Walsall man in service at the home of Lord Tredegar

Thanks to the Black Country Bugle for permission to use this article

 

Walsall man in service at the home of Lord Tredegar

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: July 03, 2008

At the end of Queen Victorian’s reign, at the time of her death in 1901, it was recorded that there were 1.7 million women and 140,000 men still employed in domestic service. The great Victorian Age had given the upper and middle class levels of society a considerable amount of wealth, and the tradition of maintaining a house full of servants continued throughout the nineteenth century, and didn’t fall out of favour until after the First World War.

Almost every family history investigation reveals ancestors who were domestic servants at some stage in their lives, and in 1914 domestic service was still the largest single occupation for women. Houses of various sizes would employ as many servants as required to meet the needs and demands of the head of the household; the bigger the house the more servants there would have to be. It had always been the policy to employ new servants from locations at least 30 miles away, for it was feared by those who had the most to lose that younger servants especially might go running home at the first opportunity and spread unwanted gossip. To this end prospective employers advertised the positions available, rather than pass on any vacancies by word of mouth.

Prior to 1891 Frederick Tippett, a working class mon from Walsall, who may well have already been an experienced domestic servant, was hired to work at Tredegar House in Newport, South Wales, the home of Godfrey Morgan Lord Tredegar, a peer of the realm. He had joined a domestic army of 24 which included 15 women and nine men, living and working in the House. Eliza Cook was the housekeeper, a battle-axe of a woman in her sixties, who originally came from Swindon, Wiltshire. She had worked for the Morgans for years, and like so many domestics of her ilk had dedicated her life in service to others and was never married.

Eliza Cook may well have been the person who agreed to take Frederick on, as hiring and firing was one of her main duties. She was also a shrewd woman and didn’t necessarily employ girls who were too young or had no experience of domestic service at all.

In 1891 the youngest girls living and working at Tredegar House were Elizabeth Hillier aged 20 from Cardiff, and Mary Williams, also 20 from St David’s, Breconshire. The youngest male servant was Frank Sloman from Dorset, who was 19 years old.

Frederick Tippett was single [aged 30 in 1901 census] and although his job title isn’t known, he was most likely employed as a footman, with his duties clearly defined. He would have been a subordinate to the butler and if there was more than one footman, could have been placed in a ranking system according to height, size and good looks. Most were over six-feet tall, but additional inches could add additional income.

Often footmen were matched in size to maintain conformity in their joint appearance, and they were trained to act in unison. Frederick would have had a great many duties, ranging from seeing the head of the household and guests into their carriages on departure and receiving them on their arrival; polishing the household copper and plate; waiting at the table; and cleaning knives, cutlery, shoes and boots. Other duties at various times included trimming lamps; running errands; carrying coal; lighting the house at dusk; cleaning silver and gold; answering the drawing room and parlour bells; announcing visitors; waiting at dinner; attending the gentlemen in the smoking room following dinner; and attending in the front hall as guests were leaving. His uniform would have been white tie and tails with brass buttons that were most likely stamped with the Morgan family crest.

In 1891, the same time as our man from the Black Country was employed at Tredegar House, one of the servants wrote a letter to a friend, who was also a servant at a house in North Wales. Extracts from the letter give an indication of what the daily routine below stairs was like, particularly in the kitchen …
“There is a man in the kitchen who prepares and cooks all the meat, he’s the butcher. Then there is a man in the scullery, also a woman kept for washing up, and two still-room maids, and a woman comes every day to bake the bread. So there are five in the kitchen and two regularly in the scullery. I am afraid Miss Brown that sounds very much like a fairy tale, but when I tell you there are fourteen cold meats sent up every day for my Lord’s luncheon including four or five hot dishes, you will understand there is some work to be done in the kitchen alone. ”

For his service to Lord Tredegar, Frederick would have been paid £20 – £40 per annum, worked virtually every day from early morning till late at night, and only enjoyed some leisure time on a Sunday afternoon, or an occasional half day which was a reward if his work was deemed satisfactory and his behaviour conducted without blemish. Christmas at Tredegar House for Frederick would have been busier than ever. But come Twelfth Night he and the other servants would have been able to let their hair down and enjoy dancing and general merriment in the servants’ hall until the early hours. But woe-betide any who had too much to drink, for their duties started again at 6am the same morning.

