At one time Maesteg was little more than a collection of farms stretching along the Llynfi Valley. Then, in the nineteenth century, industry brought firstly the zinc and ironworks followed by tinplate and the coal mines. The town and its neighbouring Caerau, Nantyffyllon and Garth grew rapidly.
Llangynwyd, with its tradition of the Mari Lwyd, remained essentially rural and nowadays heavy industry has all gone form the entire valley, leaving little evidence of its existence. But the past and present are closely linked by the institutions that have grown up in its midst: places of worship, schools, sporting clubs, the Town Hall.
In 2006, a plaque was unveiled in the old Tabor chapel, now the Maesteg Workingmen’s Club, to commemorate the fact that the first public performance of the Welsh National Anthem took place there in 1856.