"...a peaceful town benefiting from a commitment to the regeneration of the Victorian town centre."
The name of Tonypandy, which actually means the "pasture of the fulling mill" has gone down in history as the place where striking miners, faced with starvation wages rioted in 1910, leading Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, to send in the Army. But today Tonypandy is a peaceful town benefiting from a commitment to the regeneration of the Victorian town centre. Tonypandy's shopping centre – the largest in the Rhondda – is centred on Dunraven Street, which is largely pedestrianised. Cast-iron streetlighting columns and a handsome canopy to the walkway connecting the pedestrian zone with a large car park lend the street an elegant air, and a plaque records the fact that the renovation scheme was officially opened by actor Glyn Houston who, together with his brother Donald, is a famous son of Tonypandy.
Midway along the street is an evocative sculpture by Howard Bowcott in the form of a tapering column precisely 4.6 metres high: every millimetre represents 1,000,000 years in the evolution of the Earth; a two-foot-nine inch band of slate represents the height of the coal seam beneath the town, and the words of Menna Elfyn sum up the Rhondda's relationship with its greatest industry, "Ynom ni bydd glo o hyd" – "In us, there will always be Coal" – a message reinforced by the recreation of fossils in the paving stones.
Dunraven Street caters for all tastes and include well-known names such as Boots as well as many local family businesses. But when it comes to spreading the fame of Tonypandy in the wider world, pride of place must go to CF40 Haircutters which attracts clients from London and even France - to have their hair styled in Tonypandy. It was the first salon outside a major city to be nominated for a British Hairdressing Award.
"...nearby is the famous Mr. Creemy ice cream parlour..."
Nearby Penygraig boasts the famous Mr. Creemy's award winning ice cream parlour, where there is little doubt you will give your own favourite flavour full marks. A short walk out of the town centre up the valley brings you to the suburb of Llwynypia with a statue of a miner and his family in a small garden at the junction with Tonypandy's by-pass, and a little further on are the so-called 'Scotch Terraces' of old miners' cottages and a statue to Archibald Hood, the mine owner who built them and named them after his pit, the "Scotch Colliery".
Further on still is the Archery Centre at Glyncornel, a fine house set in extensive woodland, and glorious views up the valley of the Rhondda Fawr to Penrhys, a medieval place of pilgrimage crowned by a statue to the Virgin Mary.