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Glamorgan, Mid, South, and West

Glamorgan, Mid, South, and West. These three counties were created by the Local Government Act of 1972 and came into operation in 1974. They were in being for only 22 years before being replaced by a new set of unitary authorities in 1996. The problem facing local government reorganization in Wales in the 1960s was the great imbalance in population. At the 1971 census, Glamorgan, including the county boroughs of Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, and Swansea, accounted for 46 per cent of the whole population of Wales. Any reform necessarily involved the subdivision of Glamorgan to ensure some parity, but the nature of that division was controversial. The first proposals simply eliminated the small county borough of Merthyr and transferred the Rhymni valley to Gwent. But that accomplished little and, in any case, the county borough was not to be retained. A Consultative Document in 1971 proposed a simple twofold division into East and West Glamorgan, but in 1972 the Local Government Act set up a threefold division into: West Glamorgan, the Afan, Neath, and Tawe valleys and centred in Swansea; South Glamorgan, or Cardiff and its immediate hinterland; Mid Glamorgan, the coalfield valleys but extending across the vale of Glamorgan, via the drainage of the river Ogmore, to the coast. This was an incoherent area, the administrative centre of which remained in Cardiff, which was not part of it. The populations in 1991 were West Glamorgan 361,428, South Glamorgan 392,780, and Mid Glamorgan 534,101 respectively.

The lowered and balanced populations are evident and more in line with those of the other counties, but the late separation of South Glamorgan was widely regarded as politically motivated, an attempt by a Conservative government to retain the possibility of control of one local authority in south Wales.

The counties were replaced in April 1996 by eight unitary authorities. They are, with approximate populations in brackets, Swansea (232,000), Neath and Port Talbot (140,000), Bridgend (130,000), Vale of Glamorgan (119,000), Rhondda, Cynon, Taff (238,000), Merthyr Tydfil (60,000), Caerphilly (171,000), Cardiff (302,000). There were minor boundary adjustments made in creating these authorities.

Harold Carter

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West Glamorgan

West Glamorgan County in s Wales on the Bristol Channel; the administrative centre is Swansea. Now divided into four districts (Lliw Valley, Neath, Port Talbot, and Swansea), the area has been renowned for its metallurgical industry since the 18th century. Anthracite mining and oil refining are important industries, while tourists are attracted by the rugged Gower Peninsula. Area: 820sq km (317sq mi). Pop. (2000 est.) 443,274.

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West Glamorgan

West Glamorgan (gləmôr´gən), former county, S Wales. Created in the 1974 reorganization of Welsh local government from portions of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, in the 1996 reorganization West Glamorgan was divided into the unitary authorities of Swansea and Neath and Port Talbot.

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