"The valley stretched for a distance of eight or ten miles between two nearly parallel lines of hills, broken by a succession of cliffs of singular beauty....... The emerald greeness of the meadows in the valley below was most refreshing...... The air is aromatic with the wild flowers and mountain plants. A Sabbath stillness reigns .... it is the gem of Glamorganshire. " Charles Cliffe, The Book of South Wales, 1847
"The river Rhondda is a dark turgid, and contaminated gutter, into which is poured the refuse of the host of collieries which skirt the thirteen miles of its course. The hills have been stripped of all their woodland beauty, and there they stand, rugged and bare, with immense rubbish heaps covering their surface .... The whole length of the valley has become transformed ... the din of steam engines, the whirr of machinery, the grating sound of coal screens, and the hammering of the smithies proceed increasingly night and day, year in and year out. An unheard of wealth of industry and a great population have simultaneously sprung up together during the past sixty years ... The industrial townships of this valley appear to be inseparably connected in one continuous series of streets of workmens' cottages to Pontypridd. " A Morris, Glamorgan, 1908.
The above contrasting descriptions of the Rhondda appear in David Egan's Coal Society (A History of the South Wales Mining Valleys, 1840-1980). Published in 1987 by Gomer Press.
Here is a substantial reading list of books which relate to Glamorgan, either county or parish.
Index to the book Rhondda, A second selection [The archive photographs series], provided by Allen Powell
Description and Travel
Rhondda Valleys Information and History - Phil Evans' site
Rhondda Heritage Park
Historic Landscape Characterisation: The Rhondda - on the CADW site.
Fully explore the site - there are separate detailed sections for places in the area
"The Rhondda represents a rare and important historic landscape and as such is included in the national Register of Landscapes of Historic Interest in Wales: Part 2:2: Landscapes of Special Historic Interest (2001)."
Rhondda Cynon Taff - on Wikipedia
Historical snippets re 'the Rhondda', various contributors
Rhondda Cynon Taf Photographic Archive contains digital images of the people and places of Rhondda Cynon Taf taken from the collections held by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Libraries. Over 14,000 images are available on the site that illustrates all aspects of life in the County Borough area from around 1880 to the present day.
Any entries included here because not clear where exactly the colliery was
Some of the hamlets, towns and villages within this area
There are many references to this area in the 15 million Welsh and English language articles from Welsh newspapers transcribed by the NLW and viewable on Welsh Newspapers Online
Below are English language articles that have been re-transcribed and extracted randomly to illustrate what is available, there are many that are not extracted here that include names of local people
- From The Cardiff Times 28th September 1872
RHONDDA. BRITISH SCHOOL DEMONSTRATION.—On Tuesday that part of this populous valley lying between Bodringallt and Treorki witnessed a scene of unusual life and animation, the occasion being the joint procession of the Bodringallt, Ton Ystrad, Cwm-Park, and Treorki, united British Schools, headed by the fife band from Mr. Goodwin's school, Merthyr. It is surprising to think of the rapid strides that the principle of the British School system has made in this valley. ....(part extract).....
- From the South Wales Daily News (Third Edition) 10th March 1900
RHONDDA. District Council.—As the monthly meeting yesterday, Mr J. D. Williams presiding, Mr W. Abraham, M.P. (Mabon) was selected to lay the foundation stone of the new Isolation Hospital. The report of the medical officer of health showed that there was no epidemic typhoid in the district. He said strict watch should be kept upon the water supplies, and some definite steps should be taken with regard to the proper filtration of the water supplied by the Pontypridd Company before the summer and autumn months. The death-rate from diphtheria in January was high.
- From the South Wales Daily News (Third Edition) 12th December 1899
RHONDDA. Fatal Accident.—On Sunday morning Thomas Price (38), hitcher, 47, Alexandra-road, Gelli, died from shocking injuries received in the Bodringallt Colliery on the 25th of May last. Deceased was crushed between some trams. He leavea a widow and eight children.
- From the Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South… 12th October 1900
RHONDDA., MABON'S GREAT MAJORITY. No contest took place in the Rhondda Division of Glamorganshire in 1895, 1892, or 1886. At the previous General Election, in 1885, Mr W. Abraham (Mabon) was returned to Parliament for the first time to represent the combined interests of Labour and Liberalism with majority of 865. After being thrice elected unopposed, Mabon was on this occasion challenged by Councillor Hughes, of Cardiff, who decided to test the feeling of the constituency. The result is sufficiently convincing: W. Abraham (L. and Lab.), 8383; R. Hughes (C.) 1874; Majority, 6509
- From The Cardiff Times 3rd November 1865
RHONDDA. GOOD NEWS. — We are reliably informed that Messrs. Davies and Company, who are now sinking five or six shafts in this valley, are about erecting six hundred cottages forthwith. This, when done, will be a blessed piece of work so far as the poorer portion of the inhabitants are concerned. At present, cottages are not only very highly rated, but, as a rule, are not obtainable at any price.
- From the Cardiff Times 27th September 1879
RHONDDA. COAL STEALING.—At the Pontypridd police. court, on Wednesday—before Mr Emlyn Williams (stipendiary)-* and * were sentenced to three hours incarceration at the police-station for stealing 30 lbs., 15lbs., and 24 lbs. of coal respectively.
- From the South Wales Daily News (Third Edition) 1st August 1896
RHONDDA. DISTRICT COUNCIL.—At the fortnightly meeting of the Rhondda District Council on Friday, Mr T. Griffiths, J.P. presiding, it was agreed that a medical officer be appointed in place of the late Dr. J. R. James, J.P., to devote the whole of his time to the duties. Seven cases of typhoid fever and 46 cases of scarlet fever were reported to have occurred in the Clydach Vale district in the past fortnight.
- From the South Wales Daily News 3rd January 1880
RHONDDA. THE SALVATION ARMY.-This body held several meetings on Friday. The proceedings were very animated. In the evening a corps of adults and juveniles paraded the streets singing lustily.
- From the South Wales Daily News 22nd April 1881
RHONDDA. RAT HUNTING.—Whilst a number of gentlemen were engaged a few days since rat-hunting, in Lower Rhondda, a rat slipped up one of the company's trousers. The victim of misfortune was well-nigh petrified with astonishment and alarm, but before he could do anything a fellow- huntsman sent a ferret up his nether habiliments. and, after an exciting chase, the rat was vanquished by its pursuer at the top of the gallant huntsman's back. The incident may fairly be described as unparalleled.
- From the South Wales Daily News 23rd December 1879
RHONDDA. THE PROPOSED LIBERAL ASSOCIATION.—An influential deputation waited upon the Stipendiary (Mr G. Williams) on Monday, with reference to this matter. It is probable that a public meeting will be held next week in promotion of the object in view. Mr Williams will attend and speak.