Newtown (Y Drenewydd) is the largest town in the county of Powys, Mid Wales with a population of 12,783 (2001). Lying on the River Severn, the town is best known as the birthplace of Robert Owen in 1771 with his former house now being a museum.
The town grew in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries around the textile and flannel industry and the arrival of the Montgomeryshire Canal. In 1838, the town saw Wales' first Chartist demonstration.
The town was designated as a "new town" in 1967 and has seen a large population growth as companies and people have settled, changing the rural market town character and today the town has developed into the largest town in Mid Wales.
Newtown also hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1965.
The most central populated town in Wales, Newtown sits approximately 20 miles from the English border. It was built within a narrow valley, restricting development north and south of the town. Newtown is surrounded by small villages often referenced as the Newtown area. If Newtown were to include all its postal villages town's population would come close to 20,000.
The Royal Welsh Warehouse was built by Pryce Jones and remains the tallest building in Newtown. The two towering structures housed the world's first mail order service depot.
Bear Lanes, the town's main shopping centre sports a Tudor style entrance. The building was once a hotel, The Bear, which explains the mall's appearance today.
The Free Library building, designed by the architect Frank Shayler of Shrewsbury was built in 1902.
Newtown is twinned with:
Robert Owen Museum
W H Smith Museum
Oriel Davies Gallery
Newtown is currently served by Arriva Trains Wales at its station. The majority of the local bus services, both within the town and serving other nearby locations are operated by privately owned, local companies. Newtown is served by two National Express services per day; the Aberystwyth to London and its return counterpart. Due to the town being situated in a valley plans for a much needed bypass have been frequently rescinded. As a result the A483 and A489 roads which merge on the town are often over crowded and can cause severe delays.
The Montgomery Canal originally terminated in Newtown, but following its closure in 1944 the section in Newtown was sold, and subsequently built on. Few signs of the canal remain, though Canal Road and Lower Canal Road remain.
Theatr Hafren is one of the most popular theatres in Mid Wales. Despite its small 548 capacity, the venue has attracted many big name performers and produced numerous acclaimed shows. Past notable performers have included Lee Evans, Jools Holland, Phil Jupitus, and Sir Bob Geldof. The Theatre is also a part of the Coleg Powys complex, and often allows drama students to use its facilities.
Newtown A.F.C. is one of the most well known names in football (soccer) in Wales. Co-founders of the Welsh Football League, the club boasts a proud history, most recently twice finishing runners-up in the League of Wales in the mid 90's. The club also entered the qualifying stages of the UEFA Cup on two occasions. Newtown AFC are one of only a handfull of teams to have remained in the Welsh Premier since its formation in 1990.
Latham Park, Newtown AFC's football stadium is widely regarded as the best in the league. A capacity of 5000 (1,750 seated), the ground has undergone major development in the last 10 years, achieving a full UEFA licence, allowing under-21 international games and European games to be played there. Despite the facilities, the club struggles to attract a large fanbase, with attendances averaging around 300. In 2007, another 250 seater stand was built next to the media gantry, with future developments planned.