Rhondda' - even now, the name evokes the turbulent times when Rhondda (actually two valleys, the Fawr and Fach) was synonymous with the deep-mining of steam coal. This is a story of pioneering deep-mining and unbridled capitalism: the prospecting of two valleys, unfettered by health and safety, amid divisive industrial relations and scarce health-care. The result fired railways, steam-powered shipping and the engines of the Industrial Revolution across the world. Using a mixture of historical and modern photographs, coloured by personal testimony and memories, this book reveals the vibrant, turbulent, often tragic record of Rhondda: from pastoral vale via 'black gold'-rush to grimy industrial prime, followed by the twentieth-century economic slide, the demise of all its fifty-three collieries and today's valleys - a mainly residential landscape of green hills.
David Swidenbank is a freelance writer and photographer. He trained at Documentary Photography at Newport Art School in the late Seventies and has contributed to several magazines including Family History and Ancestor. He is currently studying for a B.A. in photographic studies, and has several photos exhibited at The Wales Millennium Centre. He has lived in Porthcawl for nearly twenty years. Alun Seward, a semi-retired estate agent, was born and bred in Rhondda. Although he has lived for over 25 years in Radyr on the outskirts of Cardiff, he has a great love of Rhondda and its heritage and feels it should be celebrated. An aspiring novelist, he wrote all the text for this book. He has two children and four grandchildren.