update many of the pages of the website. Edwardsville was one of the first pages and luckily Neil Nelly Williams started the “Edwardsville matters” page on Facebook in early May and it encouraged people to add photographs and stories, some of which I have added to this page ( I will remove them if  requested to) There is so much more to the village than the old swimming pool photos or photos of the “gap” and hopefully this page will bring back memories to the local community.

A little bit of History about the village.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century rows of houses started to be developed near the Quakers Yard station.  In 1900 a new century began, and within a few years rows of houses started to appear and form the village of Edwardsville itself, this included several shops and two chapels, even so the railway station remained as Quakers Yard. It is believed that a sort of Building society was formed with the intention of financing the costs of the new houses. A meeting was held in the Great Western Hotel to decide the name of the new village and the committee came up with a few suggestions but it was the casting vote of the Hotels’ proprietor and chairman of the meeting , Edmund Edwards that finally decided the issue.

The Truant school (more details on Edwardsville Places of interest page) and Great Western hotel were already built at the time as well as the impressive Railway station which was named Quakers yard. The English congregational church was built in 1905, but I cannot find a date for the original Edwardsville council school but know it was closed in July 1974. A new school opened in Edwardsville in September 1975 and was built to replace the schools at Webster Street, Treharris Central, Woodlands and Edwardsville itself.

Chapel in Beechgrove cemetry following the Tornado

At terrible tornado ripped through the village causing huge damage and loss of life in 1913 (pictures available)

For many years people flocked to the area in the warm weather to the open air swimming pool built in 1937 to encourage fitness and fresh air, It was converted into a modern covered baths in 1986, but sadly suffered from subsidence in its later years and finally closed in late September 2010( there is a feature on this website on the Edwardsville Places of Interest page)

Edwardsville can boast about a number of important schools ,The prestigious Quakers yard grammar school was opened here in 1922, the Mining Institute, 1929 and the Quakers Yard Technical School, 1937. The Tech school and grammar school eventually merged but were finally closed in the mid-sixties when pupils from the area moved to Afan Taf High school in Troedyrhiw.

General photographs of the village

The Avenue last century

Below we have three shots of where there Darby and Joan club were next to Troz fish shop

Below we see the post master and post office donated by Lowri Betty

The Italian cafe in the snow

Radio house savings card

Hardwear store and then Hair dressers 

Old Butchers in 16 the Avenue, it’s from 1909.(Catherine Richards)

Outside Catherine Richards house her great grandmother 

Bakers shop and bill

August 2011 opposite school

Above we see the village from acros the valley first picture 1980’s secnd one 2020 (Lee Dare)

These were the busy tracks between Treharris and Edwardsville below are two photos years later when the railway had gone by Ian Brookes, it is now the location of Forest grove housing development

Edwardsville viaducts and Great Western Station (Quakers Yard)

More commonly known as the three Quakers yard viaducts were a prominent and important development even before the village itself was built. It is suggested that a lot of stone for the viaducts was obtained from the quarry opposite, which we now call the “the Gap” or “Giants bite”

In 1840 the engineer – and guiding force behind the Great Western Railway – Isambard Kingdom Brunel began work on a six-arched viaduct across the River Taff. While the High-Level station closed in 1964, the viaduct is still there, carrying traffic from Merthyr to Cardiff.

In 1858 the Quaker’s Yard High Level station was opened. Together with the village’s Low-Level station this created a lively and bustling railway junction where passengers could embark for places like Merthyr, Pontypool, Neath and Aberdare and coal could be dispatched down the valley to the docks at Cardiff.

Over the viaduct into Cefn Glas Tunnel

The second viaduct was built by the Great Western Railway company (GWR) in 1864 at the same time they also built a tunnel that went through the mountain and into the Aberdare valley. This enabled trains to run between Neath, through Hirwaun across to Nelson and on to Pontypool eventually reaching the Midlands and the North.

