The earliest evidence of humans in Port Talbot has been found on the side of Mynydd Margam where farming ditches can be found at an age of 4,000 BC during the Bronze Age. The area of the parish of Margam lying on the west bank of the lower Afan became industrialised following the establishment of a copper works in 1770. The Afan was diverted and a dock was opened in 1839 named for the Talbot family. The Port Talbot Railway and Docks Company opened a dock at Port Talbot and the Llyfni Railway in 1897, followed by the Ogmore Valley Extension and the South Wales Mineral Junction Railway - By 1900, the dock was exporting over 500,000 tons of coal; it reached a peak of over three million tons in 1923. In 1952 the completion of the Abbey Works by the Steel Company of Wales made Port Talbot the home of one of Europe's largest integrated steelworks and (with 18,000 employees) the largest employer in Wales. This was followed by the establishment of a chemical plant at Baglan Bay by British Petroleum (now BP) in the 1960s. In 1970 a new deep-water harbour was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Port Talbot lies approximately ten miles from the city of Swansea due west and around thirty three miles from the capital Cardiff along the M4 corridor.
Currently the local education authority operates 6 infant schools, 6 junior schools, 56 primary schools, 11 secondary schools and 3 special schools. The area local newspaper includes the South Wales Evening Post which is published for the Neath Port Talbot area. The paper's publisher, South West Wales Publications, also produces a free weekly paper, the Neath & Port Talbot Tribune.
Heavy industry is a visible feature of Port Talbot's economy. The coastal strip of the town features Port Talbot Steelworks, a large BOC Industrial Gases plant, a biomass power station and a gas-fired power station. Port Talbot is served by the South Wales Main Line at Port Talbot Parkway railway station. First Great Western and Arriva Trains Wales serve the station with services westbound to Neath and Swansea and West Wales Line and eastbound to Bridgend, Cardiff Central, Newport, Bristol Parkway, Swindon, Didcot Parkway, Reading and London Paddington.
The town is served by several newspapers. The Port Talbot Guardian was a weekly paper published by Media Wales, part of the Trinity Mirror group, but ceased publication in October 2009. The Swansea-based daily South Wales Evening Post and the weekly Courier and Tribune are also distributed in the town and are published by South West Wales Publications, part of the Northcliffe Media group.
The town is part of the Ospreys rugby union region, by which it is represented at the top level of the sport. Swansea city is the closest top level football team currently playing in the Premier league at the liberty stadium.
Margam Forest to the northeast of the Port Talbot is used as a venue for a stage of the annual Wales Rally GB. In the past, the rally route has traversed Margam Country Park.
Last year most property sales in Port Talbot involved semi-detached properties which sold for on average £106,915. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £84,898, while detached properties fetched £192,978.
Port Talbot, with an overall average price of £108,983 was more expensive than nearby Aberavon (£91,647), but was cheaper than Baglan (£140,268) and Cwmavon (£123,444).
During the last year, sold prices in Port Talbot were 5% up on the previous year and similar to 2007 when the average house price was £110,544.
Source: Rightmove September 2017