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The History of Maerdy Workingmen's Hall & Institute

A brief look through the times of Maerdy Workingmen's Hall & Institute in Maerdy, Rhondda Valley, South Wales

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Maerdy Workingmens Hall and Institute

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Maerdy Workingmens Hall and Institute

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Maerdy Workingmens Hall and Institute

‘Maerdy Hall’ – Potted History By David Owen   Our heritage is all around us: we live our lives, consciously or not, against a rich backdrop formed by historic buildings, landscapes and other survivals from our past which we add to day by day, creating a sense of place and local pride, and providing a context for everyday life.   The heritage of our Maerdy is unique, priceless and inspirational. It is the foundation of who we are as individuals, as a community and of our identity within the national picture of Wales.   The heritage that we inherit is one of our greatest natural resources. It is our legacy from the past, what we live with today and what we will pass on to future generations.   Maerdy Coffee Tavern with a Library and Reading Room, Ceridwen Street, MAERDY   In 1881, a coffee tavern with a library and reading room attached was opened. Mr Thomas Bryn Awel, Aberdare and others presented a great number of books for the reading room and whenever he came to Maerdy, Mr Thomas made it a point to visit the reading room and was highly pleased to find the books were read by so many people. He was a great believer in giving the workmen every possible advantage to acquire knowledge and was prime mover and father of the noble institution, which had over 2,000 volumes on its shelves and took in about 20 daily papers, together with a great number of weekly, monthly and quarterly magazines. Undoubtedly Mr Thomas was one of the greatest benefactors to Maerdy.  

MAERDY LIBRARY AND READING ROOM MARCH 1903  

Maerdy Library and Reading Room Catalogue of Books. A Classified Catalogue of Books with a list of magazines, periodicals and newspapers in the Maerdy Library and reading Room in two parts: 1. – English. 2. – Welsh. March 1903.   Preface. The Library Committee being of the opinion that the compilation of a new Catalogue had become most necessary, have undertaken the task with a view of making the contents of the Maerdy Library and Reading Room better known to its members, and thus further the purpose of its institution.   In order to accomplish this object more effectually than hitherto, the present Catalogue has been arranged on a different system to the old one, by having all the books classified in accordance with the subjects on which they treat, so that the diligent reader, in order to find out what Works there are in our Library on any particular subject, may, by referring to that class, be enabled to see at a glance the various books provided, thereby avoiding the tedious search he would be compelled to make under the old arrangement.  

To facilitate the finding of the volumes in the bookcases, all Works treating on the same subject will be found placed together and numbered consecutively-so that in arrangement the Catalogue and the bookcases will exactly correspond.   It has been deemed advisable in every instance where that was possible and advantageous, to give the subject of the Work as the initial word in the alphabetical arrangement rather than the title as it stood; by this means avoiding the too frequent use of cross-references, which usually increase the bulk of catalogues without in any way increasing their usefulness.  

To find the Works of any author, the titles of whose books are either unknown or forgotten, a List of Authors has been compiled, with the numbers of their Works placed opposite their names, so that by reference to the Table given on page 7 showing the numerical limits of each class, it can be easily seen to which class or classes his Works belong.   The indefiniteness of some of the Works has caused considerable difficulty in the determination to which section such Works should be referred. In these circumstances, the rule followed was to place them with those works to which they had the greatest affinity; but a reference has been given in each case, in the class in which, from the wording of the titles, the reader might expect to find them.  

On some subjects, such as Philosophy, Law, Medicine, Music, Education, Gardening, Poultry, Farriery, and Fine Art, the number of volumes in each section was so few, that it was considered inadvisable to assign to each of these subjects a class of its own. To meet this difficulty, they have been placed under the heading “Miscellaneous”. The advantage of giving a section of the Catalogue entirely to Welsh books, and placing all such Works together in the bookcases, is so obvious that we trust that such an arrangement needs no apology.  

The Committee also desire to place on record their deep appreciation of the desire for the well-being of his workmen which Wm. Thomas, Esq., J.P., Bryn Awel, Aberdare, exhibited in founding this Reading Room and Library, and which to the day of his death, was an Institution so near to his heart.

THE COMMITTEE.   March, 1903.  

NAMES OF COMMITTEE  

President: T.E. Richards, M.E.   Vice Presidents: John Morgans Thomas T. Morgans William Roberts   Committee: William Edwards B. Griffiths, M.D. William Lavis William Davies Jeremiah Jones Richard Benjamin *Llewellyn Williams *John Lewis Richard Owen *David Jones William Jones *Evan Howells *John W. Jones *David Thomas *John Jones Joseph G. Williams Caleb James Morgan Weeks David Davies John Evans Edward Miles Daniel “Eos Dar” Evans, Treasurer Daniel V. Lewis, Secretary.   * This asterisk denotes the names of the Sub-Committee who drafted out the new catalogue.  

WELSH BOOKS  

A List of the Classifications into which the books have been put, Together with the numbers for each classification  

Title of Sections                                                          Last-numbers              Page   *

Dictionaries and Reference Works                              1  to      29                     63

Biography                                                                     30    to      79                 65

Religion and Theology                                                  80  to    239                   67                        

History                                                                        240  to    299                   71

Poetry                                                                          300  to     349                 73

Miscellaneous                                                              350  to    439                  75

Bound Periodicals                                                       440  to    632                    81  

*For English and Welsh

Dictionaries, see the English Section under “Dictionaries” etc.   In 1905 the old Coffee Tavern was replaced by the Workmen’s Institute. It was the largest and most central building in the community and contained on the upper floor a large hall and balcony capable of accommodating over a thousand people, the building cost nearly nine thousand pounds to build and contained one of the best libraries in South Wales.   Maerdy Workmens Institute, Ceridwen Street, Maerdy.   Locally and affectionately known as ‘Maerdy Hall’   The name and dates on the former large frontage stone plaque reads:   1882   Workmen’s Institute   1905   There are 4 memorial stone plaques recovered from the frontage of ‘Maerdy Hall’:   They were situated from left to right facing the front of ‘Maerdy Hall’:   They read:  

1)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by Doctor Sylvanus Glanville Morris Esq, M.D.  

2)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by Taliesin E. Richards Esq,  

3)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by William ‘Mabon’ Abraham Esq, M.P.  

4)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by W. Ronndfeldt Esq, Park Place, Cardiff   History of those who laid the memorial stones  

From left to right facing the front of ‘Maerdy Hall’:   Reads:  

1)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by Doctor S. Glanville Morris Esq, M.D.   Dr Sylvanus Glanville Morris called his first ambulance class at Maerdy in September 1903 and on 3rd March 1906 the first Maerdy Division of the Saint John Ambulance Brigade came into being under the superintendentship of Mr Taliesin E. Richards with the Divisional Surgeon being Dr Glanville Morris. Within twelve months there was a membership of over 60.  

2)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by T.E. Richards Esq, President of Maerdy Workmen’s Institute T.E. Richards, M.E. When Mr Taliesin E. Richards was promoted to Corps Officer Mr Maltby undertook the superintendentship and when he resigned in 1913, Mr T.J. Evans took his place. Soon afterwards a nursing division was formed. Mrs (Dr) Morris who became a very active member of the Brigade was appointed Lady Superintendent and soon there were over 30 members. The nursing division had excellent results and gained many prizes in competitions.  

3)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by William ‘Mabon’ Abraham Esq, M.P.   Rhondda’s first M.P. William ‘Mabon’ Abraham Rhondda Labour Party is celebrating its Jubilee of Parliamentary representation. Rhondda has a great Labour history dating from 1885 when Mabon won the Rhondda seat from a coal owner candidate Mr F.L. Davies and ever since there has been unbroken alliance to the party. When Mabon tried for the seat the first time in 1885 the account of poll that came out was in favour of F.L. Davies that he had won the seat and his supporters in their joy took the horses out of the carriage and brought them all the way up to Maerdy to tell the people in Maerdy that he had won. But what a disappointment he had when he returned to Ferndale and heard that the counting of the papers was wrong. They had mislaid the box containing the Maerdy votes. This box turned the tables in favour of Mabon and Mabon always thought a great deal of Maerdy people; he loved them so well that he always called them his children. William ‘Mabon’ Abraham M.P. and first president of the South Wales Miners’ Federation commenced mining as an underground ‘door boy’. In 1870 he was elected a miners’ agent. From 1892 to 1898 the South Wales miners did not work on the first Monday of each month, a scheme to limit output in order to maintain wages, it also gave opportunities for holding miners’ meetings). This was known as ‘Mabon’s Monday’ and known in Mardy Colliery when we had a day off as ‘Mabon’s Day’.  

4)  This memorial stone was laid March 13th 1905 by W. Ronndfeldt Esq, Park Place, Cardiff   W. Ronndfeldt Esq, was of Swedish extraction, but came to Cardiff in 1859 and was engaged in business at the Docks for half a century. He was the principal of the firm of W. Ronndfeldt and Company coal exporters of Mount Stuart Square and was for many years chairman of Messrs. Locket’s Merthyr Collieries (1884) Limited (Mardy No 1 and No 2 Pits. Until a few years ago he was actively engaged in his business, but he met with a serious accident and broke his leg. After which he went into retirement. This accident was a serious misfortune to him as he was particularly fond as a naturalist and a keen observer of long walking tours a trudge of 30 miles on a Sunday being a common experience with him. Scarcely a spot in South Wales was unknown to him and his wide acquaintance with natural phenomena and of local topography was of great assistance to Maerdy library at the Workmen’s Institute and the committee of which he was a member.   The opening of ‘Maerdy Hall’ 1905   The children of the Boys’ School gave a concert to mark the opening of the Institute, in 1905, at which the following verse was sung:   When babies go to school all dressed so neat and tidy, To learn their lessons as a rule from Monday until Friday, They toddle in, they toddle out, their little hearts are yearning, To do their best, to pass the test of H.M.I. of learning.  

The Old Coffee Tavern and Reading Room became part and parcel of the Workmen’s Institute (Workmen’s Institute this was on the stone plaque on the front of ‘Maerdy Hall’), and the cleaner’s house, shop and bakery at the bottom end of the institute. Above this bakery was the Salvation Army who held their meetings there for many years. In 1935 they had a Hut or Barracks as they called it, of their own behind the Athletic Club Buildings. Its’ not as convenient as the old place above the bakery for the room was always heated, sometimes it was too warm especially in the summer months.   Maerdy Workmen’s Institute, Ceridwen Street, Maerdy. In 1905 the old Coffee Tavern was replaced by the Workmen’s Institute. It was the largest and most central building in the community and contained on the upper floor a large hall and balcony capable of accommodating over a thousand people, the building cost nearly nine thousand pounds to build and contained one of the finest libraries in South Wales.  

Local legend has it that Arthur James ‘A.J.’ Cook presented it with a vivid red and gold banner which he had accepted on behalf of the British miners and their wives from the working women of Krasnaya Presna, Moscow. He had been in Moscow during the lock-out to acknowledge their financial support. ‘A.J.’ Cook is reputed to have said that the most appropriate place to keep the banner was ‘Maerdy Hall’. It was likely that the banner was brought back by Dai Lloyd Davies, secretary of the Mardy Colliery Lodge, who had also been to Russia, towards the end of the lock-out. In any event, the banner was given pride of place with a commemorative photograph being taken of it soon after its arrival. Crowded into the photograph were all the local Communists, their children, and a life-size portrait of Lenin in the background. The banner was to be used only on such special occasions as Communist funerals when it draped the coffins.   1905. In 1905 ‘Maerdy Hall’ had a gymnasium – Two reading rooms, one especially for ladies and one for men.   Official opening of the Institute. Mrs W.H. Mernton of Essendene, Penarth officially opened the Institute at Maerdy Workmen’s Hall on 19th February 1906.  

