Ebbw Vale

Festival Park

Festival Park

First published in Town guides

Ebbw Vale (Glyn Ebwy) stands at the head of the valley of the Ebbw Fawr river and is the administrative centre of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. With a population of 24,422, it is also the largest town in the County Borough.

Aneurin Bevan, architect of the NHS was born in Blaenau Gwent and represented Ebbw Vale in Parliament. His successor as MP for the area, Michael Foot MP, said Ebbw Vale was, '...a name known all over the world - thanks to steel, Aneurin Bevan and to the individuality of its people and history.' Part of the land that used to be occupied by the Ebbw Vale steelworks was landscaped to house the 1992 Garden Festival of Wales. The site is now a successful retail park.

A former coal-mining and steel-making town, much employment now comes from hi-tech industries such as those at Rassau Industrial Estate.

The other towns in the valleys of the Ebbw and the Ebbw Fach include Abertillery and Brynmawr. Abertillery stands at the junction of the Tillery and Ebbw Fach rivers. Chiefly a mining and engineering town, it grew in the 19th century with an influx of people from the West Country, the Forest of Dean and the rest of Wales.

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Brynmawr, was home originally to ironworkers at Clydach, Nantyglo and Blaina. A precursor of the National Health Service was set up here as early as 1851, with the establishment of the first Board of Health in England and Wales.

Acknowledgements: A History of Ebbw Vale - Arthur Gray-Jones Shire County Guide - Anna Tucker Gwent County Council Guide, 1992

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