A ROYAL CHOIR FOR WALES

Victorian Wales was a heartland of competitive choral singing, galvanised by a musical intensity the likes of which had never been witnessed before. For more than a century, the industrial valleys was a the volatile melting pot of a culture inspired by the sound of people united in song.

Arising from the need to  express religious fervour or to rise above hardship and poverty, choral singing converted even the most revived Nonconformist  into  tribal warfare in the competition arena.

Choral rivalries caused mayhem as eisteddfod marquees packed with thousands of supporters came to resemble gladiatorial arenas. These industrial Welsh heartlands became hotbeds of musical fanaticism – competitors were vindictive, big money was at stake in bets, lawsuits took place and sabotage was used.

This is the story of three Welsh conductors, the choirs they formed, the battles they fought, the overseas tours they led and the deep desire to win the approval of the Queen Empress of Great Britain and her Colonies.

£12.99 (Dean Powell Publishing)

CWM RHONDDA: WALES’ SECOND GREAT ANTHEM

“Bread of heaven! Bread of heaven!” – this is a chorus that can raise your passions in a mighty gothic cathedral or a packed rugby stadium the world over.

The hymn tune “Cwm Rhondda” is one of the most glorious Welsh melodies of all time. John Hughes wrote the first version of the tune, which he called “Rhondda”, for a cymanfa ganu in Pontypridd in 1907, when the enthusiasm of the Welsh Revival still remained.

During the last century this glorious melody with its inspiring chorus has lifted the soul in both sacred and secular settings. Learn how it gave hope to those British soldiers fighting in the trenches of World War I and how the royal family embraced it in funerals and weddings alike.

Today is remains a global legacy to John Hughes. His masterful composition is loved and cherished in the settings of a religious ceremony on performed by tens of thousands of fervent Welsh rugby fans blasting from the terraces.

£3.99 (Dean Powell Publishing)

HISTORY OF THE HILLTOP

Llantrisant’s charm and elegance lies not only in its position high on the crest of two hills, but in the famous landmark buildings that occupy its quaint, unplanned streets. The glory of what was once a magnificent hilltop fortress, like a dominant city from Biblical times, was crowned by its medieval castle and fine parish church.

Those landmarks still exist, surrounded by a cluster of homes, which cling precariously to the steep slopes, scattered throughout the town’s charming, cobbled streets. This glorious colour guide book of the ancient town gives readers a wonderful insight into the rich history of Llantrisant from its early Norman invasion and community of Freemen to the roll its archers played in the wars with France.

Learn about its lands and buildings along with unique traditions and characters including Dr William Price and Sir David Evans, the Lord Mayor of the world’s greatest city. All proceeds from sales of this publication are donated to Llantrisant Guildhall Heritage & Visitors’ Centre.

£5.99 (Llantrisant Guildhall Trust)

LLANTRISANT RFC: 125th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BLACK ARMY

Llantrisant Rugby Football Club was formed in 1889 and has been known as the “Black Army” team ever since.

Throughout their history the club has enjoyed some outstanding success, including reaching the Mallet Cup Final in 1949 and winning the prestigious Brewer’s Cup in 1982. The Club has also produced two Welsh rugby internationals in Bradley Davies and Scott Andrews.

This publication tells the story of their successes, tragedies and fighting spirit on the rugby field. It also gives an insight into the club’s role in the community and how players took the name of Llantrisant around the world with their memorable overseas tours.

Filled with anecdotes from Welsh rugby internationals, a history of the teams and over a hundred team photographs, it provides a lasting record of success for Llantrisant RFC. All proceeds from the sale of this publication is donated to Llantrisant Rugby Football Club.

£14.99 (Dean Powell Publishing)

DR WILLIAM PRICE: WALES’S FIRST RADICAL

Chartist, surgeon, heretic, Archdruid and pioneer in the legalisation of cremation in the British Isles, Dr William Price was undoubtedly one of the most flamboyant, romantic and eccentric characters in Welsh history. Famed healer, crusader of reform, exiled political activist and a sparkling, dynamic, eloquent man who blazed progress and controversy by outraging a conventional society, there was much more to Price than his radical attitudes to cremation.

Poverty-stricken in his youth, his father was an insane priest, although Price remarkably became a surgeon by the age of just twenty-one. He created an embryonic national health service, masterminded the first Museum of Welsh Life, launched Wales’s first cooperative society, had visions of a new massed druidic rising and was exiled to France as a Chartist leader. Calling his first son Iesu Grist, he cremated its dead corpse. The landmark court case led to the passing of the Cremation Act in 1902.

