Aberdare Temperance Hall Building

Aberdare Temperance Hall (picture taken around 1880’s)
Picture courtesy of RCTCBC
Agreement June 1857

The Agreement made this fourth of June one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven, between John Evans Forge Manager, Thomas Hopkins, Merchant; and William Parker, Plasterer; Abraham Mason, Currier; William Griffiths, Ironmonger, Lewis Griffiths, Grocer; Daniel Griffith, Ironmongers; William Morgan, Accountant, all of Aberdare, and Gwilym Williams of Ynyscynon of one part hereinafter designated by the term: “the said Trustees,” and Phillip Rees of Aberdare aforesaid Contractor of the other part.

Witnesseth that the said Phillip Rees agrees with the said Trustees to erect a building to be called “The Temperance Hall,” Aberdare on a spot of ground already fixed upon accordance both plans and specification shown to the said Phillip Rees and signed by him for the purpose if identification all the time of the signing of this Agreement, and to provide all the materials for the same for the sum of One Thousand Seven Hundred and ninety pounds and that he will perform all the work required to be done by the Specification and Plans in a workmanlike manner, and to reasonable satisfaction of the said Trustees or their Surveyor, and in consideration of such work being done in manner aforesaid they the said Trustees hereby agree with the said Phillip Rees to pay him sum of One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety pounds in a manner, hereinafter expressed.

That payment shall be made to the said Phillip Rees in respect of the work and materials on the first fay of very calendar month of the extent of two thirds of value of the work done and material used, such work to be certified by the Surveyor of the said Trustees, and the remaining one third to be kept in hand by the said Trustees as a guarantee for the performance of the contract and on the Surveyor of the said Trustees certifying that this Contract has been duly performed the remaining one third shall be paid to the said Phillip Rees.
That the whole of the work shall be completed and be cleaned out ready to be delivered up the said Trustees on or before the first day of July, One thousand eight hundred and fifty eight and that if the same shall not be completed the said Phillip Rees shall forfeit and pay the said Trustees the sum of five pounds per week for every week beyond that day the same to be considered and are hereby declared to be liquidated damages and the said  Trustees are hereby authorized  to retain them out of any money in their hands due under this Contract.

That the Specification and Plans and this Contract shall be read as one document, and it is hereby declared and agreed that whenever the terms of the above written Agreement differ from the sums of the Specification that this Agreement shall to considered  as the binding Contract, and to the extent and in those instanced where they differ, this Contract shall over-ride the Specification.

At being completed upon the framing of the said Specification that the said Phillip Rees should have procured two sureties in a certain sum for the performance of the said Contract, it was on the making of this Agreement arranged, that in lieu thereof the said Phillip Rees should deposit in the hands of the said Trustees which he has accordingly done, his Title Deeds to curtain property which shall be considered as a security in their hands to the extent of Six  hundred pounds for the due performance of this Contract and the said Specification. Now the said Phillip Rees doth hereby charge the said Deeds and the property, held thereunder with the due performance of this Contract and that if he should fail therein that the said Trusteed shall hold the said Deeds and properly until the same shall be fully completed to the sum of six hundred so far as the same shall be chargeable upon the said property. As witness the hands of the parties the day and year first above written.

The Aberdare United Eisteddfod 17.09.1870

The above annual eisteddfod was held at the Temperance Hall on Monday. The President was the renowned Dr. William Price, of Pontypridd, who arrived and was duly installed in the chair at 11 o’clock. The adjudicators of singing were Mr. J. H. Rowlands (Asaph Glan Dyfi), Ystalyfera; Mr. C. Videon Harding, organist, Canon then and Mr. D. Griffiths, Aberdare. The adjudicator of prose, poetry, &c, was the Rev. W. Thomas (Islwyn) Pontllanfraith. The adjudicators of recitations, &c., were Brythonfryn Griffiths, Merthyr, and the Rev. Mr. Morgan, Aberdare.

The eisteddfod was formally opened by a song, with harp accompaniment, by Mr. R. Rees (Eos Morlais), “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau,” in the chorus of which the assembly joined.

Dr. William Price, the president, next rose to address the eisteddfod in Welsh. He was dressed in his usual costume of green, and hell in his hand what he called “Coelbren y Beirdd,” on which were inscribed 28 letters, one of which was invisible, and these characters represented the number of days in the lunar month. In his opening address, Dr. Price stated that he had copied those letters 30 years ago at Paris, and that from a manuscript 2,000 years old. Some linguists asserted that these were Greek characters, but he maintained, in the face of all counter opinions, that they were purely Welsh characters, and he challenged the universe to prove the contrary. He also alleged that Cian, the Welsh bard, was the real Homer, and the original author of the “Lliad” and “Odyssey,” notwithstanding the conflicting testimony on the subject. His remarks elicited much applause, and his eccentric appearance created a great deal of interest.

