PONTNEWYNYDD’S very own poet, artist and bard, Myfanwy Haycock, was the youngest daughter of local collier, then builder and mason, James Haycock (known locally as Jimmy Pearce after his step-family) and Alice Haycock (neé Perry).

From an early age all of the Haycock children were encouraged in the arts by their talented father and regularly won prizes in their school and chapel Eisteddfodau. Jimmy himself was a keen poet, diarist, gardener and sculptor and the Haycock house in Mount Pleasant had a garden full of classical-style, sculptural pieces amongst their flowers.

When adults, Myfanwy and her sisters Gwendoline and Gwladys moved within very artistic circles and often corresponded with fellow poets, artists and writers.

One such friend and visitor to Myfanwy at Pontnewynydd was poet Huw Menai.

Born Huw Williams in Caernarvon in 1886, Huw was a Welsh speaker who wrote often in English.

He moved from North Wales to Merthyr in the early twentieth century and was a fellow writer of Myfanwy’s on the Western Mail during the 1930s.

Huw was very politically active and wrote for socialist publications, until promotion forced him to take the employer's side. During the First World War, he began writing poetry and contributing to mainstream newspapers.

His friends and correspondents included Wil Ifan, John Cowper Powys, and Raymond Garlick. He been taught by Wordsworth at school and was heavily influenced by Romanticism, an influence shown in poems such as ‘The Passing of Guto’, which was much praised by T.S Eliot.

Nostalgia is provided by Torfaen Museum.