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Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taff, an industrial town, lies at the head of the Cynon valley, 12 mile North of Pontypridd. The valley here begins to open out a little, and Aberdare lies in a bowl of hills, which guard but do not oppress it. The grass-grown mounds on the hills North of Bryn Pica on the Merthyr road are the remains of the old coal-working in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

Aberdare started on its first period of expansion in the late 18th century. Then the emphasis was on the iron-workings, but with the growth of the coal trade in the mid-l9th century the town expanded fast. It is the centre of a district that produced the best steam coal in the world. When the demand for coal fell, Aberdare turned gallantly to other industries.

It has always been a Welsh town, even if the language is not as prominent in the streets as once it was. It has also a proud record for its interest in the arts. The poet Alun Lewis was born here. Aberdare is probably the only town in Britain that has raised a statue to a choir conductor. It stands in Victoria Square. The bronze statue, by Sir William Goscombe John, represents Caradog (Griffith Rhys Jones) with baton raised conducting the Great Choir (South Wales Choral Union), 500 strong, which won the chief choral prize at the Crystal Palace in 1872 and 1873.

In Victoria Square, behind the statue, is the small, well-designed Victoria Hall, and a little further on the successfully modern Public Library.

Near the Library the classical fašade of the English Wesleyan chapel (1859) confronts the florid Constitutional Club, with its remarkably complicated wrought-iron crown over the small tower in the centre. Close to this group of buildings the old Church of St John stands in a daffodil-filled churchyard, surrounded by trees. This has been extensively restored. In the churchyard, David Williams of Aberaman, in 1789, insisted on being buried standing upright, to be ready at the Day of Judgment.

The other large church in the town is St Mary's, Maesydref, built in the French Gothic style in 1865. The novelist Thomas Hardy, who was apprenticed to the architect in his youth, is supposed to have had a hand in preparing the plans.

Aberdare Park, on the road out towards Hirwaun, has a statue of Lord Aberdare, set in a pool with a fountain.

Nearby towns: Brecon, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil

Nearby villages: Aberaman, Abercanaid, Abercynon, Abernant, Blaengarw, Blaengawr, Cefn-coed-y-Cymmer, Dinas, Dowlais, Ferndale, Fochriw, Hirwaun, Llanwonno, Llwynypia, Maerdy, Mountain Ash, Nantymoel, Nelson, Pant, Penderyn, Pont-Nedd-Fechan, Pontsticill, Pontycymer, Porth, Quakers Yard, Rhondda, Rhymney, Senghenydd, Trehafod, Treharris, Treherbert, Treorchy, Troedyrhiw, Ystradfellte

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