• Daniel Herbert

The History of Ogmore Vale

Ogmore Vale (Welsh: Cwm Ogwr) is a village in the county borough of Bridgend, Wales on the River Ogmore. The village's main source of income came from coal mining. Up until the year 1865, the Ogmore valley was a quiet, isolated, rural hill farmingcommunity of less than ten farms and a few cottages. Today, along with Nantymoel and Price Town it makes up the community of Ogmore Valley.

In 1851 the total population of the valley was probably less than one hundred people. On the 1 August 1865 the Ogmore Valley Railway was opened by John Brogden and Sons for mineral, goods and passenger traffic from Porthcawl to Nantymoel. The completion of the railway connections with Bridgend through Tondu and Porthcawl Dock, enabled the development to begin of the vast reserves of high quality house coals and dry steam coals of the valley.

The No. 2 and No. 3 Rhondda house and bituminous coals which outcrop along the valley were quickly proved and the Aber, Caedu and Tynewydd collieries were opened by drift mining driven into the seams from the mountain sides. In the latter part of 1865, John Brogden and Sons commenced the sinking of the two shafts at the Wyndham Colliery to prove and work the high quality smokeless dry steam coals of the Lower Coal Measures.

Brogdens lost control, first through an unavoidable merger in 1872 with the Llynvi Coal and Iron Company Ltd to make the Llynvi, Tondu and Ogmore Coal and Iron Company, then by the 1878 liquidation of the merged company after a large debenture-holder demanded his money back. After some abortive attempts to revive the business, stability was restored by the establishment of North’s Navigation Collieries (1889) Ltd.

From 1865 to 1983, when the last colliery (Wyndham/Western Mine) closed, the coal industry provided employment for the communities of the valley and much wealth was produced for the nation.

The village's Gwalia Stores, built in 1880 was moved, brick by brick, and rebuilt in St Fagans National History Museum.

The village has a rugby union club, prize winning brass band, a local history society, community centre, Wyndham Boys & Girls Club, ladies choir and a male voice choir.

There is one primary school, opened in September 2003, taking pupils from four original schools which were closed in July 2003. They were, with opening dates in brackets; Tynewydd Junior (1875), (Tynewydd was first opened in 1865 as a company school for the Aber Colliery Company), Aber Infants (1873), (Aber was originally known as Craigrhiwglyn Board School and built privately by Mrs Ann Blandy-Jenkins in 1876 and later purchased by the Llandyfodwg School Board), Fronwen Primary (1914), Ogmore Vale Nursery (1947).

Of the former school sites, the original Craigrhwiglyn (Aber Boys), Fronwen and Tynewydd sites have all been developed for local housing. The former nursery in Park Avenue has been demolished but as yet the site is undeveloped. In 2016 Aber Infants (Built 1909) and Aber Girls (Built 1912) were both demolished with a Bat Dwelling built in the yard of the former infants school to house the Bat Population of the schools.

Ogmore Vale

The village lies in the parliamentary constituency of Ogmore.

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