ROYAL VISIT HRH PRINCESS LOUISE AND THE DUKE OF ARGYLL   TREALAW, MARDY AND PONTYPRIDD JULY 23TH & 24TH 1909  

Visit of H.R.H. Princess Louise and the Duke of Argyll on the occasion of the opening of the Judge Williams Memorial Hall, Trealaw and the distribution of the prizes at the Sir Charles Warren’s Ambulance Shield Competition at Mardy.   Her Royal Highness and his Grace will arrive at Miskin Manor on Thursday evening 22nd instantaneous.   On Friday at 2:00p.m. The Royal party will leave Miskin and enter Pontypridd district at 2:30p.m. by Llantwit Road and over the new bridge into Merthyr Road and on to Victoria Bridge. Her Royal Highness will be presented with an address of welcome and a gold casket by the Pontypridd District Council and inhabitants.   2:50p.m. Her Royal Highness arrives at Porth motoring by way of Taff Street, Mill Street and Hannah Street, Porth. Here Her Royal Highness will be presented with a gold Davy lamp together with an address of welcome.   3:00p.m. Leave Porth for Trealaw by way of Tynewedd and Cemetery Road to the Judge’s Hall. The Hall to be opened by Her Royal Highness will be presented with an address in a silver casket by Mid-Rhondda Chamber of Trade and an address and gold casket by the Rhondda Urban District Council. Miss Nora Nicholas the young daughter of Mr and Mrs W.P. Nicholas, Garth presents a bouquet to Her Royal Highness. The Mid-Rhondda Society under the conductorship of Mr Emrys Richards Tonypandy, render selections during the opening ceremony.   The visitors return by way of Llwynypia, Tonypandy, Penygraig, Williamstown and Tonyrefail back to Miskin.   On Saturday, Rhondda Fach will be visited. The Royal party leave Miskin at 2:00p.m. Arriving at Porth at 2:35p.m. And Mardy at 3:00p.m. And going by way of Ynyshir, Tylorstown and Ferndale to Mardy, where Her Royal Highness presents the valuable shield given by General Sir Charles Warren to the successful team in the ambulance competition. At Ynyshir, Miss Thomas presents a bouquet to Her Royal Highness, whilst at Mardy a presentation will be made by the daughters of Mr T.E. Richards, M.E. on behalf of the Warren executed, and Mr T. Davies the secretary will read an address of welcome on behalf of the Warren Executive. Before the visitors leave, the winners of the first prize in the competition will give an exhibition of ambulance work.   The territorial *A.C.S. Corps, under the command of Major R.C. Dyke, Pentre will form a guard of honour at Mardy.   *Army Community Service (A.C.S.) is rich in the tradition of volunteerism and offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities that significantly impact the military community. The concept of volunteer participation was incorporated within A.C.S. from the very beginning. The A.C.S. volunteer staff augments paid staff and expands program capabilities through the donation of time and service.   Who are A.C.S. volunteers? A.C.S. volunteers are soldiers, retirees, civilians, spouses, youth and survivors. They come to us from both the active and reserve components. The common bond of these volunteers is the desire to help meet the needs of Army community members, the desire to assist A.C.S. in its Mission of “Self-Help, Service and Stability”. Typically the A.C.S. has over 10,000 volunteers who contribute approximately 500,000 hours of service.  

GOD SAVE THE KING AND ALL THE ROYAL FAMILY  

Shop in ‘Maerdy Hall’. Gwen Hughes ran the sweet shop in ‘Maerdy Hall’ in 1910.   Maerdy by Mr Daniel ‘Eos Dar’ Evans formerly of 5 Station Terrace, Maerdy. A notebook written by Daniel ‘Eos Dar’ Evans a precentor of Siloa Welsh Congregational Church, Maerdy Road, in the early years of the twentieth century, gives us an excellent insight into the early years of Maerdy as it evolved into a thriving mining township. He explains that Maerdy derived its name from the large farmhouse situated there on the banks of the River Fechan. It was at this farmhouse that neighbouring farmers and shepherds would meet to transact business and attend court for the district. This farmhouse was therefore called the stewards’ or mayors' house or Maerdy in welsh. It was at this house that the first recorded religious services were held in 1877, a joint service of the Calvinistic Methodists and Congregationalists. Some indication of the size of this farmhouse can be gleaned from the fact the service was held in the parlour of the house, a space capable of holding sixty worshippers.   In 1874 Mordecai Jones of Brecon and Nantmelyn purchased the farmhouse and lands with the intention of sinking a pit and constructing a railway to link up with the Taff Vale Railway, and in December 1876 the Abergorki vein of coal was struck in the Mardy Colliery Number 1 shaft. The output from this vein was one hundred tons a day, and Maerdy soon became what ‘Eos Dar’ described as an ‘Eldorado’. Subsequently the mines were leased to Locket’s Merthyr Company and the pits’ output increased from nearly 30,000 tons in 1879 to over 160,000 tons by 1884. In 1877 Maerdy consisted of the farmhouse, a few huts for the workers at the mine and just 48 houses.  

By 1880 the influx of workers to the area and their families led to the Rhondda School Board deciding that Maerdy needed its own school. The Maerdy mixed day school was subsequently opened in that year. The opening ceremony for which included a two hundred strong children's choir and tea and cake for all the children, provided by Mr William Thomas general director of the colliery. To cater for the leisure needs of the workers a coffee tavern and reading room was opened in 1881. Later in 1905 the Maerdy Workmen’s Institute was built on the same ground that the Coffee Tavern had stood on. This Institute was to play a central role in the cultural and leisure life of the community of Maerdy for many decades. A list taken from the Committee Minutes of the Institute (see below), of the organisations that used the Hall between 1918 and 1922, gives us an insight into the role the Hall played in Maerdy society and also into the array of clubs and societies that existed in the area at that time. The site was a gift from the landlords of the Maerdy estate to the workmen of the Mardy Collieries, and the entire Institute cost £9,000 to build and furnish. The building was on three floors and consisted of, in the basement a lesser hall, billiards room and offices. On the first floor cloakroom, ladies reading room, men’s reading room, library, refreshment room, and offices, and on the upper floor a large hall capable of holding 1,000 people. This original building subsequently burned down in 1922 killing its then treasurer Mr John Jones whose body was found in the caretakers’ cottage adjoining the main building. A little over two years later in 1925 the Institute was reopened, the local miners having raised £20,000 for its rebuilding. Thus from its beginnings as a tiny rural hamlet Maerdy, by 1909 had become a thriving mining community of 880 houses, and a population exceeding six and a half thousand. It had its own school, chapels and a wealth of social and cultural societies catering to the needs of a busy industrial township.   List of Organisations at Workmens Institute 1918-1922 taken from the Committee Minutes of the Institute   44 organisations made use of ‘Maerdy Hall’   Bowling Club Boxing Contest Carmel English Baptist Church Caroline Coons Jazz Band Dixie Boys Jazz Band Ebenezer Church English Wesleyan Church Ferndale Labour Exchange Llyswen Glee Party Maerdy Branch of East Rhondda Unionist Women’s Association Maerdy Branch of the Communist Party of Great Britain Maerdy Brass Band Maerdy Children's Concert Maerdy Choral Union Maerdy Christian Evidence Lectures Maerdy Cricket Club Maerdy Dancing Class Maerdy Distress Committee (1921 Lock-Out) Maerdy Drama Group Maerdy Economics Class Maerdy Lodge of the South Wales Miners Federation Maerdy Male Voice Choir Maerdy Rangers Football Club Maerdy Social Institute Maerdy United Brotherhood Maerdy United Church Miners Albion’s Junior Football Club Propaganda Committee 1921 (Miners’ Lock-Out) Rhondda Fach National Choir Roman Catholic Church Siloa Chapel Saint John Ambulance Class The Boy Scouts The British Legion The Cymric Musical Association The Cymrodorion The Discharged ‘Soldiers and Sailors’ The International Students Association The Rechabites The Rhondda Orchestral Society The Spiritualists The Unionist Women’ Guild The Vegetable Show Committee The Women’s Labour Guild   Labour College evening classes held at ‘Maerdy Hall’ were attended by Arthur Horner in 1919. Formerly of 37 Edward Street, Maerdy. He also lodged in James Street, opposite the South Wales Miners’ Federation Lodge Committee members Charlie ‘Coch’ Jones and Ted Williams. The following is from the Mardy Colliery Lodge Minute book for 29th April to 14th May are on p. 61). ‘The lecturer was Alderman Theodore Griffiths and we paid *two pence (2d) a lecture. I used to start for work at the pit at 5:00a.m., rush home after the shift to take a bath (no pithead baths in 1919) and then get to the lecture. I often fell asleep before the end, but to this day I marvel at how much education economics, sociology and other subjects I was able to absorb’. Arthur Horner was chairman of the Hall 1929-1933.   ‘Maerdy Hall’ Tuesday 28th November 1922. At the end of the year in 1922 Maerdy Workmen’s Hall was severely damaged by fire, it was suggested that the fire had been caused by a smouldering cigarette in the balcony of the cinema) a great fire took place in the Workmen’s Hall when Mr John Jones was burnt to death and doing great damage to the building to the extent of thousands of pounds, all inside had to be rebuilt. The books in the library were saved. The new building was opened on 3rd June 1925.   To this day the people of Maerdy speak of the tragic event and of the amazing oil painting which still hangs in the large Reading Room. This massive painting is ‘A War Memorial’ painted by a local lady Mrs W. Rowlands. In spite of the fire which consumed the premises, this magnificent work of art survived the heat and fumes. The oils did not run and although not covered in glass the painting remained unchanged, to be hung in the new institute when it was opened on 3rd June 1925. The cost of building and refurbishing the institute was over £35,000 and it took three years to complete.  

Mardy Fire Victim. The Glamorgan Free Press Friday 8th December 1922. How treasurer was killed. At the enquiry of the death of John Jones, treasurer of Mardy Workmen’s Institute which was destroyed by fire on Tuesday of last week, it was suggested that the fire was caused by a smouldering cigarette in the balcony of the cinema. Mr R.J. Rhys conducted the inquest at the Mardy Hotel on Friday.   Mr Jones was killed in the caretakers house by the fall of a wall of the Institute, which crashed through the roof and ceiling of the caretaker’s house. Roger Jones, a brother, said deceased was forty-nine years of age and single. William Jones caretaker of the Institute said he saw John Jones after the alarm and thought he went into the house to see if he could assist the family living there. John Roland Jones son-in-law of William Jones said he saw John Jones after he (witness) had rescued his father-in-law. Witness went into the caretaker’s house where he became unconscious. When he came to Mr Jones was there. John Jarman one of the search party said he found Mr Jones in the kitchen, lying half on the sofa and half on the floor. It appeared he had been struck back to the sofa by falling debris. There were two big stones on his head. They had to work for twenty minutes clearing away the debris before they found the body. Dr Glanville Morris said he did not think deceased had been overcome by smoke. Had he been two or three paces away from the spot where he was found he might have been saved, because there was an archway that might have protected him. Probably Mr Jones was killed instantaneously. In any case he would have been stunned.   The coroner: A merciful death. If he had been imprisoned without any chance of escape his end would have been miserable. Mr. R.J. Rhys said probably a smouldering cigarette in the balcony of the cinema caused the fire. The man had been killed by the fall of the Institute wall and he would return a verdict accordingly.   The deceased was buried at the Mardy cemetery. The funeral was largely attended by deceased’s fellow workmen, by whom he was held in respect.   John Richards formerly of 31 Griffith Street, Maerdy 1930. John Richards formerly of 31 Griffith Street, Maerdy worked at ‘Maerdy Hall’ from 1930 to 1944 as cinema projectionist. During World War Two his duties also included fire watcher for the village. He had a splendid view from the top rooms of the Hall overlooking the village of Maerdy.  

Maerdy Workmen’s Hall, Maerdy, Whit Sunday, 19th June 1946.

