Friends of Tredegar House Talks 2017

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 2017 Talks

All talks & AGM will be held in
The Morgan Room at Tredegar House

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIMES
Entrance of £2.00 for members £3.00 for visitors

Wednesday 22nd February – 2 p.m.
Speaker – Rosemary Scadden
Subject – Welsh girls in Service between the wars

Wednesday 22nd March – 2 p.m.
Speaker – Sue Powell
Subject – My memories of Tredegar House

& surrounding area from 1945 – 2012

Wednesday 26th April – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Chris Barber
Subject – Journey around Monmouthshire

Wednesday 24th May – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Don Balkwill
Subject – Forgotten Gadgets

Wednesday 28th June – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Monty Dart
Subject – Leslie Thomas Newport author film of his early life in Newport

 Wednesday 26th July – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Graham Duke
Subject – Air Traffic Control

 Wednesday 27th September – 7 p.m.
Speaker – Graham Jarvis
Subject – 100 years of theatres around Newport

 Wednesday 25th October – 7 p.m.
Speaker – David Harrison
Subject – Dylan Thomas Centenary

Note new time for talk listed below

Wednesday 22nd November – 2 p.m.
Speaker – Paul Busby
Subject – T.B.A

 

 

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All Social events will be advertised in the newsletters

NEWSLETTERS(click here)

Newsletters

To view these newsletters you will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer or laptop

Adobe Reader (Click Here to Obtain)

Spring 1983 Issue No.5 Newsletter (click here)

Kindly provided by Cyril Highman – Addresses of Committee Members blanked out for Privacy Reasons

July 2017 Newsletter (click here)

April 2017 Newsletter (click here)

January 2017 Newsletter (click here)

October 2016 Newsletter (click here)

Oct 2016 Article by Rhiannon Gamble N.T Property Operations Manager of Tredegar House (click here)

July 2016 Newsletter (click here)

April 2016 Newsletter (click here)

January 2016 Newsletter(click here)

Jan 2016 – Article by Linda Wigley National Trust General Manager of Tredegar House( click here)

October 2015 Newsletter(click here)

Oct 2015 -Article by Linda Wigley National Trust General Manager of Tredegar House( click here)

July 2015 Newsletter(click here)

April 2015 Newsletter ( click here)

January 2015 News Letter(click here)

Our sincere apologies to Dr N Mills

  the report in the above Newsletter  article about the Battle of Balaclava Diner is incorrect

He in fact gave a reading of Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade

January 2015 Insert(click here)

October 2014 Newsletter(click here)

Article by Adam Ellis-Jones National Trust Assistant Director of Operations( click here)

July 2014 Newsletter(click here)

Article by Joanna Cartwright National Trust Property Manager of Tredegar House( click here)

April 2014 Newsletter ( click here)

Article by Joanna Cartwright National Trust Property Manager of Tredegar House( click here)

January 2014 Newsletter(click here)

October 2013 Newsletter(click here)

July 2013 Newsletter(click here)

April 2013 Newsletter(click here)

Letter from Jo Cartwright Property Manager Tredegar House-April 2013(click here)

January 2013 Newsletter (click here)

January 2013 Newsletter Pull out Section (click here)

October 2012 Newsletter(click here)

Letter from Jo Cartwright Property Manager Tredegar House- September 2012(click here)

July 2012 Newsletter(click here)

Letter From the Mayor Of Newport(click here)

April 2012 Newsletter (click here)

January 2012 Newsletter(click here)

National Trust statement insert for  January 2012 Newsletter(click here)

September 2011 Newsletter(click here)

May 2011 Newsletter(click here)

February 2011 Newsletter(click here)

George Gould Morgan and The Alford Family

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We recently received this wonderful account of The Alford family from Judith Coupar – it tells us of George Gould Morgan – George is part of The Morgan family we do not ever hear of.  It is very intersting account.

My name is Judith Coupar and I live in Perth Western Australia, having migrated here with my parents in 1949, aged 3 years.  My great grandfather, James Alford, was butler to Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st and last Viscount Tredegar from about 1875 to about 1914. 