£12.99 (Amberley Publishing)

TREORCHY MALE CHOIR – 70 GLORIOUS YEARS

Celebrating their 70th anniversary since reforming following World War II, this souvenir publication encapsulates the incredible success story of Treorchy Male Choir which has scaled the peaks of musical distinction with an impressive history of celebrity concerts, acclaimed albums and magnificent world tours.

With opening messages from HRH Prince of Wales and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, the publication is filled with fascinating information and images taken throughout the decades.

Alongside messages from international celebrities, politicians, authors and heads of state, it provides an invaluable record of achievement accomplished by hundreds of choristers, music staff, soloists and supporters.

Filled with over a hundred photographs, this publication also includes details of the Choir’s discography, competition wins, overseas tours, delightful anecdotes and an impressive list of landmark events in its long and illustrious history.

(Caxton Press)

 

GLYN HOUSTON: A BLACK & WHITE ACTOR

This incredibly honest rags to riches story reveals how a South Wales valley boy running his grandmother’s milk round, became one of Britain’s most popular actors of television and film.

Glyn reveals his total devotion for the country of his birth as he embarked on a career that has seen him appear in more than 80 films for cinema or television and countless theatre productions. A self-confessed hell-raiser in his youth, he often spent time with drinking friends in Stanley Baker and Richard Burton, mixing with the Kray twins.

Introduced to the acting profession by older brother Donald, Glyn began his career by entertaining the troops in Singapore before making his film debut as the cheeky cockney barrow boy in Dirk Bogarde’s The Blue Lamp. This is his fascinating account of a life that has taken him from Wales to Hollywood, and has assured him a place in the annals of film history.

£12.99 (Dean Powell Publishing)

CILFYNYDD

This absorbing collection of archive images provides a comprehensive glimpse into the history of Cilfynydd.

Compiled with over 200 images, this selection highlights the history of this industrial Welsh village, one that would witness one of the worst colliery disasters in mining history, only to be further decimated by an incredible tornado some years later. Cilfynydd was also the birthplace of two of the world’s leading opera singers – one of whom received a knighthood – along with leading academics, a Peer at the House of Lords and numerous other first-class musicians and sportsmen.

Capturing snapshots of bustling streets and local industries, including an in-depth history of the Albion Colliery that shaped the village we see today, this book also provides an insight into all espects of the community, from religion and education to sport and leisure. It will delight all those who want to know more about this area of South Wales and evoke memories of a bygone time for those who have lived here.

£12.99 (The History Press)

DR WILLIAM PRICE (Wonder of Wales)

Enjoy a wonderful glimpse into the extraordinary life of one of Wales’s most famous Victorian visionaries and eccentrics, Dr William Price.

This pocket-sized bilingual (Welsh / English) biography of Dr William Price explores the key moments in his fascinating life, from his upbringing near Caerphilly to his cremation ninety-two years later before an audience of 20,000 people.

Accompanied by a stunning collection of coloured images, this short biography is an ideal introduction to a complex man of great ideals.

Chiefly remembered for his pioneering attitude to modern day cremation, you also learn about his life as a chartist leader, social reformer and Archdruid of Wales.

£4.99 (Gomer Press)

PONTYPRIDD REVISITED

The unique town of Pontypridd has seen many changes over the years and this second edition provides a nostalgic picture of how the town once appeared to those who lived and worked there in former times.

The pace and extent of the growth of the town in late Victorian and early Edwardian times was breath-taking. During the twilight years of Victoria’s reign Pontypridd’s status as a major market town and urban area was strengthened. Its growth was due to its proximity to the Glamorganshire Canal, allowing an easy route between industrial Merthyr and Cardiff and the coming of the Taff Vale Railway linking the docklands to the rapidly expanding Welsh coal field in the Rhondda.

Illustrated with over 200 fascinating old photographs of Pontypridd, the reader is taken on a journey back in time to discover why this frontier town was transformed from a sleepy agricultural region into one of the largest in Wales.

£12.99 (The History Press)

PONTYPRIDD: A MARKET TOWN

Pontypridd was a frontier town, born out of the industrialisation of its surrounding valleys and transformed from a sleepy agricultural region into one of the largest towns in Wales.

Known as the market town of the south Wales valleys, this incredible collection of more than 200 old images gives a valuable insight into the places, people, culture, sport, education, industry and events which shaped Pontypridd.

