The July meeting was the Chairman's Evening when Roy Davies led a large group of
members and some friends around the town in which he had been brought up - Ammanford.
On a warm summer evening he used buildings such as the original Co-op Stores and
the White House to describe, vividly and with the enthusiasm of an academic, the social history
and geography which led to the development of the town. The anthracite seams at the western edge
of the coalfield were the last to be developed at the end of the 19th century, when the market for
modern domestic heating began to grow.
Poverty in the agricultural hinterland ensured labour for the many small drift
mines, the small holdings on the hills to the east being populated by Welsh speakers who have passed
the language down to a large proportion of the present inhabitants. The influence of trade unions
was greatly increased as a result of the 1935 strike at the James Bus Company, one of many started
after WW1. Unease after the strike led to the formation of the Working Men's Institute, which, together
with the magnificent park, has shaped the town's development as a strongly working class community
with the Co-op Stores as the main retail outlet owned by its customers.
A visit to the grave of Jim Griffiths, M. P. for Llanelli, in the Christian Temple
cemetery, and to the White House, the base for much radical thinking in the early 20th century,
led to a discussion on the political importance of the area. This absorbing evening concluded with
a visit to the Mining Heritage Centre where the displays reinforced the impression that the prosperity
coal had brought was not won without sacrifice.