History and Heritage

Evan Hughes

Usually I find my "interesting lives" from the obituary column, when I am entering their files on to one of the four Ystalyfera Cemetery databases that YEARGROUP is compiling, but this gentleman led me a merry dance until I realised, although he lived in Alltygrug Road Ystalyfera, he had been buried in the Parish Churchyard at Ystradgynlais.

Saying that, even though he does not now come under my collection of burials, he nevertheless, deserves a place in the above articles: for being remembered "as the first driver of the loco engine pulling iron ore to the Ystalyfera Iron Works".

Mr Evan HUGHES Married Mary EDWARDS in Neath 1868.

Val Trevallion


By the death of Mr Evan Hughes of Alltygrug Road, which took place on Tuesday at the age of 84, Ystalyfera loses one of its oldest, as well as one of its most highly respected inhabitants.

Born near Llangadock in 1846, his parents [I believe they were John and Mary HUGHES] came to this district when he was a child of 3. There was a family of 8 children and Evan lived the longest.

Of a mechanical turn of mind, when working days came, his bent was in this direction and he was employed in various capacities at the works in the area.

In 1881 he was an engine driver in fact he was the first driver of the little loco engine drawing the trams of iron ore from the Patches to the Old Ystalyfera Iron Works along what is now Tirbach Road. He had charge of the hauling engines at several of the local collieries and for many years was a blacksmith at Pwllbach Colliery.

One of his hobbies was to clean the clocks and watches around the farms of Gwrhyd.

Later in life, he took over the milk business of his father in law, the late Mr John Edwards and in 1911 his occupation was listed as milk purveyor and retailer and he carried on at this work for many years. His memory was good till the last.

He left a family of 6 sons: John, William, George, David, Rees Ivor, and Tom Albert, 29 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, although his wife Mary predeceased him 10 years earlier in February 1921.