A souvenir of the first year of peace. Celebration in song on the occasion of Victory Festivity. Chairman Alderman A. Evans J.P., D.C. The people of Mardy will sing to the accompaniment of Mardy Welfare Band, conducted by Mr G. Evans. Items will be rendered by Haydn Glee Party, conductor Mr Haydn Morgan.   ‘Maerdy Hall’ Hub of the Village September 1947. Fulfilling a vital need in the life of a community which was one of the hardest hit areas in South Wales is the Maerdy Miners’ Welfare Hall or, as it is more commonly called the Workmen’s Hall Saturday 27th September 1947. Cited as a typical example of a progressive Miners’ Welfare Institute at the Golan-Y-Mor Conference held at Barry in July last, the Hall provides for many forms of recreation and culture. The old building was burned down in 1922 and the new building, which was opened on 3rd June 1925 now, has facilities for table tennis, billiards, a dance hall with accommodation for 300 and a library containing 3,000 to 4,000 books on every subject from Karl Marx to children’s stories. The institute also has one of the finest drama clubs in the two valleys. Numbering 24, the company has performed many three-act plays and is at present rehearsing “The Poltergeist” which is to be held on December 1947. A drama week will also be held at the Hall next April 1948.   The life of the Hall has not, however, always been a bed of roses. From 1925 to 1935 it was a very hard struggle to keep going but with the help of Jim Griffiths, the present Minister of Insurance, it was more firmly established and has never looked back since. During that ten-year period, to quote the words of the chairman of the Welfare Committee. “If the Hall had not been kept going, it is doubtful if the village of Maerdy would have survived. The community spirit of the inhabitants so encouraged their morale that they did not leave the district”. The chairman sixty-year-old Josh Jones of Wood Street, Maerdy who had been chairman for the past fourteen years taking over that position from Arthur Horner of Edward Street, who is now secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and it is Josh’s proud boast that there is not a finer Hall in Wales, nor one with as many activities. Mr D.C. Jones and Mr I.J. Phillips aged 83 and 75 years respectively, who incidentally have been in the service of the Hall for 25 years, has greatly contributed to its success and the Hall has a very warm corner in the hearts of the Maerdy inhabitants.   The Dance Hall accommodates 300 people and is illuminated by subdued and spot lighting. A new amplifier for the band has been acquired at a cost of *£50-0s-0d and a modern orchestra supplies the music when dancing is held on Thursday and Saturday nights and many people are turned away from the doors when the place is packed. There is also a room set apart for the convenience of the old age pensioners who sit back smoking pipes while reading and listening to the wireless which has been installed the room. “It is their centre”. Said Josh Jones “and they would be lost without it”. Another feature of the Hall is the billiards, table tennis and games room, where draughts chess and cards may also be played. It must be remembered that there is no form of industry whatsoever in Maerdy, people having to go to places like Cardiff and Port Talbot to find employment and when they return home in the evening they go to the Hall to spend their leisure hours, There are only approximately 1,000 houses in Maerdy, yet there are 800 members in the Hall 500 of them being young people. The institute too is the centre of all activities of the womenfolk of the district, who gather once a week as a guild. Leather, arts and crafts class is another hope which will in all probability be realised this winter. After chapel hours on a Sunday evening gramophone record concerts were given throughout last winter. Yes indeed the hub of village life in Maerdy.   The Welfare Players at ‘Maerdy Hall’   12th November 1949. Mr William John Griffiths schoolteacher at the Secondary Modern School, North Road, Ferndale is well known in the locality as the conductor of the Maerdy Choral Society and the newly formed Maerdy Children’s Choir, but above all he is associated with the Maerdy Welfare Players.  

This dramatic group was formed in June 1946 and since that date members have firmly established themselves in the world of amateur dramatics. The party came into existence early in 1946 when meetings were arranged at ‘Maerdy Hall’ to give all young people keen on drama an opportunity to develop their interests. The meetings proved such a tremendous success that it was finally decided to form a group and Mr W.J. Griffiths undertook to act as producer.   Prior to this during the years of the Depression Mr W.J. Griffiths was connected to the Maerdy Unemployed Club which opened at Church Street (now Maerdy Social Club), Maerdy by the Maesyrhaf Settlement, Trealaw under the National Council of Social Service. He produced plays there until he left for the Armed Forces in 1941.   The interest was nurtured during his absence and many plays were performed by this dramatic group, one of their most popular productions being a tropical one, ‘Who Goes There’? During this time nearly £350 was raised for various charities by this band of unemployed people who had a deep love of acting and the actors themselves displayed much unsuspected talent. Keeping up fulltime production proved very difficult as many of the club members were leaving for the forces from time to time, but the few remaining stalwarts were determined to continue their acting and they helped out local church and chapel groups. Then when the Welfare Party was formed in the ‘Maerdy Hall’ in 1946 many of the members of the original group gave their able support and within a few months the Maerdy Welfare Players came into their own, launching ‘Living Room’ their first ship in the hazardous sea of dramatic art. With their next play ‘The Day is Gone’ they made their first entry into competition, gaining one first and one second prize. Soon afterwards came the very lovely ‘Poltergeist’. It was then decided to revive ‘The Day is Gone’, as many of the original cast had either left the area or abandoned dramatics altogether.   Next came their most popular and highly polished production, Mary Haley Bell’s ‘Duet for Two Hands’. They have had a very lengthy run with this play and have carried it well into its second season as it is in such great demand. The play has received many awards at competition, altogether three first prizes and five second awards. Since then their ‘Shop at Sly Corner’ has appeared and on Wednesday of this week, they gave their first performance of Warren Cheltham-Strode’s play ‘The Guinea Pig’. It is interesting to note that the two suits of armour which are so impressive on the setting of ‘Shop at Sly Corner’ were made by Mr Griffiths himself.   At present the thirty members of the group meet twice weekly in the schoolroom at ‘Maerdy Hall’, they take their acting very seriously. When weekend tuition schools are held at Barry under the auspices of the Glamorgan Drama League many members of the group attend. They regularly visit professional performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Cardiff, combining business with pleasure. The group’s activities are quite varied. Recently the members of the group spend much of their leisure time in one another’s company and last year arranged their first annual trip when they visited Weston-super-Mare.   The drama season is now in full swing and the Maerdy Welfare Players have quite a full diary in front of them. All wish them very success in the present season.  

Maerdy Hospital Fund at ‘Maerdy Hall’   28th January 1950.

On Saturday afternoon a meeting will be held at 2:30p.m. at ‘Maerdy Hall’ when the work performed by the Maerdy Hospital Fund will be reviewed. Subscribers to the fund who attend the meeting will learn among other things that at the opening of the present year the fund possessed a Bank balance of *£400-0s-8d. For a fund which started off tentatively and slowly this is a great achievement, particularly as there were many drawbacks at its commencement. On 27th August 1935 Mr Rhys D. Davies cashier called a meeting to discuss the question of providing some transport to and from hospitals for the people of Maerdy and a Maerdy Hospital Conveyance fund was formed. It was decided that contributions should be *one penny (1d) a week and this was deducted from the miners’ wages at the colliery office. Originally cars and ambulances were hired when local people were conveyed to and from hospitals for examination, treatment, or operation, but it soon became apparent that this arrangement would eat up the funds far too quickly. In February 1939 a car was purchased and later on Miss Thomas of Ferndale was asked to undertake the duties of chauffeur. Miss Thomas proved invaluable to the fund; she was always on call and took great pains to ensure that the patients in her charge were suitable cared for.   A great blow fell, however when Mardy Colliery closed down on 28th October 1940. As a result of this the majority of the local men were forced to find work outside the area, the committee realised that their fund would dwindle into nothingness unless something was done immediately. Early in 1941 the following appeal was issued and circularised amongst the inhabitants of Maerdy:   ‘At the end of December we had completed the payments for the car and had a balance to our credit. Since then, we have been going downhill and have almost reached the bottom; otherwise we would not appeal for help. In spite of hardships, we have tried to carry on and so far we have not let you down. We have never refused to convey a patient to or from hospital even though the member might have been in arrears with contribution payments. It may interest you to know that during the last 12 months we have conveyed 780 patients to and from hospitals. We appeal to all the inhabitants of Maerdy to make just a little sacrifice by giving a donation to help us carry on this noble work of assisting those who are unfortunate in needing hospital treatment. However small your donation we assure you that it will be appreciated’.   This appeal touched the hearts of local folk who did not want to deprive themselves of such a useful facility and within a short time the fund was again firmly established with an increased membership. However when the Nation Health Insurance Bill came into being on 5th July 1948 it was feared that the fund would no longer prove to be of any service. Consequently the car was sold as the Nation Health Insurance became responsible for the conveyance of patients to and from hospitals. The Committee met and decided to carry on with their work. It was agreed that the fares of relatives and patients to hospitals within a 15 mile radius should be granted as the new Bill covered only hospitals outside that range; so the present 684 members still benefit from this fund.   Each year a concert is held locally and the majority of these have been extremely successful. In addition to holding these concerts in order to benefit materially, the committee has also tried to bring something different and new to the people of Maerdy by these functions. In the past organ recitals have been held and on one occasion, Reginald Fort, Grace Nevern and Frank Davey gave an unforgettable performance. At other times band concerts and choral concerts have been arraigned as well as the usual dramas. But on the last two occasions solo competitions were introduced. This is an expensive method of entertaining but the committee has felt that, by holding such competitions Maerdy people would be given the opportunity to hear performers from outside the locality. When the last annual concert was held in November 1949 the adjudicator Mr Leslie A. Tusler B.A., L.R.A.M. of Barry was most impressed by the standard of the singing and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the varied performances of the competitors. In such a manner has the Hospital Fund kept itself alive. To date (28th January 1950) every needy case has received immediate attention. Although there is a set limit to the number of grants, this is usually ignored for no needy case has ever been refused help. Maerdy people are grateful for this fund for it is something of their own making on which they can safely depend. They deeply appreciate the work and time given by the committee members who maintain their service for the sick.  

‘Maerdy Hall’   11th February 1950.

There are many Workmen’s Institutes scattered throughout the Rhondda Valley but very few are such a ‘home from home’ for people of all ages as the Maerdy Workmen’s Hall and Institute, a fine well built structure which stands at the bus terminus and provides entertainment and material comfort for young and old alike. Founded in 1881 by Mr M. Thomas M.E., F.G.S. of Bryn Awel it was known as ‘The Coffee Tavern’ and consisted of five houses which had been combined to provide Maerdy with its first public institute. At that time there were only a library-reading room and billiard room. With the assistance of the Miners Welfare Fund and the weekly contributions, it soon became possible to enlarge the little hall and in 1905 on the site where the faithful Coffee Tavern had stood for so many years grew a large institute complete with modern facilities for entertaining the general public.   In 1922 came sudden disaster, the Hall suffered a major fire. To this day the people of Maerdy speak of the tragic event and of the amazing oil painting which still hangs in the large Reading Room. This massive painting is ‘A War Memorial’ painted by a local lady Mrs W. Rowlands. In spite of the fire which consumed the premises, this magnificent work of art survived the heat and fumes. The oils did not run and although not covered in glass the painting remained unchanged, to be hung in the new institute when it was opened on 3rd June 1925. The cost of building and refurbishing the institute was over £35,000 and it took three years to complete. Now Maerdy has one of the most useful and well patronised Halls in the valley. People need never be at a loss for a method of spending their time when in Maerdy for this institute has something for everyone. At any time of day the smoking room is full of older men. Here in the company of genuine friends they can sit in warmth and chat to one another or listen to the wireless. Here too the younger generation meet to play table tennis, billiards or snooker in the large billiard hall which contains four tables. The table tennis and billiards teams are proving to be formidable opponents in the local leagues. In addition there is a games room for draughts, chess, monopoly, cards, dominoes, etc.   The large well used lending library contains over 3,000 books. The institute itself owns many of the books and in addition the Rhondda Urban District Council lending library scheme operates. All kinds of books, fact and fiction are available to members of the institute. In the large and comfortable reading room, daily, weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines are available and are much enjoyed by old age pensioners. The classrooms are also in great demand. In these rooms meet the Maerdy Choral Society and the Juvenile Choir, The Maerdy Welfare Players Dramatic Group, Maerdy Silver Band, the L.E.A. (Local Education Authority) Youth Club who have been housed here since the elementary school burnt down on 24th May 1948 the fire destroyed the school and all its contents including the logbooks, the Women’s Sewing Guild, the Old Age Pensioners Association and the National Union of Mineworkers. The rooms are available for public hire, whether for political (particularly of late) or general meetings. The dance hall which covers half the ground floor of the building can accommodate 300 people comfortably. The floor surface is excellent and the resident dance band provides suitable accompaniment. Twice weekly dances are held and are well attended by visitors from as far afield as Porth and Aberdare. The cinema which is the main financial support of the institute has a seating capacity of 850, yet the emergency arrangements are such that if the need arose, the building could be evacuated in two minutes. There is a large stage and six well lit dressing rooms behind. Once monthly the Hall is allocated to the religious bodies of Maerdy. On these occasions, plays are usually held although musical entertainment is provided frequently.   The institute is managed by a committee of 27 men, nine officials, nine working men and nine outsiders. At present the officials are: Trustees Mr Sam Davies and Mr William Thomas; Chairman Mr Charles Jones; Secretary Mr Isaac Phillips; Treasurer Mr David Jones (the two last named having held office since 1922); Vice chairmen Mr Sam Davies and Mr W.J. Picton. At present the Treasurer is ill and it is hoped that he will soon be well enough to return to his post. Financially the institute is secure. There are between 750 and 800 contributory members who, together with their families enjoy the facilities offered. Each section of the Hall has two representatives on the Welfare Committee, which meets and puts forward suggestions to the General Committee. In this way direct contact is made with all the departments and urgent needs can be met.   The forthcoming event of greatest interest is the third annual Dram Festival which is to be held in March. This festival has proved an enormous success for the people of Maerdy, who are severe drama critics! But regardless of the larger and more notable events that are held the institute provides a daily need, always with open doors, from early morning until late at night. Here the lonely heart can find something or someone to take his mind off himself and to entice him into the joys of companionship offered by this Workmen’s Institute.  

