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Gorseinon
A4240 Alexandra Road, Gorseinon - geograph.org.uk - 1480632.jpg
Population Town: 8,696
Urban Area: 20,581
OS grid reference SS585985
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SWANSEA
Postcode district SA4
Dialling code 01792
Police South Wales
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament
  • Gower
Welsh Assembly
  • Gower
List of places
UK
Wales
SwanseaCoordinates: 51°40′N 4°02′W / 51.66°N 4.03°W / 51.66; -4.03

Gorseinon is a town within the City and County of Swansea, Wales, near the Loughor estuary. It was a small village until the late 19th century when it grew around the coal mining and tinplate industries. It is situated in the north west of Swansea City Centre, around 6 miles (10 km) north west of the city centre. Gorseinon is a local government community with an elected town council.

The population of the Gorseinon town council area in the 2011 Census is 8,693. However, the ONS defines an area called the Gorseinon Urban Area which comprises all of the continuous built up area in and around Gorseinon. This area includes Gorseinon, Loughor, Garden Village and Penllergaer and has a population of 20,581.

History

Religious development

In 1840 the population of Gorseinon was barely 250 people. There were then two churches in the area. One was St Teilo's Church, Llandeilo Tal-y-bont, also known as the “Church on the Marsh” – this has now been rebuilt in the St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff. The other church was Brynteg Chapel, the only non-conformist chapel for miles, which was built in 1815 and still stands.

Several churches and chapels were built in the 1880s. The first church in the town was Holy Trinity Church, built in 1882 and extended in 1884. Seion Baptist Church opened in 1886, built on a riverbank at the bottom of Gorseinon, but by 1902 a new Seion was built in the High Street. The old Seion was taken over by the English Methodists, but this eventually became the Moose Hall. Bethel English Congregational Church (Evangelical) was built in 1894. West Street Bethel Chapel in Masons Road was built as an English Congregationalist church. Ebenezer, the Welsh Congregational Chapel opened in 1887, but by 1909 a new chapel was built near Seion Capel.

St. Catherine’s Church was built in 1913 and the Salvation Army church in 1910. A Roman Catholic church in Pontardulais Road was built in 1932 and a new church was built on Alexandra Road in the 1960s, designed by the architect Robert Robinson, a local Gower man.

Agricultural and industrial development

Gors Eynon first appeared on an Ordnance Survey map in 1813, but by 1830 the name appeared in its modern spelling.

The monks of Neath Abbey paid many visits to this locality, and evidence of this were several mills built on the banks of local rivers; Cadle Mill, on the Lliw, Pontlliw, Melyn Mynach, and Loughor Mill. There was one weaving mill and two flour mills on the river. These were worked by the monks to provide food and clothing for the Abbey, wool being brought here from Gower sheeplands. By the end of the thirteenth century the monks at Melyn Mynach owned vast acreage devoted to sheep farming. They produced high quality wool at Cwrt Y Carnau, which was traded in Flanders and Italy. With the arrival of the black death and bubonic plague in the fourteenth century, labour became scarce and the monks were forced to sell or rent to the local farmers. Eventually, during Henry VIII’s reign, the few monks that were left were pensioned off, as their land passed into crown hands.

Mr. John Pryce, a legal gentleman, who was originally from the area but had moved to London, returned to raise a family at Cwrt Y Carne. In 1575 he purchased the manor and land, and also the mill at Melyn Mynach. The whole estate totalled over 130 acres (0.53 km2). Pryce tried to squeeze every penny out of his tenant farmers and many disputes followed. The Pryce family prospered and by the early eighteenth Century, the name had changed to Price.

The last owner of the Melyn Mynach was the husband of a Price family member. He was called Nathaniel Cameron – Mayor of Swansea. He also owned the Mountain Colliery but sold the Mill after getting into financial difficulties to Mr. William Lewis, the founder of Gorseinon.

There were few industries but coal was plentiful. A drift was opened in 1846 and became known as “The Mountain Coal”. This coal was transported on a narrow gauge railway line to Loughor, where it was loaded onto barges and sent to Llanelli for transportation all around the world. The drift mine continued to be worked until 1900, when a shaft was sunk. Now known as the Mountain Colliery, it produced at its peak in excess of 200,000 tons of coal a year with a workforce in excess of 900. It was closed in 1969.

In 1860 the L.N.W.R. wanted to extend the line from Pontarddulais to Swansea. William Lewis, a young industrialist sold them the land and a station was erected in 1870 – this became known as Gorseinon Station. The Mountain Colliery laid a siding from the Colliery to the Station and coal was redirected to Swansea Docks.

The first day-school was opened in 1880 at Penyrheol. The Headmaster, Mr. Jones, afterwards transferred to Gorseinon. As Gorseinon’s industries grew so did its housing and streets, with the development of Mill Street, Gorseinon Terrace, Eynon Street and High Street.

In 1886 the Grovesend Tin Works was built and the Lewis Family built many houses around the area to house the workers. The Grovesend Steelworks opened in 1890, but in 1891 all tinplate workers in South Wales were involved in a seven-month strike and times were very hard for the workers.