When Viscount Tredegar’s mother, Lady Rosamund Morgan (was made Baroness Tredegar on 16 April 1859 died in 1883), he was was installed in one of the Morgan family’s London houses (11 Cambridge Square, Hyde Park) to look after Lord Godfrey Morgan’s youngest brother, George Gould Morgan (born 15.9.1845, died 3.3.1907). he carried out his duties for almost 27 years.

George Gould Morgan was physically and mentally impaired,  

I do not believe James and Elizabeth Alford returned to Tredegar House following George Gould Morgan’s death in 1907 as they continued to live at the Cambridge Square House even after “Godfrey the Good’s” death in 1913, and probably until their deaths in the 1920/30 era.  This London house continued to be  used by other Morgan family members and acquaintances when they visited London, and George & Elizabeth Alford “kept” this house for the Morgan family, along with another housekeeper (Ada Spendlove) who lived with them there, and whom James Alford “hired” at the age of 15, when, in 1885, he found her crying on the steps of the Cambridge Square house, asking for a job.

Ada Spendlove lived with our family for 60 years, never married, looked after 3 generations of our family, and died at our home in Hanwell, West London,  on Christmas eve, 1945, when I was one month old. 

James Alford married a dairymaid, Elizabeth Player in March 1885 and they had an only child, Ethel Alford, my grandmother.  Ethel was born in December 1885 whilst they lived at the Cambridge Square address and she only left there when she married John Douglas on 30 May 1914.
 
Ethel told us that it was quite a task for her parents, looking after the Hon. George.  He was prone to fits and was quite gullible.  Apparently, the housemaids along Cambridge Square would “egg him on”.  George had no sense of values, giving sometimes expensive presents and then, just the stub of a pencil.  Ethel also said he would often say ….. “Pack my bags James.  I am going to elope”.

 

Mirror & butler serving dish

image0012FROM THE ARCHIVES

Hon. George Gould Morgan was born on 15 September 1845.1 He was the son of Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan, 1st Baron Tredegar and Rosamund Mundy.1 He died on 3 March 1907 at age 61, unmarried1.Hon. Fanny Henrietta Morgan+3 d. 2 Sep 1887

2.Hon. Georgiana Charlotte Morgan4 d. 22 Apr 1886

3.Hon. Mary Anna Morgan+3 d. 14 Aug 1924

4.Hon. Selina Maria Morgan1 d. 31 Mar 1922

5.Hon. Rosamond Marion Tredegar+3 d. 15 Jan 1883

6.Charles Rodney Morgan1 b. 2 Dec 1828, d. 14 Jan 1854

7.Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st and last Viscount Tredegar1 b. 28 Apr 1831, d. 11 Mar 1913

