A TIMELINE TO HISTORY
Even a small and fairly recent town like Ammanford can amass a considerable amount of history in a relatively short time, and the problem of putting this down in writing soon becomes one of selection and organisation of the material, rather than merely finding something to write about. With a book, whichever aspect is chosen the social, industrial, political, religious, sporting, famous people, or whatever at least you can normally start at page one and continue sequentially to the end.
A web site, however, encourages reading in a much more random manner than a book, with the reader able to jump about at will to whatever point takes their fancy. Then there's the Internet device of 'links' to negotiate, which means a reader can start with one intention in mind only to be suddenly sent flying off to quite a different place from that intended, often to a different web site completely, and sometimes not even returning to your starting point.
This timeline, then, provides a brief and sequential guide to Ammanford's history before the reader, hopefully, embarks on a longer and more roundabout journey through the pages and pictures of this web site.
Only a tiny number of dates in Ammanford's history have been selected to include in this timeline and no doubt someone else would chose quite different moments from its history to highlight. That someone else might also have their own comments, suggestions and corrections to the entries found below, all of which are welcome via the site's e-mail address.
For most of its time Ammanford (called Cross Inn before 1880) was in the southernmost corner of the much larger and older Parish of Llandybie. The Parish of Llandybie extended from the Cennen River at Derwydd all the way to the river Amman which formed the border with the Parish of Betws. Llandybie and Betws therefore both figure prominently in the early stages of our little town's history.
5th century AD
The first churches at Llandybie and Betws are built in the period after the Romans left Wales. The Roman Legions were withdrawn from Britain for good in 410 AD though the process had started earlier in Wales. These first Celtic churches were wooden affairs and have since disappeared.
Circa 800 AD
Meddynfych Manor, on the site of the modern Myddynfych Farm in Tirydail, is mentioned in the 9th century St Teilo Gospels. These Gospels are known in England as the Lichfield Gospels, or the Book of Chad, as the book was taken from St Teilo Abbey, Llandeilo, where it was probably written, and found its way to St Chad's Cathedral in Lichfield, Staffordshire about 1000 AD. As the date when the St Teilo Gospels were written is not known for certain, some historians put the mention of Meddynfych Manor as early as the 6th century. Myddynfych farm is thus the oldest continuously inhabited building in the area, with the current stone-built farmhouse being 16th century in origin.
Hywel ap Meredudd is said to have fought a battle with the Normans of Gower near Betws.
Mid 12th century
Ammanford castle. A 'Motte and Bailey' castle is built on the site of modern day Cartref Day Centre in Tirydail Lane sometime between 1160 and 1170 AD. Only the mound or 'Motte' and some evidence of the surrounding 'Bailey', or ditch, now remain. In 1841 the railway line from Pantyffynnon was extended northwards and cut through the bailey, removing most of the ditch and its surrounding walls in the process. Farm buildings (now Cartref Day Centre) were built on one corner of the bailey so that only one-quarter of the bailey ditch up to the railway line can now be seen.
Penlle'r Castell built. The foundations of this Norman-built castle are still to be found on the Betws Mountain at the fork of the Morriston and Pontardawe roads.
Late 13th century (about 1290s)
Carreg Cennen Castle. Edward the First embarks on a momentous programme of castle building after finally subduing the Welsh by 1282. Carreg Cennen Castle at nearby Trap is one of the castles built by his engineers. Dinefwr castle in Llandeilo, originally one of the few stone castles to have been built by a native Welsh prince, is substantially rebuilt at the same time.
Betws and Llandybie churches are rebuilt by the Normans as stone buildings. While both churches have been added to and renovated since then, notably by the Victorians, both churches retain much of their early medieval fabric as much as 60 percent in the case of Betws.
The first map of the area, Saxton's Map of Carmarthenshire, shows Bettus (Bettws), Lladebea (Llandybie) and Parkreame (Paryrhun) but nothing for the area that later became Ammanford. The map also shows Amond Flu (the river Amman) and Loughor Flu (the river Loughor). Flu is an abbreviation for Flumen, which is the Latin for river.