News from America

News from America from Monty Dart

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image002         It is always thrilling when we greet our American cousins at Tredegar House and we love to hear their connections with the Morgan family. Readers of the website will remember the acquisition of Godfrey’s cigar cutter that turned up from South Dakota – see that article here

http://www.friends-of-tredegar-co.uk/?s=cigar+cutter

An interesting email arrived from Janice Fix – ‘I’m trying to find out information for my aunt who has a document that is a lease of property from Lord Tredegar what she says looks like it’s on vellum.

She spoke with someone from the local library and said that these documents were a dime a dozen. She said the lease is for property at 4 Gainsborough Street, Mile End, not sure if that is correct or if it is supposed to be near Tredegar Square.

I can’t locate anything near Tredegar Square.  She would like to donate it but not sure who to contact.  She doesn’t remember where the document came from or even that she had it.  If you would be interested in the document, please let me know and she would be more than happy to forward it to you.’

Thank you. Janice Fix

What was this document doing in America? It is sad that this document was described as ‘a dime a dozen’, someone had seen fit to conserve it but why?

Carolyn Fix goes on to explain how it ended up in her possession

The document in question is a deed of sale for a property Godfrey Morgan, Lord Tredegar owned in London dated 5th August 1862.

We know that the Morgan family owned property and land all over London.

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             An example of the houses around Tredegar Square

 

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Carolyn Fix – Janice’s aunt

Carolyn is now coming up to 94 years of age and this is a photo of her in a WAC uniform as she was a WAC during WWII and is still active in meetings and luncheons for WAC Veterans. This is her story.

‘Sometime around the end of November, 1977, I went to the Estate sale of Cleveland Fisher in Manassas, Virginia.  I was interested in some books and bought a few in a box lot.  Since it has been some time, I believe the document was included in that lot from the estate sale.  We’re not sure how Mr. Fisher came to own it, but he was known to collect old things.’

INDENTURE

Lease 77 ¼ years to 1938 – 4 Gainsborough Road, Hamlet Mile End, Stepney, Tredegar Square to Widow Mrs. Sarah Broodbank

The document measures 26.5 X 22 inches on vellum (two pages).

‘I didn’t remember having the document until recently while looking for something.

My niece Janice Fix, of New Jersey, USA, looked up the names on the document and found that it was possibly related to the Morgans and Lord Tredegar and from there, she found Friends of Tredegar House and was in contact with Ms. Monty Dart.  We are happy and excited to have the document back where it belongs. We hope that the document is being enjoyed as part of the history of Lord Tredegar.’

Carolyn Fix of Vienna, VA, USA.

Looking at the area now it is filled with £1,50000 houses and there is even a public house named ‘Lord Tredegar’ though Gainsborough Road has since disappeared.

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‘Portrait of Lord Tredegar on an inn sign in Lichfield Road. Lord Tredegar, formerly Sir Charles Morgan of Tredegar, owned an area of land in the area. Between 1820 and 1832 buildings of a superior class were erected around what is now Tredegar Square. They still stand out from much of the surrounding housing. Lord Tredegar has a pub, a square and a street named after him, for there is also a Morgan Street nearby.’ From www.exploringeastlondon.co.uk

But what of Mr Cleveland Fisher – what connection if anything did he have to the Tredegar Estate?

The 1930’s USA census shows Cleveland Fisher lived with his parents in a house worth $3500 – check this site for values. https://www.measuringworth.com

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1930 Census – USA

He was born September 22nd, 1918. November, 1977 and passed away in Manassas, Virginia at the age of 59.

What was his connection if any to the Morgan family and Godfrey in particular? I’m still checking American newspapers and articles so watch this space.

Monty Dart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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
 

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

 

Reunited

Martyn,Elizabeth,Paul

Martyn,Elizabeth,Paul
At the Edeny Gates

Hi Annie and Monty
Annie a big thank you for the photo’s you sent me.

Article for the website.

August 15th 2013 is a day I will always remember. I received an email from Annie Parker,
ref an email she had received through the website from Elizabeth Rassmussen who
lives with her husband Paul in the United States.

