In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Aberafan like this:
ABERAVON, a town and a parish at the mouth of the river Avon, in the district of Neath, Glamorgan. The town stands on the South Wales railway, in the western vicinity of Taibach, 5½ miles SSE of Neath, and 32¼ WNW of Cardiff. It is a borough, municipal and par liamentary, and a sub-port under the port of Swansea. It consists of an old part, a little inland, which is Aberavon-proper, and a new part, on the shore, which em braces the harbour, and is called Port-Talbot. It has a post office‡ of its own name under Taibach, and a station of the name of Port-Talbot on the railway. ...
It was recently a small village, but has grown rapidly in connexion with neighboring mines and the export of their produce. Its harbour was highly improved in 1838 by a new cut for the river, and gives floating accommodation with considerable depth. Numerous coasting vessels frequent it; and steamers come from Bristol. Fairs are held on the second Friday in May, and on 24 June, 1 July, 14 Aug., 7 Oct., and 1 Nov. The municipal borough lies wholly in Aberavon parish, and is governed by a portreeve and two aldermen. The parliamentary borough includes also part of Margam parish, and part of the hamlet of Upper Michaelstone; and is linked in the franchise with Swansea. Pop. in 1851, 6,567; in 1861, 7,754. Houses, 1,423.The parish comprises 1,943 acres of land and 655 of water.-Real property, £5,073. Pop. in 1831, 573; in 1861, 2,916. Houses, 531. The property is much sub-divided. The living is a vicarage, united to Baglan, in the diocese of Llandaff. Value, £154.* Patron, G. Llewellyn, Esq. The church is an edifice in the middle pointed style; consists of nave, chancel, and south aisle, with a tower; and was built in 1860, at a cost of £2,120. There are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Calvinistic Methodists, Primitive Methodists, Bible Christians, and Roman Catholics. Some remains exist on Aberavon Myndyd hill, of the castle of Caradoc ab Jestyn, which was destroyed in 1150. Some interesting localities are in the neighborhood. See Taibach, Margam, Cwm-Avon, and Baglan.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Aberafan has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Neath Port Talbot. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Aberafan and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Aberafan, in Neath Port Talbot and Glamorgan | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 18th June 2013
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