Clydach is the name of an electoral ward, a community and a town in the City and County of Swansea, South Wales. The town has its own elected town council serving the community.
The electoral ward of Clydach consists of some or all of the following areas: Clydach, Faerdre, Glais (East) and Penydre in the parliamentary constituency of Gower. The ward is bounded by Mawr to the west, and Morriston and Llansamlet to the south.
The town of Clydach is located about 5.5 miles north east of Swansea city centre. Its population in 2000 was 7,500, many of whom are pensioners. Clydach was recently made part of the City of Swansea, Wales with an aggregate population of 230,000. 24% of people living in Clydach class Welsh as their first language. The village is popular with families due to the availability of good Welsh and English language schools and as a result of its close proximity to the M4, Morriston Hospital and the City of Swansea.
In the early 1800’s Clydach was a small village which in the Swansea Valley. As the coal in the South Wales valleys was a valuable commodity during the industrial revolution Clydach experienced growth as a through road for transporting goods between Swansea and the many mines and heavy metal industries.
The sixteen mile long Swansea Canal was built through the centre of Clydach between 1794 and 1798. It was constructed to transport up to 400,000 tonnes of coal a year from Ystalyfera to the world’s busiest port, Swansea. The canal remained profitable until 1902, when losses were first reported. This decline in revenue and profits was largely due to the competition from its rival the Swansea Vale Railway. The last commercial cargo carried on the Swansea Canal was in 1931 when coal was conveyed from Clydach to Swansea. Boats continued to operate on the canal after that date but only for maintenance work, with horse-drawn boats last recorded at Clydach in 1958. Currently only five miles of the original sixteen miles of the canals length remain.
Clydach War Memorial Hospital was officially re-opened in March 2003 following a £1million refurbishment. The Hospital provides an extensive range of community based and clinic services for the local residents. The re-opened Hospital also provides an operational base for the voluntary carer organisation "Cross Roads". Some of these services transferred into the hospital from the Clydach Health Centre releasing accommodation for the development of primary care services; whilst others transferred from accommodation, which no longer met the needs of the current services. The hospital was used extensively during the Second World War.
The High Street
The centre of Clydach High Street, the main commercial area of the town has had major investments in improving its facilities. These include:
- Reshaping and resurfacing of the road
- New flagstones to replace tarmac pavements
- New trees
- New seats
- Cycle racks
Funding for these schemes was provided by the WDA & the City & County of Swansea. A grant of over £130,000 was made available for local high street businesses to improve the frontage to their stores.
Clydach has a market that is open from 6am until 1pm on Wednesday’s and 9am until 4pm Thursdays and Sundays. It is often very busy with locals picking up bargains such as footwear, CDs DVDs and perfume. The authenticity of these items is often questionable with pirate and counterfeit CDs and DVDs being big business in many of the South Wales valley communities. In December 2003 it was reported by the BBC that Trading Standards were investigating how 500 Air Canada in-flight breakfasts became available in Clydach Market. The microwave meals of scrambled egg, bacon, sausage and mushrooms were being sold for 20p. They were supposed to be on a flight departing London Heathrow earlier that morning.
Industry - The Clydach Refinery
The Clydach Refinery, affectionately known as The Mond was built by Ludwig Mond the inventor of the nickel carbonyl process at the turn of the 20th century. It started production in 1902. It is Europe’s largest nickel refinery. The plant was the heart of the village and one of the largest employers in the Swansea valley for many years. By 1910 over 40% of the village’s population worked in the refinery. Today, improvements in processing and a rationalization of products, the refinery now only employs just over 240 people, equating to 3% of the villages population. There is a bronze statue of Ludwig Mond, commissioned after his death in 1909, amongst the daffodils opposite The Mond’s redbrick Edwardian entrance. The refinery has been progressive in ensuring the reduction of emissions and pollutants. The River Tawe which runs alongside the refinery is once again home to breeding salmon and trout.
Leisure and Learning
Inco Golf Club
The village is home to an 18 hole golf course which was created by Inco. Until the mid 1980’s however, when a relief road was built to reduce traffic traveling through the village, the course was prone to flooding due to its close proximity to the river.
Following the demolition of the old Clydach swimming pool, or 'The Baths' as the locals called it, the Clydach Development Trust built a new multi purpose Resource Centre at a cost of approx. £1.5 million. The centre opened in 2006. It provides a range of facilities including IT centre, Training, Crèche, Healthy Living areas, Community Café with an external Multi Use Games area including basket ball courts. It also acts as an educational venue for the local St. John Ambulance Division, where members of the community can increase their skills in First Aid. The complex is situated next to the Forge Fach Waterfalls, part of the River Clydach.
2006 saw the opening of an exciting venture in Clydach. The Old Public Hall was converted into an indoor climbing centre and was renamed Dynamic Rock. It is now home to the Swansea Indoor Climbing Centre. The walls are 12m high and feature overhangs, slabs, pillars, arêtes and arches.
Cwm Clydach is a nature reserve owned by the RSPB on the outskirts of the village.