The Bedwellty Poor Law Union formally came into existence on 26th March 1849. It initially comprised the parishes of Bedwellty and Aberystruth, previously forming the western part of the Abergavenny Poor Law Union. Each parish was represented by 10 Guardians. The union was subsequently enlarged by the addition of the newly created parishes of Abertillery, Ebbw Vale, Rhymney and Tredegar.
The new Bedwellty Union workhouse was a stone building erected in 1852 on an elevated site at George Town near Tredegar. It accommodated over 300 inmates. Its location and layout are shown on the 1886 map below.
The original building appears to have a foreshortened version of the popular cruciform design. Instead of the usual range of buildings along the southern perimeter however, there was just a wall. Presumably an entrance gate gave access to the workhouse via the yard between the two southern exercise yards.
By 1901, a new block — presumably an infirmary — had been erected at the north of the workhouse, together with a variety of small outbuildings.
The workhouse was substantially enlarged in 1908 and could then accommodate 440 inmates. The original entrance range at the south was either enlarged or rebuilt, and a new block erected in the original entrance yard. Two small pavilion-plan buildings were added at the south-east, and an entrance lodge at the south-west. The updated layout is shown on the 1920 map below.
During the First Work War, part of the workhouse was turned over for use as a military hospital.
After 1930, the former workhouse became Ty Bryn Institution then later formed part of a local hospital. The buildings were demolished in around 1976 and a housing development now occupies the site.
Bedwellty Cottage Homes, Tredegar
In 1905, the Bedwellty Union erected cottage homes for 75 children at Park Row, Tredegar, on land adjoining Bedwellty Park and adjacent to the town's cottage hospital.
A boys' house lay at one side and a girls' at the other with the superintendent quarters and offices etc. in a smaller block at the centre.
In 1930, the cottage homes were taken over by the Monmouthshire Education Committee. After their closure in 1962, the premises were used as accommodation for evicted families.The property is now used as sheltered housing.
As well as the Tredegar cottage homes, the union also operated a number of scattered homes. These include houses at Cefn Road, Blackwood (10 places); 29-31 Lilian Road, Blackwood (20); Mount Pleasant Road, Ebbw Vale (20); 11 The Terrace, Rhymney (15); and Nutshell, Charles Street, Tredegar (15).
- 1914 — Workhouse Master: Walter Henry Garnett Pallin; Matron: Mrs Pallin; Medical Officer: Horace George Brown.
- 1881 Census
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Gwent Archives, Steelworks Road, Ebbw Vale NP23 6DN. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1849-1930); Admissions and discharges (1907-09, 1911-12, 1914-15, 1925-27); Admissions and discharges (1918-19, military hospital only); Creed Registers (c.1900, 1912-1914); Register of Deaths (1924-32, plus later ones for Ty Bryn Institution); etc.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
- Thanks to Pete Topping for information and picture of the workhouse.
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.