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Ynysywern Farm and the Upper Boat Power Station

Ynysywern farm dating at least from the 18th century, was part of the Bute estate. At the start of the 20th century, the farm was sold to provide a location for the new Upper Boat Power Station. More recently the remains of the farm and the power station have vanished completely under the Treforest Trading Estate.

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SOUTH WALES ELECTRIC COMPANY, UPPER BOAT POWER...

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View of Ynysywern Farm circa c.1902-10

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View of haymaking at Ynysywern Farm circa 1902-10

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View of congregation outside Carmel CM Chapel,...

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Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping extracts showing...


     


Left are images including of mapping showing the changes over time at Ynysywern; an aerial view of the South Wales Electric Company, Upper Boat Power Station towering over Ynysywern farm seen in the foreground, and views of haymaking at Ynysywern Farm circa 1902-10 showing power station in the background.


 



Ynysywern Farm, Llantwit Fardre, near Pontypridd was taken over to provide a site for building the Upper Boat Power Station.  More recently the remains of the farm and the power station have vanished completely under the Treforest Trading Estate. 



 



Originally part of the Bute estate, Ynysywern farm dated back to at least the 18th century and had historic connections with nonconformity and chapels in the area.  Its local name, and the name by which it was always known in this author’s family, was Ty Nel, commemorating Eleanor, widow of an early tenant who continued the tenancy after her husband died and who is said to have hosted the earliest Calvinistic Methodist meetings in the area, long before Bryntirion CM Chapel was built in Upper Church Village.



 



Sometime between 1851 and 1861, the tenancy was taken over by John Morgan (my great-grandfather) and the Bute Estate records (at NLW) reveal that in 1881 Ynysywern comprised 54 acres. Early in the 20th century it was sold to provide the site for the new Upper Boat Power Station. The first stages of the power station were built in 1902 on a portion of the farm, while John Morgan continued to farm the remainder until his death in 1913. His son, John Evan Morgan, continued until 1925/6, at which point the power station was extended and farming was abandoned.



 



In 1972 the power station was demolished and the whole site is now part of Treforest Trading Estate. At the time of the demolition local news reported that Eunice Lewis (nee Morgan), one of the daughters of the Ynysywern family who was present at the opening of the power station, remembered that a bottle containing a gold sovereign and a newspaper had been buried at the site. Bulldozing was halted until the bottle was recovered – but, sadly, Eunice had died in the meantime.



 



Surviving plans date from the earliest days of the Power Station (pre-1910) and were drawn up for the new owners, the South Wales Power Company. They reveal minute detail for the installation of electricity.



 



The family’s chapel connections were strong. John Morgan (1826-1913) was the son of David and Catherine Morgan of Drysgoed Fawr, a farm owned by Salmon William and comprising 90 acres in 1846. David Morgan was Churchwarden, Vestry Clerk, and Overseer of the Poor in 1818 and 1819 in the parish, as well as being Treasurer and Trustee of Bryntirion CM Chapel. He had beautiful handwriting, and many of the church accounts are written by him.



 



John Morgan married twice and had a large family. All the children were born at Ynysywern and the family graves are at Bryntirion Chapel cemetery in Upper Church Village; burials have taken place there as recently as the 1990s although the chapel had been demolished. After John Morgan’s death (1913) his widow Jane remained at Ynyswern for a few years before moving to one of two houses built by John Morgan in Dynea Rd, Upper Boat, which were occupied by his daughters Eunice (wife of D Ben Lewis), and Ruth (wife of John Jenkins) for more than 50 years..



 



John Morgan had attended the parish Church as well as Bryntirion Chapel and was later associated with Carmel CM Chapel, Upper Boat, where he provided communion vessels c.1902. His widow Jane was a long-serving member at Carmel and Treasurer there for many years, assuming that duty when her husband died. She died in January 1934 aged 79, and was buried at Bryntirion where the Ynysywern family had attended services from the time it was built in the eighteenth century until Carmel Chapel was established in Upper Boat.



 



John Morgan married his second wife, Jane Evans, in1873. Their daughter Jane (1879-1911) qualified as a teacher and in 1903 married Iorwerth John Howells from Pontypridd, who worked for the Taff Vale Railway in its central office in Cardiff. Jane died suddenly from pneumonia in 1911 aged 32, leaving two young children aged three and seven – my father and my aunt. Her sister Eleanor Morgan (1887-1972), also a qualified teacher, went to care for her niece and nephew at their home in Evansfield Road, Llandaff North, and subsequently married their father – my grandfather – becoming a devoted (step)mother and grandmother.



 



The information above is drawn from the family archives which have passed down to me from my late father (Iorwerth Howells 1907-1999), and from wider research.



 



Susan J Davies



12 January 2016




 


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