Pontypridd during Dr Richard Griffiths' time
A famous industrialist who developed the first transport links from the early Rhondda collieries to the docklands at Cardiff is being celebrated in an afternoon lecture.
Pontypridd Museum Curator Bryan Davies will tell the story of “Dr Richard Griffiths and the Tramroad” at Rhondda Heritage Park on July 16th.
Dr Griffiths (1756-1826) is one of the many individuals celebrated in Rhondda Cynon Taf with a Blue Plaque erected in his memory on his former home of Gelliwastad House, now Gelliwastad Institute.
By the end of the first decade of the 19th century a tinworks and small ironworks were in operation in Treforest. It was here that the terminus of a tramroad existed, constructed by Dr Griffiths that ran from the first coalmines being sunk in the lower Rhondda.
He also built a private canal known as the Doctor’s Canal that linked the tramroad and the Glamorganshire Canal which ran on down to Cardiff and its docks. These transport links were to prove vital in the early development of the Rhondda coal industry.
Significantly, both the Doctor’s Canal and tramroad effectively ignored the tiny hamlet scattered around Edwards’s Bridge and it wasn’t until the arrival of the Brown Lennox chainworks in 1818 that Pontypridd experienced development of real significance.
Although the tramroad had been constructed primarily to carry coal it soon became a popular form of transport to and from market initially at Treforest and then at Pontypridd from the 1840's once the town had developed. It had a profound effect on the social and economic development of the area.
Cllr Paul Cannon, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, Tourism & Heritage said, “With so many historical buildings and events from colliery strikes, riots and even pioneering cremations in the area’s history, coupled with being the birthplace of a vast array of celebrities from the worlds of music, sport, cinema, literature and the political arena, the Blue Plaque scheme has been an outstanding success.
“The series of lectures will undoubtedly enlighten and entertain visitors on the massive impact the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf have had on the world stage as we celebrate their legacy in the County Borough and beyond."
“Dr Richard Griffiths and the Tramroad” takes place on July 16thth at 2pm at Rhondda Heritage Park. Lectures are free and pre booking is essential on 01443 682036. Why not enjoy lunch or afternoon tea at the HeritagePark with the special “Blue Plaque Lunch” costing £4.95.