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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament|
Pontypridd (Welsh pronunciation: [ˌpɔntəˈpriːð]) is a town and community in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Colloquially known as "Ponty", it is 12 miles (19 km) north of Cardiff.
Pontypridd comprises the electoral wards of Cilfynydd, Glyncoch, Graig, Hawthorn, Pontypridd Town, 'Rhondda', Rhydyfelin Central/Ilan (Rhydfelen), Trallwng (Trallwn) and Treforest (Trefforest). The town mainly falls within the Senedd and UK parliamentary constituency by the same name, although the Cilfynydd and Glyncoch wards fall within the Cynon Valley Senedd constituency and the Cynon Valley UK parliamentary constituency. This change was effective for the 2007 Welsh Assembly election, and for the 2010 UK General Election.
The town sits at the junction of the Rhondda and Taff valleys, where the River Rhondda flows into the Taff just south of the town at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. Pontypridd community recorded a population of about 32,700 in the 2011 census figures. while Pontypridd Town Ward itself was recorded as having a population of 2,919 also as of 2011.
The town lies alongside the north–south dual carriageway A470 between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil. The A4054, running north and south of the town, was the former main road, and like the A470, follows the Taff Valley. South of the town is the A473 for Llantrisant and Pencoed. To the west is the A4058, which follows the River Rhondda to Porth and the Rhondda Valley beyond.
The name Pontypridd derives from the name Pont-y-tŷ-pridd, Welsh for "bridge by the earthen house", referring singly to successive wooden bridges that once spanned the River Taff at this point.
Pontypridd is noted for its Old Bridge, a stone construction across the River Taff built in 1756 by William Edwards. This was Edwards' fourth attempt, and, at the time of construction, was the longest single-span stone arch bridge in the world. Rising 35 feet (11 m) above the level of the river, the bridge forms a perfect segment of a circle, the chord of which is 140 feet (43 m). Notable features are the three holes of differing diameters through each end of the bridge, the purpose of which is to reduce weight. On completion, questions were soon raised as to the utility of the bridge, with the steepness of the design making it difficult to get horses and carts across. As a result, a new bridge, the Victoria Bridge, paid for by public subscription, was built adjacent to the old one in 1857. Pontypridd was known as Newbridge from shortly after the construction of the Old Bridge until the 1860s.
The history of Pontypridd is tied to the coal and iron industries; before their development Pontypridd was a hamlet of a few farmsteads, with Treforest initially becoming the main urban settlement in the area. Sited at the junction of three valleys, it became an important location for transporting coal from the Rhondda and iron from Merthyr Tydfil, first by the Glamorganshire Canal, and later by the Taff Vale Railway, to the ports at Cardiff, Barry and Newport. Its role in coal transport lengthened its railway platform, which is thought to have once been the longest in the world in its heyday. Pontypridd in the second half of the 19th century was a hive of industry, once nicknamed the "Wild West". There were several collieries within the Pontypridd area itself, including:
As well as deep-mined collieries, there were many coal levels and trial shafts dug into the hillsides overlooking the town from Cilfynydd, Graig, Graigwen, and Hafod. The Albion Colliery in the village of Cilfynydd in 1894 underwent one of the worst explosions in the South Wales coalfield, with the death of 290 colliers (see Keir Hardie).
Other instrumental industries in Pontypridd were the Brown Lenox/Newbridge Chain & Anchor Works south-east of the town, and Crawshay's Forest Iron, Steel & Tin Plate Works and the Taff Vale Iron Works, both in Treforest near the now University of South Wales.
The town has a hospital, Dewi Sant Hospital and acts as the headquarters of Transport for Wales Rail at Llys Cadwyn.
Pontypridd Urban District Council operated from 1894 to 1974, when it was incorporated into Taff Ely Borough Council. That in turn came under the unitary Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in 1995. Pontypridd Town Council functions as a community council. Labour is the dominant political force and has been since the First World War. The community elects 23 town councillors from 11 community wards: Cilfynydd, Glyncoch, Graig, Hawthorn, Ilan, Pontypridd, Rhondda, Rhydfelen Central, Rhydfelen Lower, Trallwng and Treforest.
Pontypridd community comprises the town centre itself, as well as the following key villages/settlements:
Pontypridd also serves as the postal town for the community of Llantwit Fardre under the CF38 postcode district, although this area is not considered part of Pontypridd.
In alphabetical order: