Built around 1875 by William Williams Esq, Grovefield House has had a colourful history of uses over the past 135 years. Most people from the Rhondda remember it as the ‘Old Police Station’, and more than a few recall a night spent sobering up in the cells at the rear! However, it was originally built as a residential property.

Possibly the site of a former dwelling, Grovefield House was built on a very prominent site overlooking the valley. Early maps show that there were two adjacent cottages in the front garden, however, these had disappeared by the turn of the century, possibly due to the road being widened.

The owner, William Williams, was a joint founder of the Penygraig Coal Company in 1857 along with R Jenkins, Moses Rowlands and William Morgan.

Williams, from Pontypridd, moved to Penygraig and lodged with Moses Rowlands’ eldest brother, Morgan Rowlands, in Dinas. According to sources the house was built to reflect his status, with Williams moving into Grovefield House at the same time as Moses Rowlands moved into Pisgah House, next to the Pisgah Chapel.

However, after several years of dispute involving the partnership, that even made it as far as the High Court, Williams was made bankrupt in March 1884 (reported in the Western Mail 19/4/1884).

Note the monkey puzzle tree (half obscured) to the right of the house. It is said that any grand house in the Valleys worthy of its status at this time had a monkey puzzle tree in the front garden!

Williams and his family moved to Hendre Gwilym House, whilst Grovefield was purchased by a prominent surgeon, Evan Naughton Davies, in 1884. Davies lived there with his wife Martha, three children and various servants/ trainee doctors. He stayed there with his family for over twenty years before moving to Gadair-Wen, Pontyclun.

Thomas Richard Llewellyn (Tonypandy), another well known surgeon, lived at the property from 1911 to around 1920. The 1911 census lists the family, along with 3 servants, a groom and a ‘private governess’ from Gloucestershire– Miss Hilda Hawkins! Dr TR Llewellyn- “relinquished an extensive medical service in the Rhondda Valley to join the regional medical service on its inception in 1920” (taken from British Medical Journal Obituary May 12, 1934).

It was shortly after this that the house became a County Police Station. The house had various uses within the police force/probationary service until it was converted into flats in the early 1990s.

Also, the Penygraig Community Project or the ‘Bike Club’ as it was known locally, was started in the basement of Grovefield House, in 1979. It went from working with disaffected teenagers in the ‘whitewashed coal cellar’ of Grovefield House to its current grand location in the hugely renovated Soar Baptist Chapel, opened by Prince Charles.

Penygraig County Police Station 1926 (Grovefield House)

Back Row: PC I Murphy, 3 Special Police for ’26 Strike, PC B Davies
Front Row: Supt J Church, PC G, PC G Broughton, PC E Dixon, Sgt WJ Roberts