The following are extracts from historical survey of Treharris which was produced by D.H Gwynne Davies of the Merthyr historical society. It was passed on to me by my late great uncle Jack Corkrey, a great lover of history, I hope you all enjoy reading it.
Treharris was once just a collection of farms on the hillside above Quakers Yard, the land was owned by Twynygarreg, Pantannas and Cefn forest land owners.
The story tells the tale of some gentlemen arriving at Quakers Yard station, these men obviously had a plan in mind and they headed to the old village of Quakers Yard before heading up into a field owned by the Twynygarreg farm until they came to the valley of the Bargoed opposite the farm of Pontnewydd on the opposite side of the valley. These men obviously knew about the geography of the area as they asked no one for advice or direction, they walked back and for here for a long time, talking with each other, something of great importance was being debated ,after a long period of time the men retraced their tracks and caught their train back home again.
Great speculation grew amongst the locals about the purpose of the visit from the strangers , this conjecture grew as news got out that land had been bought from the Twynygarreg farm with the intention of sinking a pit. Many thought it would be a very hazardous venture to try to cut through the rocky crust for coal, whilst some of the farmers were worried that their wells might dry up if a pit was sunk. A company under the chairmanship of F.W.Harris was formed with new directors, namely Webster, Hill, Huckett and Judkins.
On Monday September 28th 1872 a level was opened near the Bargoed River, the first coal was produced and used by the new men that had been brought to the district to sink the new pit. Apart from the local farms the only dwellings in existence were the “huts” (please see the collieries section of the website under deep Navigation)
It was a very tough job sinking the mine, as the locals had predicted and there were fears that the mine might have to close but in 1873 the Ocean coal company took over the colliery and FW Harris gave his name to the village and the history of Treharris as we now know it began.
Carnivals in Treharris
Two posters for two big events celebrated in the town
Carnivals, festivals, or days of celebration, have taken place in the town since the beginning, whether it be a royal occasion, summer fete or in support of the miners, the soldiers or local heroes. From 1994 up until 2006, the festivals became an annual event and below is a summary of those days and all the work and people involved.
Treharris Festival 1994-2006
I write this as the site owner and independent of the organisers, although I know most of them , I was never involved personally, so have relied on the minutes from the committee meetings , old programmes and photos that were donated by Carole Smith and Sue Edwards, but I hope it brings back some happy memories.
The inaugural meeting took place on the 30th March 1994 and Susan Edwards was made chairperson, with Roger Vowles treasurer and Ernie Galsworthy secretary and minute taker.
The idea was to organise an event in Treharris, hopefully with the support of local people, businesses, and the council, with the first duty of the committee being to contact local people and start raising funds.
This was made a little easier following a donation of £112.14 p from Laine Smith from the old carnival committee, it was decided that all monies would be banked at the Treharris branch of the Halifax building society.
The next few meetings saw bookings confirmed with the fire brigade, Jazz band and St Johns ambulance and Radio amateurs agreeing to put a stall on, Welsh water donated £100 and further funding applications had been sent out.
The local community started to support the event with raffle donations and offers of stalls, plus the Royal was putting on cheap beer all day and a show in the evening, things were moving on well with the event planned outside the Royal. It turned out to be a big success with up to 5,000 people on the streets of Treharris throughout the day with floats from the school and the jazz band marching, everyone enjoyed themselves and the 1995 Carnival was already at the planning stage.
Following the success of the first carnival, more members became involved in committee meetings with many ideas passing through on how to raise funds and what sort of entertainment and facilities could be provided.
January 1995 and things were progressing well, Edwardsville School and Webster Street both confirmed they would provide a float for the parade. Merthyr council confirmed that the land outside the Royal Hotel was suitable for the venue. and Ted Rowlands MP confirmed that he would also attend. Once again, the festival was a great success and preliminary plans were put in place to hold the 1996 festival on 29th June 1996.
1996 and a Fireworks displays, a fun bus, as well a Christmas Grotto , organised to take place at the Danygraig club, were all part of the huge effort put in by the committee and members throughout the whole year, putting on events to raise money for the annual carnival, but it also provided great fun for everyone , not just on the one big day of the year.
Christmas and the committee always busy
The carnivals continued to be a big success and they attracted media attention through Valley radio and Owen Money being in attendance although there was no carnival in 1999 the new Millennium brough about some new changes to the committee as Susan Edwards resigned and Peter Edwards became chairman and Yvonne Galsworthy vice chair, Marilyn Kedwood was elected treasurer and Ernie Galsworthy secretary.
