How Green Was My Valley is a novel of 1939, by the author Richard Llewellyn. The author's claims to have based it on his own knowledge of the Gilfach Goch area were proven false, as Llewellyn was English-born and spent little time in Wales, but gathered his facts from conversations with local mining families. The title of the novel is taken from its last sentence: How green was my valley then, and the valley of them that have gone.
The novel is set in Wales in the reign of Queen Victoria. It tells the story of the Morgans, a poor but respectable mining family of the South Wales valleys, through the eyes of the youngest son, Huw Morgan. Huw's academic ability sets him apart from his elder brothers and enables him to consider a future away from this troubled industrial environment. His five brothers and his father are miners; after the eldest brother, Ivor, is killed in an industrial accident, Huw moves in with his sister-in-law, Bronwen, with whom he has always been in love. Later, Huw's father is also killed in the mine. Meanwhile, one of Huw's three sisters, Angharad, gets married to a wealthy coal-owner whom she doesn't love and the marriage is an unhappy one. She never overcomes her clandestine relationship with the local minister. After everyone Huw has known either dies or moves away, he decides to leave as well, and tells us the story of his life just before he does.
The author continued the story about Huw Morgan's life in 3 sequels:
The successful 1941 film of the book had a cast which included Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Roddy McDowall (as Huw), and Barry Fitzgerald. None of the leading players were Welsh. Directed by John Ford, How Green Was My Valley is one of the films selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. How Green Was My Valley is available on DVD from 20th Century Fox as part of their 20th Century Fox Studio Classics collection.
The book has twice been adapted by the BBC as a serial for television, in 1960 and 1975. The 1975 production – scripted by Elaine Morgan – starred Stanley Baker, Siân Phillips, and Nerys Hughes. It was also adapted as a Broadway musical, called A Time for Singing, which opened at the Broadway Theatre, New York, on May 21, 1966. The music was by John Morris; book and lyrics were by Gerald Freedman and John Morris. The production was directed by Mr. Freedman, and it starred Ivor Emmanuel, Tessie O'Shea, Shani Wallis, and Laurence Naismith.