On the afternoon of Tuesday November 8th a large crowd of striking miners, who had assembled for a mass meeting on the Mid Rhondda Athletic Field, marched through the adjoining townships
|Mounted police drive striking miners away from the
A ferocious and violent conflict erupts that lasts two hours as the strikers are driven back down the road to Tonypandy Square.
One collier is killed.
|Boarded up shops in Tonypandy.
Shops are hastily boarded up to ensure there is no further damage, with one exception. The premises of chemist and local hero Willie Morris Llewellyn has remained untouched.
William Morris Llewellyn was a Tonypandy boy through and through. He was born in the Bridgend Hotel, situated in the centre of Tonypandy, to parents Howell and Catherine Llewellyn on Tuesday 1st January 1878
One of ten children Willie was fortunate not to have to follow the accepted and almost inevitable route taken by most of his contemporaries into the local pit. Owning a pub was obviously a lucrative occupation as it enabled Howell and Catherine to send three of their sons to the prestigious Christ College, Brecon. At the age of eleven Willie leaves home.
|Jack Williams, 'Boxer' Harding, Willie Llewellyn and Teddy
|W J Richards Chemists, Tonypandy Square
When Llewellyn opened his pharmacy in Tonypandy around 1905/6, although only 5’4” in stature, he was already an established ‘giant’ of the game. His international debut against England in 1899 marked him as a special talent. Playing alongside Billy Bancroft and Gwyn Nicholls, Llewellyn ran in four tries. It was a feat that would remain unequalled for seventy years until, remarkably, another Rhondda (Ystrad) born winger replicated Llewellyn’s achievement against the same nation. Who says lightning does not strike twice in the same place?
Wales V New Zealand 1905 – The Birth of a Legend
|The formidable 1905 All Blacks
|Wales win a line-out.
|The four Welsh players involved in the
Jubilant Welsh fans stream from the stadium eager to relive the glorious victory in the pubs or by the fireside. In the chapels on Sunday it will no doubt be the main topic of conversation and may even get a mention from the pulpit. Those who have travelled down from Mid-Rhondda will soon be afforded the privilege of seeing national and local heroes ‘Willie’ Llewellyn and Dai ‘Tarw’ Jones grace the Mid Rhondda Athletic Ground. Llewellyn in the colours of Penygraig, as the cup holders overcome Llwynypia in a cup tie the following season. Dai ‘Tarw’ Jones’ appearance will have more significance for the Mid Rhondda Athletic Ground Committee. It will be instrumental in determining the next stage of the ground’s development as a major sporting venue.
Llewellyn has proved his critics wrong, but time is no longer on his side. Apart from the occasional game with league champions Penygraig, he concentrates his energies on his business in Dunraven Street, Tonypandy. When interviewed by a reporter from the Rhondda Leader, the year following he offers this advice to young players:
I was brought up in Llwynypia and attended Llwynypia Primary but never remember being taught anything about local history, my own cultural heritage. Sadly so many children and adults living in Rhondda and other Welsh Valleys have little or no knowledge of their unique history. The collieries have long since disappeared along with many historic sites. In Tonypandy alone we have lost wonderful and irreplaceable buildings like the Central Hall, the Empire Theatre, Tonypandy Grammar and Primary school, the Llwynypia Library and a plethora of historic pubs and chapels built in a time that is fast fading from memory.
The Glamorgan Powerhouse, for example, is not just a site of local importance but given its central role in the fight for a minimum wage it has national and international significance. It stands a bleak testimony to how our heritage has been neglected. Now the Mid-Rhondda Athletic Ground that has witnessed great sporting occasions and been graced by the presence of legendary sportsmen like Willie Llewellyn, Dai 'Tarw' Jones, Percy Bush, 'Dally' Messenger, Jimmy Seed, Dai Collier, Maurice Richards and Lyn Baxter is under threat of housing development.
If you feel this remarkable and historic sporting venue should be preserved and developed for the local community for whom it was intended please sign the petition. Thank you.