Much later in 1886 when the GWR and Rhymney Railway formed a partnership to lay a new railway up to Merthyr on the west side of the Taff. It was much larger (200 metres) than the other viaducts and in modern times The A470 follows much of its course up to Merthyr. Both these viaducts were affected by the underground movements of the coal workings of Deep Navigation Pit in Treharris. Both viaducts had timber reinforcements in their arches to make them safe.

Image of part of the old viaduct

In 2006, two plaques in Welsh and English were unveiled on Quakers Yard Viaduct to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s birth.

By the 1950s the newer viaduct became unsafe and the railway was closed.Trains stopped running over the older viaduct in 1962 through the mountain and in 1969 both were demolished.

Not much remains of the large station with the High Level completely gone but a small station still survives to serve the village.

Below we see a variety of photos from the Quakers yard residents of the remains of the station before housing was built there.

The following images relate to the village of Edwardsville and surrounding areas including Ponygwaith. The Older pictures appear first, followed by more modern ones.

The Terrible Tornado of October,1913 

(pictures courtesy of Roger Vowles, Treharris)

Three people were killed, amongst the three fatalities was local celebrity C Woolford, the right-back and captain of the Ton Pentre football club.Houses and a chapel were wrecked and over a hundred people injured when a force 6 Tornado struck Edwardsville, on Monday the 27th of October 1913.

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Below we see a very important image, Adrian Evans kindly donated this post card picture to the site, It is dated back to 1908( as you can see from the original stamp on the back of the card pictured below.

The image clearly shows the double track that used to be on that side of the river, it is now covered by the A 470. Big thanks to Adrian for sharing this, a post card of this quality can cost £20 and we can all now have the pleasure of seeing part of our history.

Postcard Stamped Merthyr Vale Aug 08

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King Edward 7th on a Half penny stamp

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View from Treharrris 1992 ish

Earlier view similar area date unknown

New Development at start of Village (water works)

The First picture is 2011 the rest are 2020

The following collection of photographs are all taken from the mountain opposite Edwardsville, they are all courtesy of Adrian Evans.

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The old canal bank below the “Gap” once a very important form of transportation for Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff

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A view of Quakers Yard station and the old truent school

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This old bridge used to go over the Merthyr to Cardiff canal, it is located near Pontygaith and some date it back to 1740

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Looking up the valley from Edwardsville

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Aerial View of the village

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The Viaducts

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The avenue free from cars

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Leaving Edwardsville 1980’s

Above we see the old entrance to the Baths 2011

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Edwardsville quarry in the distance

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Above are 2 pictures of the bridge that went under the railway and led to Buarth Glas Terrace, Pontygwaith with was demolished to allow the A 470 to be built…see Alan George Merthyr Photographs website for more pictures

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Buarth Glas Terrace

Some more photos thanks to Les Bounds

The old Terrace which was demolished

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The Pontygwaith Bridge

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Just North of Edwardsville we find the Pontygwaith bridge, there used to be a very small village nearby. The bridge was built at least 200 years ago,built 1811 to replace a wooden bridge

A Sussex Iron master named Anthony Morley set up a small ironworks here in 1583..It is commonly believed that it was later destroyed by Roundhead soldiers.

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Below we see an old road bridge near Pontygwaith (Adrian Evans)

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The Gap or Giants Tooth

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Inside or behind the “gap” (A Evans)

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Three more pics above near the gap in 2011 during the winter

Above we see two Jason Jones photos of the Gap from different angles

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Across the valley and in the right of the picture the site of the old Truant school now a housing estate.

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Work beginning early 1980’s

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Again we see the site of the truant school now Housing development

The next pictures are of the remains of the Viaducts that led to the Tunnel, we also have a photograph of the tunnel that went through the mountain to Abercynon from Edwardsville.

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Cefn Glas Tunnel

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The old Quakers Yard to Merthyr Viaduct

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The old Pontypool to Neath viaduct Edwardsville

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The path that leads from the bridge now leads to an underpass of the A 470 duel carriageway (A Evans)

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Finally some photographs I took since 2012

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Birch grove Cemetery

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Above we see a new housing estate on the site of the old railway lines on the entrance to Edwardsville next to the cemetery

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