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Blue plaques mark proud heritage

24 September 08 15:52 GMT

A series of plaques are being put up in a south Wales community remembering its famous people, events and places.

Thirty historical sites have been chosen for the Rhondda Cynon Taf heritage trail, which received £49,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Tonypandy Riots, the Pontypridd birthplace of opera singer Sir Geraint Evans and footballer Jimmy Murphy are all remembered.

More than 180 nominations were received from local residents.

Famous figures remembered include chartist, surgeon, druid and pioneer of cremation Dr William Price, and Elizabeth Andrews from Ton Pentre in the Rhondda, who was a social reformer and the Labour Party's first woman organiser.

In Gilfach Goch, a plaque will be placed to remember author Richard Llewellyn, whose novel How Green Was My Valley was said to have been inspired by the village.

Well-known musical groups such as Pendyrus Male Choir, The Cory Band and Treorchy Male Choir will be honoured.

Several sporting figures also feature in the trail including footballer and manager Jimmy Murphy of Pentre, Rhondda.

Murphy, who played for West Bromwich Albion and Wales, temporarily took over as Manchester United manager following the Munich Air Crash of 1958 while Matt Busby recovered.

He would have been on the flight returning from Belgrade but, in his other role as Wales manager, had stayed behind for a World Cup qualifier against Israel in Cardiff.

Other sporting names recognised include Pontypridd boxer Freddie Welsh, a world lightweight champion, and champion cyclist Arthur Linton, from Aberaman near Aberdare.

Historic buildings to receive a plaque include Nantgarw China Works, Gadlys Ironworks in Aberdare, Hirwaun Ironworks and the remains of a medieval castle, Castell Nos, near Maerdy, Rhondda.

Castell Nos was probably built by the Welsh lords of Meisgyn, descendents of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, the last Welsh king of Glamorgan.

Pay cuts

The Powerhouse, the engine house of the Llwynypia pit in the Rhondda, will be commemorated as the starting point of the Tonypandy Riots.

In 1910, the Powerhouse was damaged during riots after lock-out notices were issued to miners when they refused pay cuts in August that year.

Three months later an official strike began by all those employed by the Cambrian Combine, a network of mining companies.

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

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

Winston Churchill , then Home Secretary, sent in the troops and the miners were forced to return to work in October 1911.

Incredible heritage

Llantrisant will receive three blue plaques including its original parish workhouse in four properties along Swan Street.

Council cabinet member for culture and recreation Robert Bevan said: "We have an incredible heritage in Rhondda Cynon Taf and one which we remain justifiably proud of.

"This is our opportunity to showcase the people, the places and the events of our county borough to all those individuals who live in, work in or visit Rhondda Cynon Taf."

The council's libraries and museums service worked with voluntary organisations and individuals for almost two years to select the 30 sites.

People, places or events which already had a plaque or anyone who died less than 10 years ago were ineligible.

Who or what is remembered in the 30 plaques:

Rhondda: Footballer and manager Jimmy Murphy, Pendyrus Male Choir, William Abraham MP, Castell Nos medieval castle, Treorchy Male Choir, The Cory Band, Labour Party organiser Elizabeth Andrews, Tonypandy Riots, actor Donald Houston, Cymmer Independent Chapel.

Cynon Valley: Hirwaun Ironworks, Hen Dy Cwrdd Chapel in Trecynon, Tramway Bridge between Trecynon and Robertstown, Gadlys Ironworks, The Palladium in Aberdare, Market Hall in Aberdare, rugby union player Dr Teddy Morgan, Abernant y Groes colliery in Cwmbach, cyclist Arthur Linton, Navigation House in Abercynon.

Taff Ely: Boxer Freddie Welsh, industrialist Dr Richard Griffiths, pioneer of cremation Dr William Price, opera singer Sir Geraint Evans, Nantgarw China Works, the Guildhall in Llantrisant, the Pwysty weighing house in Llantrisant, parish workhouse in Llantrisant, the Reverend William Evans, author Richard Llewellyn.

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