Series 7 - Aberfan

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  • 1961, 1966-1995 (Creation)

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44 folders

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In 1973 a 'Call to the Valleys' went out from Aberfan, as the beginning of a mission to all of the Valleys. At the forefront of this mission was Tŷ Toronto. Established in Aberfan in 1967 it was founded with money sent from the Welsh in Toronto to help the community after the coal pit disaster. The aim of the Call was to extend the work of Tŷ Toronto and to use the experience gained after the disaster, and the new centre in Aberfan to serve a wider community. The main purpose of the Call was to declare 1974 the 'Year of the Valleys'. As part of the Call and the activities of the 'Year of the Valleys' as many as 15 conferences were held to discuss issues relating to the many social and economic hardships found in the Valleys.

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Biographical history

In 1966 the village of Aberfan suffered a disaster that killed 142 people, of which 111 were children, when a slag heap slid down the mountain into homes and the local school. In July 1967 the Merthyr Council of Churches asked Erastus Jones to work in the community after having visited Aberfan several times as the Welsh and the British Councils of Churches' representative. He was to operate as an ecumenical pastor to the community, an appointment which was funded by a collection made towards the disaster by the Welsh Churches of Canada. This money also went towards founding Tŷ Toronto.

The various committees whose papers are found in this series were set up to help regenerate Aberfan and to help the community move on after the disaster. The two main tasks were to try and unite the community and to dismantle the remaining tips. The Aberfan and Merthyr Vale District Group was set up to make sure that the voices of the community were heard, and two of the main lasting memorials to the disaster were the memorial gardens and the Youth Centre. The Merthyr Council of Churches and the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Council of Churches both played important roles in helping the community of Aberfan.

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Papers relating to the beginnings of Tŷ Toronto, 1966-1984; poems and letters relating to the disaster, 1966-1973; minutes, letters and papers of various groups which were founded as a result of the disaster, namely the Uniting Group, 1965-1969, Committee for Dismantling the Heaps, 1967-1970, Aberfan and Merthyr Vale District Group, 1969-1984, Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Youth Centre, 1968-1972; also included are the papers of Headway press, 1967-1995; papers of the Merthyr Council of Churches and the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Council of Churches, 1965-1986; and other papers relating to conferences and other significant events, 1961-1985.

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Arranged into 13 sub-series. The original order was kept except in 7/11 which was arranged at NLW.

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Further papers are in NLW: Aberfan Parents and Residents Association Papers; Eiflyn Peris Owen Papers; Papurau Evan Wyn Williams; Gwyn Thomas Papers; Lord Edmund-Davies Papers; Lord Hooson Papers; Plaid Cymru Papers; and NLW MS 19751E. For other related papers outside NLW: Aberfan Disaster Archive held at Merthyr Tydfil and Dowlais Public Libraries, the Records of the Welsh Office and other papers relating to the Aberfan disaster at The National Archives, London.

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Preferred citation: 7

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  • Text: 7.