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Dan-Y-Deri - Merthyr Vale

Dan-Y-Deri - Merthyr ValeIn the 1860’s when Merthyr Tydfil had occupied a pre-eminent position as Wales’ first and largest industrial town for half a century, the valley south of the works of the Plymouth iron company at Pentrebach and Duffryn, remained completely unspoiled. Although it had seen the building of the Glamorgan Canal in 1794, the Penydarren tramroad in 1802 and the Taff Vale Railway in 1841, this part of the valley was still very much an agricultural community.

The relatively prosperous valley farms of Ynysowen, Aberfan, Ynysygored and Hafod Tanglwst had remained largely unchanged. The name of the latter still proclaimed its association with the story of Tydfil, Tanglwst being a daughter of Brychan, and a sister of Tydfil. Her homestead, we are told was the family’s meeting place before the murderous attack by a band of Picts in the fifth century.

There were a few valley-side workings where the coal seams, exposed on the side of the valley, were easily exploited. On the side of the Glamorganshire Canal at Perthygleision a shallow pit and a series of levels mined the Brithdir Seam while alongside the Penydarren Tramroad below Dan-y-deri farm, Thomas Joseph, in partnership with Samuel Thomas opened a level in 1842.

The coal mined here was coked and transported along the Penydarren Tramroad to be used in the Plymouth ironworks. Long after the tramroad south of Merthyr Vale had fallen into disuse it continued to be used between Dan y-deri and Merthyr. Joseph Thomas was later to open the Duraven Collieries in the Rhondda Valleys, while Samuel Thomas was the father of D. Thomas (Lord Rhondda), founder of the Cambrian Collieries.

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