One of Merthyr’s Victorian brickyard girls, Saran watches the world parade past her doorstep on the banks of the stinking and rat-infested Morlais Brook – the fair-day revellers, the chapel-goers, and the funeral processions. She never misses a trip to the town’s wooden theatres, despite the 5 a.m. hooter that rules her life, and the pit strikes, politics, and war that threaten to take away her children. Her Glyn will work a treble shift for beer money; her brother Harry is the district’s most notorious drinker and fighter until he is ‘saved’. The town changes and grows, but Saran is still there for Glyn, for Harry, for her children and grandchildren.
“Black Parade (1935) is strong because it includes the many-sided turbulence, the incoherence and contradictions, which the more available stereotypes of the history exclude. It can be properly contrasted with Richard Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley (1939), widely and properly seen as the export version of the Welsh industrial experience.” – Raymond Williams
Jack Jones was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1884. A writer of numerous novels, plays and autobiographical volumes, he received several awards for his distinguished contribution to the literature of Wales. He was elected first president of the English section of Yr Academi Gymreig. Jack Jones died in 1970.