The following synopsis has been compiled from newspaper reports from between 1874 - 1957
The sinking of Fochriw Colliery began in 1856 with No1 pit being in production in 1863 and No2 pit in 1866.
The 1851 census depicts only 2 buildings within the curtilage of what is now Fochriw, these being Llwyn Iago Farm and the Cae Glas Inn which was located at what was to become numbers 3, 4 & 5 Williams Row. As a coincidence, I was born in No3.
The 1861 census shows that the village commenced with the building of a small number of houses called Vochriw Nos 1-9 and Cae Glas Nos 1-12, with a population of 118. Pentwyn, which was called Blackwell Village, comprised Nos 1-38 and had a population of 196.
The initial colliery workforce came from Dowlais and, throughout the life of the colliery, only about 15% of the workforce was indiginous to Fochriw.
As with most industrial developments of that time the infrastructure followed the capital investment, and this was the case at Fochriw.
Initially, water was probably obtained from the numerous springs that proliferated the western slope of the valley, however, as the number of houses grew, with a corresponding increase in population, the supply of water became a great concern,
The first newspaper report that I have come across, being dated 24 October 1874, portrays this concern, in that the Gellygaer Rural Sanitary Board had previously deliberated for some time on the provision of a water supply but a detailed proposal had not been placed before them. It was therefore decided to request the Dowlais Collieries to increase the size, and thus capacity, of the colliery feeder pond (Pond Feeder), with the Board providing the filters
The 1871 census advises a population at Fochriw as 490 and at Pentwyn 251 .
It was reported in November 1874 that, although the Board had appointed a Committee to look into this matter, not one attended the pre-arranged meeting, insufficient interest being shown.
It would appear that, by July 1878 some progress had been made, but the 3/4 inch iron pipes that had been laid to convey water to Caeglas, had corroded and it was recommended that the surveyor prepare an estimate by the next meeting of the cost of 2-inch galvanised iron pipes instead. The source of the water is not given.
June 1879 saw the placement of standing pipes for water at Vochrhiw.
During July 1879 it was reported that there were 41 houses at Vochriw within 200 feet of the stand-pipe, and that there were 200 other houses that obtained their water from the stand-pipe. After considering the report of the surveyor that there would not be a sufficient quantity of water obtainable from the present