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Port Talbot

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Port Talbot

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Port Talbot (Welsh name: Aberafan or Aberavon) is an industrial town in the traditional county of Glamorgan, south Wales, UK, with a population of approximately 50,000. Port Talbot is also the name of an electoral ward and a community in Neath Port Talbot county borough, which are closely related to the town.

The town grew out of the original small port and market town of Aberafan (Aberavon), which belonged to the medieval Lords of Afan. It built its wealth on the abundance of coal in the vicinity and on the abundant water available in the River Afan to power machinery and operate the docks.

The town got its new name from the Talbot family, who were related to the pioneer photographer, William Henry Fox Talbot. They were patrons of Margam Abbey, an ancient Cistercian foundation, and also built Margam Castle (1830-1839, architect: Thomas Hopper), a mock Gothic residence, now partially restored and open to the public along with the surrounding park.

Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803-1890) was a wealthy landowner (and Liberal Member of Parliament for Glamorgan from 1830 until his death) who saw the potential of his property as a site for an extensive ironworks, which opened in early 1831. (This was just part of the industrialisation taking place across south Wales then; copper had been smelted at Neath since 1584, and there were tinworks and ironworks at Pontardawe.) CRM Talbot was also chairman and a major shareholder of the South Wales Railway.

His only son Theodore died in 1876 following a hunting accident. It was therefore his daughter Emily Charlotte Talbot (1840-1918) who inherited her father's fortune and became just as notable in the development of ports and railways. With assistance from engineers Charles Meik and Patrick Meik she set about creating a port and railway system to attract business away from Cardiff and Swansea. The Port Talbot Railway and Dock Company opened a dock at Port Talbot and the Llynfi Railway in 1897, followed by the Ogmore Valley Extension and the South Wales Mineral Junction Railway (almost all these lines were closed as part of the Beeching Axe cuts in the mid 1960s, but some bridges and viaducts remain). By 1900, the dock was exporting over 500,000 tons of coal; it reached a peak of over three million tons in 1923.

During the early twentieth century, the docks and a major steelworks attracted considerable investment, and this was followed by the establishment of a chemical plant at Baglan Bay by British Petroleum in the 1960s.

In recent years, the town has seen a serious decline, caused by the withdrawal or cutting back of major employers. The borough council has been absorbed into the larger unitary authority of Neath Port Talbot.

In 2005 the area was granted its first dedicated radio station when a local group - AfanFM - were awarded a 5 year Community FM Radio licence to serve Port Talbot and its neighbouring town of Neath. It will broadcast a "music-based information service" to young people aged 11-25.

The town is built along the eastern rim of Swansea Bay with Swansea being located on the opposite side. The beach along the edge of the bay is known as Aberavon Sands which are protected from erosion by a groyne at the mouth of the River Afan. The northern edge of the town is marked by the River Neath.

Arguably, the most famous landmark in Port Talbot is the steelworks. It was operated by Corus Group, but was purchased by India's Tata Steel (which is part of one of the oldest and largest business conglomerates in India, Tata Group) in January 2007.

On the extensive steelworks site, smoke can be observed rising from the BOS plant and water vapour from the cooling towers, a great distance away. When exiting Port Talbot in an easterly direction, the Abbey Works steel products plant (which is over 1 mile long) can be seen. The familiar 'smokey' smell of sulphur often hangs over this part of the town.

Movie director Ridley Scott quotes the sight of Port Talbot Steelworks at night to be his inspiration for the dark, gigantic buildings in films like Blade Runner. Top Gear have used the Port Talbot steelworks to film, a number of times. Director Terry Gilliam has cited the Port Talbot Steelworks as as a major initial influence in developing the movie Brazil.

