Tredegar

Tredegar

Tredegar is a town in the county borough of Blaenau Gwent, lying on the River Sirhowy in the Sirhowy Valley in south east Wales.

The historic Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia, United States was named in honour of the town.

History

Industrialisation

From the mid-16th century to 1974, Tredegar lay in the historic county of Monmouthshire. It became an early centre of the Industrial Revolution in South Wales. In 1778 an iron furnace was built in Sirhowy by Thomas Atkinson and William Barrow who came to the area from London. Fuel was needed for the furnace so men were employed to dig coal at Bryn Bach and Nantybwch, the first small scale coal mining operation in the area.

The furnace failed in 1794. In 1797, Samuel Homfray, with partners Richard Fothergill and the Revd. Matthew Monkhouse built a new furnace, leasing the land from the Tredegar Estate in Newport. This created the Sirhowy Ironworks that were to become the Tredegar Ironworks, named in honour of the Tredegar Estate at Tredegar House and Tredegar Park in Newport in the south of the county.

Governence

Links with the Labour Party

Tredegar has strong links with prominent Labour MPs and the history of the Labour Party and the Labour Movement in the UK. It was the birthplace of Aneurin Bevan, who was responsible for the introduction of the British National Health Service (NHS), and who in the 1920s was involved in the management of Tredegar General Hospital. It was also the birthplace of former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock who attended Georgetown Infants and Juniors. His predecessor as leader, Michael Foot, was MP for the local constituency - Ebbw Vale - during his time as party leader. Ironically, Michael Foot's constituency home was Number 10.

Architecture

Bedwellty House is a Grade2 listed house and gardens. Originally a ”low thatched-roof cottage,” the old house was renovated in 1809. The present Bedwellty House was built in 1818 as a home for Samuel Homfray, whose Iron and Coal Works were the main local employers for much of the 19th century. The surrounding 26 acre Victorian garden and park, designed originally as a Dutch garden around which one could walk or ride without being confronted by gate, fence or outside features; contains the Long Shelter, a Grade2 listed structure built for the Charterist movement.

The Town Clock

One of Tredegar's main attributes is the Town Clock - dominating the southern part of the town centre. The clock was the idea of Mrs. R. P. Davies the wife of the Tredegar Company who had decided that she wanted to present a "lofty illuminated clock" and it was she who decided that it would be erected in the Circle.

"The clock tower is seventy-two feet high. The foundation is of masonry, on which is surmounted the cast-iron base which has four arms from each corner to a distance of sixty feet at a depth of five feet and six inches (152 mm) below ground level. The pillar is wholly composed of cast-iron, upon a square pediment which in turn, receives a rectangular plinth, and upon this stands a cylindrical column of smooth surface and symmetrical diameter, ornamented with suitable coping on which rests the clock surrounded with a weather vane. The plinth is inscribed on the four aspects, on the south side - Presented to the town of Tredegar from the proceeds of a bazaar promoted by the late Mrs R.P.Davis. Erected in the year 1858. On the West side is effigy of Wellington, with the legend - Wellington, England's Hero. On the North, the Royal Arms of England; and on the east, the name and description of the founder with his crest, - Charles Jordan, Iron Founder, Newport, Mon.

The clock is provided with four transparent faces or dials, each five feet three inches diameter, and these were illuminated originally by gas, but this was later changed to Electricity. The minute hands are each two feet two inches long, and the hour hand one foot seven inches long. The clocks mechanism is a fifteen inch (381 mm) mainwheel strike, with a single four-legged Gravity Escapement driving the four dials. It has a 1 1/4 second pendulum and the bob weighs two hundredweight".

Culture and leisure

Tredegar is home to Bryn Bach Park, a country park.

Tredegar Orpheus Male Voice Choir will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2009. Originally in Tredegar there were two choirs, a glee party and a small chapel choir. In 1909, these united under the baton of Mr John Davy Evans, and thus became known as 'The Tredegar Orpheus Male Voice Choir', the name Orpheus coming from the Greek god of music.

Tredegar Town Band won the Champion Band of Wales for the ninth time in 2008. Their financial support comes from local councils and other local organisations and from the support of 'friends' who raise the money needed to maintain the band. Many other bands attract private sponsorship.

Tredegar is home to rugby union teams Tredegar Rugby Football Club who play in the Swalec League Division Two East and Tredegar Ironsides Rugby Football Club. The club was formed in 1946.

Local schools

  • Two Dame Schools prior to 1828
  • The Town School opened in 1837
  • Georgetown schools in 1877. First Headmistress in 1878
  • Georgetown Senior Boys School in 1904
  • Tredegar Grammar School
  • Tredegar Secondary Modern
  • Tredegar Comprehensive school
  • Deighton primary school
  • Glanhowy primary school
  • Georgetown primary school (rebuilt 2004)
  • St. Joseph's R.C school
  • Brynbach primary school

Twin towns

Tredegar has been twined with Orvault in South-East Brittany since 1979.

Claims to fame

Tredegar has been used for numerous TV and film locations, including The District Nurse starring Nerys Hughes. In 1982, a televised version of the A. J. Cronin novel, The Citadel, was filmed in Tredegar, starring Ben Cross. The series was based partly on Cronin's experiences as a doctor in the town, where he had worked for the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in the early 1920s. Just north of Tredegar lies the Trefil region. Trefil found new fame in 2005 when it was used as a location for the alien Vogon homeworld in the film of Douglas Adams's book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. A myth exists that King Arthur's Camelot was located in Trefil.

Famous residents

References

External links

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