Elizabeth’s sister & brother had visited Tredegar House & had seen the photo of John Evans the chauffeur (my grandfather) on the wall.

Her sister mentioned to Elizabeth about this & Elizabeth sent the email to the website.

After a couple of days Annie passed on Elizabeth’s email address to me. I was then able to send an email with the family history which goes back three generations of working at Tredegar House.

Elizabeth & I have been in contact ever since

Elizabeth’s connection to the Evans family is through John Evans’ older sister; Lucy who married William Henry Lyons in Newport. They had three children – Elizabeth’s father Hayden Desire Lyons plus two Daughters. Hayden then married & moved to Birmingham. He was an oboe player in the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra…

I happened to mention to Elizabeth about a talk at Tredegar House about the servants in the 1900,s by Monty Dart which was on June 11th.  I was overjoyed when Elizabeth & Paul said they would be coming over to visit family & friends & would be visiting Newport for two days and could
to come to the talk & also to meet up for the first time. I travelled up from Christchurch in Dorset &
met up with them at her brothers in Bristol. They then travelled with me to Newport.
In the evening we went to a wonderful talk by Monty who used some of my photos.
Elizabeth’s brother & sister from Bristol also came over, also my brother from Newport.

The next day I took Elizabeth & Paul to see the house that the Evans family had lived in for over 120 years.

Elizabeth was taking a photo of the house when the owner walked up to us.we explained about house and the connection to us.
We then were invited inside what is now one large house. It used to be four cottages.
To sit in what would have been Nan & Pops lounge for the first time in 40 years for me &
Elizabeth it was so wonderful.
In the afternoon we were invited by Monty & Annie to go around Tredegar House & the
gardens, we were overjoyed. We then went back to my brother & sister in laws for the evening. What a wonderful 2 days.

Martyn Evans

Elizabeth and Paul

Elizabeth and Paul
At the Dining table
In the Brown Room

Two New History Books with Morgan Connections

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A NEW BOOK November 2013

The Williams Family of Maesruddud House (now known as Maes Manor Hotel) Blackwood

This book traces the history of the Williams family who by a, system of purchasing, inheriting and probably the most important method, marrying, over a period of nearly 400 hundred years assembled an estate of at least 23 farms in the old parishes of Bedwellty and Gelligaer. In the early 1800s the family fortunes greatly increased because of the coal that lay beneath their lands, furthermore some towns were built on their farm land. The town of Pontlottyn in the Rhymney Valley was virtually built solely on Maesruddud estate land. One of the sons of Maesruddud became one time vicar of Undy ,near Newport. His son EDMUND KEYNTON WILLIAMS went to Oxford with the intention of also taking Holy Orders, but he entered the army and had a distinguished career, finally, as Sir Edmund Keynton Williams, he concluded his military career as General of the Central Division of the Madras Army, East India. He was made a Freeman of the Borough of Newport in 1816. But, back at Maesruddud, the family fortunes increased and in 1894 the old, but substantial, farmhouse was replaced by the present day building. The house was built by Edmund Davies Williams who died in 1895, his estate was valued as the equivalent to £4.5 million in today’s money. In his funeral report it was said that his nephew, Edmund Williams Tom Llewellyn Brewer of Dan y  Graig House near Christchurch, Newport was the next male heir to the Maesruddud estate; in 1907,by Royal license, he was allowed to take the additional surname of Williams. The photographs below are, left to right, Maes Manor hotel, and E.W.T. Llewellyn Brewer-Williams in his uniform as a Deputy Lieutenant (of Monmouthshire) outside the Great Castle House, Monmouth.

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Mr Brewer-Williams was called to the Bar (The Inner Temple) in 1894, but he never practised as a Barrister. He did not need to work because of his fairly substantial income from the Maesrudud estate. Instead he maintained a flat above a jeweller’s shop in Vigo Street (which is just off Regent Street) London. He had an “arrangent” with Willie Bertolle, the jeweller; Brewer-Williams had the cash and Bertolle the expertise and reputation as a jeweller. Bertolle had in fact made Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubille bracelet; he supplied,in 1923, the Queen mother’s engagement ring. In 1947 he gave the remains of the nugget of Welsh gold, which had been used to make Royal weding rings, to the present Queen Elizabeth II when she married the Duke of Edinburgh. Brewer-Williams and Bertolle had a very comfortable life style, they travelled around the world together.