‘MAERDY HALL’ OPENS AS A LICENSED CLUB  

‘Maerdy Hall’ February 1963. Maerdy Workmen’s Institute was opened officially as a licensed club on Friday 23rd February 1963 in the presence of an assembly numbering four hundred. Will Whitehead President of the South Wales National Union of Mineworkers (N.U.M.) who formally opened the *£12,000-0s-0d concert hall, lounge and T.V. room was supported by Maldwyn James National Coal Boare (N.C.B.) group manager. Both speakers were thanked by the chairman of the Hall William R. ‘Will Box’ Thomas. The Hall was established as far back as 1905 and was principally the meeting place for miners from Mardy Colliery. Now it not only has 1,300 miners on its books, but 400 outsiders.   While the renovations and a licence will undoubtedly mean changes it is a as well to remember that several social groups still meet in the Hall, Maerdy Choral Society for one and it is a centre for handicapped people, in its gymnasium Alcwyn Maggs trained to reach the top of the physical fitness ladder. Among the guests on Friday were D. Stephens Chairman of No. 2 District National Association of Colliery Overmen Deputies & Shotfirers (N.A.C.O.D.S.), I.O. Thomas Regional Welfare Officer of the N.C.B., Gwyn Jones Manager of Mardy Colliery and Emlyn Williams local Miners’ Agent.   The Entertainments Committee catered admirably for the 400 present who thoroughly enjoyed themselves.   ‘Maerdy Hall’ Committee in 1963. Michael Kevill, Brian Evans, Alan ‘Jonas’ Jones, Tony Gazzi, Kelvin Evans, Jeff Thomas, Ned Baines, Alan Carter, Malcolm ‘Curly’ Jones, Ted ‘The Hall’ Jones, Tommy ‘Smokey’ Clements, Alex Rigby (Secretary), Alan ‘Ivor’ Jones, Ronald ‘Maxi’ Evans, James ‘Jimmy Bucks’ Buckingham, Denzel Williams.   Maerdy O.A.P. Branch ‘Maerdy Hall’ April 1963. The annual meeting of the Maerdy O.A.P. branch was held at Maerdy Hall. The chairman Lewis Lloyd reviewed the association’s work for 1962 and special thanks were accorded to the women’s section. Although the association lost twenty-one members during the year, an average figure, many new people had joined and membership was good. The meeting decided that the annual outing should take place on 19th June to Porthcawl. It was also decided to send two delegates, Sid Wharton and Perry Jones to the annual conference in Cardiff on 10th June.   The following officials and committee were elected: President Stephen Dowling manager Pyrene Factory, Vice-President Mrs S.R. Edwards Maerdy Road, Dr S.C. Mitra Penfro House, Maerdy, Reverend J.R. Davies and Arthur J. Miles Excelsior Terrace, Maerdy: Committee; Maggie Davies, Mrs Routley, Mrs Tudor Highfield, Mrs Jones the Old Police Station, Mrs Hughes, Mrs Rees, Mrs Jenkins, Richard Jones, Ben Williams, John Morgans, Len Watkins, Meshach Williams, Evan Jones, Tom Evans and Will Davies. Chairman Lewis Lloyd; Vice Chairman Percy W. Jones; Treasurer Stephen J. James; Secretary Sid Wharton; Auditors Ben Williams (senior) and Will Davies (junior).   Gala Performance at ‘Maerdy Hall’ March 1969. A packed audience was thrilled and delighted with the gala performance presented at Maerdy Workmen’s Hall on Wednesday evening. The show promoted by the Castell Nos Lodge, Maerdy Royal Antediluvian (Before the Flood) Order of Buffaloes (R.A.O.B). in conjunction with the Workmen’s Hall Committee was of outstanding quality and suited to all tastes. The artistes gave their services free of charge. Proceeds will be devoted to the R.A.O.B. Children’s Fund, the Maerdy and District Local Disaster Fund and Maerdy Senior Citizens.   Mr C.N. Bennett introduced by Alf Lawes R.O.H. (Roll of Honour) thanked all concerned with the organisation of the show and spoke briefly about the charitable work of the Order. The remainder of the evening, 4½ hours was devoted to the concert. This was a wonderful show and the hard working committee, Fred Wyatt, Dai ‘Becker’ Jones, Ted Jones and Eddie Lewis were amply rewarded for their efforts. Artists were the Ferndale Male Voice Choir, conducted by Haydn Allen, Tom Bevan soloist, David Evans Baritone, Mona Thomas Soprano, Dennis Partrick Tenor, The Great Aristoes mind reading, Don Rico comedian, Judy King ballad, The David’s voices in harmony, The Shallmars Len and Pam Duettist, Des Rees ballad, Johnny Angel guitarist, Christine Allen ballad, The Rees Sisters two in harmony, Gwyn Davies comedian, Hoan and Steve Carpanini. Compere was D.R. Jones, pianist Den Pugh, Ben Jones, Ivor Davies, Ben Richards organist Brian Hall and drums Bob Hicks.  

MAERDY WORKMEN’S HALL & INSTITUTE BYE-LAWS   PRICE 10P*

1. Name     

The name of the Institute shall be. THE MAERDY WORKMEN’S HALL AND INSTITUTE.  

2. Qualification for Membership     

Any person employed on or about coal mines, including in particular any person employed at the Mardy Colliery in the County of Glamorgan, who is willing to pay the subscription and any inhabitant of Maerdy who undertakes to pay his or her subscription may apply to become a member.  

3. Admission of Members  

(a)                Every candidate for admission as a Member shall submit his name and address to the Committee together with an undertaking that he will, if admitted, allow deduction from his wages, or as the case may be, pay instalments of subscriptions for at least three months and the candidate shall become a Member within twenty one days thereafter, unless the Committee shall raise an objection to his fitness of the membership  

(b)               Upon the admission of a member, notice thereof shall be given to him and he shall be furnished with a copy of these Bye-Laws and shall be entitled to all the benefits and privileges of membership and be bound by these Bye-Laws.  

4 Subscription      The Subscription for members shall be as follows:  

(a)                The subscription of a member employed at the Mardy Colliery aforesaid shall be 2½p per week and shall be deducted from his weekly wages at the Colliery provided that in the case of any person who has ceased to be employed at the Mardy Colliery aforesaid by reason of old age, infirmity or disability and is not otherwise employed, the Member’s contribution (if any) shall be decided by the Management Committee having regard to his age, ill-health, want of employment or other adverse circumstances affecting him, during such period of incapacity.  

(b)               The subscription of any other member shall be 2½p per week and shall be payable in advance by quarterly instalments on the first day of January, April, July and October respectively. Such subscription shall be paid by the Member at the Institute. If any such instalments are not paid within fourteen days of falling due, the Member shall be considered in arrears and notice of the default shall be sent to him in writing by the Secretary and if the sum due be not paid within another seven days after such notice has been sent he shall, subject to the discretion of the Committee, cease to be a member and his name shall be removed from the register of members.  

5. Honorary Members     

The Committee shall have the power to elect Honorary Members at its discretion. A person shall become a Honorary Member with effect from the third day after his election by the Committee.  

6. Membership of the Union    

The Trustees may hold a fully paid share or shares in the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union Limited hereafter referred to as “the Union” in order that each member of the club may be entitled to all privileges of the Union, subject to its rules. If the Trustees hold such share or shares a person on becoming a member of the club shall be supplied with an Associate Card on payment of 5p or such other sum as shall be the prevailing rate charged by the Union and with a Pass Card from time to time for any period for which he has paid his subscription, on payment at the prevailing rate charged by the Union.    

7. Admission of Associates     

So long only as the trustees shall hold a share or shares in the Union, all Associates of the Union shall subject to the following provisions of this rule be admitted to the club premises, and intoxicating liquor may be sold to them by or on behalf of the club for consumption on the premises. An Associate before being admitted to the club must produce his subscription card (showing that his current subscription to his club has been paid), the Associate Card of the Union, and the current Pass Card issued by the Union, and must write his name and that of his club in the Union Associate Book to be kept for that purpose. The doorkeeper or other appointed official shall compare the signature in the book with that on the Associate Card, and on being satisfied that the signatures correspond shall admit the Associate. Associates shall have the same rights and privileges, and be subject to the same rules and bye-laws as ordinary members except that they must not vote at any meeting of the club, take books out of the library or take away intoxicating liquor for consumption off the premises. The Committee may refuse admission to Associates or limit their admission to such times and parts of the premises as they think fit in the interests of the club. Notice of such limitations shall be sent to the General Secretary of the Union.      No Associate of the Union shall be admitted to the club unless his subscription shall have been paid in advance for the month in which he seeks admission to the club.  

8. Introduction of Visitors     

A member or an Associate may personally introduce friends as his guests, but no member or Associate may introduce more than two friends at any one time. The visitor and the member or Associate introducing him shall sign their names in a book kept for that purpose. These conditions shall not apply to the introduction by any member or Associated of his wife or other lady, the admission of whom shall be subject to such regulations as may from time to time be made by the Committee. The following shall not be admitted as visitors:  

(a)                Former members who have been expelled.  (b)               Former members who have ceased to be members through non-payment of subscriptions.   (c)                Persons who, having been nominated for membership have been rejected.   (d)               Members who are under suspension.      Members and Associates must accompany guests introduced by them during the period of their stay in the club, and no guest shall be permitted to make any payment for intoxicating liquor directly or indirectly. The Committee may debar a member or Associate introducing any particular person as a visitor if they so think fit and may prohibit a member or an Associate introducing visitors during the hours when the licensed premises in the locality are not open for the sale of intoxicants to the public.  

9. Offensive Behaviour   

1          No fighting, gambling, swearing, drunkenness or other offensive behaviour shall be permitted in the Institute.  

2          Any member of the Management Committee or the Secretary or the Treasurer may order any person contravening this Bye-Law to leave the Institute and shall report to the Management Committee any exercise of this power. Any person so ordered to leave, shall leave the premises forthwith and shall not be at liberty to return until permitted to do so by the Management Committee.  

10. Misconduct  

1 The Management Committee shall have power to deal under this Bye-Law with any person entitled to use the Institute who in their opinion is guilty of misconduct viz., conduct which is a contravention of any of these Bye-Laws or which is in the opinion of the management Committee prejudicial to the interests of the Institute.  

2 In dealing with any such person the management Committee say:  

(a) If he is a member, expel him from the Institute or suspend him from membership for such a period as they think fit;   (b)       If he is not a member, prohibit him from using the Institute either indefinitely or for such a period as they think fit; or  (c)      Give him a reprimand or warning.   

3 The management Committee shall not deal with a person under this Bye-Law unless;  

(a) He has first been given an opportunity (of which he shall have had not less than three days notice, specifying the misconduct alleged), of making a statement on the matter to the Management Committee; and      (b)                   The Management Committee have considered any such statement.   

4 Any decision of the Management Committee under this Bye-Law shall be final and conclusive and the Management Committee shall not be required to give the reasons for any such decision.  

