|Council:||Neath Port Talbot|
Historically, Neath was the crossing place of the River Neath and has existed as a settlement since the Romans established the fort of Nido or Nidum in the AD 70s. The Roman fort took its name from the River Nedd; the meaning is obscure but 'shining' or simply 'river' have been suggested. Neath is the Anglicised form. The Antonine Itinerary (c. 2nd century) names only nine places in what is now Wales, one of them being Neath. The fort covered a large area which now lies under the playing fields of Dŵr-y-Felin Comprehensive School. In the late 1960s, there were reports in the local media of a massive Roman marching camp being found above Llantwit which would have accommodated many thousands of troops.
St Illtyd visited the Neath area and established a settlement in what is now known as Llantwit on the northern edge of the town. The church of St Illtyd was built at this settlement and was enlarged in Norman times. The Norman and pre-Norman church structure remains intact and active to day within the Church in Wales. The Welsh language name for Neath is Castell-nedd, referring to the Norman Neath Castle, which is close to the shopping centre.
Neath was a market town that expanded with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century with new manufacturing industries of iron, steel and tinplate. The Mackworth family, who owned the Gnoll Estate were prominent in the town's industrial development. Coal was mined extensively in the surrounding valleys and the construction of canals and railways made Neath a major transportation centre and the Evans & Bevan families were major players in the local coal mining community as well as owning the Vale of Neath Brewery. Silica was mined in the Craig-y-Dinas area of Pontneddfechan, after Quaker entrepreneur William Weston Young invented the blast furnace silica firebrick, later moving brick production from the works at Pontwalby to the Green in Neath. The town continued as a market trading centre with a municipal cattle market run by W.B.Trick. Industrial development continued throughout the 20th century with the construction by British Petroleum of a new petroleum refinery at Llandarcy.
Admiral Lord Nelson stayed at the Castle Hotel on his way to Milford Haven when the fleet was at anchor there. Lt Lewis Roatley, the son of the landlord of the Castle Hotel, served as a Royal Marines officer with Admiral Lord Nelson aboard the Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The River Neath is a navigable estuary and Neath was a river port until recent times. The heavy industries are no more with the town being a commercial and tourism centre. Attractions for visitors are the ruins of the Cistercian Neath Abbey, the Gnoll Park and Neath Indoor Market.
Neath hosted the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1918, 1934 and 1994.
Neath is also home to the Trade Centre Wales, also the Bay Radio studios.
There are plans to regenerate around 1,000 acres of land in and around Neath town centre in the near future. The site once occupied by the previous civic centre will be redeveloped as a new shopping centre. The Gwyn Hall will be rebuilt after having been gutted by a fire. The area around the Milland Road Industrial Estate will be redeveloped along with the area around the Neath Canal. On 27 November 2008, proposals for an "iconic" golden rugby ball-shaped museum, a library, heritage centre and other new facilities were announced for consultation. The developer, Simons Estates, says that it plans to start construction when the economic climate improves.
In March 2008, Afan FM, announced plans to turn on a new transmitter dedicated to the Neath area in the summer. This will transmit on 97.4 FM, and will give residents of Neath their first taste of the borough's new local radio station, which already transmits to the neighbouring area of Port Talbot on 107.9 FM. The new transmitter for the Neath area was commissioned by Government regulator Ofcom on Thursday 23 October 2008.
- John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur I. Lynch, ed (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. pp. 603.
- Wyn Owen, Hywel; Richard Morgan (2008). Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales. Llandysul: Gomer Press. pp. 342.
- Dwr y Felin School: History Department
- Neath Guardian
- Parish of Neath: St. Illtyd
- Church in Wales
- Neath Castle
- Britton Manor
- HMS VICTORY. MAN~OF~WAR 1805 MUSTER LISTS
- Gnoll Park
- "Eisteddfod Locations". The National Eisteddfod of Wales. http://www.eisteddfod.org.uk/english/content.php?nID=55. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- News Wales > Community > Neath will be top shops town
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