Monday 26th November saw the start of a new Tonypandy Riots Project, and a selection of Post 16 students have been asked to participate. Students will be researching many different perspectives and aspects of the 1910 Tonypandy Riots. The findings will be put onto its own website created by our A Level ICT class, and will be an exemplary example for other schools.

Assisting the project is Mr David Maddox, OBE and ex head of the History department at Tonypandy, and Alun Morgan who is an ex Her Majesty School Inspector and past history teacher at the college. They both have an extensive knowledge of the famous historic event, and their interest in the topic is infectious.

The Tonypandy Riots happened over 100 years ago, and began in November 1910. Miners in the Rhondda were unhappy with the quality of life they were forced to put up with because colliery owners reused to give them a fair wage. They decided to go on strike, and this didn’t end until a year later, leaving men without jobs and families without income.

Naomi Lewis, Shannon Thomas, Alex Prosser, Dewi Harris, Zenyx Griffiths and myself travelled to Pontypridd Library well prepared for the challenge ahead. We began the research session by discussing key questions about topics such as family life during the strike, whether the media gave a fair portrayal of the riots during the time and why the event happened. Splitting into pairs, we began our research.  Access to old newspapers, dating back to over 100 years ago, photographs from the time and the experts at hand made for an interesting morning, and allowed us to delve into the past.

While the groups were busy discovering new information, Year 12 student Jack Barrowcliffe documented the session with both still images and videos. This meant the project’s progress would be recorded from the start, and these will also be put up on the website once it is concluded. Jack also conducted crucial interviews with both Mr Maddox and Alun Morgan, meaning we could take full advantage of their expertise.

And it wasn’t long before locals began to notice the work that pupils were doing. One of GTFM’s (Pontypridd local radio station) radio DJs approached the group with a fantastic opportunity. He asked students to come on his show and be interviewed about the project. This would also give us the chance to appeal for people to come forward if they have any useful information or resources that we could use.

A lot of progress has already been made, and the next research trip will be to the Records Office. More students will also be joining the group for this part of the project, and so we are all eagerly awaiting the next part of the project!


By Rochelle Embling