8.Hon. Frederic Courtenay Morgan+1 b. 24 May 1834, d. 9 Jan 1909

9.Hon. Ellen Sarah Morgan+5 b. 1836, d. 19 May 1912

10.Hon. Arthur John Morgan1 b. 27 Aug 1840, d. 9 Nov 1900

11.Hon. George Gould Morgan1 b. 15 Sep 1845, d. 3 Mar 1907
 

NEW BOOK BY WILL CROSS – LOIS INA STURT

LOIS COVER worked on

Lois Sturt, Wild Child : A Glance at Hon. Lois Ina Sturt, Viscountess Tredegar

New Book By William Cross : Now Available £8.00 Post Free UK

From the age of the flapper, with vivid yarns of those Bright Young Things comes the poignant tale of British high society wild child, the Honourable Lois Ina Sturt, a dazzling, single minded,one-off personality who was dead by the age of 37. Sibling of the enigmatic, hedonistic peer Lord ‘Naps’ Alington, the family pile was the magical Crichel Estate in Dorset. The blond, tubercular Naps was matched only in devil may care attitude by his younger sister Lois, a delectable, quixotic creature,an accomplished actress and dancer, a clever painter who studied at the Slade School of Art and had her own art studio in Chelsea. She also became a successful race horse owner and breeder of Great Danes. But Lois’ story is largely untold. She was deemed “fast” and “high-spirited”: Lois wanted to knock the stuffing out of convention and achieved this by engaging in several long love affairs, generally with older, married men. She was for four years the lover of the much older Reggie Herbert, 15th Earl of Pembroke, and an intimate around the string of unapproved-of good-time girls chasing Prince George, the ill-fated Duke of Kent. In 1928 Lois entered into an arranged, madcap marriage de convenance with the homosexual Hon. Evan Frederic Morgan, heir to the Viscount Tredegar and died suddenly in Budapest in 1937, a victim of long years of alcohol abuse and insane slimming treatments. Author of previous titles on several forgotten Society figures of the 1920s and 1930s, William Cross presents all the humorous anecdotes, coupled with fascinating, yet often sad facts on the boisterous life and times of Evan Morgan’s first wife Lois, Viscountess Tredegar. Incredibly, Lois may boast a blood connection to the current heir to the British throne. ISBN 10 1-905914-31-8 and ISBN 13 978-1-905914-31-9

Published by William P. Cross through Book Midden Publishing 58 Sutton Road, Newport, Gwent NP19 7JF, United Kingdom   £8.00 Post Free UK until 31 December 2014

OVERSEAS ORDERS PLEASE USE AMAZON Cheques/ POs payable to “ William Cross”

 williecross@virginmedia.com

 A new book from William Cross, FSA Scot on Lois Sturt, actress, painter and first wife of Evan Morgan, later Viscount Tredegar. Lois died in Budapest in 1937, aged 37. She was one of the brightest of the Bright Young Things, but doomed because of her quest for fun and high living. Lois was Viscountess Tredegar from 1934 -1937.

A link to article from The Daily Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/art/62799/ambrose-mcevoy-portrait-of-lois-sturt-exceeds-estimate-at-dreweatts-saleroom.html

FOLLOW BLOG ON LOIS STURT

 http://lois-sturt.blogspot.co.uk/

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Lois by Tony Wysard (1907-1984) Caricaturist & Fashion Editor

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LOIS COVER FOR FOTH

 

 

 

 

Evan Frederic Morgan: Viscount Tredegar : The Final Affairs : Financial and Carnal. by Will Cross

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Newport Author William Cross

Evan Frederic Morgan: Viscount Tredegar :

The Final Affairs : Financial and Carnal.

Available Now

Click on the link below, which has the synopsis of the book

http://screwpacketplaywrights.yolasite.com/Evan-Viscount-Tredegar-The-Final-Affairs.php

Any enquiries, please e-mail Will Cross

williecross@virginmedia.com

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Newport ˜Screwpacket Playwrights”

The Forgotten :

A Chartist Musical, which can be seen at the Riverfront Theatre
On 19th and 20th November
And other South Wales venues :
Llandogo Millennium Hall ( 22nd November )
Chepstows Drill Hall ( 27th November)
Savoy Theatre, Monmouth ( 5th December)

Godfrey Morgan Gentleman Rider

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 VISCOUNT TREDEGAR

GENTLEMEN RIDERS – PAST AND PRESENT

By JOHN MAUNSELL RICHARDSON, FINCH MASON & JOHNA.SEAVERNS

1909

Familiar as the name of the popular nobleman who forms the subject of this chapter must necessarily be, not only in the Principality, but throughout the length and breadth of the land as one of the staunchest friends of agriculture and all that

pertains to it the cause has ever possessed, it is probably news to the present generation, who may have only heard of him as a sportsman in connection with the Tredegar Hunt, of which he was master for so many years, that in his younger days

there were few more accomplished horsemen, both over a country and on the flat, than the subject of our memoir, and certainly none more popular; the roar of delight which went up all along the line when the purple and orange sleeves were

seen in the van at Cardiff or Abergavenny, more especially when sported by their owner, being something to remember.

