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LOCAL
GOVERNMENT
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Politics during the  turn of the 19th Century

Politically, Fochriw commenced as being Liberal, the constituency being that of East Glamorgan, and, during September 1884 a branch of the Liberal Association was formed at Fochriw at a meeting held at Carmel Chapel. Fochriw’s MP was Alfred Thomas, who, from the following Merthyr Express newspaper report, visited Fochriw and Pontlottyn in July 1895 probably prior to a General Election

20 July 1895  Mr. Alfred Thomas(Liberal MP) at Fochriw and Pontlottyn: Enthusiastic Reception   On Monday last, Mr.Thomas, and the Tory candidate Mr. Jackson, both arrived at Pontlottyn Station at 5.15 p.m.. The Brass Band had come to the station to meet the Tory candidate as pre-arranged. A procession was then formed to the Picton Hotel. We counted a dozen followers in this procession, and half of these were non-voters. At 6.15, the Brass Band went to the home of Alderman Aaron Davies. Here a procession was started and escorted Mr. Thomas to Fochriw. The political feeling of Pontlottyn was clearly displayed in this procession which included hundreds of electors. When the mountain was reached, the Pontlottyn Band returned, and then the Fochriw Brass Band led the procession to the village where an open-air meeting was held with Dr. Davies as chairman. In Mr. Thomas's speech, he said that if he was returned he would support Home Rule for Ireland, Disestablishment of the Church in Wales, Local Veto, and a Land Bill for Wales. He had served them for ten years and would happily do so for ten years again. After further speeches, a triumphant party marched to Pontlottyn for a great Liberal meeting timed for 8 o'clock. Fochriw must have been fairly empty whenthe it left. It had been arranged to hold a meeting at Soar Hall, but seeing such a crowd in  Square, it was wisely decided to hold the meeting in the open-air. When Mr. Alfred Thomas spoke, he added support for an eight-hour-day for miners to the earlier list of measures he supported.

By January 1909 Alfred Thomas had been knighted and returned to Fochriw as the following report advises

January 1909   Sir Alfred Thomas, M.P. at Fochriw   Sir Alfred Thomas, M.P., Liberal member for East Glamorgan, addressed a large number of his constituents at Nazareth Chapel on Tuesday night.  The chair was taken by Dr. Eleazer Davies, who stated that Sir Alfred had served them faithfully for the past 25 years, and had always given his support to every good movement in and out of Parliament.

Fochriw’s political colour began to change when, during September 1911 a newly-formed branch of the Independent Labour Party was formed in the village

By April 1921 a Labour candidate was returned in the Gellygaer District Council election. Whether this was the first Labour candidate elected is not known. The following report gives the details

Great excitement prevailed at Fochriw when it became known that the Labour candidate, Mr. D. J. Thomas, had been victorious at the election. Large crowds of his supporters waited for his return until midnight. When he came, he was given a right royal reception. The car conveying him and a few of his supporters, was stopped and instantly surrounded, and cries for a speech rent the air. After handshaking, and when peace had been restored, the newly elected councillor addressed the large crowd, and thanked all who had worked so hard to return him to the top of the poll. He hoped he would be able to return the