In 1909 Mr Brewer-Williams married a very young widow by the name of Etienne Dunbar, she was age 30 and had a daughter who regrettably spent most of her adult life in care because of mental health issues. In the 1930s Mr & Mrs Brewer-Williams loaned many paintings, items of furniture and porcelain to the Newport Museum. Following the death of Mr Brewer-Williams in 1945 the loan was converted to a donation, there are now nearly 1000 items held at the museum which form the Brewer-Williams collection. Foremost amongst the collection is a leather bound book containing sketches by Turner.

Mr Brewer-Williams  bequeathed the estate to his wife, but there is a distinct possibility that he had an amount of jewellery stashed away in London. Etienne, died in 1960, by then she had moved out of Maesruddud House. She set up a trust for the lifetime of her daughter, and upon her death the trust went absolutely to Dr Barnado’s charity.

Thank you Newport Museum for your invaluable assistance

THE BOOK, 199 pages, is available from the author, David Mills for  £8.50 plus postage of £1.50

Contact david.mills1947@hotmail.co.uk or tel. 02921401684 or 07816604234

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2

A New Book

THE HISTORY OF THE TREDEGAR MINERAL ESTATE.

Whilst researching the history of the South Wales Iron and Coal industries with a view to writing a local history of the village of Aberbargoed, a village in the Rhymney Valley and its roots, including Pontaberbargoed, a chance visit to Tredegar library in 2011 and a meeting with Janet Carn the librarian, turned up a set of old books named “The history of the Development of the Tredegar Mineral Estate”, a narrative written by J. Hopkins Thomas in 1933/34. Mrs Carn referred to them as “The Skip books”.

Further enquiries revealed that the books, along with other materials, had been thrown into a skip in Mynydd Y Garreg, near Llanelli, in 2002, after the death of the owner of a house in that village.

Fortunately, the books were discovered before they could be dumped and were sent for safekeeping to Tredegar library where they remained until Mrs Carn brought them out for inspection.

 At the time, some notes were taken but it soon became apparent that the information contained in the books was virtually unique as it did not appear in any other local history book. From then on, several visits to the library over a two year period with a camera meant the every page was copied one by one and transcribed into “Word” documents. It was in the summer of 2013 that I sought permission from Janet to publish  a new book based on the old narratives. This was granted and the book appeared in early October 2013.

This first book, called “The History of the Tredegar Mineral Estate” covers a large number of leases granted by Sir Charles Morgan and his son Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan to a variety of coal owners and prospectors in Monmouthshire and Brecknockshire from the early 1820’s up until 1934. It also describes in detail, the negotiations and wrangling that led to the granting of the leases. The second book, which has not yet been published, will be named “The History of the Tredegar Mineral Estate in Glamorganshire”. The publishing date has not yet been set. It will, however, follow the original narrative very closely with some additions based on information that was not available at the time of writing in the same way that book 1 was produced.

The book is available by post from the Publisher, Park Mile Publications, details 01443 822649, from the Author,(email gw0giq@hotmail.com), from the Winding house at New Tredegar and on Amazon. It is priced at £10-95 plus £2-80 postage.

W. Smith

Mary Courtney MBE 101st Birthday

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UNFORTUNATELY MARY PASSED AWAY ON 13TH NOVEMBER 2014.

Link to South Wales Argus Tribute to Mary(click here)

PLEASE TAKE TIME TO RE-READ THE ARTICLE BELOW.

1st July 2013

Mary Courtney MBE of Aneurin Bevan Court, woke this morning to scores of ‘happy birthday’ cards. It isn’t every day that you are 101 years old. When she joined her fellow residents in the lounge for morning coffee, little did she know that not only would she receive a present, but that she would be making a presentation herself, to Newport’s Mayor, Councillor Cliff Suller, who was accompanied by his wife Christine.