So much went on in the years that followed with a new committee in place in 2000, albeit with some familiar faces but also new members joining, six more carnivals were organised plus so much more throughout the years but finally 2006 was to be last carnival in Treharris. Public liability insurance had become awfully expensive and fund raising more difficult, plus the fact there were less people able to help meant they had to stop. Twelve amazing carnivals which will hold memories for so many people who worked so hard to arrange them or those that had stalls or entertainers who performed, businesses and sponsors who supported it but most importantly the families that attended them.
The committee continued working though and still raise money to provide Christmas lights and gifts for the children, work they were still doing before the virus stopped everything in March 2020, that’s over 25 years of work for our community, we can all be grateful for.
Below we see a list of most of the people involved in making this all happen, I have tried to be as accurate as possible but will surely have missed people out, but feel free to let me know and I will add them.
Roger Vowles Treasurer
Sue Edwards Chairperson
Ernie Galsworthy, minute secretary
Jenny McGovern,D Griffiths,Pat Taylor,Collen Dicks
Carl Cresson,Yvonne Galsworthy,Jane Foster,K Lewton
M Humphries,Tony Whittaker,Richard Williams,Pat Evans
Margaret Hawke,Catherine Pride,Paul Jenkins,Gareth Raybolt
Sheryl Lewis,Mary Vowles,Elaine Vowles,Gaynor Duggan
Marilyn Kenwood,Peter Edwards,Ann Tweedy
Master of Ceremonies
Constitutional members from 2000
May 3rd, 2000
Peter Edwards,Kay Watkins,Ann Tweedy,Yvonne Galsworthy
May 10th, 2000
Chris Ward,Marilyn Kedwood,Tony Llewellyn,Jenny McGovern
Susan Edwards,Ernie Galsworthy
November 30th ,2000
John Blacker,B Blacker,G Smithers
January 11th, 2001
Paul Smithers (chairman 2004)
May 10th, 2001
February 13th, 2002
Amy Broadstock,Geoff Gunning,Daphne Gunning,J Griffiths
May 15, 2002
C Thomas,D Drane,Paul Hopkins
September 4th, 2002
Carl Cresson,I Morgan
February 27th, 2003
Entertainment or shows, appearances
Blues brothers tribute band,Bouncy castle,Cadets
Carl Cressons’ group,Carls disco,Children’s clowns,Coconut stalls
Comic band,Coyote blue,Dai’s disco,Deep Navigation banner
Danny Humphries military band,Edwardsville junior school choir
Face painting,Fancy dress,Fish and chips vans,Floats
Freemans fair rides,Hank disco,Helouise,Hot dogs and Burger vans
Hot potato van,Ice cream Vans,Jacquie Ross,Kate Youlden
Jazz bands,Katra,Ken and Reg,Main Attraction
Mark George,Mary Symonds band,Messiah and Finn,Mike Trevett
Night Sounds,NSPCC, Owen Money and the train robbers
Oxo,Pete’s disco,Pony trekkingPulse,Punch and Judy
RFC barbeque,Salvation army,Searchers,Sidewinder group
Smokestack,Space cakes,Sumo Wrestlers,Swamp donkeys
Taffy the clown,Tomfoolery,The Breed,The pit hooter
Valleys radio,Young oxo and Total blackout band,Zero phonics
Police and fire brigade,St Johns ambulance Treharris
1994 outside Royal Hotel
1995 Outside Royal Hotel
1996 Outside Royal Hotel
1997 Outside Royal Hotel
1998 Outside Royal Hotel
2000 (May) Treharris AFC
2001 (May 5th) Treharris AFC
2002 (June 29h) Millennium Park
2003 (June 28th) Millennium Park
2004 Millennium Park
2005 Treharris mini rugby ground
2006 Treharris mini rugby ground
Dai Harvard MP
Ted Rowlands MP
Mayor and Mayoress of Merthyr
Huw Lewis AM
Festival themes and Shop window displays
1995 VE Day
1997 Outer space
2000 One thousand years of history and achievement
2001 1920’s and 1930’s
2002 Queens jubilee
2003 Welsh music and singers
2004 Joseph Parry and Welsh culture
2005 Welsh Grand slam
2006 FIFA World cup
Some of the Processions at the start of the carnivals
Some of the many events to raise money during the years included
Discos,Sponsored walks,Christmas grottos,Masquerade
Fancy dress Bucket collections in pubs,Asking for donations
Support from local businesses,Brynhyfrd church carols and arias
Many raffles,Boot sales,Quiz nights,Choir nights,Barbeques
Bingo nights,Door to door collections,Race nights,Fun runs
Duck race,Inflatables,Fishing competitions,Stars in their eyes show
Some of the Floats during the Carnival Years