Circa 1600 (?)
The area that is now Ammanford Square is known as 'Cross Inn' after a coaching inn of that name that stood on the crossroads.
Anthracite coal was worked at Gwaun Cae Gurwen about 400 years ago. Records in the "Survey of Gower" state that the Baron Court of Gwauncaegurwen was held in the eighth year of the reign of King James I, on April 19, 1610. The Court decided that: "all sea coal and stone coal with all the mines and veins thereof in or under the land in possession of the customary tenant belongs to the tenant and not to the lord. He can dig, cut, sell and convert into their respective uses all such coal, mines or veins without the lord's licence". No coal was, apparently, sold at that period, but was dug from the outcrop and used for household purposes
A church report provides the first mention of a school in Llandybie kept by one Griffith Rees.
Griffith Jones held 49 of his 'Circulating' schools in the Parish of Llandybie, including Cross Inn/Ammanford. These were taught by itinerant teachers who held a school for three months before moving on. Although only reading the scriptures was taught, about half the population of Wales learnt to read at these schools.
First non-conformists (Methodists and Independents) in the area worship at the 'Methodist Meeting Hall' at Argoed Fawr farmhouse on Argoed Road, Betws. Around this time the Independents (Annibynwyr in Welsh, and known as Congregationalists in England) move to a barn on the site of what is now 63 High Street.
Argoed Fawr receives a licence for 'Dissenting Protestants' to worship.
Coal was worked in a minor way before 1700 by local farmers, probably by surface scouring of the various outcrops but the first known deep mine was opened at Brynlloi, Glanamman in 1757, although its output was limited and was used principally for domestic consumption within the valley itself. The mine was worked by means of a canal and the coal was brought out in a boat built of oak.
The Independents (Annibynwyr) build a new chapel called 'Cross Inn Chapel' on High Street. This was completely rebuilt in 1836 and renamed Gellimanwydd, and then enlarged to its present form in 1865 when it was renamed again to Christian Temple.
Capel Sion on Betws Road becomes the first Methodist Chapel (Calvinistic) in the area. Rebuilt in 1829 and again in 1898 when it is also renamed Capel Newydd.
The Llanelly Dock railway Company reaches Pantyffynnon this year
The Llanelly Railway and Dock Company starts to extend the railway line from Pantyffynnon to Ammanford (still called 'Cross Inn') reaching Brynamman in 1842. The line was initially for coal transport only though passengers could pay to stand in an open coach coupled at the end of the coal trucks. North from Pantyffynnon the London Midland Service (LMS) line reaches Llandeilo in 1857 and Llandovery in 1858. This is the furthest northern reach of the railways until 1868 when the Central Wales Extension reaches Llandovery from the north and finally connects Llanelly with Shewsbury.
The railway bridge carrying the Llanelly to Brynamman line is built across the Amman at Pontamman in 1841. A single arch stone road bridge is also built here at this time to replace a wooden bridge that had crossed the Amman at this point since the early 1700s. In 1969 a steel girder bridge was built across the Amman at a straighter angle and the stone bridge was closed to vehicular traffic, although it is still used by pedestrians.
First known school in 'Cross Inn', (ie Ammanford) held over the stables of Cross Inn Chapel, a private school with 46 pupils
Betws Primary School opened, initially called Betws National School, and which was run by the church.
Llandybie Primary School opened, initially called Llandybie National School, and which was run by the church.
Ebenezer Chapel (Baptist) built in Baptist Lane and enlarged to its present size in 1877. Other Baptist chapels built in Ammanford are: Bethel, Pantyffynnon in 1904; Pisgah, Penybanc in 1912, Sion, Tirydail (Zion Zinc) in 1913. Zion Zinc was demolished in 1993. An English Baptist Chapel had already been established in Watcyn Wyn's old school in Brynmawr Lane, Ammanford, in 1904. This was, and still is, for the worship of English speaking Baptists.