The bards were next called to address the meeting, and Gorwyst Ddu, Thomas Drew, Wil o’r Mynydd, Dyffrynfab, and Hopkin, Mountain Ash, responded.

The competition then commenced with the recitation of “Y Ni,” and the reciters and adjudicators adjourned to another room in the hall. Fifteen competed, and Elianwyson was declared victorious.

The prize for the best two stanzas on the metre, “March of the men of Harlech,” to Dr. Price,’ was awarded to Mr. William Coslett (Gwilym Elian), Groeswen.

Hywel Morganwg received the prize for the best” Englynion” to the press of the Gwladgarwr.

Islwyn next read his adjudication on the essays on the “Human Mind.” Eight compositions had been received, and he pronounced Descartos to; be the winner, who proved to be Mr. David John, Taff’s Well, and he was represented by Mr. H. Roberts (Robyn Meirion).

Adjudication on the Stanzas epitaph to Mrs. Rebecca Lloyd: Out of 15 compositions that of Evan Rees (Dyfedfab), Aberdare, was declared o excel.

Stanza to the “Clock” to (Awrlais): 17 compositions, and Coslett Coslett (Carn Elian), took the prize.

Eos Dar next sang the successful stanzas to Dr. Price, “March of the Men of Harlech.”

Female composition, reciting: “Y Nhw.” Six competed and the prize was divided between Elizabeth Lot, Landore, and Mary Maria Francis, Dowlais.

Next came, the chief choral competition of the day, and which had been looked forward to with unflagging interest during the proceedings. The prize for rendering this piece was £15, and the fight for it was, as was anticipated, unusually severe. The Siloh Choir, Landore, under the conductorship of Eos Morlais, was declared victorious, the adjudicators remarking that the winning choir had surpassed Nazareth Choir, Aberdare, in some points.

Adjudication on the stanzas” Eclipse of the Moon.” Five compositions, the best of which was that signed “Arsyllydd,” but upon being called, he did not make his appearance.

Solo singing, “Every Valley.” Four competed, and the prize was won by Benjamin James, Aberdare.

Adjudication poem (Cywydd) on “Y Nant:” Five compositions had been received, and Mr. Evan Rees (Dyfedfab), Aberdare, was the successful competitor.

Adjudication on the four stanzas, “Serch Cymro at ei wlad” Sixteen competitors, and the prize was given to Rees Phillips, Mountain Ash.

The prize for the best poem on: “Daniel in the Den” was won by “Hosea,” whose real name was Rev. W. Thomas (Gwilym Glanffrwd).

Choral competition: Bethel.” Six choirs competed; the best, Nazareth, Aberdare.

Singing the glee: “Y Gwanwyn;” by a party of 16. Two parties competed, Siloa (Aberdare) Glee Party taking the prize.

This brought the competition to a close. The hall was densely crowded throughout the day, and the adjudicators seemed to give general satisfaction.

Aberdare Temperance Hall
Aberdare Temperance Hall
(Picture courtesy of RTCBC)

Aberdare Oratorio Concerts 30.12.1876

Seldom or ever has so much interest been exhibited in any musical performance in this town as on the occasion of the production of Handel’s magnificent oratorio of Samson, in the Temperance Hall, on Christmas Day and following day? As our readers are aware, this was the third of a series of annual oratorio concerts given by the Aberdare Choral Union, and it is highly gratifying to note that the success which has attended these gatherings year after year appears to be steadily on the increase. In addition to the choir, under the able conductorship of Mr Rees Evans (Siloa Chapel, Aberdare), the following well-known artistes were engaged to take the solo parts, viz. Miss Mary Davies, R.A.M., (soprano), Miss Martha Harris, R.A.M. (contralto), Mr James Sauvage, R.A.M. (tenor), Mr Thomas Brandon (bass), whilst the minor parts were assigned to Messrs T. Howells (Hywel Cynon), W. Thomas, and T. S Thomas.

The orchestra consisted of the Gloucester String Band and the Cheltenham Promenade Band, under the leadership of Mr E. G. Woodward. Messrs D. Bowen and J. Perkins played the accompaniments. Some idea of the magnitude of the work undertaken by our local choristers may be gleaned from the fact that over a score of choruses had to be learned, together with a large number of airs and recitatives, the former including some of the great composer’s best productions. The successful manner in which the whole of these were rendered testified that a vast amount of careful study, extending over many months, had been bestowed upon them, and the leader, Mr Evans, is therefore justly entitled to the warmest praise for his untiring efforts in providing the public with so rich a musical feast.