 Godfrey Charles Morgan, first Viscount Tredegar, son of the first Baron Tredegar, and his wife Rosamund, only daughter of General Godfrey Basil Mundy, was born on the 28th April, 1830, at Ruperra Castle, in Glamorganshire, and on leaving Eton, joined the 17th Lancers, with which gallant regiment he served in the Crimean War, being lucky enough not only to participate in the historic charge of the Light

Brigade at Balaclava, but to emerge scatheless from the melie. It was soon after joining his regiment, in 1853, that Colonel Godfrey Morgan, as he then was, made his debut in the saddle, when he rode a horse called Fringe in a flat race at

Woolwich, his next appearance being at Newport, in Monmouthshire, in the course by the river-side, where the Newport rowing-club boathouse now stands, on which occasion he rode a grey mare named Miss Banks, belonging to Mr. Fothergill

Rowlands, in a hurdle race, coming in second to a horse called The General.

In the same year he won the principal steeplechase at Cowbridge on Mr. Briggs, belonging to his elder brother, which horse accompanied him later on to the Crimea, and was his mount in the Balaclava charge.

After the Peace, in 1855, Captain Godfrey Morgan retired from the Army, and gave himself up almost entirely to sports of the field, in which steeplechasing took a prominent place. Cardiff, Cowbridge, and Abergavenny — which last is described

by Mr. Thomas Pickernell as one of the stiffest courses he ever rode across — being his favourite battle-grounds. At Cowbridge he won the principal steeplechase, and was second in the next race on a horse called Peeping Tom, whilst the Hunt

and open steeplechases at Abergavenny fell to his share with Gadfly and General Bosquet respectively ; the first-named race being won again a second time by him on a horse named Bowles. Whilst still in the Service, Captain Godfrey Morgan steered the second in the light-weight Military Steeple-chase at Warwick ; and later on, at Melton, he won the first point-to-point steeplechase which ever took place there, on Mystery, his brother, Colonel The Hon. Fred Morgan, being second.

From 1858 to 1875, in which year he succeeded to the title, Lord Tredegar represented Brecknock in Parliament in the Conservative interest, and he still retains the Mastership of the Hunt which bears his name.

COLONEL THE HON. F. C. MORGAN

Until quite late into the seventies of the past century, none of the race meetings in South Wales, such as Cardiff, Abergavenny, and Monmouth, would have been considered perfect without the presence in their respective saddling paddocks of

the good sportsman named above ; and it would have been considered equally out of place if during the day the popular purple and orange hoops and black cap, worn by their owner, were not seen in the van more than once during the day’s

proceedings, either on horses belonging to himself or his brother, Lord Tredegar.

The third son of the first Lord Tredegar, the subject of our memoir, was born in 1834, and, his education over, joined the Rifle Brigade, in which distinguished regiment he served in the Crimean War, seeing a good deal of service during the time he was there.

After his marriage. Colonel Morgan settled down in Glamorganshire, where he lived the life of a country gentleman, for which he was so eminently fitted. For many years almost the entire management of the Tredegar Hunt, belonging to Lord Tredegar, devolved on him in the Master’s absence ; whilst there can be no doubt that it was to his own influence and the generous support of the Tredegar family that the various race meetings in the locality owed in a great measure their success. It was no uncommon thing to see the two brothers, Lord Tredegar and Colonel Fred Morgan, riding together in thesame race ; and on one of these occasions, in a friendly match

over hurdles, to decide the merits of two of their hunters,

Colonel Morgan’s horse, who was on the inside all the way, in jumping the last flight, not only cleared the corner hurdle, but the rails as well, landing handsomely amongst the crowd, and as a consequence had to retrace his steps, thereby enabling

Lord Tredegar to win at his leisure. The amusing part of the story was that the natives went away firmly convinced in their own minds that Colonel Morgan’s jump over the rails, so far from being an accident, was prompted by an amiable desire on his part not to defeat his brother.

The subject of this memoir, who died to every one’s great regret on January 8th, 1909, represented Monmouthshire in the Conservative interest for thirty years, being only deprived of his seat at the last general election, and was, from its foundation, one of the most active members of the N. H. committee.

This antiquarian book – written in 1909 can be had for £299 on internet

 But read it here for FREE. Click on link below – when open scroll down to read.

http://archive.org/stream/gentlemenridersp00rich/gentlemenridersp00rich_djvu.txt

 

Opening of the Alexandra Dock Newport

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In this photo Prince Arthur is in the front, Courtenay is behind him and Evan is behind Mather-Jackson (Lord Lieutenant) who is wearing a top hat. It was the day after Evan’s 21st birthday.

