Bargoed (Welsh: Bargod) is a town and community in the Rhymney Valley, Wales, one of the South Wales Valleys. It lies on the Rhymney River in the county borough of Caerphilly and straddles the ancient boundary of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, with Bargoed originally lying within the old county of Glamorganshire whereas Aberbargoed was in the old county of Monmouthshire. 'Greater Bargoed', as defined by the local authority Caerphilly County Borough Council, consists of the towns of Bargoed, Aberbargoed and the village of Gilfach. The combined population of these settlements is approximately 13,000.
The English meaning of the town's Welsh language name, Bargod, is border. Pronunciation of the town's name varies depending on street. There are many variations, from the standard Welsh Barr-god and English Bar-goyd to the informal Baa-Gud and Baa-Go-Ed.
Originally a market town, Bargoed grew into a substantial town following the opening of a colliery in 1903. By 1921 Bargoed had a population of 17,901; this has been steadily declining since that time, as the general demand for Welsh coal continued to fall. The colliery, which was the subject of a painting by L. S. Lowry, closed during the 1970s, and its former site is now a country park.
The town was home to a factory built by the Austin Motor Company from 1949. This was a project by Austin chairman Leonard Lord, with government funding, to employ miners suffering from pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by prolonged inhalation of dust. In 1945 it was estimated that 5000 miners in the South Wales region were affected by the condition to the extent that they could not work in the coal industry. The Austin factory at Bargoed became the first factory in the world where every employee was registered as disabled. Ex-miners could work at Bargoed under full-time medical supervision and with medical facilities on-site at the factory. The factory work was understandably light, with the main product being the J40 children's pedal car. The success and efficiency of the factory was such that 150 men were employed by 1953 and Austin began the manufacture of small metal pressings for its full-size cars, such as dashboard parts, car registration plates and rocker covers at Bargoed. By 1965 over 500 men, all pneumoconiosis sufferers, were working at the factory. Production of the J40 pedal cars ended in 1971 but the factory's other work kept it open. Improving conditions in the mining industry and the slow reduction in the number of mines and workers in the region meant that the factory's purpose began to become redundant during the 1980s. The numbers employed slowly dropped and new workers did not have to be pneumoconiosis sufferers. The end of production of the Austin A-Series engine in 1999, the rocker cover of which was made solely in Bargoed, meant that the factory (then under the ownership of the Rover Group) employing 45 people, of which only 11 were registered as disabled, closed.
After closure of local industry, many people in Bargoed began to struggle financially and it's debatable if the town ever recovered.
The town has been undergoing a major redevelopment scheme, which included a bypass (running through the valley, with links to Bargoed town centre, Aberbargoed and Gilfach), Morrisons supermarket and petrol station, a new bus station, repaving the road though the heart of the town, a 400+ space car park, new library, 3 new offices, a relaxation area where the old bus station was on Hanbury Square, and 7 retail units. There are ongoing issues with plans for a state of the art Odeon Cinema and the site remains undeveloped (summer 2015).
The Grade II* listed Hanbury Road Baptist chapel has been converted into a public library which includes a council services helpdesk, a computer suite, a coffee lounge, and a scaled-down chapel; the pipe organ (now silent), occupies its original dominant position overlooking the main ground floor area, while the erstwhile chapel gallery houses a substantial collection of reference and other books. At the rear of the library a new mini park has been created using 40 ft flower sculptures.
The sites of the former collieries of Bargoed, Gilfach, and Britannia have been landscaped as a recreational nature park with a network of paths on either side of the Rhymney river. Figures of mine workers from these three communities have become the inspiration for wooden sculptures in the park, while in Hanbury Square a group of three immense heads of colliery workers dominates the tiered piazza.
The town is served by Bargoed railway station with services to Cardiff, Penarth, and Barry; Bargoed Bus Interchange is situated at the northern end of the town, with local services and routes to nearby Blackwood, Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly, and Newport among others. The A469 by-pass road connects with the A465 Heads of the Valleys road to the north and the A470 to the south, serving Cardiff and linking with the east-west Motorway M4.
Bargoed Grammar Technical School existed as the local grammar school before Heolddu Comprehensive School was formed. Some of the grammar school's buildings in Park Crescent were used from the 1980s until 2002 for the valley's first Welsh language comprehensive school, Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, which has now moved to a new purpose-built site in Fleur-de-Lys. Primary Schools include St Gwladys Bargoed School, Park Primary School, Aberbargoed Primary School, Gilfach Fargoed Primary School and a Welsh school Ysgol Gymraeg Gilfach Fargod.
- Nathan Cleverly (1987-), boxer, grew up in Bargoed and went to Heolddu Comprehensive School
- Sam Cookson (1891-?), footballer
- Justin Edwards (1966-), jazz musician and composer, attended Heolddu Comprehensive School
- James Fox (1976-), singer-songwriter and British Eurovision contestant
- Doris Hare (1905–2000), actress, born in Bargoed
- Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008), a composer of classical music, one of the first Welsh composers to receive international recognition
- Nixon Newell (1994-), professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, born in Bargoed and attended Heolddu Comprehensive School.
- Morgan Phillips (1902-1963), General Secretary of the Labour Party from 1944-1961, brought up in Bargoed
- Ivor Powell (1916-2012), former professional footballer and manager, was born in Gilfach-Bargoed on 5 July 1916
- David Probert (1988-), British flat racing Champion Apprentice jockey 2008, attended Ysgol Gymraeg Gilfach Fargod and Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni
- John Tripp (1927-1986) Anglo-Welsh poet and short-story writer, born in Bargoed.
- Mark Williams (1975-), Embassy World Snooker Champion in 2000, 2003 and 2018, practises at the town's Emporium Snooker Hall