Tourist Information in Cardiff & South Wales
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Merthyr Tydfil Town Information

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A busy town standing at the head of the Taff Valley, Merthyr was the largest iron-producing town on the globe in the 19th century and played a pivotal role in the history of modern Wales.

The Richard Trevithick Monument in Merthyr Tydfil - Photo © Ray Jones
The Richard Trevithick Monument in Merthyr Tydfil
Photo: Ray Jones CCL
It was here in 1804 that Richard Trevithick tested the world’s first steam railway, the Merthyr Tramway.

In the 1830s Merthyr’s population exceeded that of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport added together, giving rise to poverty, radicalism and the popularity of one of Wales’ most famous figures, Keir Hardy, Britain’s first socialist MP. The ‘red flag’ was created here in 1831 when rioters dipped their flag in the blood of a calf.
One of the town’s old iron foundries is now a heritage centre while Merthyr’s official museum and art gallery can be found at Cyfarthfa Castle, one-time home of ironmaster William Crawshay.

Another historic memento is the old cottage of the composer Joseph Parry. For railway enthusiasts the narrow-gauge Brecon Mountain Railway based at nearby Dowlais will prove irresistible.  

Cyfarthfa Castle - Photo © Ray Jones
Cyfarthfa Castle - Photo: Ray Jones CCL