11. Right of Appeal     

A member suspended or expelled shall have the right to appeal to the Executive of the Union, or the persons appointed by them, who shall be deemed to be the arbitrators appointed by the club. No appeal shall be heard unless made within 28 days and in writing, addressed to the General Secretary of the Union, together with a deposit of 50p, the disposition of which shall be at the discretion of the arbitrators.      The arbitrators, or a majority of them, shall have full power to alter or rescind such suspension or expulsion as they may think fit, and may order the costs of the arbitration to be borne by either party or by both parties in such proportions as they think fit, and there shall be no appeal from their decision.  

12. No refund of contribution shall be made to any person whose membership is terminated or suspended.  

13. Resignation of Members     

Any member may resign his membership by giving to the Secretary notice in Writing to that effect. Every such notice shall, unless otherwise expressed, be deemed to take effect as from the Friday next, following the receipt.  

14. Opening Hours      The Institute’s premises shall be opened to members daily from 10:00a.m. to 11:00p.m., but the Committee shall have power to close the premises for such time as they may deem necessary for cleaning and repairs. The permitted hours for the supply of intoxicating liquors shall be such as may from time to time be determined by the Committee, in accordance with the provisions of the Licensing Act 1964 and as notified to the magistrate’s Clerk, provided that if an order is made under Section 60, sub-sections (3) and (4) of the said Act, the, provisions of section 62, Sub-section (2) shall apply.  

15. Restriction on supply of Intoxicating Liquor to Young Members     

No intoxicating liquor shall be supplied to, or consumed on the Institute’s premises by any member or any guest under eighteen years of age.  

16. Officers  

1 The officers of the Institute shall be:   (a)                A Chairman                 (c) A Treasurer   (b)               A Vice-Chairman        (d) A Secretary  

2 The Chairman and Treasurer shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of Members.  

3 The Vice-Chairman and Secretary shall be appointed by The Committee of Management.  

17. Annual General Meeting  

(a)                An Annual General Meeting of members shall be held in the first week in March in every year and the Committee may, whenever they think fit, and shall upon a requisition made in writing by not less than twenty five members to the Institute and specifying the object of the meeting, call a special general meeting.   (b)               At least fourteen days before any general meeting the Committee shall cause a notice in writing, specifying the place, date and hour of the meeting and the business intended to be transacted thereat, to be publicly exhibited in some proper and conspicuous place in or upon both the said Institute, where it may easily be read and such notice shall be as far as practicable remain exhibited after the day of such meeting and shall be published in such other manner as the Committee may determine.   (c)                The quorum for the transaction of business at general meetings shall be twenty five members personally present and if the necessary quorum is not present within thirty minutes after the time appointed for holding the meeting, then the meeting if convened in pursuance of a requisition shall stand dissolved and in any other case shall stand adjourned to the same day and time in the following week when the members present shall be a quorum.   (d)               No business shall be transacted at any general meeting except such business as is specified in the said notice convening the meeting.   (e)                The Chairman of the Committee if present, and if not, the Vice-Chairman if present, shall preside at each general meeting and if neither the Chairman nor Vice-Chairman shall be present within fifteen minutes of the time appointed for the commencement of the meeting the members present shall elect a member of the Committee or if no committeeman is present one of themselves to be Chairman of the meeting.   (f)                Questions arising at a general meeting shall be decided by a majority of votes and in the case of an equality of votes, the Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.   (g)               The Chairman of a general meeting may with the consent of the members present adjourn the meeting from time to time and from place to place, but no business shall be transacted at any adjourned meeting other than the business left unfinished at the meeting which was adjourned.  

18. Committee     

The Committee shall consist of the Trustees and 18 members. The eighteen members shall be elected as follows:   (a)                6 by National Coal Board.   (b)               6 by National Union of Mineworkers.   (c)                6 by Members at the Annual General Meeting.  

19. Officers  

1 The Officers of the Institute shall be members of the Management Committee.  

2 The Chairman if present and if not the Vice-Chairman shall preside at meetings of the Committee and if neither the Chairman nor the Vice-Chairman shall be present at the commencement of the meeting, the members of the Committee present shall elect one of their number to be Chairman of that meeting.  

3 The Chairman or any two members of the Committee may at any time, convene a meeting of the Committee by giving not less than three days notice in writing to each of the other members and any such notice may be given either by handing it to the Member personally or by sending it to him by letter addressed to him at his usual or last known place of residence and any such notice if duly stamped and addressed and put into the Post Office shall be presumed to have reached the person to whom it is addressed in the usual course of post.  

4 Questions arising at any meeting of the Committee shall be decided by a majority of votes and in case of an equality of votes, the Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.  

5 The continuing members of the Committee may act notwithstanding that there are vacancies to be filled, either in the Trustees or in the elected members of the Committee and all acts done and resolutions passed bonafide at any meeting of the Committee shall be in all respects valid and effective notwithstanding that is afterwards discovered that there was some defect in the appointment of any person acting as a member of the Committee or that any such person was disqualified.  

6 Proper Minutes shall be entered in a bound book provided for the purpose of the names of the persons present at each meeting of the Committee and of the resolutions passed and of the proceedings at the meeting and such Minutes if purporting to be signed by the Chairman of the next succeeding meeting shall be sufficient evidence of the facts stated in the Minutes without further proof.  

7 Subject as aforesaid the Committee may meet together for the despatch of business, adjourn and otherwise regulate their meetings and proceedings as they think fit and determine the quorum necessary for the transaction of business.  

20. Power of Duties of Officers  

(a)                The Treasurer will:   (i)                 be responsible for the receipt and safe custody of all monies belonging to the Institute;   (ii)        pay into the Institute’s banking account at Barclay’s Bank, Ferndale as soon as practicable after receipt all monies received by him, except only such sum not exceeding £50 as he shall decide to retain in hand for the convenient despatch of business;   (iii)       make such payments as shall be authorised by the Committee.     (iv)       maintain and keep in safe custody such books of account and other documents relating to the financial transactions of the Institute as the Committee may direct.   B          The Secretary shall give his attendance at all Meetings of the Institute and shall record correctly the names of the Members of the Committee of Management and the Trustees there present and the Minutes of their proceedings which he shall transcribe into a book to be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman of the next succeeding meeting as the proceedings of the meeting and shall prepare and send all returns and other documents required by any statutory regulations. He shall be responsible for the conduct of the correspondence of the Management Committee. He shall on all occasion in the execution of his office act under the superintendence, control and direction of the Committee of Management.  

21. Returns and Accounts  

(a) Any officer, Member of the Committee or Member receiving any of the Institute’s monies shall forthwith pay the same to the Treasurer.   (b) No payment shall be made from the Institute’s banking account except by cheque signed by the Chairman and the Treasurer or by two persons nominated for the purpose by the Management Committee and the Management’s Committee shall keep the Institute’s Bankers instructed accordingly.  

22. Keeping of Books     

The committee of Management shall cause the accounts of the Institute to be regularly entered into proper books.  

23. Inspection of Books     

The books and accounts of the Institute shall be open to the inspection of any members or persons having an interest in the funds of the Institute at all reasonable hours by making an application to the Committee of Management in writing and it shall be their duty to instruct the Secretary to produce the same.

24. list of Members     

The Secretary shall keep in the Institute at all times, a list of the names and addresses of the members and a record of the latest payments of their contributions and the Treasurer shall provide the Secretary with the information necessary to enable him to keep such record. Such record shall be open to inspection by any members whilst the Institute is open.  

25. Interpretation of Bye-Laws.     

The Committee of Management are the sole authority for the interpretation of these Bye-Laws and the decision of the Committee upon any question of interpretation or upon any matter affecting the Institute and not provided for by these Bye-Laws or by the Bye-Laws and Regulations made there under shall be final and binding on the members.  

26. Amendment of Bye-Laws    

These Bye-Laws may be added to, repealed or amended by resolution at any Annual or Special General Meeting, provided that no such resolution shall be deemed to have been passed unless it be carried by a majority of at least two-thirds the members voting thereon.   Notice to Miners at ‘Maerdy Hall’ February 2001. A meeting was held in Maerdy Workmen’s Hall at 2:00p.m. on Tuesday 20th February 2001. The meeting was for ex-miners, widows and next of kin of a deceased mineworkers, who were entitled to make a claim for compensation for miners who have or had suffered with respiratory disease such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema or obstructive airway disease.   It was stressed the meeting was only to provide information to people and was strictly non-political. A solicitor was present and Wayne Thomas area general secretary of the N.U.M.  

Maerdy Newsletter August 2005.

The once proud Maerdy Workmen’s Hall has towered over Maerdy since 1905. For over 80 years it has played a central role in the cultural and leisure life of the village.   • It provided education for the villagers with its extensive library.   • It was renowned throughout the valleys for the shows it presented.   • It was the centre for local support for the 1984-5 miners’ strike.   Sadly, with the closure of the Colliery, the Hall has slumped into disrepair and has come to be regarded as an eyesore. In 2002, the Communities First Partnership commissioned the University of Glamorgan to research the needs of this Community. Local residents worked with professionals to gather evidence. What became clear was that "something had to be done about Maerdy Hall". A survey of the building ascertained that the building would cost in excess of £6 million to do essential restoration work. With no realistic project to sustain a building of this size, the Partnership concluded that the only viable option was to seek to secure the building’s demolition. Over the last three years, the Communities First Partnership has been working with the Council to secure the funding for the demolition. This month, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council announced that the Welsh Development Agency has agreed to finance the work and that they would be proceeding with the demolition in the current financial year.

Councillor Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, said, “The building’s proud history will not be forgotten. For a long time it was a focal point and represented the strong community spirit of the area. My father was a trustee of the hall during the 1950’s. This is a significant announcement in the history of Maerdy, a chance for us to create modern and much needed facilities for the area, in its place.”

Councillor Kevin Williams, Vice Chair of Maerdy Communities First Partnership, said, “The Hall has played an important and historic role in the life of this community. Sadly though, it has now come to signify decline and dereliction. Local residents want to see the building brought down as a starting point for renewal and regeneration in the village as a whole. The next step for the Partnership is to come up with a fitting project to place on the site. However, we must ensure that the history attached to the Hall is retained.”

Former trustee and local resident, Mike Richards, commented, “It’s a sad day but also a necessity. The building has attracted many thousands of people for leisure and pleasure over the years. Now something more befitting to Maerdy people in the 21st century can be put in its place.” Graham John, Chair of Maerdy Communities First Partnership said, “This is an example of effective Partnership working. Communities First does not have huge resources at its fingertips but by working together we will eventually achieve our aims”.  

‘Maerdy Hall’ Close its Doors  

On Friday 29th September 2002 ‘Maerdy Hall’ closed its doors for the final time   ‘Maerdy Hall’ was once a great and thriving place. It was subsidised by the miners of Mardy Colliery who had great pride in the building.   Names from the past who were synonymous with the Hall were William R. ‘Will Box’ Thomas and Jabbus Davies. It was a place where junior and senior choristers gathered several nights a week to practise in the school rooms, under the baton of the conductor William John Griffiths. Concert performances took place in the main auditorium, which provided excellent acoustics.   Moses Jones, a well known author, produced many plays on the stage in Maerdy Hall, the majority of cast being Maerdy people. Drama festivals and competitions were also staged at the Hall which housed one of the finest libraries in Wales and which was very much appreciated by the miners and local people in the surrounding areas.  

The basement comprised of games rooms, including billiards and snooker, which were under the strict guidance of the committee. It was a venue for twice weekly dances in the Rainbow Room, named for its central light which cast rainbows around the room. the Hall had its own dance band, which for a number of years was conducted by Lawrence Rennish of Ferndale. During its day, ‘Maerdy Hall’ turned into a picture house showing the latest movies. Many Maerdy residents will still remember Jabbus Davies, who wielded his torch authoritatively during the performances.   Then ‘Maerdy Hall’ turned into a Club with its first manager Alec Rigby. It was the start of a wonderful venue for artists, which was packed to capacity nightly for various events. Many stars such as Billy Fury, the Platters, the Back abbots, Rupert a brilliant tribute to Elvis, the Searchers, and Tom Jones appeared on stage. But like all good things, its life sadly came to an end.   In later years the building became too much of a struggle by various committees to keep it open. Numbers using the club dropped dramatically and without the finances of the Mardy Colliery (closed on Thursday 21st December 1990), and being such a large building, the cost to run it was tremendous. It is sad to think that this wonderful building was built by our forefathers and used to its full capacity when they had so little money, but now that we have become more affluent with more money to spend, we cannot even afford to keep it open.  It is a sad day for so many people in more ways than one.  

