|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Cwmaman (Welsh pronunciation: [kʊmˈaman]) is a former coal mining village near Aberdare, Wales. The name is Welsh for "Aman Valley" and the River Aman flows through the village. It lies in the valley of several mountains. Within the village, there are two children's playgrounds and playing fields, with an outdoor pool open during the summer. At the top of the village there are several reservoirs accessible from several footpaths along the river. The postal district is Aberdare.
Cwmaman was a well-known coal-mining village which, at one time boasted several collieries. Until the 19th century, the town was virtually uninhabited, with around 40 farm workers living in and around the community by 1841. By the end of the 1840s, the first coal pits were sunk and Cwmaman began to transform into a thriving industrial settlement, in the later years of the 19th century Cwmaman housed the workers of five surrounding coal mines - the Fforchaman, Fforchneol, Bedwlwyn, Cwmneol, and the Cwmaman. Cwmaman Colliery was also known as Shepherd’s Pit, in honour of its founder Thomas Shepherd, a name it shares with the village’s first public house, the Shepherd’s Arms, which was opened in 1850.
There is an array of parallel roads in the east part of the village. Burns Street and Spencer Street, along with the other streets collectively known as Poets' Corner, are amongst the steepest in the United Kingdom.
The band Stereophonics comes from Cwmaman. On 14 December 2007, in association with Jo Whiley and her BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Tour, the band returned to Cwmaman to play an exclusive acoustic gig at the Cwmaman Working Men's Club, the venue where the band first performed.
The village is home to the war poet Alun Lewis, and a plaque in Llanwonno Road marks the house where he lived. Born in 1915, Lewis was strongly influenced by his formative years in the depression-era valley. He was also influenced by local issues of his community in the then-called Aberdare Leader and this is demonstrated in his poem "The Mountain over Aberdare", which touches on the desperate poverty that beset the Cynon Valley and the country in this period. However, it was for his war poems, published in two volumes, Raiders Dawn and Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets, that Lewis’s reputation was made. The village’s Cwrt Alun Lewis flats are named in his honour.
The Cwmaman Music Festival is held at the last weekend of September every year. It started in 2008 and has attracted artists such as Alabama 3, Mike Peters, Killing for Company and many unsigned artists from around the Cynon Valley
Religion played a central role in the life of the village until the second half off the 20th century. Seion, Cwmaman remained an active place of worship until its closure, for financial reasons, in 2013. The congregation still meets at the former Moriah Aman Congregational Chapel, now an evangelical church. The third Welsh language chapel in the village was Soar, a Calvinistic Methodist church which closed in the late 1980s and which has now been demolished.
Cwmaman was particularly affected by the Religious Revival of 1904-05 which had an impact throughout the Cynon Valley. In January 1905 it was reported that meetings were being held every evening at the various chapels and a number of secular organisations had abandoned their meetings for the time being. Later that month, another report stated that outdoor meetings were being held in relation to the revival, and that prayer meetings were being held in the mornings at Cwmaman Colliery.
Regeneration and the community
The Cwmaman Communities First Partnership was established in October 2001 aiming to bring individuals, voluntary groups and public and private sector organisations in the community together to help create a better future for the area.
Many innovative environmental projects have taken place including the hosting of an environmental festival centred on St Joseph's Church, holding a sculpture exhibition, the development of a community woodland walk, and establishing a Cwmaman Sculpture Trail.
On the 25th September 2018, the much acclaimed Netflix Original show "the Crown" came to Cwmaman to film scenes for its second series. Local children were asked to volunteer as extras for the scenes, along with many houses and Glynhafod Junior School being used as significant parts of the set for the scenes filmed.
Cwmaman was a traditional Labour Party stronghold, although in more recent times it has been challenged by Plaid Cymru and the Cynon Valley Party. It lies in the Aberaman South electoral ward, currently represented by Councillor Tina Williams (Labour).
- Alun Lewis (1915–1944) - poet
- Ron Jones (born 1934) – sprinter
- Tyrone O'Sullivan (born c. 1945) – Chairman of Tower Colliery, lived in Cwmaman for many years
- John Derrick (1963–2017 – cricketer
- Stuart Cable (1970–2010) – broadcaster and Stereophonics drummer with rock band Stereophonics
- Kelly Jones (born 1974) – Stereophonics lead singer
- Richard Jones (born 1974) – Stereophonics bassist
- "The Revival". Aberdare Leader. 7 January 1905. p. 8. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "The Revival". Aberdare Leader. 28 January 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "The Communities First Partnership". cwmaman-regeneration.org.uk/. 2004. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.