The proceedings commenced at three o’clock with an overture by the band, followed by the recitative “This day a solemn feast,” by Mr Sauvage (Samson), and chorus, “Awake the trumpet’s lofty sound.” The air, “Ye men of Gaza,” was next given with marked effect by Miss Davies (Dalila) who possesses a rich soprano voice. She was loudly applauded, but the leader informed the audience that no encores could be permitted. Mr Sauvage in his rendering of the airs, “Total eclipse” and “Why does the God of Israel sleep?” also met with equally warm expressions of approval, and it is only fair to state that he acquitted himself throughout with much ability. Miss Harries (Micah) in the recitative, “There lies our hope,” at once proved herself a vocalist of no mean order, her beautiful contralto voice combined with the clearness of her enunciation being much admired. The first part was concluded by the choir singing the favourite chorus, “Then round about the starry throne,” with thrilling effect. Indeed, the whole of the choruses were given with much spirit and showed an amount of careful training, which reflected equal credit both on the leader and choir.

In the second part the principal feature was the appearance of Mr Brandon aw Harapha. The air, “Honour and arms” was magnificently rendered by that gentleman, who exhibited a perfect mastery over the task allotted to him. A finer bass voice we have rarely heard. His performances through-out was of a very high order and gave evident satisfaction to all present. Messrs T. Howells, W. Thomas, and T. S. Thomas also acquitted themselves with much ability. The instrumental portion of the proceedings, too, was well sustained, and added much to the effectiveness of the performance. Altogether the oratorio may be said to have been produced in a highly satisfactory manner.

Aberdare Temperance Hall
Aberdare Temperance Hall
(Picture courtesy of RTCBC)

Laying of the foundation stone of a new Temperance Hall Aberdare 1st August 1857
Aberdare Temperance Hall
Aberdare Temperance Hall
(Picture courtesy of RTCBC)
On Monday last, the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of a new Temperance-hall was performed by Mrs. Williams, Ynyscynon, in the presence of a large concourse of people. The site selected for this edifice is in Cynon Street, Maes-y-Dre, and will undoubtedly be an ornament to this part of the town. The hall will be 80 feet by 50 feet, and will be rendered capable of accommodating from 1,000 to 1,200 persons. Under the hall, which will be on the first floor, will be suits of rooms for offices, reading-rooms, &c., and attached to it will be a Temperance Hotel. The exterior walls have been built as far the first floor, and a part of the beams and joists laid down, so that the “foundation stone” of the hall is some 14 or 16 feet above the level of the road.

The weather was very unpropitious, as it rained without intermission during nearly the whole of the after- noon, and the company were obliged to take shelter in Siloh Chapel to finish their proceedings.

H. A. Bruce, Esq., M.P., was expected to preside on the occasion, but some unforeseen circumstances arose to prevent his attendance. In the absence of that gentleman, Thomas Wayne, Esq. was unanimously voted to the chair, and addressed the meeting in a speech of considerable length.

Mr. Morgan, the secretary, afterwards read a report of the committee, from which the following are extracts After much deliberation, from March, 1856, to the present time, they have come to the determination of erecting a Temperance-hall, measuring 80 feet by 50 feet, which it is supposed will afford sittings for 1,000 or 1,200 people. Its costs, by the time it will be completed, will be about £2,000. It will be the property of the Aberdare Temperance Society, invested in the names of the following trustees:—Messrs. John Evans, Thomas Hopkin, Abraham Mason, William Parker, William Griffiths, Lewis Griffiths, Daniel Griffiths, William Morgan, and Gwenllyan Williams. The whole of the management and responsibility will rest with these trustees, who have also been elected the managing committee by the society. Not a penny of the profits derived from the edifice will ever accrue to them nor to any person, but, as soon as it shall become free of debt, the proceeds will be appropriated to the diffusion of temperance throughout the neighbourhood. The society would therefore respectfully appeal to the public for pecuniary assistance, and they do this confidently believing that their appeals will be cheerfully responded to. The society feel proud to say that the subscription-list already amounts to above £160, of which the trustees’ names stand for £45. Under the hall will be erected convenient and useful rooms, which may be made available for many purposes, such as a public library, reading-room, committee-rooms, &c. A Temperance Hotel will also belong to, and be a part thereof.

Mrs. Williams then proceeded to lay the stone, which ceremony having been completed amidst the applause of the assembled multitude.

The meeting was addressed by the Rev. J. Griffiths (St Elvan’s Aberdare), the Rev. D. Saunders (Bethania, Aberdare), Mr J. Cory (Mine-owner), Rev. Owen Jones, Mr. Williams (“David Williams,” Ynyscynon), Rev. W. Edwards (Ebenezer Chapel, Trecynon), Dr. Davies, and others, and the meeting separated.

Aberdare Temperance Hall
Aberdare Temperance Hall
(Picture courtesy of RTCBC)