I have recently been involved in an exhibition to commemorate the 100th  anniversary of the opening of Alexandra Dock by the Duke of Connaught. It was one of Courtenay’s proudest moments – as Liberty sailed into the Dock (most of the Morgan family were aboard) and Prince Arthur cut the ribbon.  I still don’t understand how you put a ribbon across a dock. Let alone cut it when you are on a boat!  I hope you enjoy this animation by the children of Pillgwenlly Primary School.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frl88o75HnQ

The film refers to the Newport Dock Disaster – this is an 8 min film about the event

the original is about 45 mins    watch  it here      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEVB_nlobgk

 

 Monty Dart

 

 

 

Latest New Book From William Cross : Now Available – The Abergavenny Witch Hunt

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Latest New Book From William Cross : Now Available

Scandal from South Wales in the Second World War

The Abergavenny Witch Hunt

An account of the prosecution of over twenty homosexuals in a small Welsh town in 1942

The book will feature in the Abergavenny Chronicle

All profits from the book go to an Abergavenny Charity in memory of Lewis Matthews of Abergavenny, a promising nine-teen-year old who committed suicide by throwing himself under a train in 1942.

The details of the book are below

The book can also be purchased from the Abergavenny Book Shop ( Brian Hughes ) Cross Street,
Abergavenny,

Directly from the Author £12.00 including UK postage and packing

On Amazon ( slightly higher priced ).

Review Copies Available for press, bloggers ( who review books) etc etc

ISBN 10 1-905914-22-9 and ISBN 13 978-1-905914-22-7

Published by William P. Cross through Book Midden Publishing

58 Sutton Road, Newport, Gwent, NP19 7JF

United Kingdom

Normal Listed Price £12.00 UK ONLY + Postage and Packing

Cheques/ PO made payable to William Cross

58, Sutton Road, Newport, Gwent, NP19 7JF

Abergavennywitchhuntamazon

In 1942, the Welsh town of Abergavenny was scandalised by disclosures after the arrest of over twenty youths and men on charges relating to homosexual activity and corrupting boys. George Rowe, the 40-year-old manager of Abergavennys Coliseum cinema was at the centre of a Police enquiry after one of the page-boys complained about being molested. The boys complaint turned into a witch-hunt of  homosexuals across Britain revealing a oddball mix of abused and abusers; a farmer, a clerk, two chefs, a fireman, several serving soldiers, a hairdresser, an actor and others were arrested and brought back to Abergavenny, where almost all the offences were committed.

 

Before the case reached a Judge at Monmouthshire Assizes, three men attempted suicide, one young man succeeded in taking his own life. In the years that followed rumours persisted that several people had got away scot-free, including one notable public figure. Others went on the run to escape capture and disgrace, since all homosexuality was illegal in Britain until the changes started by the Sexual Offences Act, 1967.

 

William Cross the biographer of Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, and of salacious tales about the Morgans of Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales, is no stranger to controversial histories. Cross examines the facts in the Abergavenny case and sets out details from contemporary newspapers including closed files at National Archives, now released under the Freedom of Information Act. Here for the first time is the unvarnished truth, the background, the preliminary proceedings, the trial and the aftermath of a grisly, but sad tale from Abergavennys’ past that some would prefer to see buried forever.

 

 

‘Fantastic mum’ had big impact on Newport’s Tredegar House

‘Fantastic mum’ had big impact on Newport’s Tredegar House

 Article In The South Wales Argus    8:14am Friday 31st January 2014 in News

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A STALWART supporter of one of Newport’s biggest visitor attractions has died following a short illness.

 Phyllis Mary Roberts (nee Soffe), 91, was a founder member of the Friends of Tredegar House and part of a team of women who made and restored many of the soft fabrics which still adorn the house.

 Today the registered charitable organisation aims to conserve and spread public interest in the historical importance of Tredegar House.

 Mrs Roberts had a very active role as a founding member of the organisation and took part in re-enacting the history of the house.

 Her son Christopher Roberts said she loved playing the part of a parlour maid alongside her husband Frederick, who acted as a butler, during tours of the house for around 20 years.

