From New York to Pontycymmer

A Heritage Lottery funded project for schools in the Garw Valley that explores the story of the Anderson Family

The Anderson Family a troupe of famous Circus Entertainers who settled in Pontycymmer

Thanks to players of the National Lottery, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council of Wales, pupils from primary schools in the Garw Valley will learn about The Andersons, a family of circus and music hall entertainers who came to the Valley in 1912 to run a venue called The Hippodrome.

The family made an incredible contribution to the local community during World War One where they set up events and performances to raise money for local families and offered a bowl of soup to everyone in the community on a daily basis. 

Children from each school will work with Tanio – Valley and Vale artists and circus company Organised Kaos to learn more about the story through circus, drama, singing, creative writing and art, they will also learn skills that will allow them to archive the materials linked to the project. The Garw Valley Heritage Society will visit each school with an ‘exhibition in a suitcase’ to share stories and memorabilia of life in the Garw Valley during World War One.

The project has been inspired by the book The Rink written by local writer Paul Howells and an exhibition of paintings based on the family by Garw Valley based artist Kevin Sinnott.


Images of the Andersons used with kind permission of Paul Howells

Project Workers Alys Byrne & Alison McGann

If you would like further information on the project please contact Alys Byrne on 01656 729246 or [email protected]


"A huge thank you. The children had a fantastic experience and accessed learning opportunities that we would not have been able to provide."

Lynsey Lewis ((Betws Primary))

"Pupils enjoyed the content being delivered by someone other than their class teacher, as well as the practical workshops which were particularly engaging. The project also encouraged pupils to go home and to discuss their heritage with their families and to take greater pride and interest in the community"

Rhea Quinn ((Blaengarw Primary))

"It was an absolutely fantastic project. All the staff and children loved it and were fully engaged in it all. The knowledge of the facilitators was extensive and they engaged fully with the children."

Jo Blackman ((Tynyrheol Primary))



Set Up Base

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The Banana Queen

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The War

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Ode To The Rink

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Arrival In Pontycymmer

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Introducing the Banana Queen

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The Fire

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