The closure of ‘Maerdy Hall’ is a sad sign of the times.

The closure of Maerdy Workmen’s Hall and Institute is a sad sign of the times in the Rhondda. The Hall was a landmark in the valleys and in many ways was synonymous with Mardy Colliery. It was the pit’s miners who subsidised the Hall, which provided a hub of entertainment for the community of Maerdy and the valleys.   The doors of ‘Maerdy Hall’ were closed for the final time on Friday 29th September 2002 to pull the curtain down on a building which will always be an important part of Rhondda’s Heritage   It is a sad day for so many people in more ways than one.   ‘Maerdy Hall’ closure is a real shame. I was born and bred in Pentre Road, Maerdy and am very proud of this, but the changes in the locality are getting more upsetting by the second. First, the pit closed, leading to all sorts of trouble with men losing jobs. The houses at the top end of Maerdy are gone, and also the gradual demise of Edward Street, which I still can’t quite believe.   When I was a little girl, I remember Edward Street being THE place to live. The houses were mostly owned by miners and the front gardens well kept and neat. The neighbours were always there for each other, which was very much the same in all of the streets at the time.   My aunty lived there and my cousin, her daughter used to have a hairdressing salon in the front room. I used to love it when my father took me there for my cousin to do my hair on a Sunday. They are nice memories.  

Bethania Chapel has been knocked down; Maerdy Hotel is no longer with us and now the very sad news that ‘Maerdy Hall’ has closed. How many more key buildings are we going to lose before there is nothing left of our heritage? It saddens me so much to see all that is happening around us and being unable to do anything about it.   As a singer travelling around Wales, I get to meet a lot of people and almost everywhere I go, once I mention where I am from I am always asked about ‘Maerdy Hall’. The place once attracted the top names in entertainment. I know it’s a really difficult job, but it’s a shame that something can’t be done to put the Hall back on the map, like Cwmaman Hall. This is now named as the top club of the valleys and was in a similar situation to ‘Maerdy Hall’.   So much could be done for ‘Maerdy Hall’, not only for adults but also for our youth. It is a crying shame that it has to finally be closed and I know a lot of people are very saddened and upset over it. Christine Black, Pentre Road, Maerdy.        

Charity Query 1st January 2004. Maerdy ward councillor Gerwyn Evans of 6 Wrgant Place, Maerdy is calling for questions to be answered about a Charities Commission inquiry into the management of the Maerdy Workmen’s Hall. The findings of the Commission reveal that the Hall which was closed a year ago, had debts of £120,727 with assets of just £15,000. The primary debts include more than £63,000 to a brewery and £45,000 non payment of V.A.T.  

In September 2002 the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (C.I.S.W.O.) was concerned about the Hall’s visibility and approached the trustees about winding it up. The trustees appointed accountants to dispose of the assets and wind up the Charity. C.I.S.W.O. informed the Commission that the current trustees were not responsible for the Charity’s losses. The inquiry also revealed that the 1980s Miners’ strike and the subsequent running down of the industry had an increasing detrimental effect on the Charity’s income to the point that it became unable to meet its debts.   The accountants consider the building to be in a dangerous condition and are presently negotiating with the council to have it demolished.   Councillor Evans said the Hall had been an integral part of the community and residents are concerned over its future. He said “I would like to know who the Trustees are and who own the institute. I would also like to know why the Regeneration Partnership was not informed that there had been an inquiry into the collapse of the Hall. The Hall has been empty for a year and its future needs to be resolved quickly to allay residents’ fears. I will be planning to hold a public meeting in January to discuss the matter”.   Derelict site to be fenced off Thursday 15th January 2004. Immediate action is to be taken to fence off the derelict Maerdy Institute. And a bus stop nearby is to be moved to a safe location.   Maerdy councillor Gerwyn Evans said: “I am pleased that the council is taking prompt action to protect Maerdy residents. I attended a meeting. On Wednesday 7th January at which residents from Station Terrace made their concerns about the terrible condition of the building very clear. At the inspection on 9th January, council officers have confirmed that the public highway around Maerdy Institute will be fenced off immediately to protect the public. The bust stop outside the institute will be moved to a safer location outside all Saint’s Church. I have also written to Councillor Pauline Jarman, the leader of Rhondda Cynon Tâf Council, and asked her to raise the mater of early demolition with the council’s cabinet. I remain very concerned about the terrible state that this building has been allowed to get into and the apparent failure of the current owners to accept responsibility”.  

End in sight for Valley Landmark.

Thursday 28th June 2007. Spring 2008 is the new date earmarked for the demolition of the dilapidated Maerdy Workmen’s Hall and Institute.   Permission to bulldoze the building was granted last December but without the consent of the building’s owners the plan could not be put into action.   Now Rhondda Cynon Tâf Council is pushing ahead with a compulsory purchase order (C.P.O.) which will grant the council ownership of the building. Currently R.C.T. are in the process of getting all the paperwork together to submit the C.P.O. to the Welsh Assembly Government who will decide whether or not to grant the request. Subject to the successful confirmation of the C.P.O. demolition will take place in spring 2008. Negotiations are already underway with neighbouring residents to ensure that they are inconvenienced as little as possible by the work.   Residents are advised that as part of the process notices are to be posted at either end of the lane to the rear of the hall asking if anyone believes they may have a specific right of access along the hall end, as this will be blocked during demolition process.  

Councillor Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Skills, said: “We understand the issue of the hall is an important one for the local community. That is why we want to keep them informed of the developments. Despite its highly dilapidated state and poor visual appearance, we want the residents to be aware that the building is considered to be structurally sound. However, if they have any concerns at all they may contact the Strategic Project Team on 01685 885630. We want to reiterate to residents that the earliest safe removal of the building remains a top priority for the council, however, the project may take some time to conclude due to the complex legal processes that must be followed”.  

Outlook issue No. 11, December 2007.

The Council continues to drive forward plans to demolish Maerdy Hall on behalf of the community. Planning permission has been granted and funding is obtained for the work, which will be carried out by an approved contractor.   Maerdy Hall December 6th 2007.

Popular BBC Radio Presenter Owen Money has great memories of the times he performed at Maerdy Hall. Owen said: “It is a shame to see the Hall like it is today. It really was a fabulous venue which was always packed whenever I played there. Back in the 1960s the Hall was a Rhondda magnet for class acts and it saddens me to see it the way it is”.

Ferndale born actor and comedian Phil Howe, who is appearing with Owen in pantomime over Christmas, also has fond memories of his appearances at the Hall. He said: “I made my stage debut in Maerdy Hall in 1977 when I had a role in a play called ‘The Camel’s Back’. When I was younger I used to love visiting the place to watch comedians on stage and that is what inspired me to take up comedy. There have been some marvellous acts at Maerdy Hall, including the late great comedy duo Ryan Davies and Ronnie Williams. I think it is really sad that Valley venues like the Maerdy Hall are left to rack and ruin. The Hall , like many other places in the Rhondda is a valley landmark and I really think that something should be done to preserve these fine old buildings instead of turning them into car parks or whatever they do to them”.  

Owen and Phil will be sharing the panto stage when the Owen Money Theatre Company’s production of ‘Cinderella’ comes to the Miners’ Institute, Blackwood, from December 12th-30th. The company are also staging ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ at the Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd, from December 17th-30th.   It’s Hall over for eyesore as order is set in motion 20th December 2007. Special steps have been taken toward demolishing a Maerdy eyesore. Rhondda Cynon Tâf Council has started moves to take ownership of Maerdy Hall in order to demolish it, not only for the benefit of residents by also as part of the wider regeneration of the village. The authority’s cabinet has approved the details of the compulsory purchase order required to deal with the problems presented by the Hall. Notices have been posted on the building and in its vicinity informing the public of the situation.

A council spokesman said: “Once the statutory notice period has been served, the matter will then be considered by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Planning Inspectorate, before a final decision is made enabling RCT to seize ownership of the building and knock it down. In anticipation of a positive decision the council already has a contractor appointed and on standby to complete the necessary work, such is the importance of this issue. Owned by a charitable trust that has proved impossible to trace, the Hall has stood empty for four years. Its run-down condition is considered to be hazardous and safety concerns are increased by the fact that people are accessing the building illegally. While it continued its work to secure a permanent solution to the problem, Rhondda Cynon Tâf Council has also carried out interim work to make the building safe. While the historic significance of the building is respected, the Hall is of a significant size and impacts greatly on the local community. It is accepted that having such a large, derelict, boarded up building in the heart of a town is not acceptable. Moves to purchase the land by agreement have failed, leaving the council no option but to forcibly take ownership of it”.  

Councillor Robert Bevan, cabinet member for economic development and skills said: “This process remains a long and complicated one but we want to keep interested parties up to date on progress and reassure them as we continue to drive a solution to this issue. The detail of the compulsory purchase order has been accepted by cabinet and it is now a case of seeing out the statutory notice period and then securing the support of the Welsh Assembly government and Planning Inspectorate We have worked to put together the strongest possible case on behalf of residents and hope the decision will be a favourable one. In anticipation of this, we already have a contractor approved to carry out the work and planning permission to deliver interim work needed on the site”.  

Maerdy Hall 20th December 2007.

Tom Jones, Acker Bilk, the Searchers and the Baron Knights were just some of the household names in entertainment who performed at Maerdy Hall during the 1960s and 1970s. Ieuan ‘Chick’ Earland, who was entertainment secretary at the hall from 1968-1982, said: “Maerdy Hall was the place where all the top entertainers wanted to perform. There used to be an old saying that when artists performed at the Hall, the following week they performed at the London Palladium”. Chick aged 66 of 69 Griffith Street, Maerdy said: “Many of the top UK stars and those from further afield have performed on the Hall’s stage over the years. I remember David Alexander playing at the Hall under the name Ricky Mason, while Bonnie Tyler also played here when she was part of a group called Bobby Wayne and the Dixie’s. The original Platters also sang at the Hall, while Edmund Hockridge, who was a very popular singer in the UK also played there”.   The Hall which was built in the early 20th century out of miners’ contributions, turned from an institute to a club in 1963. The 600 seat hall, which also boasted a balcony, was packed out during concert nights on Saturdays and during midweek. Chick said: “It is sad to see the Hall the way it is today, but I have great memories of the acts which appeared there”.  

Another top Welsh entertainer who graced the stage of the Hall is Mike Doyle. Mike, who is currently appearing in the ‘Cinderella’ panto at the Blackwood Miner’s Institute said: “Everybody wanted to perform at Maerdy Hall because it was such a fabulous venue. I have great memories of my time there. The Rhondda audiences were brilliant and gave me a great reception. It is a shame that the Hall is going to be demolished, I would like to see it turned into a hotel”.  

Happy memories of great Hall. Maerdy Hall 31st January 2008.

