With a population of roughly 47,000 people, Neath is the largest town in the county of Neath Port Talbot. The town is famous for the ruins of Neath Abbey, once the largest abbey in Wales.
Neath Through Time
Uploaded to YouTube by Elks, this is a lovely collection of old photographs and pictures of Neath in the olden days.
This short film from garnwenfilms displays old photographs of Neath streets in the past, then shows us footage of the same location today. Useful dates are added to many of the photographs too.
History of Neath ( Neath Antiquarian Society )
Keith Edwards converted his VHS video, made by the Neath Antiquarian Society. Reference is made to the bridge built in 1988. There’s a lot of valuable information, old photos and film. Plus, the ‘modern’ footage taken for the video is now itself showing lost streetscapes.
Lloyd George Visits Neath
During the Great War, later known as the First World War, Lloyd George officially visited Neath. In this British Pathé film, huge crowds of spectators pack the streets to see him. It’s astonishing that the procession got through them all. Later footage of the motor procession shows how many people lined the streets. There are surprisingly few soldiers or policemen holding back the crowds, but everyone behaves well.
Lloyd George met female munitions workers and dignitaries. The women appear again in the procession at the end of the film – there is a very large number of them.
We see a close up row of soldiers with bayonets guns, and later a marching band and a contingent of soldiers on horseback, but men in uniform are visible from afar in many scenes.
Between The Wars
Both men and women competed for this trophy in 1925. Crowds of spectators watched from the riverbank, and the bridge was decked in banners.
The opening shots show dignitories in all their splendour.
When we move to the procession, there’s an amusing moment as one policeman on a horse rides the wrong way and is called over by his colleague.
The various groups marching includes lots of young lads in their scout uniforms, followed by slightly older girls in their guides uniform. There’s a marching band, and rows upon rows of policemen.
It’s unclear who the group in top hats are, closely followed by the group in bowler hats and then another collection of top hatted men. The Lord Mayor appears at the end of the procession, surrounded by people in their official clothing.
It’s clear from the flags and medals that many of the participants saw action in the Great War 1914-1918. Just two years after this film was made, the Second World War began.
The streets are very busy with spectators.
The Town And Area In The 1960s
The Welsh writer and broadcaster Gwyn Thomas was the twelfth and last child of a coal-mining family in the Rhondda Valley. In the 1960’s, he made a series of short films about life in South Wales. Here we see him visiting a number of rural locations around Neath, and discovering some of the people and places in the town itself.
More Recent Times
DaveSpencer32’s clip from one of the DVDs he sells shows many passengers and pedestrians going about their daily lives.
A lighthearted short sketch from the Neath Little Theatre in September 2011, promoting their upcoming show. Time travels quickly, so no doubt all the participants look back to the location and cast with a sense of nostalgia. Especially in the lockdown of 2020, when the future of theatre seems uncertain.
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