Ynysybwl (Welsh: Ynys-y-bŵl) is a village in Cwm Clydach [valley] in Wales. It is situated in the county borough (or principal area) of Rhondda Cynon Taf, roughly 15 miles (24 km) north-northwest of Cardiff, 5 miles (8 km) north of Pontypridd and 16 miles (26 km) south of Merthyr Tydfil, and forms part of the community or civil parish of Ynysybwl and Coed-y-cwm.
Cwm Clydach is flanked by the Rhondda and Cynon Valleys. The market town of Pontypridd lies to the south at the meeting point of the three valleys; and to the north lies the large Llanwynno forestry. Before the local government reforms of 1996 Ynysybwl was in the Cynon Valley district of Morgannwg Ganol (or Mid Glamorgan), and the area is historically a part of Glamorgan (or Morgannwg in Welsh).
Ynysybwl is located in the centre of the Llanwynno parish, at the point where the stream known as Y Ffrwd flows into the Nant Clydach. Then a collection of small local farms and meadows in a quiet and completely rural valley, at the 1841 census around 200 people lived in the village and surrounding farms.
The rich seams of coal in the Mynachdy level that lie beneath the surface had thus far only been tapped to the amount required to supply these local farms. David Davies began test bores in the early 1880s at Graigddu ("Black Rock"), which proved positive, and the resultant sinking of Lady Windsor Colliery by the Ocean Coal Company on 16 June 1884 gave birth to new coal town.
Lady Windsor Colliery
Lady Windsor Colliery opened in 1886, with 300 new miners' houses built on the opposite (western) side of the valley in typical terraced fashion by the mining company to house its workers and their families.
At its peak, the colliery employed around 1,500 people directly, although most of the 6,000-7,000 village community relied upon the pit in one way or another. The pit thrived throughout the first half of the 20th century, one of a number of very successful mines in South Wales.
However coal mining fell out of favour with many people, including politicians, and the Lady Windsor Colliery did not escape the troubles that plagued the industry during the miners' strikes of the early 1980s. The pit was finally closed in 1988.
The first three maps are provided by A Vision of Britain through Time
These maps were found on Wikimedia Commons
These maps of Glamorgan post-1974 were found on another site and are very useful for sorting out the up-to-date geography of the area