A single arch stone bridge is built across the Loughor at Penybanc to replace an earlier wooden bridge. The stone bridge was itself replaced in 1960 by the current steel girder bridge.
The first reported game of cricket played at Ammanford, and the match that took place in July 1853 was played over two innings between Cross Inn and Cwmaman. Ammanford won by four runs. Ammanford Cricket Club was not however founded until 1886.
The Swansea Vale railway completes a branch line from Swansea to Brynamman via Pontardawe, thus connecting the Amman and Swansea valleys though there are two separate railway stations at Brynamman for the Llanelly Dock and Swansea Vale railways respectively. To continue your journey from the Amman Valley to the Swansea Valley, not only do you have to change trains at Brynamman, but also railway stations! After the nationalisation of the railways in 1948 the newly created British Railways suddenly closes the Swansea Vale line from Bynamman to Swansea in 1950 with the Pantyffynnon to Brynamman passenger branch line being lopped off in 1958. In 1960 Tirydail railway station (which had originally been called Duffryn Junction) on the Swansea to Shrewsbury line is renamed Ammanford and Tirydail before being renamed plain Ammanford in 1973.
Raven Pit, Garnant sunk, closed 1936
The first passenger trains reached Brynamman.
Education Act established School Boards with elected representatives and Ammanford Primary School built. Demolished in 1982.
Bethany Chapel (Calvinistic Methodist) built in Wind Street and completely rebuilt to its present size in 1929.
Cross Inn is renamed 'Ammanford' to avoid confusion with other 'Cross Inns' in Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. The Welsh form of 'Rhydaman' (rhyd = a ford) is not used until a decade or so later.
Famous hymn writer Watcyn Wyn opens a college called the 'Hope Academy' in Hall Street, moving to Brynmawr Lane in 1882. Watcyn Wyn builds a house for himself called called 'Gwynfryn'. The college operates until 1915 when a shortage of pupils due to war recruitment and the opening of Amman Valley County School in 1914 results in Gwynfryn's closure. 'Gwynfryn' is bought by Evan Evans the Chemist as his private home. The road is called 'College Street' after Watcyn Wyn's academy. The college, which is fee paying, teaches mostly theological subjects to prepare its students for the non-conformist ministry. The old college is still used by Ammanford's English Baptist worshippers, founded in 1905.
1880 - 1890
Five major tinplate works are opened in the Amman Valley. The first major tinplate works, the Dynevor Works in Pantyffynnon, was also the last to close. It opened in 1880 and closed in May 1943, its buildings being finally demolished in the 1970s. All the others had ceased production long before this. The Raven Sheet and Galvanizing Works, Glanaman: opened February 1881; purchased by Grovesend Steel and Tinplate Co Ltd 1913. Amman Tinplate Works, Garnant: opened June 1881; purchased by Grovesend Steel and Tinplate CO LTD March 1914. Aberlash Tinplate works was opened in Tirydail in 1889 and closed sometime before the First World War. Glynbeudy Tinplate CO (1919) Ltd., Brynaman: opened March 1890; purchased by William Gilbertson 1927. (This information was gleaned from E. H. Brooke's Monograph on the Tinplate Works in Great Britain).
Betws Brass Band formed from an earlier Drum and Fife band of Pontamman Chemical Works, created in the 1850s. On the grant of Urban District status to Ammanford in 1903 they become the Ammanford Urban District Silver Band and Ammanford Silver Band in the 1920s. In 1921 they build themselves a band room on Foundrey Road, which is still in use by the band.
Ammanford's church worshippers use Watcyn Wyn's 'Hope Academy' in Brynmawr Lane as a temporary place of worship.
The worse pit disaster in the Amman Valley occurs on 16th January 1884 at the Garnant Colliery, known locally as 'Pwll Perkins'. The cage carrying ten miners plunges 220 feet down the shaft when the rope snaps. Three of the ten miners killed are only 14 years old.
St Michael's Church in Wind Street becomes the first church in Ammanford, and the first new church built in the area since Betws and Llandybie in the 13th century. The church is built partly from stone gathered by hand from the river Amman. In 1900 a Church Hall for St Michael's has to be built across the road as an 'overspill' hall.
