"Giants Tooth " or the "Gap"
When the area was purely farmland with a splattering of farm houses, the famous Penydarren tram road passed through the valley near the river Taff. Trevithick's locomotive made its historic run from Merthyr Tydfil to the Navigation in Abercynon in 1804 along this tram road.
Edwardsville can be found on the main Cardiff to Merthyr road, It was a main Railway Junction in the 19 th Century and Three Railways met, each crossing the River Taff.
At least two opinions are held regarding the name Edwardsville. Some believe that it originates from a Mr Edwards who was the founder of the housing club, which formed around 1899.to build the first houses in the district. Others believe it was named after Mr Edwards , a builder who built most of the early homes.
In 1841 the Taff Vale railway passed through on its way from Cardiff To Merthyr, trains stopped in the village on the low level platform, commonly known as Quakers Yard Junction,
A decade later, another Railway came through the village, this time it was the Newport, Abergaveny and Hereford Taff Vale extension, later to become the Great Western railway, this arrived from Pontypool to connect with the Taff Vale railway on the low level. Once the Pontypool to Neath route was completed a few years later a brand new station was opened on the high level.
Great Western and Rhymney railways wanted their own route to Merthyr in direct competition to the Taff Vale railway company. April 1886 they completed their new route by crossing the river and following the west bank of the Taff, passing through Aberfan on route to Merthyr Tydfil, So the hamlet, which was yet to be built into a sizeable village, had three major rail companies battling it out on their doorsteps.
English Ind chapel
Rock View/Park Lane, Edwardsville
Edwardsville was Erected in 1905
Rev Evan Mathias 1910
The Giant’s Bite or Gap
The large quarry or gap on the summit of the mountain (Daren y Celyn) facing Edwardsville, popularly known as the “Giants bite” supplied the stone for the building of the railway viaducts in the valley below.
Three Railway Viaducts and Cefn Glas tunnel
The Cefn Glas tunnel was dug in 1851 to allow trains on the Pontypool to Neath GWR extension line through Craig-yr-Efail, the mountain with the bite out of the top that lays between Treharris and Aberdare. It is named after Cefn Glas colliery, the site of which was just north-west of the east portal of the tunnel. To the east, the train line crossed over one of three closely-grouped viaducts over the river Taf, and on to Quakers Yard. To the west, trains ran through to Aberdare. It would seem that the tunnel often suffered drainage problems during its lifetime, until closure in 1964. The tunnel is 704yards long, and single track all the way.
Goitre Coed Viaduct
Isambard Kingdom Brunel built the Goitre Coed Viaduct, it was opened to trains in April 1841. It crosses the valley using a total of six spans. It stands 90 feet high The original Taff Vale Railway line built by Brunel was a single track, with passing points near the stations. This caused many delays to the transporting of coal south to Cardiff Docks. To counter these delays, the line was upgraded in 1862 to be two tracks the entire way. As part of this upgrade, the Goitre Coed Viaduct was widened; effectively, a second bridge was built alongside the first. It is reported that there are stones up on the parapet dated 1840 (for the original Brunel bridge) and 1862 (for the second bridge). This Viaduct is still in use today.
There were two other viaducts that spanned the river Taff near Edwardsville, the first was built to take the Newport, Abergaveny and Hereford railway across from Quakers Yard over the Taff, through the Cefn Glas tunnel to the Cynon Valley. The lattice work in the arches of the viaduct was not by design. It was put in to prevent the viaducts collapsing because of mining subsidence from Deep Navigation workings underneath
The second was built by the joint Great Western Railway and Rhymney railway from Quakers Yard across the Taff to the opposite side of the valley and northbound to Merthyr, along much of the route of the current A470 Trunk road
Pubs and Clubs
The one public house in Edwardsville is called the Great Western Hotel, it is located near the railway station. Telephone 01443 410528, It is also an oriental restaurant that serves Chinese food.
On October 27 1913, South Wales experienced a tornado which was described as 'unusually destructive'. The following account was supplied for an official Meteorological Office report of 1914, by the Headmaster of the Senior Boys' School: 'At 5:15PM a dead calm set in... it was a "troubled' sky". Rain began to fall at 5:20PM... The rain ceased in about 10 minutes... at 5:50PM we heard a noise resembling the hissing of an express locomotive... the panes of our window were broken by stones, tiles, slates, dried cement and splintered timber... after the crashing had ceased... rain fell in torrents.
The lightning set fire to the tar which had been sprayed some three weeks previously on the main Cardiff to Merthyr road.' Although the storm was short, damage in the area was extensive. The storm reached its climax at Edwardsville: houses destroyed, windows blown in, tombstones flattened, trees uprooted. A man and a little boy were killed. It was a terrifying experience for all concerned.
Penlocks 27th October 1913
The site of the current Junior school (built in 1975) was once the location of three important educational institutions. Quakers Yard Grammar school ( built1922) The mining institute ( erected 1929) and the Quakers Yard Technical school (erected in 1937)
The Grammar and Technical schools amalgamated in 1956 and stayed open until 1967. It was replaced by the Afon Taf High school, a very modern comprehensive school four miles up the valley in Troedyrhiw.
The Early Grammar school built in 1922 was housed in 13 huts purchased by Merthyr council from the army camp on Salisbury plain for a cost of £1,300, they served the school well throughout its existence.
From 1929,a large number of miners and mine engineers were educated at the mining institute, sited next to the grammar school, this institute was funded by a levy of one penny per ton of coal mined at the local collieries.
On the other side of the road, a few hundred yards away stood the “truant school” or South Wales and Monmouthshire training school,It was built in 1893 and is now demolished.
The open air swimming baths were opened in 1937 (I can't verify date, there is a picture on Alan George site dated 1926 of the baths) and provided a great leisure facility for the Treharris district. The baths were converted into a modern “covered baths” in 1986.
There have been political battles to keep the facility open over the years and Councillor Ernie Galsworthy was a leading figure in keeping the baths open.
Unfortunately during 2008 news was coming through that the baths were to be closed. There was a new swimming pool being built up in Merthyr Tydfil and it was deemed uneconomical to keep Edwardsville open, a protest group has been formed and we will have to see if the baths is ever opened again.
Edwardsville 2009, taken from the "Gap" Edwardsville possibly 1959 from the gap (Photo courtesy of Tony Evans)