Gorseinon had two public houses, the Gorseinon Hotel (Bottom Hotel) and the Station Hotel (the Gyp). It was said that the Bottom Hotel was for miners and the Gyp was for tinplate workers and it was a mortal sin to encroach on another man’s territory. Then in 1892 the West End Hotel was built and the Mardy in 1901 bring the number of public houses to four.

Gorseinon Institute was opened in 1904 and in 1908 the Bryngwyn Sheetworks was opened

Facilities

The town has a well-established local hospital, donated to the community prior to the establishment of the National Health Service by the local industrialist, (William) Rufus Lewis, who also established Parc y Werin People's Park

Gorseinon has a library, a district housing office and a post office.

Sport and leisure

  • Gorseinon RFC play Rugby Union in WRU Division One West.
  • Garden Village FC play in the Welsh Football League Division Two.
  • Gorseinon Cricket Club play in the South Wales Cricket Association Division One.
  • Gower Riders cycling club are based in the town and hold an annual cyclo-cross race at Melin Mynach in the town.
  • Swansea Sharks roller hockey club play in the South Wales region of the BIPHA.
  • Garngoch Golf Club, Gorseinon, operated between about 1930 and 1950.

Gorseinon hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1980.

For more than 50 years, Gorseinon was home to 'La Charrette', the UK's smallest cinema, established by local electrician, the late Gwyn Phillips. Built from a disused railway carriage, the cinema opened in 1953; when the decay of its structure forced closure in February 2008, 'La Charrette' was dismantled and taken to the Gower Heritage Centre. The last film shown at La Charette was a black-tie premiere of Danny Boyle's Alien Love Triangle attended by Kenneth Branagh, who starred in the film, and organised by Observer film critic Mark Kermode.

The recently opened Canolfan Gorseinon Centre features a multi-use hall, training rooms, office room for small businesses, a creche and a bar and cafe.

Transport

Gorseinon bus station is located just off West Street in the town centre. Bus services are provided by First Cymru with services to the surrounding villages and to Llanelli and Swansea city centre. The bus station was rebuilt making an improvement to the area. The town lost its train service in 1964 under the Beeching Axe.

The primary route through Gorseinon is the A4240 road which crosses the town centre as High Street and Alexandra Road. The A4240 connects Gorseinon with Llanelli to the west; and Penllergaer and the M4 Motorway (Junction 47) to the east.

Geology

  • Bedrock Geology

Grovesend formation

Gorseinon is built upon the Grovesend formation. Lithological characteristics are predominantly argillaceous, comprising mudstones and siltstones, with well developed coals; minor lithic ("Pennant") sandstones; locally developed red mudstones in the type area. Description of the lower boundary of this formation is that the base is placed at the base of the Swansea Four-Feet Coal of the Swansea district (equivalent of the Llantwit No.3 Seam in the Pontypridd district and the Mynyddislwyn Seam east of the Taff valley), where it overlies mudstone seatearth at the top of the predominantly arenaceous Swansea Member in the Swansea district and the similar Hughes Member in the east of the coalfield. It is a conformable boundary in the west, but is assumed to be an unconformable one in the east (Woodland et al., 1957; Squirrell and Downing, 1969; Barclay, 1989). Also taken at the base of the laterally correlatable Rudge Coal in the Radstack part of the Somerset Coalfield, the High Coal of the Bristol Coalfield and the Avonmouth No.1 Coal of the Severn Coal Basin. Description of the upper boundary is The Grovesend Formation is the youngest unit found in the South Wales and Forest of Dean coalfields. It is overlain unconformably by sandstones of the Sherwood Sandstone Group in the Newent Coalfield, by mudstones of the Mercia Mudstone Group in the Oxfordshire Coalfield and either the Sherwood Sandstone or Mercia Mudstone groups in the Bristol/Somerset Coalfields.

Swansea Member Formation

Small outcrop of this formation occurs to East of a fault which has a North-South orientation which is in the penllergaer region of Gorseinon. Lithological characteristics are green-grey, lithic arenites ("Pennant sandstones") with thin mudstone/siltstone and seatearth interbeds, and mainly thin coals. Description of the lower boundary of this formation is that the base is placed at the base of the Golden Seam (Swansea Three Feet or Graigola) (Woodland et al., 1957), where the coal rests on mudstone seatearth within a predominantly arenaceous sequence of the Pennant Sandstone Formation. Description of the upper boundary of this formation is that the top is placed at the base of the Wernffraith Seam (correlated with the Mynyddislwyn Seam of the eastern part of the South Wales Coalfield) where the coal overlies mudstone seatearth with a predominantly arenaceous sequence of the Pennant Sandstone Formation, and is overlain conformably by the mudstone-dominated succession of the Grovesend Formation.

  • Drift Geology

The most common drift deposit in Gorseinon are Devension till (boulder clay) glacial deposits. The Afon Lliw is dominated by Alluvium deposits. Tidal flat deposits occur East of Gorseinon near the estuary.

  • Economic Geology

Several coal mines and shafts occur in South Gorseinon. There are also abundant aggregate quarries in North Gorseinon. Coal seams occur in the Southern and Eastern limits of Gorseinon.

  • Structural Geology

A large axial plan of an Anticline occurs South of the hospital in Gorseinon with a North West-South East orientation. Four major faults with a North-South orientation in the Gorseinon region.

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