Pontypridd is famous for its old bridge, which was, when built, the longest single spanning bridge in Europe. The bridge was built by William Edwards (1719-1789). He was a Welsh Methodist minister who also practised as an architect and bridge engineer.
Ponty’s Old Bridge was his most famous creation, built between 1746 and 1754 it was so long (45m / 140 feet span) that it took three/four attempts to get it right.
The first, a wooden bridge was washed away by floods, the second and third, of stone, collapsed during construction because of their weight. The final design, in 1756 was also stone, but much lighter because it had 6 large holes in it… 3 on each side, of diameter 9, 6 and 3 feet. Edwards was paid 50 pounds to maintain it for seven years.
He also built bridges in Aberafan, Betws, Pontardawe and Usk. In 1857, a three-arch bridge was built alongside to make it easier for traffic to cross the river (the old bridge was a bit too steep).