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On October 1993 the red flag was raised on Hirwaun common as a symbol of unity among workers of Tower Colliery during a march to commemorate the Merthyr Uprising in 1831. It also highlighted the plight of their own pit, which was threatened with closure. Photograph © Janice Lane

Hirwaun (Welsh: 'long meadow') is the name of an electoral ward, a community, and a mining village at the northwest end of the Cynon Valley in the South Wales Valleys. The village of Hirwaun is three miles from the town of Aberdare, and comes under Aberdare for postal reasons. According to the 2001 census, Hirwaun has a population of around 4,000 people.

Hirwaun has an industrial background centering on the Hirwaun Ironworks. The ironworks was in already existence during the late eighteenth century and passed through a succession of owners before being purchased in 1819 by William Crawshay of Cyfarthfa, in whose family it remained until closure in 1859. The ironworks' blast furnaces required coke, which spurred an increase in local coal-mining activities. Even after the ironworks closed, mining continued. Following the miners' strike however, the only deep coal mine left in Wales is Tower Colliery, which was closed down, bought by its workers and reopened.

During the Merthyr Rising of 1831 the red flag that later came to represent socialism was raised on Hirwaun Common for the first time. Originally a white sheet dipped in a bucket of sheep's blood, the symbol has had an enduring appeal worldwide. The Brecon Beacons national park lies just on the Northern edge of the village.

Unlike most South Wales villages, Hirwaun consists of a vast array of different architectural housing styles, often cheek-by-jowl in small blocks. This is due to development to satisfy different needs at different times, with much gentrification taking place in the last few decades. Currently the patch of green land known as Hirwaun Common is being built on, a development of modern family homes being built. Hirwaun hence has a discontinuous, hotch-potch feel to it that marks it out as unusual in the South Wales Valleys.

The tower blocks
Hirwaun made local news in May 2004 when its two '60s built tower blocks were demolished by dynamite detonation. Their demise marked the end of a major landmark in the Cynon Valley.

 Libraries in Hirwaun:
 Hirwaun Library
       High Street
       Hirwaun
       CF44 9SW
 01685 811144
 Mon 10:00am-1:00pm 2:00pm-5:00pm
       Tue 10:00am-1:00pm 3:00pm-6:00pm
       Wed 10:00am-1:00pm
       Thur 10:00am-1:00pm 2:00pm-5:00pm
       Fri 10:00am-1:00pm 3:00pm-6:00pm


 Rugby in Hirwaun: Hirwaun RFC
       32 High Street
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9SL
 01685 811063


 Football in Hirwaun:
 Hirwaun Welfare Football Club
       3 Station Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9TA,
 01685 811091


 Pubs/Bars in Hirwaun:
 The Blaengwawr Inn
       373 Bryngelli Estate
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9PT
 01685 871 706

 Cardiff Arms Hotel
       High Street
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9SL
 01685 812 540

 Glancynon Inn
       Swansea Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9PE
 01685 811 043

 The Hungry Bear (was the Globe Inn)
       Rhigos Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9PS
 01685 811 305

 Lamb Inn
       78 Brecon Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9NL
 01685 811 242

 Mount Pleasant Inn
       Penderyn Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9RU
 01685 811 944

 Prince Of Wales
       1 Harris Street
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9NP
 01685 811 048

 Ty Newydd Country Hotel
       Penderyn Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9RU


 Restaurants in Hirwaun:
 The Glancynon
       Swansea Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9PE
 01685 813020


 Cafes in Hirwaun:
 Bedonia Cafe
       36 High Street
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9SW
 01685 811522


 Take Aways in Hirwaun:
 Lucky House
       57 Brecon Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9NH
 01685 813276


 Taxis in Hirwaun:
 Cynon Cars
       44 Limeslade Close
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9RN
 01685 811444

 Gerwyns Taxis Service
       23 Caswell Close
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9RL
 01685 814914


 Other in Hirwaun:
 Brecon & Radnor Conservative Club
       54 High Street
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Mid Glamorgan
       CF44 9SW
 01685 811003


 Retail in Hirwaun:
 Co-op Market Town Store
       62a Tramway Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       Rhondda Cyan Taff
       Glamorgan
       CF44 9PA


 Schools/Colleges in Hirwaun:
 Hirwaun Nursery School
       Brecon Road
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       CF44 9NN
 01685 811339

 Hirwaun Primary School
       Glannant Street
       Hirwaun
       Aberdare
       CF44 9NF
 01685 811619


Remembrance Parade at Hirwaun


 

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