From the creation of William Edwards’ famous single-arch span bridge to the day a father and son penned a haunting Welsh hymn which became the National Anthem of their homeland, Pontypridd has a rich history to celebrate.

Learn more about its famous shops and landmark buildings, the Brown Lenox Chainworks, Brunel’s arched bridge and the longest railway platform in the world.

Our beloved “Ponty” remains a unique town and one we hold so very dear to our hearts. Read its story!

£12.99 (The History Press)

ECCENTRIC – THE LIFE OF DR WILLIAM PRICE

Chartist, surgeon, heretic, archdruid and pioneer of cremation in the British Isles, Dr Price was one of the most flamboyant and eccentric characters in Welsh history.

Born to an insane father and poverty stricken in his youth, he incredibly became a fully qualified surgeon at 21. With an obsessions for Welsh culture and patriotism, he masterminded Wales’ first national museum and fought for his political beliefs in the chartist cause.

Passionate about improving the lives of the working classes he launched Wales’ first cooperative and created an embryonic health service while forever fighting in the law courts and having children out of wedlock!

This is a delightful insight in to the life of Dr William Price, his thoughts, aspirations, hopes, dreams and above all his determination to leave an indelible mark on the history of Wales.

£10.99 (Dean Powell Publishing)

LLANTRISANT REVISITED

Commanding an outstanding setting on the crest of a hill, Llantrisant’s splendor lies in its enchanting beauty and celebrated past.

Bloodthirsty battles, pioneering acts of cremation and captured kings of England have all played a part in shaping the vibrant town, as have the generations of families who have lived and worked there.

This fascinating collection of over 200 old images pays tribute to the people who have proudly called Llantrisant their home. With in-depth text, the reader is taken on a journey through the town, meeting memorable individuals on the way.

Llantrisant Revisited offers a nostalgic and valuable record of the past, and will provide newcomers with an understanding of how the modern community of the area has evolved.

£14.99 (The History Press)

LLANTRISANT

From its imposing vantage point high on the ridge of a hill, the town of Llantrisant has seen many changes in its long history. Bloodthirsty battles, uprisings, royal scandals and world-famous events have all played a part in shaping the vibrant town of today, as have the generations of people who have lived and worked there.

This fascinating collection of old images explores the history of Llantrisant. With accompanying text, the reader is taken on a journey through the town, exploring the streets and lanes, houses, schools, churches and workplaces. We meet many of the local, sometimes eccentric, characters along the way, learning about everyday life, culture and the traditions that have made this town a jewel in the crown of South Wales.

Charters, victorious archers, captured kings, Norman invasions and Lord Mayors of London all form part of the town s historic charm. This publication offers a nostalgic and valuable record of the past, and for newcomers it will provide an understanding of how the community has evolved and it is so well loved by residents and visitors alike.

£12.99 (The History Press)

TREORCHY MALE CHOIR

The internationally celebrated Treorchy Male Choir has enchanted audiences around the world for more than 130 years.From their Royal Command Performance for Queen Victoria to their appearance at the Royal Variety Show more than a century later, the Choir continues to entertain to celebrated packed houses.

The most recorded male voice choir with more than ninety albums to their name, Treorchy enjoys an unbeaten competition record and has performed with Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Andrews and Shirley Bassey.

The Choir has undertaken an enviable number of overseas tours, including two visits to Canada and four tours of the USA followed, with visits to the White House and performances in San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and the Mid West.

Treorchy became the first Welsh choir to appear at the Sydney Opera House and made three further visits “down under” and a triumphant sell-out concert tour of New Zealand.

£9.99 (The History Press)

MUSICAL RHONDDA

This fascinating collection of over 200 photographs, programme covers and other memorabilia covers a golden era of music-making in the Rhondda, from the last half of the nineteenth century up to the 1960s.

The thousands of newcomers who came to work at the great Rhondda coalfields in the middle of the nineteenth century found many aspects of everyday life harsh. They found a release from social deprivation in music, and soon Rhondda became famous for its choirs, orchestras, brass bands and opera companies as for its coal. There was an amazing array of village, town, regional and national contests, but the climax of the musical calendar was always the National Eisteddfod, at which numerous Rhondda choirs and ensembles have achieved success.

This intriguing record charts the highs and lows of Rhondda’s musical life, both on and off the stage. Throughout the book, the images are accompanied by informative, comprehensive captions. This book is sure to appeal to all those who cherish the unique musical traditions of Rhondda.

£10.99 (The History Press)