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Celebrating the Rhondda's first MP

The life and achievements of the Rhondda’s first MP have been commemorated as the county’s unique Blue Plaque Heritage Trail continues to grow.

plaque-unveiling-mpThe house at 19, St Stephens Avenue, Pentre, is the latest venue to proudly display the plaque that announces “history was made here”.

Now owned by Bob and Carol Harris, the house is a former home of William “Mabon” Abraham, who served as Rhondda's first MP from 1885-1920.

The plaque for the house was unveiled this week by Rhondda Cynon Taf Deputy Mayor Cllr Simon Lloyd and current Rhondda MP Chris Bryant. His Westminster predecessor Alan Rogers and members of the community also enjoyed the day.

Following the unveiling ceremony at the house, which was fully supported by Bob and Carol, tea, cakes and a community celebration was held at the Comrades British Legion Club in Pentre.

Cllr Lloyd said: “Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Libraries and Museums service has worked tirelessly for years to put in place a unique scheme that marks and celebrates the history of our county.

“We have a lot to be proud of and our iconic past stands us in good stead for the future. But we need to promote and share our icons and that is why the Blue Plaque Heritage Trail is so important.

house-plaque“It is only thanks to the support of voluntary and partner organisations, and residents, that we have been able to identify the icons and ensure they are celebrated accordingly. This effort would not have been possible without the £49,200 funding secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.”

William Abraham was born in Cwmafan in 1842 and became a miner at the age of 10. He was elected at the 1885 General Election as a Liberal Labour MP for the Rhondda as one of 12 MPs elected that year.

In 1898 he was a chief negotiator on behalf of the Welsh colliers in that year’s coal strike and, although the miners were unsuccessful on that occasion, it saw the creation of the South Wales Miners’ Federation (SWMF), of which Abraham became president.

He was re-elected in the 1910 election and he and other Liberal Labour members of the SWMF joined the Labour party. He resigned his seat in 1920 and died two years later, aged 78.

william-abrahamWilliam Abraham is just one of the many iconic residents, buildings and events that are being celebrated thanks to the Blue Plaque Heritage Trail.

Residents have voted for their icons - from Treorchy Male Voice Choir, Dr William Price and Manchester United hero Jimmy Murphy to the Tonypandy riots and the medieval Castell Nos.

Thanks to the grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme has become a huge success and a number of plaques have already been unveiled, with more to follow. The blue plaques, indicating a place of significance, form part of a wider initiative to celebrate RCT’s history and it is planned to introduce heritage trails, a website and information boards to interpret the scheme.