Last year an email was received by Monty Dart archivist for the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge – coincidently, she is also archivist for the Friends of Tredegar House, the email read:

 I am the current Historian for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s (SDSMT) American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter.  Our chapter recently acquired what appears to be a cigar cutter from the Newport Transporter Bridge.  An alumni of SDSMT bought this cigar cutter at an antiques store and had it on his mantle for several years.  In 2007 he donated it to SDSMT.  He recently sent us a letter and was wondering if we still had it.  We found it.  The alumni would like us to get it to someone who will appreciate it, hopefully its rightful owner. SDSMT ASCE  Historian.

Brian Ruppelt

The cutter ties two famous Newport icons together –  Tredegar House and the Transporter Bridge, or three icons if you include Mary!

The cigar cutter was given to Viscount Godfrey Morgan by the contractors Alfred Thorne Ltd of Westminster on the occasion of the opening of the Transporter Bridge, Godfrey Morgan was of course Viscount Tredegar of Tredegar House. The handle that opens the cutter is a replica of the handle Viscount Tredegar would have used on the Transporter Bridge, to send it on its first journey across the Usk on 12th September 1906.

Mary worked as volunteer for the Friends at Tredegar House until the age of 98. She was a founder member (now honorary member of the Friends of Tredegar House) for over 30 years and on the occasion of her 101th birthday was pleased to present the cigar cutter – on behalf of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – to the Mayor, who accepted it gratefully on behalf of the City of Newport. He then led the assembled company in a rousing chorus of happy birthday. Mary acknowledged the singing saying that ‘she was very pleased to be able to present the Mayor with such a unique gift’.

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Mary presenting the Cigar Cutter to the Mayor

 

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Newport’s Mayor, Councillor Cliff Suller, with the Cigar Cutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spoke to Newport Museum Curator Oliver Blackmore and he said they would be pleased to have it but again, couldn’t promise to display it but it would be available for people to see on request. So that was better than nothing!  I took it to the Museum on Monday and Oliver was so thrilled to receive this unique object that he has moved things around in one of the cases and it has already gone on display! Those who can’t visit Newport Museum can see it on this short animation made by Tom my husband on the link below

Monty Dart (Archivist FOTH)

Link to the Opening of the Transporter Bridge(click here)

Godfrey Morgan, Viscount Tredegar Opening the Transporter Bridge

 

Here is a photograph of Godfrey Morgan, Viscount Tredegar on the opening day September 12th 1906. When the big day arrived, the rain was relentless, as you can see in the photograph, everyone has an umbrella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Monty Dart the archivist for the Friends of Tredegar House.

 Recently I received an intriguing email from America

 ‘I am the current Historian for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s (SDSMT) American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter.  Our chapter recently acquired what appears to be a cigar cutter from the Newport Transporter Bridge.  An alumni of SDSMT bought this cigar cutter at an antiques store and had it on his mantle for several years.  In 2007 he donated it to SDSMT.  He recently sent us a letter and was wondering if we still had it.  We found it.  The alumni would like us to get it to someone who will appreciate it, hopefully its rightful owner.’

 Attached was a photograph of a magnificent silver cigar cutter with a request to know more about the Transporter Bridge, Godfrey Morgan and Tredegar House. I was pleased to send the American Society of Engineers a film about Tredegar House and coincidently, as I am also the archivist for The Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge I could send details about the Bridge and the Opening Day.  This is where the cigar cutter comes in, it was presented to Godfrey as a memento of the opening of the Transporter Bridge by the Contractors – Alfred Thorne Ltd. This newspaper article mentions it as a ‘silver controller’. It was so called because the little handle that opened the cutter is an exact replica of the handle Godfrey used to start the Transporter Bridge!

 Just a week after our initial correspondence by email I received a surprise parcel from America. Our generous friends from South Dakota had sent the unique artefact, a real piece of Newport history.  I have accepted it ‘on behalf of the people of Newport’ and the Friends are discussing where best it could be displayed.

 

This animation of both the cigar cutter and the Transporter Bridge in action

was made by Tom Dart for the FOTH website.

 

 

Link to Mary Courtney MBE 101st Birthday and Presentation

of Cigar Cutter to the Mayor(click here)

If you would like to know more about the Transporter Bridge visit  via the link  in Sites of Interest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012 Friends of Tredegar House