Heritage Services

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This page gives a brief history of the area and provides links to other sites which will provide the user with a range of  information about the heritage of the area. Click on one of the banners above to access Heritage Trails, Community Histories and the Photographic Archive.

A Brief History

Wherever you live, work or visit in Rhondda Cynon Taf, you are very close to a site of historical importance and interest.

There is evidence that the history of Rhondda Cynon Taf dates back over 10,000 years. Ranging from the Mesolithic Period of the hunter-gatherers, and the nomadic tribes of the Bronze & Iron Ages. The sparse population in the Middle Ages depended on the forestry and raising cattle & sheep to survive, and lived in green and densely wooded valleys. The Iron Industry was evident in the 16th century followed by tin plate and china works in the south.

The 1800s however brought the industry that changed the beautiful landscape dramatically. Pits were rapidly sunk all over the valley and the once green and lush valleys changed out of all recognition.

Rhondda Cynon Taf, at the heart of the World’s first industrial nation, had hillsides quarried away and artificial ones created with waste products from the coalmines. Canals, viaducts, bridges, railways and roads were built to support the transport of coal, further destroying the natural environment.

The population of Rhondda Cynon Taf increased by over 230,000 from 1801-1901. Row upon row of terraced houses were built to accommodate the influx of workers, thus forming the basis of the communities we know today.

Since the decline of the coal industry however, nature is reclaiming its land. The valleys are green once more, with breathtaking views as far as the eye can see.

This is our history and heritage, and this web page has been developed by the Heritage Service to guide you through the various links, to enable you to learn more about the people, places, and events that gave us our culture and shaped Rhondda Cynon Taf as it is today.

See also:

  • Libraries
  • Museums & Galleries

Our Past

The Heritage Trail website created by our library service describes the history of many of our communities and provides an essential guide to discovering the rich industrial, social and cultural heritage of the county borough, inviting us to discover over 200 years of history well worth revisiting.

Click here to visit the Library Service heritage Trail.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Libraries - Photographic Archive

The Photographic Archive contains digital images of the people and places of Rhondda Cynon Taf taken from the collections held by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Libraries. Over 20,000 images are available on the site that illustrates all aspects of life in the County Borough area from around 1880 to the present day.

Click here to visit the Photographic Archive.

Heritage Trails and Blue Plaques

This website contains a number of walking and driving trails to enable the user to follow the routes to discover more about the heritage of the area. it also contains information about each Blue Plaque that was installed as part of a scheme to recognise local people, places and events of historic note.

Click here to visit the Heritage Trails website.