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New book shines a light on the plight of Rhondda’s pubs

Pub Life is a revealing and humorous trawl through the drinking establishments of the Rhondda Valley in south Wales, detailing pubs and clubs past and present, discussing the characters that frequent them and highlighting the impact they’ve had as hubs of the Valleys community.

Pubs and clubs are not just places to get a drink. They are often at the heart of a community, playing an important role for individuals, many of whom spend their time between home, their workplace and the pub or club.

Nowhere was this more evident than within the tightly-knit towns of the Rhondda Valleys where these pubs and clubs were once often full to the rafters as miners and others enjoyed themselves.

Sadly, in the Rhondda and elsewhere, these once busy pubs and clubs are facing hard times and some have closed down as this way of life is slowly being eroded.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Rhondda local author Peter Roberts used his time to research the plight of Rhondda’s pubs and clubs. In his recently released book, which includes more than 120 photos, he lists those that are still open, but he also records the stories of those that have shut, to ensure that they are not forgotten.

There’s a snapshot of the fun, life, culture and learning that exists (and existed) within them, captured before this culture is possibly lost forever.

Peter Roberts said: “I sincerely hope that readers enjoy reminiscing and reading about Rhondda pubs and clubs, many of which are no more, and that Pub Life acts as a reminder of the culture, community and social history that existed within and around them. I’m very grateful to the local Rhondda community and the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund for their help and support with this project.”

Whether you are a lager, cider or real ale (or even a coffee) drinker, you will be able to relate to Peter’s tales of the wonderful life to be had in these places, and enjoy this trip to ‘the bar’.

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Peter Roberts is also the author of Park Life: Four Seasons in the Rhondda Sunday League, a revealing and humorous insight into the world of Sunday League football. The book recounts the story of four eventful seasons for the Maindy Con Football Club as they ply their trade in the Rhondda Valley & District Sunday League in south Wales.

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