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Tredegar Clocktower
Tredegar Clocktower
  About your Area
Population 14,802
OS grid reference SO145095
Principal area Blaenau Gwent
Ceremonial county Gwent
Constituent country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town TREDEGAR
Postcode district NP22
Dialling code 01495
Police Gwent
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
European Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Blaenau Gwent
List of places: UKWalesBlaenau Gwent

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.


[edit] Early history

In 1778 an iron furnace was built in Sirhowy by Thomas Atkinson and William Barrow who came to the area from London.[1] 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.[2] 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, South Wales.

[edit] The Town Clock

One of Tredegar's main attributes is the Town Clock [1] - dominating [2] 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.[3]

"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 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 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".[4]

[edit] Other information

It 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.

[edit] 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 [5]
  • 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

[edit] Twin towns

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

[edit] 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.

[edit] Famous residents

[edit] 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,[6] 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.[5] His predecessor as leader, Michael Foot, was MP for the local constituency - Blaenau Gwent - during his time as party leader. Ironically, Michael Foot's constituency home was Number 10.

[edit] Origin of the name Tredegar

The name Tredegar can be explained as tref deg erw.[citation needed] Deg erw is Welsh for "ten acres" or "ten-acre"; tref means "town", although its original meaning was "farm" or "estate"[citation needed].

Alternatively, the second element could be the personal name Tegyr, lenited to Degyr, with a change to the final vowel in the local dialect.[citation needed] Little is known about Tegyr (the Great). Sir Tegyr was thought important enough to be included – as Sir Degore – among the twenty-five Knights listed on King Arthur's Round Table. He appears as King Arthur's cup-bearer in the tale of Culhwch & Olwen.

[edit] References

  1. , "A look at Old Tredegar in photographs" Volume 1 Philip Prosser Old Bakehouse Publications 1990
  2. , B. Gardner's History of Tredegar and other information
  3. , Old Tredegar Volume One W.Scandlett ISBN 0 9517057 0 9
  4. , Tredegar Urban District Council's "Centenary Souvenir", 1958 The clock stopped working in January 2007 due to rain water affecting the rebuilt electrical mechanism. A campaign has been set up petitioning the council to repair the clock before it's 150th anniversary next year.
  5. , a b The Georgetown Schools (1877-1989) Clarice Brown Starling Press, Newport 1989
  6. , a b Tredegar town website]
  7. , Rishbeth, Henry. "Obituary: P J S Williams 1939-2003", Astronomy & Geophysics, 44(5), 2003.

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 51.77761° N 3.24069° W

(Source: Wikipedia)
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