Pontypridd during the early 1900’s could in many ways be likened to a frontier town. Because of its proximity to the industrial heart of the Rhondda and Cynon coalfields it became something of a stopping off point between Cardiff and the valleys. The population had not really settled at the start of the twentieth century and the police force, still then very much in its infancy as a professional organisation, was hard pushed to the stem the rise of lawlessness.
They say truth is stranger than fiction.
In many ways they are correct and much of the more colourful elements of this story are, in fact, based on truth. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Circus did indeed visit the South Wales region in 1903/1904 and played to capacity in many Welsh towns. In fact between April 1903 and May 1904 the circus played over twenty-one dates around the South Wales area. The circus, which consisted of Indians and Americans as well as a band of Cossacks who made up the Congress of Rough Riders, would often set up camp in and around the towns they were playing. This was done in order to give the public an enticing view of the performers. After all it was not often one was able to see a wigwam pitched in industrial South Wales and it was even more bizarre to see Indians, in full war paint, riding through the narrow Welsh streets.
All the same it happened.
I have taken some geographical and historical liberties with the town of Pontypridd in the interest of telling a story, but I have tried largely to depict the correct feel of the town, which, still today serves as the beating heart of the valleys.