|A Brief History of Porth Chamber of Trade|
There was originally a collection of businesses who formed the Porth, Cymmer and District Chamber of Trade dating back to 1890 but, following some research the present Porth & District Chamber of Trade was formed on 10th February 1892. Actual membership at that time is still a little sketchy but the membership was quite strong with several prominent members of the community being involved.
Over the coming years between 1892 and 1931 the membership grew to exceed 100 members this figure has fluctuated over the years and currently (2006) stands at 62 members.
It has been discovered that the Chamber of Trade was responsible for raising the funds which enabled the building of the Court House and a Police Station which opened in May 1895. The legal battles that followed were overcome and the first County Court was held in Porth on May 15th 1896. In the same year the Chamber was responsible for the re establishment of a volunteer Fire Brigade in Porth.
The officers at the time did not rest there and worked very hard to improve the local area. Some of the most notable achievements were the opening of the Head Post Office for the Rhondda situated in Porth which was opened on 5th October 1925, they were also part of the organisational movement for the placement of a war memorial in Porth, this was unveiled on 18th November 1928. The Porth Chamber of Trade also founded the Ratepayers Association in 1926.
Porth has seen several years of Carnivals and Fairs some of which are reported in the Rhondda Archive type books that are available today under several titles following the history of Porth.
The present Porth & District Chamber of Trade is very active supporting events within the town and the Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough.
Another first for Porth was the formation of the Porth Forum which was a body made up of members from the Chamber of Trade, Councillors, Council Officials, Police, The Welsh Development Agency and Communities First. This committee has met three times a year since its inception back in 2001 (we believe Porth Town Forum to be the first of its kind in the Country) and some of the forums achievements include obtaining the funding for the total resurfacing of the paved area in Hannah Street along with the road surface being renewed, making the town centre more attractive, as well as the re-introduction of hanging baskets which will bring plenty of colour to the main shopping street at the hub of the Rhondda valleys.
Other notable achievements was the reintroduction of a market in Porth albeit a French Market sited in Hannah Street for three days between 2nd and 4th December 2004. This was followed by the Summer Carnival which took place on 15th September 2005, quite late for a summer carnival but Hannah Street was undergoing its £1M street refurbishment. The stone was imported from China, and the work started on January 10th 2005 and finished on August 28th 2005, however there were some snagging jobs outstanding which took until June 17th 2006 to finish. The contractor was Wrekin.
February 2005 work started on the Porth Relief road which Is scheduled to open on 22nd December 2006, this work is currently on time at the time of writing this article (3rd July 2006)
January 2007 sees the introduction of the next improvement phase within Porth Town Centre when work starts on the Bus Stop on Pontypridd Road, once this is complete Porth will have the service of a state of the art bus and train service making the town more attractive to the disabled as the majority of the centre of Porth is on the flat with very few steps to gain access to shops making it one of the easiest towns for the disable to come and shop.
22nd December 2006 saw the opening of the Porth Relief Road to traffic. While the £85m project reached its target of opening on its due date there remains approximately 9 months work on the Relief Road.
The current (2006) officers of the Porth & District Chamber of Trade who also represent Porth on the Porth Town Forum are:
Serving Committee members who represent Porth on the Porth Town Forum also include
Ian Howells Chairman, Porth & District Chamber of Trade