Great Mountain pit, Ammanford sunk; closed 1961
The first Amman Valley rugby game is played at Ammanford with Ammanford Rugby Football Club being formed that year. The opponents were Mynyddbach from Swansea, who won the game. In the season 1889/90 wing three-quarter Percy Lloyd is the first Ammanford player to win a Welsh cap. He remains the youngest player to be capped for Wales until Cwmgors-born Gareth Edwards in 1967.
A steel girder bridge replaces the old wooden bridge over the river Amman connecting Ammanford and Betws. In 1990 this bridge is itself replaced by a new bridge strengthened to take heavy goods vehicles.
Local industrialist Henry Herbert sinks a drift mine at Bodyst on the Betws Mountain but soon sells out his undertaking to a syndicate of wealthy Lancashire coal owners, who form the Ammanford Colliery Company Ltd. In 1891 they sink two drift mines (Ammanford No 1 and Ammanford No 2) on Maesquarre Road, Betws. Ammanford No 1 closes in 1925 after an eight week strike in the Anthracite District of West Wales. Ammanford No 2 remains open until 1976, when it closes due to the opening of Betws New Mine in 1978 on the site of the old Ammanford No 1 colliery.
Mount pit (The 'Butchers), Ammanford sunk, closed 1959.
The original Cross Inn stables on Ammanford Square are demolished to make way for Evan Evans the Chemist's parade of shops and arcade in 1899. A 'verandah' was added to the frontage in 1905 and demolished in 1968.
Tir-y-dail Colliery opens, employing 522 men in 1921, and closed down in 1927. Many other Amman Valley collieries closed in the wake of the defeat of the miners in the 1926 General Strike.
The creation of the Miners' Federation of South Wales, popularly known as 'The Fed'. There were previously seven separate independent mining federations in South Wales. The Miners' Federation of Great Britain (the forerunner of the National Union of Mineworkers) had been created in 1889.
The first Co-operative shop is built on Bancyrynn, on the corner of College and Margaret Streets.
Pantyfynnon pit, Ammanford sunk; closed 1969
Ammanford Urban District Council is formed and which absorbs Llandybie and parts of Betws within its boundaries.
Gwynfryn Chapel (Annibynwyr) opened on College Street. Watcyn Wyn was invited to preach the first sermon. The chapel was named Gwynfryn, appropriately enough, as it stands opposite Gwynfryn School founded by Watcyn Wyn in 1888.
Wernos pit, Tycroes, near Ammanford sunk. Employs 614 men in 1964; closed down in 1965.
The first wave of the Methodist 'revival'. Crowds poured into the churches and chapels week by week.
Police Station built in College Street. This was closed in 2000 when a modern 'bunker' style police station was opened in Foundry Road, Ammanford. The building is suddenly demolished in 2004 in circumstances of some controversy, as no warning was given by the owners. The site is still derelict.
Kier Hardie, the leader of the Independent Labour Party, addresses the crowd at Gwaun Cae Gurwen Workingman's Hall, and Jim Griffiths is one of those who forms a branch of the Independent Labour Party at Ammanford as a result of hearing him speak.
Parcyrhun Primary School built.
William Herbert opens the Power House in Park Street and starts to generate to the town's first electricity supply. William Herbert also owns of the Baltic Saw Mills and founds of the Gospel Hall (Plymouth Brethren) in Lloyd Street. He sells the generating plant to Ammanford Urban District Council in March 1924. With nationalisation of the electricity industry in 1948 all generating capacity passes to the South Wales Electricity Board (SWEB). The building is demolished in 2006 to make way for a road bypass.
