Oakdale is a large village in Caerphilly county borough, south Wales, 9½ miles north of Caerphilly itself. Situated in the Sirhowy valley it is 3 miles east of Blackwood, which it forms a conurbation with.
Work began clearing the site for the new colliery at Oakdale with the sinking of the pit in 1907. Waterloo shaft followed in 1911 and the building of the village commenced soon after, to house the families of the men who were to work there.
The revolutionary "model village" was the brainchild of manager of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company, Mr A S Tallis. The build commenced with housing, but later included schools, chapels and a hospital.
Opened in 1911, the colliery was owned by the Oakdale Navigation Collieries Ltd, a subsidiary of the Tredegar Iron Company. It employed a workforce 2,235 at its peak in 1938.
Oakdale was linked to Markham and the Celynen North collieries in the late 1970s and early 1980s, making it the largest colliery in Gwent. The pit closed in 1989 and the tips have now been landscaped and converted into platforms for industrial development.
The Oakdale Workmen's Institute was considered to be such a fine example of its type that after the closure of the colliery it was demolished brick by brick, transported to, and re-erected at, St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff.
Oakdale Business Park, a 400 acre site on the former location of Oakdale Colliery has taken 6 years and over £10 million to reclaim, creating one of the largest plateau in the South Wales Valleys of 100 acres. It has already attracted world-famous business names such as General Dynamics, which has based its European Headquarters there.
Access to the area has been made considerably easier by the construction of the Sirhowy Enterprise Way, which includes the striking, cross-valley, Chartist Bridge.
With the rapidly expanding workforce has come the need for houses and the village has seen an explosion of building in the past few years, including a new Primary school, and there are plans to open a Welsh-medium school in the near future.
According to the United Kingdom Census 2001 the population of the Penmaen ward (which comprises Oakdale and the peripheral hamlets of Pen-y-Fan and Woodfieldside) was 4,478, of which 2,144 were Males and 2,334 Females. Of these 99.7% are identified as White, 51.9% are Married, 7.9% Re-married, 6.83% Divorced, 8.3% Widowed and 23.6% Single. Professional, Technical, Managers and Senior Officials account for 33.9% of the population, while 26.9% of males and 40.4% of females age 16-74 years (including students and the retired) were said to be economically inactive. 85.3% of housing is owner occupied, with 13.3% being rented.
James Dean Bradfield, Richey James Edwards, Sean Moore and Nicky Wire all attended Oakdale Comprehensive School, forming the influential rock band Manic Street Preachers. Current WBO, WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine world super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, Llanelli Scarlets and Wales centre Matthew Watkins, and poet Patrick Jones were also pupils at the school.
Former pupils of Rhiw-Syr-Dafydd Infants school include Dame Patricia Morgan-Webb, former Wales rugby international John Jeffery, musician Glyn Hale, and Air Commodore David Davies.
Samuel Meekosha VC, (aka Samuel Ingham) lived in the village until his death in 1950.