Côr Meibion Abercynon was formed in 1970 at the former Junction Hotel in Abercynon. There were originally 20 members and today three of them still sing with the choir. Currently the choir consists of 33 members and there is a warm welcome for new or prospective members. The choir is supported by a ladies section which contributes strongly to the success of the choir. They are constant companions and supporters at our concerts, social events and on tour. The choir has performed concerts supporting many charitable organizations including Ty Hafan, The Rowan Tree Cancer Care, The George Thomas Hospice Appeal, Cancer Research and the Starlite Children’s Foundation.
Côr Meibion Abercynon has travelled extensively, performing throughout the United Kingdom and has also toured Brittany, Ireland, Canada, Scotland and Cornwall. The choir has performed at the Massed Choir Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall London, The Colston Hall Bristol, The Brangwyn Hall Swansea the Afan Lido in Port Talbot, Cardiff Arms Park, The Millenium Stadium, The Cardiff International Arena, St David’s Hall Cardiff and at The MCR Manchester. The choir’s initial visit to Brittany in 1982 when they represented Wales in the Celtic Festival in Lorient brought them into contact with the Breton Folk Group “Avel Hun Tadau Landaul”, an association that continues, the group having last visited and performed in South Wales in 2011.
The Village of Abercynon
The origins of the village of Abercynon lay in its importance as a centre for traffic on the Glamorgan Canal, the Aberdare Canal and the Taff Vale Railway - all passing through the district. The presence of these important communication networks having led to its development on a large scale. Public houses and hotels such as the Junction Hotel, the Swan, the Boatman, the New Inn, the Navigation Hotel and the Traveller's Rest were established to cater for the passing trade and the employees of the canals and railways.
A combined Post Office and general store was opened and houses built alongside the canal to house the workmen. Some of the names by which the village was formally known reflect the importance of these networks to the village. These include Navigation, Y Basin and Aberdare Junction. The name Abercynon was only introduced in 1893 when a public meeting was held to find a permanent name for the village.
The sinking of the collieries in 1889 brought a great influx of people into the village leading to the development of the modern town of Abercynon. Streets began to appear along the sides of the valley in order to accommodate the ever-growing population - some of the earliest being Martin's Terrace, Station Terrace (now Ynysmeurig Road) and Catherine Street (now Herbert Street), with commercial centres being established and other buildings of significance opened, including the new Navigation School (1896) and the Workmens' Hall (1905).
The increase in population brought the followers of many religious denominations into the village, and chapels and churches were established to cater for their religious needs. These include Calfaria chapel opened by the Baptists in 1894, Bethania Chapel opened by the Welsh Independents in 1896 and St Donat's Church by the Church of England in 1908.
Richard Trevethick was an engineer from Cornwall who, while employed at Penydarren ironworks near Merthyr Tydfil, pioneered the first steam locomotive ever tried on a railway line. It was his employer, the ironmaster Samuel Homfray, who laid a wager of 500 guineas that he could haul a load of ten tons of iron from Merthyr Tydfil to the Basin (Abercynon) on a train drawn by a steam locomotive. It was on the 22nd February 1804, that Trevithick's High Pressure Steam Engine began its journey carrying ten tons of iron, seventy men and five wagons. Unfortunately the chimney of the engine struck a low bridge shortly after the start, and the bridge and chimney were both damaged. Trevithick, having reconstructed the chimney, carried on his way, finally arriving at the basin after travelling nine and half miles at a rate of nearly five miles an hour, thereby winning his employer the wager.