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LOCAL
GOVERNMENT
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The basis of representation on the Gelligaer and Rhigos District Council was : Pontlottyn, 3; Tirphil, 2; Fochriw 2: Bedlinog, 2; Gelligaer with Bargoed, 2; Rhigos, 2.-The anomalous position of Bargoed is obvious. Whilst those wards like Pontlottyn and Tirphil, where industrial development had occurred earlier, had a reasonable representation, Bargoed, which with a population of 10,000 by 1905 had become the main town in the area, shared two councillors with what now constitutes the whole of the Hengoed Ward.
The Parish Council Era.
As a constituent of a Rural District Council the Gelligaer area was, of course, entitled to its own Parish Council and, within the limits of its strictly confined powers, this Parish Council showed great zeal in its early days. Occasionally it was over-zealous, as when it decided to take into its custody all the documents relating to the Parish which were kept at Gelligaer Church. It took also the very old iron chest which, by ancient statute, had to be kept at the Church for housing such documents. As far as is known, this valuable historical relic has been lost. Sad to relate, the efficiency and zeal of the Council did not last and by 1907 it was involved in a serious financial scandal which involved both councillors and officers and which attracted considerable attention in the Press.
The Gelligaer Urban District Council Era.
On 1st February, 1908, the Glamorgan County Council made an order constituting the parish of Gelligaer as an Urban District, adding the parish of Rhigos to the Neath Rural District and abolishing the Gelligaer and Rhigos Rural District. The order was confirmed with minor modifications by the Local Government Board on 11th September and came into effect on 1st October in that year. By the order the district was divided into six wards—Pontlottyn, Fochriw, Tirphil, Bedlinog, Bargoed and Hengoed. Six members were elected for the Bargoed Ward and three members for each of the other wards, making a total membership of twenty-one.
In 1924, by an order made by the County Council, the boundaries of the Bargoed and Hengoed Wards were altered and from 1925 the number of members of the Council was increased by four to twenty-five, there being one additional member for the Bargoed Ward and three additional members for the Hengoed Ward. In 1956 the membership was increased to twenty-six, the additional member being elected for the Hengoed Ward.
During this period the population rose from 28,800 in 1908 to 40,100 in 1914 and to 48,200 in 1926. By 1931 the population had fallen to 41,000 and by 1951 to 36,100.
On its formation, the Urban District comprised two Electoral Divisions—Gelligaer and Pontlottyn—for the purpose of election of members of the Glamorgan County Council. By an order of 1910, the district was divided into three Electoral Divisions—Bargoed, comprising the Bargoed and Fochriw Wards ; Hengoed, comprising the Bedlinog and Hengoed Wards ; and Pontlottyn, comprising the Pontlottyn and Tirphil Wards.
The Rural District Council had erected pleasantly situated offices at Hengoed in 1897 and these became the offices of the Urban District Council. The offices were extended in 1910 and