 He said she was saddened when she grew too old to participate.

 Mrs Roberts, brought up in Pill, Newport, was the fourth child of five born to Sylvester Jesse Soffe and Frances Emilina (nee Williams).

 She had ambitions of becoming a pharmacist, but the financial climate meant she had to leave school before taking exams, to find work to help support the family.

 The Second World War intervened, and Mrs Roberts was employed in the office at the Royal Ordnance Factory off Corporation Road, where Bofors anti-aircraft guns were manufactured.

 Later, she recalled night shifts with dancing during the mid-shift meal break. The war exacted a heavy toll on Mrs Roberts and her family.

 Her brother Frederick (Ted), who had joined up along with her eldest brother Jack, was killed while working as a wireless operator when his aircraft crashed with the total loss of the crew.

 And later, her boyfriend Brynley Capel, who was in Bomber Command, was shot down and killed over Germany. In 1945 Mrs Roberts married Frederick and they had two children, Mr Roberts and Jane Paske.

 They lived in Malpas and later Gaer and, when she was in her 80s, she moved into Monmouth Court on Bassaleg Road leading an active life despite health problems.

 She enjoyed flower arranging and always loved poetry, reciting many pieces from memory, including Shakespeare’s sonnets.

 She had two grandchildren, Daniel and Chloe, and lived to hear of the birth of her great granddaughter Cordelia Lily (Dilly) on January 20.

 Christopher Roberts said: “She was a fantastic mother.”

 Her funeral will be held on February 12 at 1.30pm at the Gwent Crematorium.

Hilary Barrett interview with John Watkins, who worked at the house from 1950 -1956

In 1950, at the age of 15, John Watkins started a 5 year Apprenticeship as a Maintenance Fitter in the Tredegar Park Workshops which were situated in the Home Farm complex of the Tredegar Estate. He completed his apprenticeship and worked on the estate until 1956.

He had been born and brought up in Pencarne Cottages, Coedkernew. A tenanted cottage on the Tredegar Estate.  The cottage had no electricity, running water or indoor toilet. A family of frogs lived in the well in the garden. His mother cooked on a black lead grate and candles and oil lamps were in use to light the cottage. John shared a bedroom with his brother and grandfather. The rent on the cottage was 3s 6p a week.

His father ran his own business building farm carts but had previously worked on the estate and had driven the first estate lorry – a Morris Commercial vehicle which operated out of the Tredegar Estate Rhiwderin workshops. This lorry conveyed workers to undertake repair work on the estate farms.

The iron work for Johns’ fathers carts was undertaken by the Tredegar Estate blacksmiths. It was on an occasion that Johns father was visiting the workshops that they mentioned they needed an apprentice in the blacksmith and fitting shop. John was taken on to learn his trades.

There were 2 adult engineers and 3 apprentices in the workshops who undertook all maintenance work within Tredegar House and the outlying buildings and grounds.

He worked a 46 ½ hour week, including Saturday mornings. 8am to 5pm (30 mins lunch with no other breaks during the day). He had one weeks holiday a year and earned 9 old pence per hour in the first year. In 1956 when he left estate employment John was earning 3s an hour.

 All members of the engineering staff worked in the blacksmiths forge and did all the forge work apart from shoeing the one horse that was left on the estate. There was a shoeing iron, 3 anvils and bellows (which were later replaced by a big blower which fed the three forges). The workshop was situated in the buildings now occupied by Isca Woodcrafts.

John had to turn his hand to any remedial or new work that was needed and remembers how Tredegar House was left bare after the building and contents were sold in 1951. He was then part of the conversion team installing plumbing and electrical wiring and turning rooms into classrooms.

He states the nuns were “pretty good to us” “although the boarders were warned to keep away from me after I had taken some for a ride on my motorbike in my lunch break”!

“Nothing changed” on the estate when the nuns took over.  “The farm was still working in the 1950’s and possibly for another 20 years, after which there a was compulsory purchase order for part of the grounds for the building of the new Duffryn school”. “The gardeners were also kept on in employment by the convent”.

