The town of Pontypridd sits at the junction of the Rhondda and Taff / Cynon valleys, where the River Rhondda flows into the Taff immediately south of the town at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. and known as the "gateway to the valleys" I was born in Pontyypridd and spent my childhood on the Graig, and have written a short story of the happy but hard times growing up in a mining community, you can read it HERE
The name Pontypridd is from "Pont-y-tŷ-pridd" the Welsh for "bridge by the earthen house", a reference to a succession of wooden bridges that formerly spanned the River Taff at this point. Pontypridd is, however, more famous for the Old Bridge a stone bridge across the River Taff
The famous Pontypridd 'Old Bridge' was built in 1756 by William Edwards (1719-89), a self-taught mason, from Groeswen near Caerphilly, who was a minister of religion by profession. Built in native stone, it was regarded, at the time, as an architectural feat because it was the longest stone-built single-arch bridge in Europe, rising 35 feet (11 m) above the level of the river, the bridge is a perfect segment of a circle, the chord of which is 140 feet (43 m). Notable features are three holes of differing diameters through each end of the bridge. The purpose of these was to reduce the weight of the bridge, although their aesthetically pleasing nature is a bonus..
It is thought that this bridge is one of the most dangerous and least-used of all the Welsh bridges. Work on the bridge began in 1746 at the small village of Pont-y-ty-pridd, as it was known at the time. Edwards made four attempts to build the bridge before completing it in 1755. The whole project (including the three failed attempts) cost the architect a total of £1,153 18s. 2g., and he made a loss of some £600. The lastest survived by putting three cylindrical holes graduated in size at either end, the largest at the bottom.
Notable people from Pontypridd
Robert James Bye, recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War I
Opera singers, Stuart Burrows and Geraint Evans, who were both born in Cilfynydd
John Evans, poet
Evan James and James James, writers of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the national anthem of Wales
Tom Jones, singer of such worldwide top 40 hits as Delilah and The Green Green Grass of Home, born in village of Trefforest
Elaine Morgan, script writer and anthropologist
William Price, who carried out the first cremation in the UK in modern times on Llantrisant Common.[citation?].
Freddie Welsh, world champion boxer
Neil Jenkins, Michael Owen, Martyn Williams, Kevin Morgan,
Ceri Sweeney, Gethin Jenkins, Geraint Lewis, Richard Parks, John Gwilliam and Gareth Wyatt, Welsh international rugby players
Rock musicians Lostprophets, Phil Campbell, Gareth Davies and Darran Smith of Funeral for a Friend
Owain Warlow, Jason Price, Ceri Hughes, Danny Canning and Pat Mountain, footballers
Kimberley Nixon actress "Wild Child","Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging", "Cranford" among others.
The Old Bridge Pontypridd Photo © Nick Kingsbury