John On The Rhondda
By John Geraint Roberts
John On The RhonddaNov 22, 2023
Up The Rhondda!
Introducing a new book... 'Up The Rhondda!' by John Geraint, published by Y Lolfa and available at ylolfa.com or from any good bookshop
The first Storytelling Workshop for the Rhondda Heritage Project took place in an iconic Rhondda location, as Creative Director of the project, John Geraint, explains...
Announcing a major National Lottery Heritage Fund grant enabling Rhondda Radio to build a Heritage Trail through both Valleys, and to broadcast a year-long 'festival' of history programmes. There's a training scheme upskilling local people so that they can contribute their stories too.
Tonypandy Ton Up
It's finally arrived - the 100th episode! But John Geraint Roberts' plans for it have been disturbed by a disturbing dream...
Centenary Quiz - part three
With the 100th episode of 'John On The Rhondda' coming up next time, the final round of our quiz is all about Rhondda values, and why John Geraint Roberts believes we should continue to cherish them.
Centenary Quiz - part two
With the 100th episode of 'John On The Rhondda' fast approaching, round two of the quiz tests your knowledge of Rhondda music - and gives you the chance to listen again some of the Valley's greatest hits.
Centenary Quiz - part one
With the 100th episode of 'John On The Rhondda' fast approaching, John Geraint Roberts presents highlights of the back-catalogue, and tests your knowledge of Rhondda schools and cinemas, in the first round of a three-part quiz.
John Geraint is the son of a preacher man. Here's the story of his late father, David James Roberts: fisherman, teacher, lifelong teetotaller and Baptist deacon with enormous reserves of patience - and a wicked sense of humour!
An unforgettable night out in Treorchy... in aid of the Rhian Griffiths Forget Me Not Fund, a charitable cause that's well worth supporting.
One Rhondda charity has inspired and supported young people for forty years - but it had never seen anything like the pandemic before. It rose to the challenge magnificently.
If you’re anything like John Geraint, the frantic search for gifts has only just begun, if it’s begun at all. But don't panic, this Christmas he's here to help, with a wonderful suggestion for you...
The most fantastic discovery ever made within reach of the Rhondda - and it all came about because John Geraint Roberts' grandfather needed a glass of drinking water.
'Choral bull-fights’, betting, missile throwing, assaults on adjudicators... You can’t beat a good Welsh male voice choir. Even if you've beaten them. John Geraint Roberts delves into the backstory of Rhondda's fiercest musical rivalry.
World Cup Heroes
Only two managers have ever taken Wales to soccer's World Cup Finals. And they were both born in the same Valley. A coincidence? John Geraint Roberts doesn't think so!
What's in a name? In Pontypridd, it seems, quite a lot. That's not the reason, though, that John Geraint Roberts is heading there this week.
It's the biggest female sports initiative in Wales. It's having a huge impact. And it all happens right here in the Rhondda, where it began...
'Where do you come from?' It's something Rhondda people often ask. It’s not until we go away from home, or meet people from elsewhere, that we begin to realise that not everyone approaches the question in the same way.
Gateway To The Stars
Did you know that there's a place on Mars named after a town in the Rhondda? There is. Honest, now! And it's quite some town...
A Peculiar Sort Of Hiraeth
A Saturday afternoon stroll through Penygraig, where the past hangs heavy in the air... but the future beckons too.
The Rhondda Star From Sunderland
A new book about one of the heroes of 'the Mid' - the Mid-Rhondda Athletic Ground - 'Jimmy Seed: Rhondda's Adopted Son' by Phil Rowlands, makes us think about second chances, outsiders... and our aspirations for the place we live in.
A Journey Around My Readers
A big thank you to those who've read and responded to 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' by John Geraint published by Cambria Books
Rhondda and Royalty
Street parties and royal visits, celebrations and now mourning. Rhondda's relationship with royalty in the light of events of recent days. Some respectful thoughts from a republican, John Geraint Roberts.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part ten
John Geraint reads the tenth and last extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel'. The whole novel is available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part nine
John Geraint reads the ninth extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part eight
John Geraint reads the eighth extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part seven
John Geraint reads the seventh extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part six
John Geraint reads the sixth extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part five
John Geraint reads the fifth extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part four
John Geraint reads the fourth extract from 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part three
John Geraint reads the third part of 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part two
John Geraint reads the second part of 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
The Great Welsh Auntie Novel - part one
John Geraint reads the first part of 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel' - available from Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) and all good bookshops.
My Rhondda Novel - part two
Writing a book is a challenge - even if it's about the Rhondda! John Geraint reflects on some of the demons he wrestled with in creating 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel'.
