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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
New role for historic Powerhouse
The Powerhouse when the pit was in operation
Rioting took place at the Powerhouse in 1910
A south Wales valleys landmark which became the starting point of riots and strikes in the early 20th Century is to be given a new lease of life.

Shops, offices and cafes could spring up in Rhondda's Llwynypia Powerhouse, a Grade II listed building.

Built in 1905, it became the engine house of the Llwynypia pit, and five years later became the starting point of the Tonypandy riots.

Proposals over new designs for the building's use are to go on display.

It was the scene of some of the most famous incidents in Rhondda Cynon Taf
Councillor Robert Bevan

The plans also include a theatre and heritage information, and the developers are asking the public to comment on the ideas.

"The Llwynypia Powerhouse is a landmark building and one that is steeped in history," said Rhondda Cynon Taf councillor Robert Bevan.

"It was the scene of some of the most famous incidents in Rhondda Cynon Taf and we are determined it remains a central point of our community."

In 1910, the Powerhouse was damaged during riots after lock-out notices were issued to miners after they refused pay cuts in August that year. Three months later an official strike began by all those employed by the Cambrian Combine.

By 7 November, work at all the Cambrian Combine collieries had stopped, with the exception of the Llwynypia pit.

Riots broke out in the area of the Powerhouse and windows were smashed. There was also rioting in Dunraven Street and Pandy Square in Tonypandy on the same day.

The Powerhouse
The building is quieter now, but remains steeped in mining history

Home Secretary Winston Churchill sent in the troops and the miners were forced to return to work in October 1911, on the owners' terms.

The Powerhouse was also central to the Great Strike of 1912.

The strike began in October 1911, when the Miners' Federation of Great Britain began a demand for the individual minimum wage for all workmen.

By March 1912, the majority of all mines came out on strike - within a week, the strike began to take effect, with railways having to cut services and suspend express trains as the price of coal began to rise.

An exhibition about the proposals for the building is in the foyer of Somerfield in Dunraven Street, Tonypandy.

Fatal mine explosion remembered
17 May 05 |  South East Wales

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