Bridgend is a fascinating place to live. Scratch beneath the surface and you can find all manner of interesting facts about the town: here are some of our favourites…
1. There was a German ‘Great Escape’ from Bridgend’s Island Farm POW camp during the Second World War
The biggest ever recorded escape by German prisoners of war in Britain happened in Bridgend at the Island Farm POW camp in 1945. 86 prisoners escaped through a 70 feet tunnel that had been dug through heavy clay. Cans, tins and knives were used as digging implements and soil was hauled out of the tunnel in kit bags.
Remarkably, the tunnel had its own electric lights, tapped off of the mains supply, and a ventilation pipe made from condensed milk tins. All 86 prisoners were eventually recaptured, and not officially punished.
2. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed on Merthyr Mawr sand dunes
The Merthyr Mawr sand dunes are about 3 miles away from the centre of Bridgend town, and unbelievably, they were used as a shooting location for some of the scenes in the 1962 classic film, Lawrence of Arabia. Widely acclaimed as one of the greatest and most influential films of all-time, the film starred Peter O’Toole, and detailed the exploits of the British Army Officer T. E. Lawrence, as he helps to organise Arab revolts during the First World World.
3. In Welsh, Bridgend is known as ‘Pen-y-Bont ar Ogwr’
This roughly translates in English as ‘the head of the Bridge on the Ogmore’. As you can tell from its name, bridges and water have played an important part in Bridgend’s history. The town originally developed at a ford on the River Ogmore, which marked the main route between east and west Wales. North of the town, the three rivers Ogmore, Llynfi and Garw also meet.
4. Bridgend is one of the fastest growing towns in Wales
In the 2001 census, Bridgend had a population of 128,700. The 2011 census however recorded Bridgend’s population as 139,200: a massive 8.2% rise. This population boom is the largest rise in Wales apart from Cardiff, making Bridgend a focal point of growth for the South Wales region.
5. Bridgend has celebrities!
Actress, writer and MBE Ruth Jones, best known as Nessa in the comedy ‘Gavin and Stacey’ was born in Bridgend. Newsreader Huw Edwards, and William Morgan, inventor of the X-ray process, were also born here. The heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine also come from Bridgend.
Falcon: Bridgend-based home improvement specialists
If you’re looking for a new window, door or conservatory, or you’re just looking for some home improvement advice, Falcon are the perfect South Welsh company to choose. Based in Bridgend, we’ve been improving homes across Wales for the past 25 years. For more information, give us a call on 01656 646 047 or send us an email here.