prominence given to the Taff Vale Railway, for so long the main link with the outside world, bringing mail with a regularity and frequency that today we must envy, not to say the South Wales Echo, rushed memorably from the station through the town by the raucous Joe Haines. 'Schooldays' is the least well-covered subject. Here most of the plates date from the nineteen-sixties, and of the earlier items no less than three consist of pages from a Punishment Book. One might perhaps have expected a grim post-1870 group or two, or a mention of Watkin Uther Williams or Idris Jones, first headmasters of the County School, widely influential figures in the town in their day; or of the 1st Lord Aberdare, founding father of Welsh popular education. Which brings us to the book's most notable omission. Until the Bruce family vacated Dyffryn House (now sadly demolished) in the nineteen- twenties, Mountain Ash was unique among valley towns in having its landed proprietors still in residence. Their presence can be seen to have affected the town in various ways: not only do members of the family and their marriages people its street-names, but until the family's departure 'Lordy's' with its idyllic grounds was the favoured venue for municipal and church events, the painted image of the house continuing for many years to decorate the safety curtain of the Workmen's Hall (now also demolished and not adequately recorded here). A family group would, surely, not have been difficult to come by (the present Lord Aberdare figures twice in the Nos Galan pictures), but all we have is 'Mrs Pyke, lady-in-waiting to Lady Aberdare' and her cottage-where Calon Ldn was first sung, though whether this was in her day is not made clear. In short, while it contains much that is of interest the book as a whole lacks historical balance, and sadly one comes away with an impression of uneven coverage and opportunities missed. J. M. LEWIS Llandaff