History and Heritage

Renovations at the English Con, 1932-1934

The English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, first opened in 1869, and it is no surprise that by the early 1930s it was in need of renovation and modernisation.

As we don't have any photographs of the renovation, we are going to counterpoise passages from the newspaper article, with additional photographs from the demolition in 2005. Whilst this may seem a trifle odd, it will allow us to show details of the interior, including of the structure of the building.

All photographs are by Val Trevallion. The newspaper article comes from the South Wales Voice, which was printed in Ystalyfera, from their 1st December 1934 edition.

Of those mentioned in the article, Pastor Melville Phillips had been the minister of the English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, from 1924, and from 1931 this had expanded to include the sister church in Ystradgynlais. He would remain as minister until his retirement in 1952.

To the right, the spire being demolished, 2005.


Renovations at the English Congregational

There were large congregations at the English Congregational Church, Ystalyfera, on Sunday when special services were held to mark the reopening of the church following renovations. The building was crowded long before the evening service was due to commence, and extra seats had to be placed in the aisles to accommodate the crowd.

The Rev. Melville Phillips, pastor, presided over the evening service, when an interesting programme was given by the following, Madame Coleman, contralto; Miss R.A. Davies, A.L.C.M, soprano; Mr John Fullard, Brecon, tenor; Mr Ross Richards, Ystalyfera, bass; and Mr Griff Price, 'celloist. Madame Ross Richards, Mrs L. Badman, Mrs Griff Price and Mr B.T. Davies were the accompanists.

During the last two years the church has been entirely redecorated, both internally and externally, and electric light installed. The building presents a pleasing appearance. Up-to-date fittings have been provided in the lighting scheme, and the members are to be congratulated upon their enterprise. Several of the members have given articles to the church to help in the work, some of them wishing to remain anonymous. They were heartily thanked on Sunday by the pastor.

In the course of his address, Mr Phillips expressed thanks to all who had helped in so generous a way to carry out the work. Mrs John Hunt and Mrs C.F. Hunt had given the curtains. They all regretted that Mrs Hunt, sen., was unable to be present on account of indisposition, and wished her a speedy recovery. The panelling was painted and presented to the church by a member who wished to remain anonymous, while some friends of his, Mr Phillips, had presented the hymn books. The linoleum was also the gift of anonymous donors. He also wished to thank Messrs. Antell and Tyler (jun) for their work in connection with the pulpit, while Mrs Tibbs had given a table plant. A gift of vesper sheets was made by P.C. Bramble, and a gift was also made by Mrs Green. Mention should be made in the action of Mr Bell in providing illumination in the tower; he, Mr Phillips, would like that to be a permanent feature, if it was at all possible. Flowers for the services that day were provided by Mrs Green, Mrs Sid Rees and Mrs Jones.

Mr Phillips also thanked the artistes for their generosite in helping them that evening, and mentioned Mr Fullard, Miss Davies and Mr Price.

Under the direction of Mr B.T. Davies the choir sang an anthem.

Holy communion was celebrated during the service.

It would be interesting to see whether the 1934 renovation did indeed lead to permanent electric light in the tower, as the pastor hoped, or if that had to wait for a later date.

Also whether any substantive renovations were carried out at a later date?

Feel free to email us at yeargroup@hotmail.co.uk if you have any information you would like to share. Thank You!


Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge