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Welsh History Review


Vol. 19, nos. 1-4 1998-99

Mountain Ash, Penrhiwceiber and Abercynon. Book review.

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economic changes from a Welsh perspective and with a full ration of Wales-
based sources. He has also managed to work in material which a generation
ago would have not merited a mention, such as film stars of 1930s,
Reginald (not Raymond) Truscott-Jones (Ray Milland) among them and
an advertising poster for the Palladium, Pwllheli, 'the cinema for discerning
patrons' in which seats cost a minimum of 6d., and which, even in 1936,
had a free car park provided-at the customers' own risk.
Harry Rogers. The Old Photograph Series, Chalford Publishing Co., 1996.
Pp. 128pp, 168 black-and-white pis. £ 9.99.
Books of early photographs continue to be unfailingly popular, satisfying as
they do that blend of nostalgia and genuine historical curiosity that is in
most of us. Their compilation can rarely be an easy task, for their contents
depend as much on what resources are available as on editorial selection.
Of the photographs contained in this volume of the lower Cynon valley
about a third date from the golden pre-1914 years, somewhat less from
between the wars, the bulk (slightly less than half) being post-1945, a
reminder that we are all slipping rapidly into history.
The book is divided thematically into seven sections: the Rise and Fall of
the Collieries, Views through the Lower Cynon Valley, Transport, School-
days, Events and Celebrations, That was Entertainment and Nos Galan
The first, covering the hundred-and-thirty-year cycle of the local coal
industry, its sites and work-force up to the cataclysmic demolitions of the
nineteen-eighties, is the longest and by far the best section. Here and
elsewhere in the book are notable portraits of individuals-mine-worker,
farmer, cobbler and printer-which serve as a reminder of the variety
encompassed by the working community. The section on sport is only
marginally shorter, but "here surprisingly rugby, including the several
notable local players who have 'gone North', has been largely ignored,
twenty-eight of the section's thirty-five plates dealing with the Nos Galan
road-races, established only in the nineteen-sixties, albeit to commemorate
a local runner of legendary prowess.
Under 'Transport', canal and road transport, including char-a-banc
jollifications, are well covered, but one might have expected more
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