Gwilym Vaughan, a local printer, starts Ammanford's first newspaper, the 'Amman Valley Times' in 1909, which, however, closes after a few months. In 1913 he is more successful with his next venture, the 'Amman Valley Chronicle and East Carmarthen News' whose first edition rolls off the press on July 24th 1913. His luck doesn't last too long unfortunately as the premises are destroyed in a fire in 1915 and he is forced to sell his business interests. The 'Amman Valley Chronicle' continues under new ownership until being bought up by the South Wales Guardian Group in 1959. The last edition of the Amman Valley Chronicle hits the street on 24th September 1959. To browse the latest news of the Amman Valley and District click on the web site of the: South Wales Guardian.
The first purpose-built, permanent cinema in Ammanford, named Poole's Pictorium, is built in Margaret Street. This was not the first cinema in the town however; that distinction must go to a travelling show under the promotion of one Sidney White who frequently set up a temporary cinema in a marquee on land behind what is now the Arcade. In 1936 the Poole's Pictorium was purchased by the James Bus Company and promptly demolished to make a back entrance to their Central Garage. In 1978 Dinefwr Borough Council purchases the Central Garage complex which is demolished to create an open-air bus terminus.
Ammanford Rugby Club's great "Invincibles" team. No team scored a try against Ammanford for three whole seasons.
The former vicarage of the Parish of Betws on High Street known as the 'White House' is bought my millionaire anarchist George Davison for use as a study and discussion centre by local miners. George Davison, who became a millionaire through his early investment in the Kodak company, is voted off as Managing Director of Kodak for his anarchist activities in 1913. During the First World War nine of the White House members are jailed for refusing the call-up into the army, and towards the end of the war returning ex-servicemen threaten to demolish the house with dynamite.
There are 35 privately owned collieries in the Amman Valley employing 7,900 miners.
Amman Valley County School is built in Tirydail Lane in a converted laundry.
The Palace Cinema is built in the Arcade. Closes in 1977 and is demolished in 1981 after a fire destroys the nearby Lucania Billiard Hall in the Arcade.
Saron Pit, Ammanford sunk by Blaina Colliery CO Ltd. Closed 1956.
All Saints Church is built in on Brynmawr Lane, as an 'overspill' church for St Michael's and catering for the town's English speakers. The church's clock tower is not added until 1923.
Ammanford and District Choral Society wins at National Eisteddfod at Corwen, North Wales.
Ammanford and District Choral Society wins at National Eisteddfod at Barry.
A clock is added to the tower of Llandybie Church.
National Eisteddfod is held in Ammanford and the Gorsedd stones are erected for the ceremonies.
Ammanford Park is built. In 1934, the Council embarks upon an ambitious course of improvements a bandstand, a miniature golf course, children's playground, the reconstruction of the bowling green and tennis courts, pathways and tree planting. The Memorial Gates in Iscennen Road are added in 1937 to honour the fallen of the First World War (soon it would have to hnonour the fallen of the Second World War). The names of all those who died in both wars are added to the gates in 1995 as a result of thorough research by the Ammanford branch of the Royal British Legion. 91 dead from the first and 42 from the second war are commemorated on the pillars of the gates.
Anthracite Strike lasts for 8 weeks with riots in Ammanford and as far afield as the Dulais, Neath and Swansea Valleys. 191 miners were prosecuted with 58 receiving prison sentences. Ammanford No. 1 colliery closes as a result of the strike.
General Strike throughout Britain with miners locked out for seven months.
Many Amman Valley collieries closed in the wake of the defeat of the miners in the 1926 General Strike including Tirydail Colliery.
Ammanford Technical College opens in the former YMCA building in Iscennen Road. In 1955 it moves to a purpose-built campus on Dyffryn Road, Tirydail.
Ammanford Central School built, later renamed Ammanford Secondary Modern School.
Amman Valley County School moves to a custom-built stone building in Church Street. This is renamed Amman Valley Grammar School in 1945, Amman Valley Comprehensive School in 1970, and Amman Valley School in 2000.
Ammanford Rugby Club are the winners of the first West Wales Rugby Union Champions League
Royal British Legion Club built in Manor Road. It is repossessed by its building society and closed suddenly on March 1th 2007, and is bulldozed to the ground in May 2008.
