Historic Landscape Characterisation
Merthyr Tydfil

036 Thomas Town (East) and Penyard

HLCA 036 Thomas Town (East) and Penyard 20th century urban expansion of 19th century Thomas Town, early social housing; landscaped industrial extractive features; education and leisure; municipal park and gardens; commemorative (Boer War memorial)

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(Photo: GGAT Merthyr 036)

Thomas Town (East) and Penyard character area: 20th century urban extension of Thomas Town.


A 20th century urban extension of the 19th century Thomas town, laid out in regular grid fashion but constrained by the pre-existing industrial land form and road- and tramway-networks. Characterised by social housing with integrated education and leisure facilities, municipal parks and gardens and commemorative features including the Gorsedd Circle and the Boer War Memorial.

Historical background

The historic landscape area of Thomas Town (East) and Penyard comprises the post-1898 (ie 20th century) urban development, and re-development within the area to the east of the 19th century of Thomas Town, and includes the area of Penyard, redeveloped between 1898 and 1915.

Before urban development, the area was characterised by open agricultural land, chiefly the holdings of Cae-Mari-Dwn (Cae Mary Dun, Tithe 1850), and The Court, part of the estate of William Thomas. The industrial extractive features of the area, and their associated transport networks formed part of a more extensive area of workings associated with the Penydarren Ironworks; these were in operation from at least the early 19th century until around 1859 and the closure of the works. Industrial features typified the area, before the turn of the 19th/20th century, by 1875 the quarries and tips (east of Thomas Town, along the present Queens Road as far as the industrial settlement of Penyard); and at the eastern edge of the area, and workings of Lodge (coal and ironstone) and Garw (ironstone) Pits were described as disused. The Lodge and Garw Pits were connected by tramroad to the Penydarren Ironworks to the north, and also to a brickworks just within Thomas Town (west; see HLCA 034), named on the 2nd (revised 1898) and later editions of the OS maps, but indicated on the 1875 map. Allotments were also characteristic features at this date, particularly in the area to the east of Thomas Town.

The eastern part of Thomas Town was laid out in regular linear and grid pattern during the period 1905-1915, including the Parade, Argyle Street, Summerhill Place, Woodland and Kingsly Terraces, St Tydfil's Avenue with Morell and James Streets leading off. Housing along Queens Road was of the same period as were Queens Road Schools, the adjacent Gorsedd Circle, Boer War memorial, and Thomas Town Park with its Bandstand.

The settlement of Penyard, shown on the Tithe of 1850 and the 1875 OS Map, formerly comprised isolated rows of industrial cottages and to the west Tai Harri Blawdd; this settlement layout remained unaltered until the period 1898-1915, when Danypark, Darren View, Coronation Street and Baden Terrace, the Taff Vale Brewery and an infant school were constructed. While the post 1898 housing survives largely intact to the present day recent housing has replaced the earlier settlement and the Taff Vale Brewery.


For further information please contact the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust at this address. Link to the Countryside Council for Wales website at www.ccw.gov.uk or Cadw at www.cadw.wales.gov.uk