The societies, choirs and bands that were formed by the miners and foundry workers still flourish even though the industries are long gone. Our creative talent ‘exports’ like Katherine Jenkins, Michael Sheen and Anthony Hopkins all call this neck of the woods ‘home’. Even elusive street-artist Banksy was inspired enough to leave us an early Christmas present in 2018.
The people who live, work and play here are as much a part of the area as our landscapes. You’ll find our inimitable character everywhere – friendly, straight-talking and authentically Welsh.
When you visit Neath Port Talbot, you’ll see how the past has shaped our region. Celtic and Roman stones and crosses will give you an insight into life here over 2,000 years ago. The impressive ruins of a monastic settlement are a legacy of the Normans, who swept through this part of Wales in the 11th century.
Our region was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and by the 16th century, was one of the principal areas of the coal mining industry in Wales. The presence of this coal was a catalyst for other industries like copper smelting, ironworks and tin plating. A network of canals was built to transport these goods to Neath and Swansea docks, from which they were shipped all around the world. Here’s a fact for you: The roof of the White House was once covered in metal plating made right here in Pontardawe!
Although the area is no longer a world centre for coal mining and metal manufacture, we’re hugely proud of our industrial heritage and how it’s given shape and spirit to the communities that live here today. And the next chapter of our story is just beginning.