Ammanford Miners Hall (the Cinema) built in Wind Street next to St Michael's Church. This is closed in the 1970s before being refurbished and re-opened as a theatre and cinema in 1997. The Welfare Hall and Institute is built in front of the Miners Hall in 1936.
Betws Park built on the site of a former rubbish dump, but the planned swimming pool never materialises.
Bus Strike by the employees of James Brothers Bus Company over union recognition results in riots on Ammanford Square. Eighteen trades unionists are arrested and fifteen are convicted of public order offences and fined £5 each.
Ammanford Social Club (The 'Pick and Shovel') opens in Wind Street on the site of the former Co-operative building.
Local miner Jim Griffiths (born 1890) is elected Labour MP for the Llanelly constituency. In the post-war Labour government returned in 1945, Prime Minister Clement Atlee makes him Minister for National Insurance from 1945 1950 and Secretary of State for the Colonies 1950 1951. In 1951 Labour loses a General Election to a Churchill-led Tory government and James Griffiths has to wait until the 1964 Labour government, when new Prime Minister Harold Wilson makes him the first Secretary of State for Wales. Retires from Parliament in 1970. Dies in 1973.
Ammanford Miners Welfare Club and Institute (The 'Welfare') built on Wind Street next to the cinema.
Amman Valley Cottage Hospital opened in Folland Road, Glanamman. Five men from Ammanford go to fight in Spanish Civil war with 2 dying in action.
St Catherine's Church, Brynamman badly damaged by German bombing. During the war stray bombs also fall near Mill Terrace and Pontamman. An underground air raid shelter is built on Margaret Street opposite the police station. Fortunately it is never used. In 2008 a bomb shelter is also discovered on the site of the former Dynevor Tinpale Works next to Pantyffynnon station.
A Labour government elected to power in 1945 nationalises Britain's coal mining industry and almost all of the Amman Valley coal mines are closed over the next twenty years. Most of Betws and Ammanford's council housing estates are built in the immediate post-war period.
Regal ballroom built in Station Road, Tirydail. Destroyed in a fire in 1967.
Ammanford Rugby Club player Roy Anthony is the youngest player ever to captain a Welsh Rugby Union club at 17 years old.
1953 and 1954
Ammanford Baptist minister the Reverend F. Llwyd Williams (Llwyd) wins the Chair prize for poetry at the 1953 National Eisteddfod held at Rhyll and the Crown prize for poetry at the 1954 National Eisteddfod held at nearby Ystradgynlais. On his return to Ammanford from his Ystradgynlais triumph he is met by a large crowd on the outskirts of the town who carry him on their shoulders into Ammanford. Banners proclaiming "Croeso i Llwyd" (Welcome to Llwyd) are placed across the road and the procession is led into town by the Ammanford Silver band playing Handel's "See the Conquering Hero Comes". After congratulatory speeches, a spontaneous Gymanfa Ganu (Festival of Song) is taken up by the gathered throng.
The South Wales Guardian, the Amman Valley's second newspaper, launches its first edition on the 20th October 1955. The Amman Valley Chronicle, which had been the area's first newspaper (see the entry for 1909-1915 above), is unable to compete and is bought out by the South Wales Guardian in 1959. The South Wales Guardian has been subject to numerous takeovers itself since 1959, the latest owner being News Communications and Media Plc (Newscom), and it is now printed by the South Wales Argus in Newport.
The Pantyffynnon to Brynamman branch railway is closed to passenger traffic. The original Ammanford signal box is demolished in 1987. The line, however, remains open to goods traffic serving the coal mines and open-cast sites of the Amman Valley until the 1990s. Betws colliery changes to road transport for its coal after being privatised in 1993, and the closure of the open-cast site at Tairgwaith in 2000 brought an end to the rail transportation of coal. Ghost trains only used this line for some years, but the sudden granting of a licence to re-open Tairgwaith open-cast site in 2005 means the restoration of the railway track is commenced and coal journeys are restarted down the valley in 2009 after the track was completely relaid. The various local County Councils concerned had turned down the application to open-cast Tairgwaith again, but the Welsh Assembly overrules them. The concept of local democracy sinks to a new low in the process.
