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Llandarcy is a village in Neath, Wales. The village was newly built to house the workers for the petroleum oil refinery built by BP Oil in the 1930s to cater for the increasing demand for petrol(gasoline) with the increase of the number of motor cars.
BP's first oil refinery was built at Grangemouth in Scotland with the site of Llandarcy being chosen for its proximity to Swansea docks where crude oil could be transported by sea from the Middle East combined with extensive rail transportation.
The village comprised approximately 250 houses constructed of stone with a community centre and local shop. Many workers moved from Scotland to bring their expertise from the established refinery at Grangemouth to open the facility. Over the last three decades the operations at the refinery were gradually been scaled back firts to a lubrication oil facility and currently simply to a bitumen plant.
The village is named after William Knox D'Arcy, founding director of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC). APOC is the forerunner to BP. The village was sold to the local municipal authority in 1974.
This was an important target for the German bombers during World War II.
The disused land from the scaling down of the oil refinery has been distributed to various parties for new use.
Crymlyn Bog lies downstream of the refinery and was always a most important wet-land area and has for many years been designated as a Site of Scientific Interest of international significance. The cessation of most activities at the refinery has removed some damaging sources of pollution that were seriously impacting the biological communities of the bog.
Plans are afoot to re-develop some of the brownfield land into a village. The Prince's Trust is an interested party in this development.
BP the company operating the refinery also operated a sports club. The club was originally designated for use or BP workers. Gradually, members of BP workers' families were allows to use the facility. Today the sports club has been re-developed into a comprehensive sports club. Sports facilities include: tennis courts, swimming pool, gynmasium, playing field for cricket, football, archery etc.
Part of the site of the refinery is now occupied by offices of the Environment Agency Wales.
The village is known notoriously, especially to local people, for the murders of school girls Pauline Floyd, Geraldine Hughes and Sandra Newton in September 1973. The murderer was discovered years later by DNA evidence by South Wales Police to be Joe Kappen who was a bouncer who worked in local clubs and pubs in Neath. He died in early 1990 at age 49 due to cancer.
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