During the 19th and 20th centuries the village served as a mining town for the coal miners of the Garw Valley section of the South Wales coalfield. Built in 1893, the Blaengarw Workmen's Hall is a testament to this history and is still used today as a community and entertainment centre. The Welsh poet Daniel James (Gwyrosydd) composed the popular Welsh hymn Calon Lân while working as a coal miner at the Blaengarw pit. The town was a flashpoint of public disorder during the UK miners' strike (1984–1985). 
The Blaengarw Time Centre is based in Blaengarw Workmen's Hall which was bought by the community in 2000. For every hour spent on community work citizens receive one "Time Credit" which can be used to attend one hour of a social, educational or cultural event. Community assets in the village include a food shop, a community café, a heritage café, a digital inclusion centre, a community library and a sculpture studio. Activities organised by the centre include coffee mornings, arts classes, information technology classes, a youth club, dance and drama workshops, sugar craft and after-school clubs.
- Kenneth "Ken" Davies
- Daniel James (Gwyrosydd)
- Ike Owens
- Jeff Young (rugby player)
- Dewi James (David James), co-founder of Vivid Entertainment
- "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Garw". thevalleys.co.uk. thevalleys.co.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- "End of the Miners Strike in 1985". BBC Two. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Margrit Kennedy; Bernard Lietaer; John Rogers (2012). People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies. Triarchy Press Limited. ISBN 1908009764.
- "Blaengarw Time Centre". Summer Foundation. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Very Annie Mary (2001)". Filming locations. IMDb. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Porn in the USA". WalesOnline. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- The Garw Valley Web Site
- Garw Valley Web Site
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Blaengarw and surrounding area
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