20 May 2013
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Pontardawe Pontardawe is a pretty town with a lengthy industrial history. Its prosperity was initially based on the iron industry and to this it owes its bridge, designed by the William Edwards who was also responsible for the more famous bridge at Pontypridd. It later became a centre of the tinplate industry. William Parsons’ Primrose Forge and Tinplate Works has now virtually disappeared. What survives is the church of St Peter with its amazing needle-like spire, 197 feet high, paid for by William Parsons and built according to his insistence that it was to be higher than his factory chimneys. John Newman in his Buildings of Glamorgan describes St Peter’s as ‘a model of Ecclesiological rectitude’ but admits that ‘the details, however, betray the recklessness of an inexperienced architect with plenty of money to spend.’ The town centre has been pedestrianised with attractive street furniture and the Swansea Canal is clean and well cared for.