Well, the day has dawned and the demolition of Maerdy Workingmen’s Hall and Institute has been sanctioned. As it stands, this is a blessing for the residents of Maerdy, but I want to reminisce and let those who do not know, or are too young to remember what this institution has meant to Maerdy as a community.   This building in its halcyon days was the hub of the community. It provided shelter for those who were living in lodgings and had to vacate their rooms daily with nowhere else to go. The library was one of the best around and supported students who were fortunate enough to progress to further education by providing them with many of the books they needed to continue their studies and a quiet room to do this.   Indeed, many of the books are now housed in Aberystwyth University. There was also a reading room, which was a peaceful sanctuary for many an avid reader. Drama groups, brass band and choirs practised here and regularly entertained the community. There were also quilting classes, games rooms for snooker, table tennis, a card room and Mr Cox would provided refreshments for all. In the dance hall there were regular dance nights. The Policemen’s Annual ball was held here and all the ladies in their finery were a spectacle to behold. Last but not least there was the cinema that showed many a first class film and the Saturday matinees were a treat for us all.   As is well known, when it snows, Maerdy is frequently cut off by heavy snowfalls. In the past this would last for days and when the roads were closed supplies would be brought to Maerdy by train. The local men would carry these from the station to the Hall for distribution. Indeed, the residents knew if the light was on in the Maerdy Hall that supplies of food had arrived and they could buy milk, etc. My father Percy Jones was the caretaker for Maerdy Hall for many years and was dedicated to the institution. So much so that he fought as a trustee to keep the building as a community facility and prevent it from being converted to a club. Ultimately, following a great deal of soul searching and through pressure from others, he believed that in order for the Workingmen’s Institute to survive he had to give way. Having lost this battle he swore never to enter the building again once it became a drinking establishment and he never did.   However, this change did not save Maerdy Workingmen’s Hall and Institute and it now stands an abandoned wreck. I am now entering my 80th year and it breaks my heart to see Maerdy falling apart bit by bit and with it the history of the village. The colliery has gone and now the Workingmen’s Hall and Institute is in its final hours, both of which the miners worked so hard for. Bad decisions have been made in the past and it is easy to point the finger of blame, but times change and we have to move forward with them. Maerdy has been neglected for long enough and we should all now ensure that something worthwhile comes of all of this and that the land is not let as an eyesore and another blot on the landscape. To all Maerdy residents: our village has always been a proud and upstanding community – please don’t let it die. Fight for its survival as our forefathers did, get behind the Communities First project in Maerdy to keep this community alive. As the song composed by two men from our community, the late Trevor and Arthur Jones says: “Maerdy that is the place for me, Maerdy I love you so.” By Joan (The Hall).   Action needed on Maerdy Hall Thursday 10th April 2008. The time has arrived for Rhondda Cynon Tâf Council’s promise to demolish Maerdy Hall. The community has had four years of empty promises and dithering by the present council. As our new council tax bills arrive through our letter boxes, could the council now give the taxpayers of Maerdy a precise date? When all is said and done, no new information has come forward since 2004 and yet no action has been undertaken by the council. By Gerwyn Evans.     Maerdy Workingmen’s Hall Demolition Contract Information Bulletin

1   Environmental Services Strategic Projects   

Monday 29th September 2008. An ‘update’ report on the progress of the acquisition and demolition of the former Maerdy Workingmen’s Hall.   Rhondda Cynon Tâf C.B.C. is pleased to confirm that the compulsory purchase procedure for the acquisition of former Maerdy Workingmen’s Hall is now complete. R.C.T. will now proceed with the demolition of this unsightly and potentially dangerous building.   Tenders for the demolition work have been received and a specialist demolition contractor (Cuddy Group) has been appointed. Work on site will start at the end of September. It is anticipated that work will take 12 weeks to complete.   The following is a brief description of the works that will be carried out on site: The initial work will be to set up the site office and welfare facilities and erect scaffolding around the building.   Whilst the scaffolding is being erected the internal fixtures and fitting will be removed. This process is called ‘soft-stripping’.  

As part of the ‘soft-stripping’ process a specialist team will be removing the asbestos contaminated material from inside the building in a careful and controlled operation.   When all of the contents of the building have been removed the structure will be demolished using specialist machines. The architectural features of the façade of the building will be carefully removed so that they can be re-used in the future.   Wherever possible demolition materials will be re-used or re-cycled in order to minimise the quantity of material that has to be sent to a licensed landfill site.   After the building has been demolished the site will be re-profiled, seeded and fenced. The adjacent properties, where they were attached to the building, will be made good.   In order to ensure the safety of the general public during the demolition processes Institute Street and the affected lengths of the rear lanes adjacent to the building will be temporally closed.   Should you have any concerns whilst the demolition works are being carried out please contact:   Rhondda Cynon Tâf C.B.C. Strategic Projects (Darren Miller) Tel: 01685 885646 (I telephoned Darren Miller on 30th October concerning the plaques and architectural features of the façade of the building and any literature that may be found inside the Hall). Cuddy Group Limited (Mark Williams) Tel: 07917 227503   This information is provided by strategic Projects (Land Reclamation and Engineering) service area of: Rhondda Cynon Tâf County Borough Council. ·        

Cuddy Group Limited setup their site offices on Tuesday 7th October 2008.   ·        

Scaffolding was erected at Maerdy Hall on Thursday 4th December 2008.   Maerdy Hall was demolished on Wednesday 25th February 2009   Maerdy Rise and Fall. 14th February 2010. Rows of houses high upon a hill Mountains, trees, the greenery, even daffodils. A perfect place you might exclaim Would you like to know the name? Maerdy! Yes! That’s its name. I hope you hang your head in shame. Thriving industry was at our door They took our lively hood, tried to make us poor. Did working class people matter at all? Down to the dole queue making us crawl! Poll tax and pickets the poverty line Where was our future, no jobs down the mine? Collieries, factories even our streets Was it enough was your job not complete? But then you had to strike again Its falling down you did explain. Brick by brick we watched her fall As they took our soul, our Maerdy Hall. Now there stands an empty space Another junkies hang out place. Who should we look upon to blame? Politicians, councillors is it a game? Regeneration is the new found way Community Centre not open today. An expensive refurbishment But done to whose taste? An empty building seems such a waste. So many changes made over time Bringing us problems and rises in crime. But one thing you people should never forget Maerdy is our community in which we respect. So! You took our industry and you took our Maerdy Hall But we stand together we rise and you Fall!!! By Katharine M. Thomas (nee Fry) formerly of 86 James Street, Maerdy.  

 

MY MEMORIES OF MAERDY HALL ARE:  

1. MY EARLIEST 

MEMORY IS MY BROTHER AND I BEING TAKEN TO THE PARK BY MY DAD, WHO ALWAYS TOOK US TO THE BILLIARD ROOM TO BOOK A GAME WITH MY UNCLE. THERE WERE MANY TABLES AND IT WAS FULL OF MEN. IT WAS A VERY GROWN UP PLACE.   2. ANOTHER MEMORY IS A SCHOOL CONCERT ABOUT 1945 AND I LED THE FIGURE MARCHING GROUP ON STAGE TO THE TUNE OF “PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES IN YOUR OLD KIT BAG”. I WAS SO IMPORTANT!!   3. YOUTH CLUB WAS HELD DOWN-STAIRS. WE DID DRAMA, KEEP FIT, COOKING, PLAYED CHESS AND DANCED OF COURSE.   4. I REMEMBER THE LIBRARY WHICH WAS MAGNIFICENT; I DON’T RECALL MANY CHILDREN’S BOOKS ONLY THOSE MY PARENTS CHOSE.   5. DRAMA WEEK WAS WONDERFUL, WE ATTENDED EVERY EVENING MY AUNTIE DID A LOT OF ACTING AND I USED TO GET ANXIOUS IN CASE SHE FORGOT HER LINES AS I USED TO TEST HER AND KNEW ALL THE PLAY.   6. EACH CHAPEL HAD A SPECIAL DATE FOR THEIR CANTATA. I REMEMBER THE EXCITEMENT BEHIND STAGE AND THE COLD DRINKS PROVIDED FOR US CHILDREN TAKING PART.   7. THE DANCE HALL WAS SET OUT WITH TABLE-TENNIS TABLES WHERE YOU BOOKED A GAME; IT WAS A GOOD MEETING PLACE IN THE DAY TIME.   8. AS WE GOT TO 18 WE ATTENDED THE MAERDY DANCE ON SATURDAY NIGHT. THERE WAS A PIANIST, DRUMMER AND AN ACCORDION PLAYER. MANY MET THEIR HUSBANDS AND WIVES THERE.   9. MAERDY CHORAL SOCIETY MET TO PRACTICE IN THE CLASS-ROOM WITH TIERED SEATING. ANOTHER SOCIAL GATHERING. 10. I REMEMBER ATTENDING A POLITICAL MEETING IN THE CLASS-ROOM. GWYNFOR EVANS PLAID CYMRU WAS THE SPEAKER.   11. MY FATHER AND SOME FRIENDS SET UP A GROUP CALLED THE CONVEYANCE FUND AND MET IN THE COMMITTEE ROOM. I USED TO GO AND PAY A WEEKLY CHARGE AND IF SOMEONE WAS TAKEN INTO HOSPITAL YOU COULD CLAIM ONE BUS-FARE PER WEEK. NO BUS PASSES THEN.   12. OF COURSE THE HIGHLIGHT OF VISITS TO MAERDY HALL WAS THE PICTURES. 2 FILMS A WEEK. THEY WERE ALWAYS BRILLIANT AND IT REALLY WAS ANOTHER SOCIAL EVENT. MAERDY WAS QUITE A LIVELY PLACE THEN.   BY LYNETH BEVAN 14 STATION TERRACE, MAERDY.  

Christine Black Jones. These are fantastic memories Lyneth, and just another reminder of why they should never have been allowed to mow the place down. I would love to have been around at that time, and seen the Hall in all its magnificence of the old days...how lucky you are to have seen it and thank you so much for sharing such lovely memories. Also thank you to Dave for posting them here for you...keep them coming: D xx            

‘MAERDY HALL’   Today I stopped to watch, as I was driving down the hill, As workmen chipped and hammered, then removed its pointed sill..   I swear I heard it cry with pain, as it was ripped away, Heard it beg them, to be left alone, to stand another day. I wondered, did they realise, a 100 years and more, That builders gave their hearts and souls, for us to have somewhere to go?   They sweated blood, and even tears, to make it as we knew.. Spectacular, magnificent.. one of a golden few. Stars from all around the world, played on that wonderful stage, Packed out to the rafters, on the dancefloor people engaged. Romances born, and break-ups too, those walls saw many a drama, And even in the miners’ strike, it became our Panorama.   Lots of things have happened there, too numerous to mention, It helped us when we needed it, some ways, an institution. It stood so proud and comforting, for many, throughout the years, Someone SHOULD have saved it, along with all our tears.   And as I watched, I felt so helpless... there was nothing I could say, To stop those careless workmen, taking Maerdy’s heart away... By Christine Black.  

ODE TO MAERDY HALL  

At the turn of the century, history was made The community of Maerdy started a crusade To build a place where friends could meet To talk, to read, their own retreat Their time and labour was given freely To a magnificent project, they loved so dearly In 1905 Maerdy Hall was born It served them well, well loved, well worn.   Sadly in ‘22 fire took it from their lives Distressed and saddened, they did survive Till once again from Phoenix rose The mighty Hall in its repose To serve again for years to come To rule as Maerdy’s epitome It saw laughter and tears, romance and affairs, Top class entertainers over all those years.   Then music and dancing had to come to an end With no one besides it, no one to defend The great Maerdy Hall, the working man’s dream No one could save it from a fate unforeseen It was the end of an era, emotions were raw Sadness was rife ‘twas the very last straw Demolition, the monster, reared its ugly head To wreck it, deface it and send it to bed. By Myrna Jones.   Sheila Watkins. Regarding Maerdy Hall, Christine. Many years ago young sisters Catherine, Gwen, Maggie nee Hughes had a shop in the cinema. To get to the shop you went in thro' the left-hand side of the cinema to this shop. Gwen always stayed in the shop when the film was showing, but her two sisters went around with trays in the cinema selling chocs and sweets. (They were my mother's (her mother's sisters) A...unties and are gone now.). Catherine's son Ken Cox still lives in James Street, Gwen's son Reggie Proudman in Ferndale, Maggie's 3 surviving daughters live in Maerdy. This according to Mam was before 1926. The other thing Mam mentioned was that when Ely Brewery put finance into Maerdy Hall (when it became a pub), she saw them taking lots of photos of the Hall both inside and out, possibly before they converted it from a cinema to a pub. Maybe, and hopefully, of some help for your photo search??   Jill Davies. When Maerdy Hall was refurbished and turned into a club, one of the electricians working on it was Dougie Brown the comedian. (I was listening to the Pete Murray show on the radio many years ago, and Dougie Brown was a guest on his show).   All he said was that in his younger days he worked as an electrician, and one job was in the Rhondda, Maerdy - adapting a working men's hall into a club. I wasn't paying too much attention until he came out with that snippet, then I was all ears, but that was all he said. Wonder what he's doing these days? Hasn't he appeared in Coronation Street? Some years ago?   Susan Morris. We use to have brilliant nights there when we were a band ( MIRAGE ) everyone always give us a fantastic welcome , brill place with brill people.  