There was a rick yard and a poultry farm in front of the estate workshop (with thatched roofs) and John remembers, when food was still under rationing, locking the chickens in their shed until they had lain an egg for his dinner.

Potatoes grown on the estate were stored within clamps in the rick yard area and sold in sacks to local shops. Local labourers picked the potatoes in season.

“In the orchard behind the workshops were lovely fruit trees. Pear trees grew up the walls. “

There was an Apple House in the kitchen gardens used for storing all the ripe apples.

Where the car park now exists was the sports ground for staff, overlooked by two sports pavilions, and surrounded by chestnut trees. After the war when there was no timber available to be purchased these pavilions were dismantled and the wood used for repairs in the house

The open sheds over looking the sports ground housed the farm equipment – tractors and combines.

During WW11 John remembers American Forces being billeted in corrugated iron Nissan huts built on the sports ground. “There were military vehicles parked all over estate land, around the lake and as far as the eye could see. There were sentries posted at the entrance to the estate. The forces were being prepared for the Normandy Landings and there were men sleeping in vehicles. Along Forge Lane were French and Canadian troops, with tanks and tank carriers. Behind the walls were stacked cans and cans of petrol”.

John remembers one day during that time when 5 small planes circled over the area and came into land alongside his cottage. American jeeps came to meet the passengers and took them away to Tredegar House where they were negotiating the Normandy Landings. Sentries were left on duty to guard the planes. Johns’ parents allowed the sentries to sleep on the floor of their cottage. John remembers the cocoa the soldiers provided.

One morning John when walked to school and the area was like a ghost town – the forces had all left for the beginning of the Allied Invasion.

After the war the “War Agriculture” set up base in the Nissan huts. This was a government led initiative which hired out plant to farmers for ploughing, hay making and seeding to grow food during the rationing years. Johns’ boss bought a big charging system to charge batteries for the “War Ag”. One of Johns’ jobs was to use a small valve charger in the workshop to charge radio batteries for the local residents.

After the war the Nissan huts were also used to provide housing for demobbed soldiers and those without housing.

In the fields opposite the estate worked Italian and German prisoners of war. They were very clever people and would barter for pieces of clean board to use when making willow baskets. They would also take 2 shilling and half crown pieces and tap the metal out to make “nice rings”. “One German blacksmith prisoner made the farmer many unbelievable things”.

In the 1950s, when there was still running water to the mill, the engineers attempted (but failed) to get the old Mill machinery working. They did however repair the laundry machinery for the convent. “The washing tubs were like half beer barrels, it was so long since they were in use they were leaking and had rusted bands. They had to be re banded with new bands made in the workshop”. “We made flat strips on the anvil and measured and riveted them together, fitted them and then took the barrels to the lake to soak and swell them”.

“There was also a big ironing machine which went back and forth. It was full of bricks to weigh it down”. “There was a Bendix paddle operated washing machine which had an open motor on the side and open gears driving it it”. “There were lots of people working in the laundry”.

John describes a bell with a rope pull over the porch of the Brewhouse. There were servants quarters downstairs in the Brewhouse and a games room upstairs in the Morgan room, with table tennis and a snooker table.

The weigh bridge outside of Brians House was not working in the 1950’s.

The Barrett family lived in Home Farm cottage.

The Carpenters shop was situated at the end of the Great Barn. He made the cart wheels which were then taken to the engineers shop for banding on the large metal circle which lay outside the workshop, but now lies outside of the Great Barn doors. The carpenters shop business eventually

became private and did work for local schools as well as Tredegar House. Bert Marsh was the Head Carpenter. “He was a fine carpenter with an unbelievable tool chest”.

Next to the carpenters shop, the last door at the end of the Great Barn was Alan Rees’ cart shed. “Alan was quite a character and lived in the Lodge at one time”- “Alan moved anything with his cart and took ashes away from the boiler house. He sold cigarettes and wheeled and dealed out of his shed”.

Horse drawn sleighs hung from beams in the barn next to Alans’ shed. They were still there after the house sale but the rest of the house was bare.

