Get your free website from Spanglefish
This is a free Spanglefish 2 website.
14 April 2019
Chair’s Report for 2018-2019

When I agreed to take on the Chairperson’s role at the inauguration of this local history society two years ago I wasn’t under any illusions as to the challenges this would pose. Starting something from scratch always means there are many issues with which to grapple and with few precedents. However, these challenges have been met with the strong support of committee members plus our President and two Vice-Presidents all of whom I thank for their tremendous help. It would be invidious to pick out individuals but each of the committee has contributed their experience and dedication to make this society work and I want to say to them how tremendously grateful I am to the team I’ve had around me.

The Society came about at the instigation of Councillor Martyn Peters and has had the meeting hall here as its principal base. At the outset, however, I did argue that we should be the Dyffryn Clydach and Bryncoch Historical Society on the basis that the areas covered by these community councils, principally, Bryncoch, Longford, Neath Abbey and a portion of Skewen all shared a coal mining heritage which, historically, helped shape these localities - not to mention that on a personal level some of us have had a foot in more than one of these areas. I have no doubt that this was a correct decision and the talks we’ve enjoyed and the input on social media have demonstrated the overlaps and similarities these neighbouring areas share. 

When I look back on these two years I am satisfied that we’ve laid a good foundation having organised a programme of events for most months of these last two years, providing a longer annual talks programme, in fact, than many similar societies which take a three or even four month furlough in the summer period. I’m especially proud of the Facebook group and website we have developed. The website carries a range of items of a longer nature and which aren’t so ephemeral as perhaps are the postings on Facebook. Our Facebook group now has over 380 members, some of whom live distantly but who want to keep contact with their roots. It’s been tremendous to see the range of stories, photos, researches into particular issues and simply the enthusiasm for the past that’s apparent on social media. What might be passed up as nostalgia often produces nuggets of historic local information and I can’t number the occasions when I’ve felt enriched by something which others have written and which has stimulated my own recall. And as I said in my report last year, performing this role has been particularly enriching for me having returned to this area after an exile of over 40 years.

There are challenges to be met. Our committee operates on a very small margin having so few people on it. We are finding, as our treasurer will reveal later in her report, differences between our two meeting venues here in Longford and Bryncoch, and we probably need to address more the legacy issues of how we feed back in a more permanent way into these communities. After attending Heritage Lottery Fund grant workshops last year, I very reluctantly concluded it wasn’t practical to make an application in the light of our limited human resources to undertake the necessary research tasks over a sustained period which this would have involved. I should so like to have undertaken with such funding some in-depth research into both the operations of the Main Colliery Company and the later private coal mining ventures hereabouts and to have produced a body of work to illustrate how this heritage shaped this locality. Perhaps in a smaller way this is something that can be achieved by other means. 

Our Constitution dictates that I now step down from the Chair after two years. I am happy to continue on the committee and to keep performing other roles that I’ve been undertaking, namely of Webmaster and Admin for our Facebook group, on publicity issues and as the speaker programme secretary. Last, but not least, let me thank all of you who have supported us over the past two years and for your own very evident enthusiasm for our local history.

Jeff Griffiths 


Click for Map
sitemap | cookie policy | privacy policy | accessibility statement