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Gilfach Goch, the name translates as red valley or red river valley. The name comes from the preponderance of red heather that dots the mountain side.
Writer Richard Llewellyn spent long summers in the village with his grandfather and years later based his bestselling novel, How Green was my Valley in a fictional version of the town. The book was filmed by the great John Ford but the Hollywood version of the coal mining town was far from the reality. In the 1970's the BBC filmed the book as a mini series and much of the location work was done in Gilfach Goch.
In the early days the working hours of the coal miners were long and arduous and miners often made it a practice to attend funerals in order to get some paid leave from work. One story is documented in Katie Pritchard's History of Gilfach Goch in which a miner slipping out from work was confronted by his manager.
MANAGER - Where are you gong?
MINER - To a funeral.
MANAGER - Whose funeral?
MINER- Whoever's dead.
|Gilfach Goch's William Williams goes West|