There were Indian canoes and a gondola on the lake and on the side of the lake, now grown over, was a “massive fire pump incase of fire in the house”. It worked the emergency points – around the outside of the courtyard were red boxes with stand pipes and fire fighting equipment. 

Upstairs in the stables there are carved names on the walls and there are also names scratched on the lead weights of the window sashes in the Nursery wing. (The sash cords were renewed in the early 1950s  – when John and his team also added their names).

During WW11 a 2 metre flat walkway was built around the chimneys to enable fire watching duties and John describes massive tube like structures for sliding down in an emergency from the upstairs rooms. In the 1950’s the estate had very large wind up fire escape ladders, used for undertaking repairs to the roof. These ladders had to be taken apart, with wheels taken off, to get them into the inner courtyard.

The main water tank on the roof was lined with lead and soldered. Galvanised tanks were later put inside this tank. There was a big cast iron boiler in the cellar which was taken apart in the 1950’s

The chandelier over the main staircase was re wired in the 1950’s. The chandelier was put on a trolley and taken to the workshop. It was originally manufactured to be used with candles and it proved a difficult task to thread the wires through the parts.

John states two of his jobs on a Saturday were to run the fire pump by the lake and to wind up the stable clock. This mechanism was on weights, with a big handle to pull the weights up. He also remembers walking through Cleppa Park Woods to the water reservoir to take  daily meter readings at the Filter House. He had to clean the filters and fill up the chlorine jar, which pumped chlorine into the water supply to purify it. This supply served the whole Tredegar Park Estate and surrounding areas, almost as far as Castleton.

John describes a big culvert running under the courtyard (big enough to crawl into). This became blocked in the convent days and had to be cleared – the nuns were cutting up telephone directories for use as toilet paper!

In the kitchen gardens was a sub station to provide electricity for the house – with the electricity cables entering via the back door. When there was a big event on in the House the engineers had to increase the electrical voltage by pulling out the trip switches. All electricity lines were open copper and dead birds would be found on the ground where they had perched on these wires.

John states Evan Morgan was “Nutty as a fruit cake”. He travelled in a chauffeur driven Humber Snipe car but the the family also possessed a French made Hotchkiss car and 2 Rolls Royce. During the war, when no petrol could be obtained, the Rolls were put up for sale for £25 each.

The hunting lodges were situated behind the stud farm in Church Lane Coedkernew. The stud farm was farmed by the Harris family.

There were two lodges off the Forge Lane entrance to the Tredegar estate. Tom David (footman) and his wife lived in one lodge and slept in the other. Every morning, on his way to school John observed Mrs David emptying the contents of their chamber pots into Tredegar House lake.

John also recalls passing “The Lodge” (a cottage located on the A48 opposite the present Greggs bakery). It was lived in by Jack Vaughan and his wife. John states ‘he was always dressed in top and tails – it frightened the life out of us as he looked like an undertaker”.

 There was a footpath to Ruperra castle directly from the gamekeepers cottage.

Tredegar House Engineering staff remembered by John Watkins

George King – Chief Engineer

Charles King (bosses son) was a trained engineer on the estate. He was 35 and had been in the army.

Bryn Phugh – Engineer. Left to go into the services. Became a police inspector.

Derek Street – Apprentice. Was killed in the forces.

Gwyn Bistow – Apprentice. ?lived in Tredegar Street Rhewderin

Jack Sidneys – WW11 veteran

Lionel Short – worked in workshop

Dorothy ……… worked in the engineering office. Had a cockney sort of accent

Other Estate workers

Allan Rees – Handyman/carter.

……. Allen – Head Gardener

Goff Rees – Gardener. Lived in Marshfield when retired. Father of Goff Rees

Oliver Seymour – Gardener

(John remembers the gardeners being permanently bent over when walking. There was no petrol for machinery, they had to dig the large gardens by hand.)

Bert Marsh – Head carpenter

Phyllis Short – worked in kitchen in Evan Morgans time. Sister of Lionel Short

J O Cullimore ran Home Farm,  his son Pat Cullimore then took over. He moved to Greg farm Forge Lane.

Courtney Williams – Land Agent for Tredegar Estate. Collected rents each month.

Copyright © 2012 Friends of Tredegar House