My Rhondda Novel
It wasn't just a dream! John Geraint really has written a book - 'The Great Welsh Auntie Novel'. And it'll be published by Cambria Books (cambriabooks.co.uk) at the beginning of July 2022. Here's John talking about what his 'love letter to the Rhondda' aims to celebrate.
He Writes Like A Dream...
There's a rumour around the valley that a new novel about the Rhondda will be out soon. It's all about someone who sounds very like John Geraint Roberts. It's causing him a bit of anxiety. No wonder he's been talking to himself again!
Treorchy - Higher and Higher
A new video celebrating the continuing successes of Treorchy's fabulous High Street brings back memories for John Geraint Roberts of childhood bus rides to the town - and prompts him to commend those who've led Treorchy to new heights as an inspiration which the whole Rhondda could take to heart.
'The Other Valley' - from Maerdy down to Porth: so much rich history, and a little bit of friendly rivalry with the Rhondda Fawr! Join John Geraint Roberts on a jaunt through the villages of the Fach, ending up at the wonderful Workers Gallery in Ynyshir.
The Record Shop
Do you remember the very first LP you bought? And where you bought it? John Geraint Roberts owes his musical education to a very special retail outlet in a very special place: Tonypandy Square.
Fifty-seven years ago, thirty-one Rhondda men died in an underground explosion in the Cambrian Colliery, Clydach Vale. As the anniversary of the Disaster approaches, John Geraint Roberts honours those who died, and those who worked there and survived the Disaster, by sharing some of their memories of what the pit was like as a workplace: the tough times and backbreaking work, the camaraderie too, the jokes and the pranks.
Libraries Gave Us Power...
… but it was Rhondda people themselves who powered up those libraries. In the 1930s, an astonishing 40,000 books were in circulation in mid-Rhondda alone. Across both valleys, twenty-one Miners’ Libraries, established and paid for by the workers themselves, fed Rhondda’s voracious appetite for reading. Because learning was the path to a better future…
If you've spent some time in Wales, you probably speak a bit of Welsh, even if you don't speak Welsh, if you see what John Geraint Roberts means. And if you've spent any time at all in the Rhondda, you've almost certainly got a lot more Welsh than you realise...
Porth County Teachers and Pupils
Some stars of schooldays sat at desks; some stood in front of the blackboard. A school magazine from the 1960s takes John Geraint Roberts much further back in time, to days when classroom conditions were scarcely tolerable. And prompts him top reveal the secret that every teacher knows...
If you were the marrying kind, where did you tie the knot? Church, chapel or registry office? For better or worse, John Geraint Roberts recalls some memorable matrimonial occasions from his past, even though he never had a Rhondda Wedding himself.
Shop At The Kwop?
The Co-operative Stores. What do you call them? 'The Coe-Op'? Or the 'Kwop'? Or the 'Kop' even. John Geraint Roberts' family were stalwart members of the Penygraig Industrial Co-operative Society, and they knew what to call it - and what kind of service they expected when they shopped there. After all, the shop belonged to them (and to all the 6,000 other members).
The Power House
This Grade II listed building provided the power which drove the fans and pumps that kept the Glamorgan Collieries in Llwynypia functioning. It was at the centre of one of the most momentous episodes in our history - the Cambrian Combine Dispute which led to the Tonypandy Riots in 1910. Now it's up for auction. John Geraint Roberts believes it's a place that can play a part in our future too - but it needs saving and restoring in order to do that.
The birthplace of thousands of Rhondda children, the hospital at Llwynypia was originally a workhouse. Its history spans the decades before and after the birth of the NHS. John Geraint Roberts is proud to have entered this world there - and his Mam was very relieved: he was nearly born on a geriatric ward!
'Mid-Rhondda': Back On Track
A David-against-Goliath victory for a Rhondda campaign seeking to safeguard a much-loved green space for community use... it may seem a small thing in the grand scheme of global affairs, but in dark and desperate days, it's an inspiration, says John Geraint Roberts.
Money... and how it's earned. It's a strange thing. Fortunes were accumulated from Rhondda coal - but not by those who dug it out. John Geraint Roberts weighs up the idea of a 'self-made billionaire' - and finds it lacks all substance, certainly when compared with the tonnage shifted by his grandfather and his butties.
B. L. Coombes's classic 'Miner's Day' has been re-issued by Parthian Books in a beautiful new format, edited by Peter Wakelin, illustrated by many more of Isabel Alexander's drawings and paintings of 1940s Rhondda. To John Geraint Roberts, it's a treasure.
The Ystrad Crocodile's Tale
Bizarre, absurd, joyful... Rhondda life has always sparkled with oddball characters and crazy happenings. One news story that recently came to light is pretty hard to swallow - but it's perfectly true! John Geraint Roberts has been talking about it. Talking to himself, naturally...