Friday, November 06, 2009

chapels built in south Wales

Pillars Of Faith: "What this site is about

The Rhondda is synonymous with coal. Coal brought the people to 'The Valleys'. The people brought their religion with them.

And almost as fast as houses were built to serve the ever increasing population, chapels were built to serve their faith. There is a most famous quotation that by 1905 there were 151 Nonconformist chapels with a seating capacity of 85,105 in the Rhondda Urban District.

But for the people of The Rhondda, the chapel was much more than a place of worship. Much of the social life of the people revolved around the chapel.

Yet it is not so easy to explain the reasons for the decline in chapel attendance. The decline in the mining industry played, I believe, only a small part in this. But what is for certain, one by one the congregations diminished and the chapels closed. Many fell into disrepair and many of these were demolished.The lucky ones were acquired by developers who retained the structure and put it to good use.

And this year, I heard that several chapels with a close connection to my own family were forced to close and these could also vanish in the near future.

Although I have lived all my life in The Rhondda, I can still walk down a street and pass a building without realising that a chapel once stood at that location. But I feel that their visual memory should be retained which is why I decided to make this site."


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