Aberavon shown within Neath Port Talbot
|Population||5,452 (2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Principal area||Neath Port Talbot|
|Ceremonial county||West Glamorgan|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||PORT TALBOT|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
Aberavon (Welsh: Aberafan) is a settlement in Neath Port Talbot county borough, Wales. The town derived its name from being near the mouth of the river Afan, which also gave its name to a medieval lordship. Today it is essentially a district of Port Talbot, covering the central and south western part of the town. Aberavon is also the name of the nearby Blue Flag beach and the parish covering the same area.
On the Normans conquest of Glamorgan, Caradog, the eldest son of the defeated Welsh prince, Iestyn ab Gwrgant, continued to hold this lordship, and for the defence of the passage of the river built a castle. His descendants (who from the 13th century onwards styled themselves De Avan or D'Avene) established, under line protection of the castle, a chartered town, which in 1372 received a further charter from Edward le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despencer, into whose family the lordship had come on an exchange of lands. In modern times these charters were not acted upon, the town being deemed a borough by prescription, but in 1861 it was incorporated under the Municipal Corporations Act.
The English antiquarian John Leland made an extensive journey through Wales c.1536-39 of which he recorded an itinerary. He passed through Aberafan, which he describes as a "poor village" surrounded by barren ground, though he also describes the area as heavily wooded, not much of which remains today. He mentions the use of the river mouth as a port, a "haven for ships" as he puts it. His portrayal of Aberafan as a small, struggling village however suggests that the port was not in great use, especially as traffic to and from Margam Abbey would have ceased following its dissolution in 1536.
Aberavon was the birthplace of Dic Penderyn, a key figure in the Merthyr Rising of 1831. St Mary's Church is the site of his grave. The castle site was built over between 1876 and 1897 and its foundations now lie underneath the streets around the church. There have been reports of a ghost, a white lady seen floating above the castle ruins. The ghost is speculated to be Jane de Afan, the last occupant of Aberavon Castle.
From 1832 Aberavon belonged to the Swansea parliamentary district of boroughs, uniting with Kenfig, Loughor, Neath and Swansea to return one member; since 1918 it has had its own constituency. Its most famous MP was Ramsay MacDonald.
In the 1950s many of the sand dunes of Aberavon Beach disappeared as part of the development of the Sandfields estate, at this time a 1.25 mile sea wall was built primarily for sea defences. The estate was built to accommodate the growing population, especially the families of workers at the new Port Talbot Steelworks.
Aberavon hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1932 and 1966.
Baglan Industrial Park
The Baglan Bay Industrial Park lies on a stretch of Baglan Moors in the parish of Aberavon south east of the Baglan Energy Park and immediately northwest of Neath Port Talbot Hospital. It is sandwiched between the M4 Motorway and Afan Way (A4241). Current occupants include Morrisons, Lidl, KFC, Focus DIY, Dreams, Pound Stretcher, Pets at Home & Halfords superstores and a Warburtons bread factory in premises which were previously occupied by Panasonic.
Government and politics
|Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council|
|1st: Ceri Golding (Labour)|
|2nd: Mark Jones (Labour)|
|3rd: Anthony Taylor (Social Democratic Party)|
Aberavon is bounded by the wards of Sandfields West and Sandfields East to the southwest; Baglan to the north; Port Talbot to the east and Margam to the south. The ward boundaries can be defined by the roads surrounding it which are the M4 Motorway to the north east; the A4241 to the north west; Afan Way to the southwest and the River Afan to the south east.
The Aberavon ward can be roughly divided into two parts. There is the residential area to the southeastern part of the ward beside the River Afan. The north western area consists of areas of industrial estate land called the Baglan Industrial Park which includes a number of out of town retail premises as well as business and manufacturing premises.
In the 2012 local council elections, the electorate turnout for Aberavon was 35.84%. The results were:
|Ceri Golding||Labour||751||Labour gain|
|Mark Jones||Labour||740||Labour gain|
|Anthony Taylor||Social Democratic Party||702||Social Democratic Party hold|
|John Sullivan||Social Democratic Party||556|
|Jeff Dinham||Social Democratic Party||550|
|Paul Nicholas-Jones||Plaid Cymru||185|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Aberavon.|
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Aberavon and surrounding area
- Largest online collection of historical photos of Aberavon / Port Talbot