In this year the farthing ceases to become legal tender. There are 106,000 men working in the mining industry in Wales. By 1970 this has fallen to 70,000. In 2010 Wales has less than 100 miners.
Ammanford United AFC win both the West Wales Amateur Champions Cup and the Senior Carmarthenshire League Champions Cup.
Ivor Richard from Betws is elected to Parliament for the Barons Court seat in London. He loses is seat in 1974 but is appointed UK Permanent Representative (ie Ambassador) to the United Nations from 1974 1979. From 1981 1984 he is one of Britain's two EEC Commissioners. In 1990 he is elevated to the Life Peerage, taking the title of Lord Richard of Ammanford. In Tony Blair's 1997 government he is appointed Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords (a cabinet position). He is therefore the second Cabinet Minister from Betws school, along with James Griffiths MP (see entry for 1936 above), surely some sort of record for a state primary school. He is sacked in 1999 in favour of Baroness Jay (the daughter of former Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan). In 2002, Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan appoints him Chairman of a Commission to investigate the powers of the Welsh Assembly (he recommends it be given more powers).
The first Severn Bridge road crossing links Wales and England.
Carmarthenshire County Council adopts the 'comprehensive' school system and Amman Valley Grammar School and Amman Valley Secondary Modern School are merged to create Amman Valley Comprehensive School. This is renamed Amman Valley School in 2000.
National Eisteddfod again held in Ammanford. Brynamman-born Bryan Martin Davies wins the Crown prize for poetry.
Ammanford Urban District Council is merged with other local councils to become part of Dinefwr Borough Council. This is part of the reorganisation of local councils which scrapped Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire County Councils and merged them to create the new 'super county' of Dyfed County Council.
The Ammanford Primary, Infants and Nursery School buildings in College Street are demolished and a new Co-operative supermarket (Leo's) built on the site. Only the old yew tree now remains from the old Primary school.
National Union of Mineworkers strike lasts a year and Betws miners spend the full twelve months on strike. A Strike Support Group is set up in Ammanford to raise money and a separate group is sent to Brixton to raise money in London. After the defeat of the strike, Abernant, Cynheidre, Cwmgwili, and many other local pits close. After nationalisation of the mining industry in 1947 by a newly returned Labour government, most of the Amman Valley pits had already been closed in the 1950s and 1960s. Britain had 170 pits at the time of the miners' strike in March 1984 but by 2010 there were only 6 deep mines left in the whole country. The last Welsh deep mine Tower Colliery, near Hirwaun closes on 18th January 2008.
A Tory government privatises all British deep mines and Betws Colliery is bought out by its management, who rename it Betws Anthracite Ltd. Tower Colliery was bought out by its workforce and remained a workers cooperative until its closure in 2008.
Dinefwr Indoor Bowling Centre opened next to Ammanford Rugby Club's grandstand. (The grandstand is demolished in 2004 and replaced by a changing-room complex, including boxing ring, for the town's soccer, rugby and boxing clubs in 2005.)
Another local government reorganisation splits Dyfed County Council back into its former 'Shire' Counties of Carmarthen, Pembroke and Ceredigion (the former Cardiganshire). The Borough and District Councils of Dinefwr, Carmarthen and Llanelli lose their powers and are absorbed into the reconstituted unitary authority of Carmarthenshire County Council.
Betws Colliery is closed in July, thus ending 250 years of mining in the Amman valley. Within a year of closure, the site of the former colliery becomes a yuppie housing estate, with homes for sale at prices few in the Amman Valley can even dream about, and none can afford. Over a hundred new houses are also planned on the colliery's tip.
Work commences on a new by-pass from along Foundry Row, Ammanford, to join the main Amman Valley route at Pontamman. This is the first stage of a planned outer bypass of the town starting at Coopers, Tycroes, and three new bridges across the Loughor and Amman rivers will be needed as a result.
Date this page last updated: August 24, 2010