Pontypridd is both a community and a town in Glamorgan, Wales, in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taff and is situated 12 miles (19 km) north of the Welsh capital city of Cardiff, and comprises the electoral wards of - Cilfynydd, Glyncoch, Graig, Hawthorn, Pontypridd Town, Rhondda ED, Rhydfelen Central/Lower Ilan, Trallwng and Treforest. It sits at the junction of the Rhondda and Taff (upper/lower) valleys, where the River Rhondda Fawr flows into the Taff immediately south of the town at its war memorial park, Ynysangharad Park. The community of Pontypridd is the second largest in Wales, just behind Barry.
Pontypridd is made up of the town of Pontypridd and its immediate suburbs/settlements, each with their own individual identities. These are - Cilfynydd, Coedpenmaen, Coedycwm, Glyntaff, Glyncoch, Graig, Graigwen, Hawthorn, Hopkinstown, Maesycoed, Pantygraigwen, Pentrebach, Pontsionnorton, Pontypridd Common, Pwllgwaun, Rhydyfelin, Trallwn, Treforest, Trehafod, Troedrhiw-Trwyn and Upper Boat. Pontypridd had a population of 29,781 according to census figures gathered in 2001. Pontypridd town is recorded as having a population of 2,919 as of 2001.
The "ridd" in Pontypridd is pronounced "reath" (as in the word "breathe"). Pontypridd is often abbreviated "Ponty" by local residents.
The name Pontypridd is from "Pont-y-tŷ-pridd" the Welsh for "bridge by the earthen house", a reference to a succession of wooden bridges that formerly spanned the River Taff at this point. Pontypridd is, however, more famous for the Old Bridge, a stone bridge across the River Taff built in 1756 by William Edwards. This bridge was the third attempted by Edwards, and at the time of its construction was the longest single-span stone arch bridge in the world. Rising 35 feet (11 m) above the level of the river, the bridge is a perfect segment of a circle, the chord of which is 140 feet (43 m). Notable features are three holes of differing diameters through each end of the bridge. The purpose of these was to reduce the weight of the bridge, although their aesthetically pleasing nature is a bonus. The utility of the bridge was debatable, however – the steepness of the design making it difficult to get horses and carts across it – and in 1857 a new bridge, the Victoria Bridge, paid for by public subscription, was built adjacent to the old one.
Pontypridd was known as Newbridge from shortly after the construction of what is today called the "Old Bridge" until the 1860s.
The history of Pontypridd is closely tied to the coal and iron industries, prior to the developments of these Pontypridd was largely a rural backwater comprising of a few farmsteads, with Treforest initially becoming the main urban settlement in the area. Sited as it is at the junction of the Rhondda and Taff (upper/lower) valleys, it became an important location for the transportation of coal from the Rhondda and iron from Merthyr Tydfil, first via the Glamorganshire Canal and later via the Taff Vale Railway, to the ports at Cardiff and Barry. Because of its role in transporting coal cargo, its train platform was at one time the longest in the world.
Pontypridd was in the second half of the 19th century a hive of industry, and was once nicknamed the ‘Wild West’. There were several collieries within the Pontypridd area itself, including – Albion Colliery (Cilfynydd), Bodwenarth Colliery (Pontsionnorton), Daren Ddu Colliery (Graigwen & Glyncoch), Dynea Colliery (Rhydyfelin), Gelliwhion Colliery (Graig), Great Western/Gyfeillion Colliery (Gyfeillion), Lan Colliery (Hopkinstown), Newbridge Colliery (Graig), Penyrhiw Colliery (Graig), Pontypridd/Maritime Colliery (Graig & Maesycoed), Pwllgwaun Colliery (Pwllgwaun), Red Ash Colliery (Cilfynydd), Tymawr Colliery (Troedrhiwtrwyn), Typica Colliery (Troedrhiwtrwyn) and Victoria Colliery (Maesycoed), not to mention countless coal levels and trial shafts dug into the hill sides overlooking the town from Cilfynydd, Graig, Graigwen and Hopkinstown. Other instrumental industries in Pontypridd were the - Brown Lenox/Newbridge Chain & Anchor Works south east of the town, and Crawshay’s Forest Iron, Steel & Tin Plate Works and the Taff Vale Iron Works, both in Treforest near the now University of Glamorgan.
In recent years neglect by various parties has led to one of the largest towns in the region falling into a state of disrepair. The general consensus in the town is that some substantial and overdue funding is needed to regenerate the area so that it can realise its potential on the banks of the river Taff.
The town is also home to a large hospital, Dewi Sant Hospital.
The Welsh national anthem ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ (Land of my Fathers) was composed in Pontypridd by local poets/musicians Evan James and James James. Also, Pontypridd was home to the eccentric Dr. William Price who performed the first modern cremation.
Speedway racing was staged at Taff Vale Park in 1929 / 1930.
The name of the fictional town of Pontypandy, in which children's television programme Fireman Sam is situated, is a portmanteau of Pontypridd and Tonypandy[Citing sources]..
The Welsh TV show Belonging was shot in Pontypridd
Doctor Who has also filmed outside the Market Tavern pub in Market Street. Torchwood has also filmed in various parts of Pontypridd, including the outskirting villages and communinties such as Treforest and Ynysybwl.
Initial contact between the two communities occurred in 1965 with a visit by Côr Meibion Pontypridd Welsh male voice Choir to visit a choir called called "Liederkranz" based in the Oberensingen area of Nürtingen. The Liederkranz returned the visit to Pontypridd one year later. On the occasion of the next visit of Côr Meibion to Nürtingen the partnership between the two communities was formally established - on 26 July 1968. Since then reciprocal visits between the two choirs has taken place on a regular basis. Firm friendships have been established. As one member of Côr Meibion put it, "We don't think of them as friends, we think of them as family."
It was as a result of this successful partnership that Pontypridd Urban District Council decided to have a formal Twinning link at a civic level and to join in partnership with Nürtingen. In July 1968 an Agreement was signed by John Cheesman J.P., mayor of Pontypridd and Karl Gonser mayor of Nürtingen.
This resulted in the first twinning link in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is proud to boast the longest established twinning links with Nürtingen.