Merthyr Tydfil — Understanding Urban Character

A photomontage of part of High Street, Pontmorlais (Crown Copyright: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales).

A photomontage of part of High Street, Pontmorlais (Crown Copyright: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales).

Merthyr Tydfil was not only the largest town in Wales, but also the iron and steel capital of the world in the mid-nineteenth century. It was here that the effects of the industrial revolution, centred on large-scale iron production, created an integrated industrial landscape with a complex urban economy and society. In the wake of the economic collapse, which followed the decline of the iron industry and the enterprises associated with it in the twentieth century, redevelopment took its toll on the legacy of this proud history. The town of Merthyr Tydfil, however, retains a strong heritage of industry and the urban culture that it generated.

Regeneration activity has already begun to focus on the repair and reinstatement of historical routes and supply lines, on townscape and some of the principal buildings. This study of the town’s historic character will help inform further regeneration initiatives in Merthyr Tydfil, including a Townscape Heritage Initiative in the town centre. The study also examines the historic character of much of the surrounding area which will provide a baseline for strategic planning as well as local management.

There is also much of interest for anyone who simply wants to find out more about the history and historic character of Merthyr Tydfil.