Pontypridd is a large industrial town in Rhondda Cynnon Taff, South Wales. It is a principal town of the county and sits on the banks of the River Taff, which is formed by the confluence of the Taff Fychan and Taff Fawr just north of Merthyr Tydfil.
The town takes its name from the old stone bridge, which crosses the river in the centre of the town. A local man, William Edwards, built the bridge in 1755 at his third attempt at building a crossing over the river. At the time it was opened, it was the longest single-span stone arch bridge in the world. However, it wasn't the best bridge to use for travelling—being so steep it caused difficulties for horses and carts, and a new bridge, the Victoria, was built in 1857.
Pontypridd is also famous for its association with the Welsh national anthem, 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau'(Land of my Fathers). It is amongst the finest anthems of the world and a song steeped in history. It was written by Evan James and his son James, two modest tradesmen living at Pontypridd in the mid nineteenth century. One Sunday afternoon in January 1856, Evan James began writing the lyrics, whilst his son James wrote the music. The song was first heard in public at a chapel in Maesteg, and was sung again two years later at the eisteddfod in Llangollen, North Wales. In 1860 it was published by Owain Alaw in 'Gems of Welsh Melody', and soon became so well known it was adopted as the National Anthem for Wales. A statue in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, in the town centre, commemorates Evan and James James.