The Gurnos Estate is a large housing estate established by Merthyr Tydfil Council in the early 1950s and expanded over many years. Many of the initial streets were named after trees; such as Oak, Acacia and Rowan. A major expansion took place during the 1970s, including the building of Prince Charles Hospital. Streets on 1970s development were named after flowers and shrubs; such as Lavender, Heather, Lupin and Forsythia, with the exception of the three most recent areas known as Pen-Gurnos, Pen-y-Dre and Pen-y-Fan View. The area built since the 1970s is still often referred to locally as The New Estate. The community population at the 2011 census was 5,280.
It was reported in February 2011 that men living on the Gurnos Estate currently had a life expectancy of just 58 years, less than men in Iraq or Haiti. This statement was later retracted and rectified. In fact the figure referred to "healthy life expectancy", the average age to which a man can expect to retain his good health. The total life expectancy for men in the Gurnos ward was 70 years, still at the low end of the range in Wales. The Mail Online version of the article now states; "An earlier version of this article referred to the figure for life expectancy in Merthyr Tydfil as being 58.8 years. In fact, this is the figure for ‘healthy life expectancy’ in Merthyr Tydfil, and the average life expectancy is not lower than that in Iraq or Haiti as originally reported."
The area was formerly open land, including the long-established Gurnos Farm. It also encompassed the notoriously dangerous Goitre Pond.
The design and planning of the Gurnos estate borrows ideas from the Radburn system. The estate has become notorious throughout Wales, with the reputation of being an area of deprivation and crime.
The Gurnos Tavern, one of the two community centres and many of the maisonette flats were demolished to make greener areas during the late 1990s.
The Gurnos estate includes a main small shopping centre at Chestnut Way, known locally as The Gurnos Shops, a social club ( The Gurnos Club), and a community centre, all located within a few yards of each other. Other shops were also part of the estate's design at Pen-Gurnos and Clover Road. There have also been two pubs, the Gurnos Tavern and later The Matchstick Man, named after late boxer Johnny Owen, however both have since closed.
In 1999 the 3Gs Development Trust was established to work with the communities of the Gurnos and Galon Uchaf, offering support, information and developmental activities. The trust's offices are based at The Gurnos Shops, together with other centres including a youth centre at Forsythia Close. The name 3Gs illustrates the local perception that there are two estates, separated by Prince Charles Hospital; the Old Gurnos and the New Estate; being two of the Gs, together with Galon Uchaf being the third. Penydarren was later added to the 3Gs remit and by 2013 the organisation's remit was expanded to include other wards as the Communities First North Cluster.
People of note
- "Communitry population 2011". Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Is life expectancy lower in Merthyr Tydfil than Haiti? fullfact.com archive
- Donald Nicolson & Lois Bibbings, Feminist perspectives on criminal law (p 124ff)
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
- Old Merthyr Tydfil: Gurnos - Historical Photographs of the Gurnos.
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of the Gurnos and surrounding area