 Trains: Port Talbot is on the South Wales Main Line

 Cinemas:
 Apollo
       Hollywood Park
       Port Talbot
       West Glam
       0871 220 6000
       http://www.apollocinemas.co.uk/index.php?sitecode=phi

 Football: Port Talbot Town FC

 Libraries:
 Port Talbot Library
       1st floor,
       Aberafan Shopping Centre
       Port Talbot
       SA13 1PB
       01639 763490/1
       Mon 9.30am-6.00pm
       Tue 9.30am-6.00pm
       Wed 9.30am-6.00pm
       Thur 9.30am-6.00pm
       Fri 9.30am-6.00pm
       Sat 9.30am-5.00pm

 Golf:
 Lakeside Golf Club and Driving Range
       Water Street
       Margam
       Port Talbot
       Neath Port Talbot
       SA13 2PA
       01639 899959

 BSC Golf Club
       The Course
       Groes
       Port Talbot
       Neath Port Talbot
       SA12 8UW
       01639 814182

 Rugby: Corus (Port Talbot) RFC

 Football: Goytre United FC

 Vets:
 Shepherd & Partners
       8 Forge Rd
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1NU
       01639 898804

 Pubs/Bars:
 Aberavon Beach Hotel
       Princess Margaret Way
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6QP

 The Amazon
       Parry Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 7TR

 The Bagle Brook
       Baglan Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 8ES
       01639 813017

 The Bell Inn
       58 Commercial Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1LG

 Burgess Green
       Ysguthan Road,
       Port Talbot.
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6NB
       01639 884411

 Craddock Arms
       Green Park Industrial Estate
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6NU
       01639 886489

 Dunes Hotel
       Wyvern Avenue
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 7ER
       01639 882721

 Four Winds Hotel
       Princess Margaret Way
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6QW
       01639 884548

 Grand Hotel
       Station Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1DE

 Green Meadow Hotel
       Marsh Street
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6UD

 Lord Caradoc
       69-73 Station Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1NW
       01639 883911

 Maggie Mays
       Forge Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1NU

 Market Tavern
       1 Aberafan Centre
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1PB
       01639 885292

 The Old Surgery
       74 Commercial Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1LR
       01639 886085

 The Old Vic
       Riverside
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1EJ
       01639 895884

 Red Dragon
       Moorland Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6JZ

 The Red Lion
       1 Talbot Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1HN
       01639 870007

 Somerset Arms
       Commercial Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1LP
       01639 875051

 St Oswalds
       6 Station Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1JB
       01639 899200

 Twelve Knights
       Margam Road,
       Port Talbot.
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 2DB
       01639 882381

 Tyn Y Twr Tavern
       St Illtyds Drive
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 8AU

 Vivian Park Hotel
       Victoria Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6QG

 The Welcome To Town
       36 Station Road
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1JS
       01639 898764

 B&B's/Guesthouses:
 Mountain View B&B
 7 Talcennau Raod
       Port Talbot
       Neath Port Talbot
       SA13 1SH 
 01639 779141 
 [email protected]
 http://www.mountainviewbandbplus.co.uk

 Campsites/Carvan Parks
 Glyncorrwg Ponds
       Ynyscorrwg Park
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 3EA
 01639 851900

 Taxis:
 1st Call Taxis
       3 Silver Close
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 7SG
       01639 881515

 A1 Cars
       5 Wyndham St
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1PR
       01639 881526

 Alpine Cabs
       28 Maple Avenue
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 8LY
       01639 760900

 Ashcabs
       18 Cae Glas
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 9AX
       01639 893333

 Astra Taxis Ltd
       22 Brooklyn Gardens
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 7PJ
       01639 812121

 Cardy Cabs
       10 Swn-y-Mor
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6TB
       01639 899661

 Delta Cabs
       86 Commercial Rd
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 1LR
       01639 871999

 Dragon Taxis
       26 Ascot Drive
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 8YL
       01639 767001

 Margam Cabs
       16 Glan y Mor Avenue
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 2LN
       01639 891149

 The Really Useful Taxi Co
       5 Isaacs Place
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA12 6NP
       01639 885959

 Talbot Taxis
       10 Elba Avenue
       Port Talbot
       West Glamorgan
       SA13 2HU
       01639 882828


 

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