Susan Bromage.

I remember Owen Money saying he should be on the committee as he was there more often than chic ear land!   Myrna Jones. Tom Jones was known as Tommy Scot and the Senators back then...   Myrna Jones. David Alexander sang his last song in Wales in Maerdy Hall because he went to Australia the following day..   Susan Bromage. the casuals sang there. band from the 60’s   Jill Davies. I went to Maerdy dance on wednesday nights (used to tell my Father I was off to the pictures) and sneak around the back to avoid him spotting me coming out of the Hall!        

Jill Davies.

Cousin Reg (Epitomised what a Teddy Boy should be, boot lace tie etc ) threw me around that dance floor. Don't think he'd manage it now - my weight and his dodgy hips! Happy days! How privileged we all were to be brought up in the Rhondda!..............................   Christine Black Jones. We sure were Jill, and thats a great story ha ha :D x I used to love the shows on the weekend, and later on the disco's on a Friday night in the mid 80’s..ah it was a wonderful place, I still get winded when I look at the empty space left there...I dont want anything else there except the Hall...a new building would be an insult...x  

Christine Black Jones.

Yes...I think The Hall being lost put real fire in our bellies...one day I will win the lottery and have it rebuilt ;D x  

Jill Davies.

The fight to save All Saints Church has united the Community and the ex-pats. It’s given us hope and a sense of purpose. It would have been ideal to have the Hall back, but alas it's gone and we have to look to the future and what the future generations could expect, could be worth finding out who owns the land that the Hall stood on - pity to see it empty.......................x  

Christine Black Jones.

Its the same people that own the Church land I think Jill...but tbh i dont see any point rebuilding anything on there, the community centre is massive and that doesnt get used much..meant to ask, do u have any photo’s of inside Maerdy hall to put on here? x   Jill Davies. Unfortunately I don't have any photographs of the inside of the hall. don't think Sheila ( my sister) does either. I too would do a lot of re-building in Maerdy if I won the lottery. Maerdy has been like the "poor relation" for too long - i...t has been gratifying to see the “spirit” return! Well this working mullarky is taking its toll, that and the Mosque at the back of my house, it's Ramadan, lots of people in there and reasonably warm - so the windows are open and there's a lot of wailing going on................

Sandra Couzens.

I remember paying the rates there in 1965 in the library.   Sheila Watkins. Dorothy Squires I saw in Maerdy Hall, so maybe the organ was played to accompany her show...  

Celia Murphy.

Do you remember when they thought the IRA had planted a bomb in Maerdy hall, we were all evacuated from Ceridwen Street and had to go to Maerdy hotel who kindly opened up for us all. They sent for the bomb squad from Hereford and by the time they had arrived my Dad and Mam had gone home to bed Dad said he was so tired a bomb wouldn’t have woken him up, I also remember Tommy Hughes bringing his Great Dane with him and the dog was giving children a ride on his back. Eventually the bomb was discovered to be a music case left behind by a musician, never mind it was a very exiting night. Sarah. It was one of the strangest memories of my childhood, being taken out of bed in the night to go to Maerdy hotel and having a ride on a giant dogs back. I can still picture that dog.   Celia Murphy. I have lived opposite the hall all of my life, I used to sing in the Maerdy children's choir which practiced in the school room in the hall, I may have some information that I can give you as background for your dissertation for example the hall’s place in Maerdy society, but I was not a person who went socially to the hall on a regular basis. I had my wedding reception in the hall and had great times when I was younger in jiving competitions etc in the rainbow room where they had a huge revolving glitter ball, a thing of wonder. If you would like to meet me after Christmas I would be pleased to give you all the information I could and perhaps gather a few others who perhaps had a more hands on view of other functions of the hall. I still live opposite the hall in Maerdy house, or rather opposite where the house used to be.   Rita Frankham. I missed all these exciting happenings - my main memories of the Hall are going to see films, old wooden seats, (very noisy when you got up and let the seat go) and the floor covered with the shells of the bags of 'monkey nuts' we used to buy on the way there!   Vince Tustin. This is the lens that was used to project the film on to the screen in the Maerdy Hall, i rescued it before the hall closed well l it wasn't going to leave Maerdy was it.    

STARS AT ‘MAERDY HALL’  

Acker Bilk Billie J, KRAMER BILLY FURY Black ABBOTTS, (Russ ABBOTT) Bonnie Tyler with Bobby hare and the Bunnies Bonzo Dog Do Da Band Brian poole Carl Perkins Christine Black Dave Clarke FIVE and they stayed the night in the Maerdy Hotel David Alexander sang his last song in Wales in Maerdy Hall because he went to Australia the following day Dickie Valentine dorothy squires Edmond Hockridge Freddie n the Dreamers Freddie Star gerry and the pacemakers helen shapiro ivy league Jonny Duffy Leo Sayer Max Boyce Mighty Atom and Roy Nashville Teens Oscar and the kingfishers owen money Peters n lee PJ Proby Ronnie and Ryan Ronnie Dukes and Ricky Lee SHAKING STEVENS Solomon King Strawberry Dust Swinging Blue jeans Temperance Seven the casuals the DOOLEY’S the Hollies The Krankys the searchers The TREMOLOS Tom Jones was known as Tommy Scot and the Senators Val Tino RUPERT WEE WILLIE HARRIES   and wasn't there that secret Elvis gig   Kelvin Goode. dont forget the most famous duo of them all ted jones and emlyn greeves.ha ha. Kelvin Goode. remember the talent competition with hughie green.  

Christine Black. Kelv i rememeber you onstage calling the bingo like yesterday, and Terry Banky..The Balcony and the lower floor packed out to the rafters...good old days...   Myrna Jones. Kelvin, you mentioned Xmas night, did you ever try the yard of ale?   Kelvin Goode. i also used to put the records on between dances and work the lights on a Sunday.   Kelvin Goode. i was big friends with dave shacksounds.   Geraint Hemming. I remember calling a house there in bingo,it was more than a weeks wage then.  

Jacqueline Clement. Never forget the night that Max Boyce was there. It was full to bursting. I thought that the balcony was going to collapse. What a fab night it was.  

Glenys Hughes. dorothy squires Peter 's n lee Billy fury i worked behind the bar every Sunday night we were worked off our feet   Carol Nelson. I DONE THE LADIES HALF YARD OF ALE AND WON ,MANY YEARS AGO BEFORE RYAN WAS BORN, THAT WAS A XMAS NIGHT  

Jean Parkinson. I have very fond memories of Maerdy Hall...from when my dad sneaked me in the billiard room when I was a toddler..performing on the stage age 5...singing in the choir room..playing hell with Jabbas when me and my cuz Pauline went to the cinema...and ultimately going for a night out or concert when I became an adult!!!! They should never have pulled it down..shameful..   Jacqueline Clement. I had my first date with my husband David there, he took me to see a show and then a meal downstairs made by Pat Bake and her husband John. It was delicious rainbow trout peas and chips. We also had our engagement party there in 1974 and then our wedding in March 1975 catered again by Pat and John. Lots of lovely memories of the Hall X.  

I WORKED THE LAST NIGHT IN ‘MAERDY HALL’  

I actually worked the last night in Maerdy Hall and what a fab night it was. Everyone was allowed to fetch their own drinks because there was all the taps running dry lol. Everyone was going to spar buying their drinks. Think they had their best sales for a long time. Sad it may seem but I think thats the fullesdt I had ever seen it in the 4 years I was there.  

Linda Slightly Bonkers. Yes i was there ,kaz majors + my sister , It was a good night But at the end of the night all i remember were the sadness we all felt to look at the people who so tried to keep the hall open it made me ashamed that I didnt and hadn,t gone there for years I believe it was left as we walked out many with souvenirs,of glasses and snooker ball,s cues But the most upsetting to me not the fight that broke out or the very heart felt talk from a woman committee member who had done the very best she could but it was The girl,s behind the bar at the end of the night cleaning behind the bar to leave it nice and clean.   

Emma Davies.

Ha ha what r u like Chris. Them drinks were Tia Maria and orange juice, taboo malibu and lemonade and bacardi, blackcurrant and lemonade. I think there was another artist there that night but I cant remember the other one. Christine, I don’t think many people thought it would be closed for long even myself. There was a glimmer of hope not long after when someone bought in the auctions for £15 thousand. Apparently they couldn’t get a license so don’t know really what happened after that.  

Dean Kinsey.

I played many times at the hall with my band revival, we always had the best of welcome, great nights and met some of the loveliest people...even my family spent wonderful nights there. To see such an iconic institution flattened to the ground, is not only incredibly sad but is an absolute bloody disgrace...this further confirms to me that the communities we know and love are being systematically destroyed,, by the socialists in our own villages, our own kind, apparently...god bless the people of MAERDY and thank you for the happiest memories I will always keep forever.  

I WAS THE LAST SINGER IN ‘MAERDY HALL’  

Donna 'Marie' Trego.

I was the last singer to ever sing there, OMG what a nnight that was! They ran out of booze so people went to the spar to buy their own... A fight broke out and it ended up being like a western film... everyone ended up fighting... an hour later, 6 riot vans, 2 police dogs, 20 something coppers and a police escort out to safety I was on my way back to Cardiff............   But I will always remember that night!!! Also the old toilet/changing room that had water and damp on the walls with a flashing bulb that look like a scene out of a Saw film.... lol Loved it !!!!  

The ghost of Maerdy hall  

Emma Davies.

The ghosts of Maerdy Hall I have heard many tales of the ghosts in Maerdy Hall anyone have any memories. I know down the side of the Hall there would always be a few of us who would get shit scared trying to walk underneath the drains lol.   Janine Mullins. The cellar used to really, really freak me out!!! Never seen anything there though, but heard umpteen ghost stories about the place!!

Emma Davies. Did you ever see the photo from behind the bar that was taken early in the morning after the new windows were put in. the one where there looked like an old victorian women was sat in the very top window on the right hand side. Now I was still working there at the time this was taken and it used to freak me out just a bit.  

Emma Davies.

I remember frightening the life out of Nicola when she was changing the barrels down in the cellar. I think someone sent Frankie down in the lift it was funny as !!!!! lol. Imagine if he got stuck there in the lift PMSL. Would have been funnier.  

‘Maerdy Hall’ – Potted History By David Owen  

Our heritage is all around us: we live our lives, consciously or not, against a rich backdrop formed by historic buildings, landscapes and other survivals from our past which we add to day by day, creating a sense of place and local pride, and providing a context for everyday life.   The heritage of our Maerdy is unique, priceless and inspirational. It is the foundation of who we are as individuals, as a community and of our identity within the national picture of Wales.   The heritage that we inherit is one of our greatest natural resources. It is our legacy from the past, what we live with today and what we will pass on to future generations.     *It was in 1971 that the decimal coinage which we use today was introduced in Great Britain. Until then the value of our money was expressed in pounds, shillings and old pence (£-s-d). To convert them into the decimal values of today you should use the following figures: 1 old penny = 0·41 new pence; 12 old pennies or 1 shilling = 5 new pence; 240 old pennies or 20 shillings or £1 = 100 new pence or £1. A £1 in 1913 would be worth 3½p today and in 1923 a £1 would be worth 6p today.   *It was in 1971 that the decimal coinage which we use today was introduced in Great Britain. Until then the value of our money was expressed in pounds, shillings and old pence (£-s-d). To convert them into the decimal values of today you should use the following figures: 1 old penny = 0·41 new pence; 12 old pennies or 1 shilling = 5 new pence; 240 old pennies or 20 shillings or £1 = 100 new pence or £1. A £1 in 1913 would be worth 3½p today and in 1923 a £1 would be worth 6p today.

Comments (1)

Steve Morgan's picture
Just doing some research on my family and it turns out my great grandmothers address on her wedding cert is Coffee Tavern Tonypandy her name was Margaret Morgan and she married my great grandfather David Wales in 1902 i cant really make out her fathers first name but it looks as if it could be Thomas Morgan and he was a railway foreman anyone have anymore info please let me know

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