The Newport-born author Leslie Thomas wrote of Maesglas:
Maesglas was a penniless place everybody called Moscow. When it was built in the thirties the winter was of such Soviet severity that the frost-bound workmen gave it the name. Poor though it was, nobody who ever lived there can today mention its name or its Russian nickname without breaking into a grin.
The main housing estate was first built in the 1950s, then many newer houses were added between the 1970s and 1990s in the Bideford Road area, next to the Great Western Main Line. Homes on the Maesglas estate are fairly compact but all have front and back gardens. Most of the houses are terraced but are arranged in all sorts of different rows and shapes of street, due to being built in the suburbs and having more room to build wider roads. A significant percentage of the houses are council-owned.
Maesglas is also home to the headquarters of the Monmouthshire region's local newspaper: the South Wales Argus.
Semi-detached houses either side of Cardiff Road, St. Bride's Gardens next to the Ebbw River and the small estate next to St. David's R.C. primary school are also sometimes considered to be part of Maesglas.
Maesglas is surrounded by several retail parks , home to large stores such as B&Q , Tesco and Woolworths. Southeast of the railway line lies the Maesglas Industrial Estate, although this is actually in the Pill ward.
A new suburban railway station will be built to serve Maesglas within the next few years.