January 25, 2022

Visit Tredegar Wales – in the footsteps of Aneurin Bevan, father of the NHS

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We followed in the steps of Aneurin Bevan, who grew up in Tredegar and on ending up being Minister of Health in 1945 led the development of the National Health Service, with complimentary health care for all. Check out on for the stories we revealed in Tredegar and the characters we came across, from Chartists to Iron Masters to Nye Bevan, understood as the daddy of the NHS”.

In the footsteps of Aneurin Bevan and the NHS

Town Clock in Tredegar Wales
Employment in the town was dominated by the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company and Aneurin saw that improvements for the working guy would only be accomplished by acquiring political power to drive through modification. He was part of a socialist conversation group called the Query Club, putting himself forward for political office, beginning as a union representative, then ending up being elected to the District and County councils, finally winning the Ebbw Vale Parliamentary seat for Labour.
Following the Second World War, Nye Bevan was selected as Minister for Health in the new Labour Government and in between 1945 and 1950 he led the development of the National Health Service, based upon a design of healthcare that he had actually seen working well in Tredegar.

The current history of Tredegar has actually been coloured by social reformer and politician Nye Bevan who was born in the town and matured in a household of 10 kids. At the age of 14 he left school and started work at Tŷ Trist Colliery, however in his extra time he liked to check out and slowly educated himself through the library of the Tredegar Workmans Hall. As a young lad, Nye Bevan suffered from a speech obstacle, which he got rid of through practicing speeches on long walks throughout the moors at close-by Trefil.

Aneurin Bevan portrait at Bedwellty House Tredgar Wales

Known as a great orator who was prepared to challenge wealth and advantage, Bevan described himself as “a projectile discharged from the Welsh Valleys” who always defended the working male. Voted as very first in the list of 100 heroes of Wales, he is priced estimate as saying;
” When I listen to the cacophony of extreme voices trying to frighten, I close my eyes and listen to the quiet voices of the bad”

Bedwellty House in Tredegar

Bedwellty House Tredegar
Bedwellty House has connections with Aneurin Bevan who was elected in 1922 to the Tredegar Urban District Council and went to meetings in the council chamber within your house. We were able to check out the council chamber and watch a short video about Bevans life, sitting in the precise wooden benches where he spoke out powerfully for better working and living conditions amongst the local miners and iron workers.

To reveal some of the stories of Tredegar, we started at Bedwellty House, a Grade II listed mansion, surrounded by a 26 acre Victorian garden. Integrated in 1822, this was the home of Samuel Homfray, an Ironmaster who was among the co-owners of the Tredegar Ironworks. Following a ₤ 5M renovation in 2011, the estate is now run by the Tredegar Town Council and utilized as an education centre, council workplaces, wedding event place and coffee shop, and is free to check out.

Council Chamber at Bedwellty House Tredgar Wales
Wandering through the surrounding gardens of Bedwellty Park, we enjoyed the decorative grotto, icehouse and rose garden near to your house, as well as a water waterfall and strolls amongst the specimen trees that were laid out in the 20th century. Look out for the enormous block of coal, that was initially planned to be sent out to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, but at 11.5 tons it showed too heavy to transfer and was put on display screen in Bedwellty Park instead.

Grotto at Bedwellty House Tredegar

Aneurin Bevan Rose at Bedwellty House Tredegar
The Orchid Tea Room is a favourite place for lunch in your area, a glazed extension built on the website of the original Orchid House, which was heated up with a heating system and utilized to show tender plants. The coffee shop serves drinks, cakes and light lunchtime meals– we enjoyed our Buck Rarebit, where the conventional Welsh Rarebit is topped with a poached egg. In fine weather (which sadly it wasnt on the day we checked out!) you can sit on the balcony outside the coffee shop with a view over the yards and gardens.

Orchid House Cafe Bedwellty House Tredgar Wales

The Aneurin Bevan Trail around Tredegar

Bedwellty House is the starting point for the Aneurin Bevan Trail, taking in the places around town connected with Nye Bevan. Youll see iron plaques in numerous places showing a map of Tredegar and the surrounding location, with points of interest connected with the towns history. Its worth choosing up a leaflet of the path at the towns heritage centre (No 10 The Circle) or downloading it here to have the complete info on places to look out for in Tredegar

Bedwellty House Tredegar.

Tredgar Town Trail at Tredegar Wales
Passing by the site of the Workmans Hall and library, where Nye Bevan would borrow the books to educate himself, we walked up the hill to the enforcing town clock, which is one of the landmarks at the centre of the town.
The 72 feet high cast iron clock was the concept of Mrs Davis, better half of the ironworks supervisor and was positioned in the town square in 1859, ending up being a conference point and centre for celebrations in the town. The previous Market Square is now understood as “The Circle” and a variety of significant buildings stand at this point, including the workplaces of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society on the corner at No 10 The Circle.
Other places of interest on the town trail consist of the site of the Ty Trist Colliery (now the regional extensive school) where Nye Bevan began work age 14, and his mothers house in Queen Street which he would visit after ending up being an MP, briefly using it as a base for his constituency work.
On The Circle is the Tredegar Town Museum which is situated in the library, run by volunteers and real estate artefacts and details from Tredegars history.

Town Clock at Tredegar Wales

Website of the Ty Trist Colliery at the regional School

Number 10, The Circle in Tredegar

At Number 10 The Circle, the previous workplaces of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society have been refurbished to make a little heritage centre, which is well worth a visit. Around the two ground floor spaces are screens that explain how the medical society provided membership based medical care for local working individuals, with interactive audio and video displays.

Tredegar Heritage Centre No 10 The Circle

Before 1813, local people often had to take a trip to Abergavenny to be treated, but the Medical Aid Society was funded from a small deduction in the earnings from the Tredegar Ironworks, making sure that healthcare was complimentary and locally offered in the town. The Medical Aid Society was a fantastic success and Nye Bevan who had actually been one of the societys committee members, used it as a design for the NHS when he ended up being Minister for Health in 1945. On the intro of the National Health Service in 1948, Bevan was priced quote in saying,
” All I am doing is encompassing the whole population of Britain the benefits that we had in Tredegar for a generation or more– we are going to Tredegar-ise you”

Tredegar Heritage Centre No 10 The Circle

The Tredegar Trails

No 10 The Circle likewise provides a base for Made in Tredegar, a movie project to create videos and audio material from Tredegar. Six various themed Tredegar Trails have been developed, to assist you check out the area, consisting of Bedwellty Park, Around the Town and Bevans Tredegar. Its simple to access the various trails, by choosing up a booklet in Bedwellty House, No 10 The Circle Heritage Centre or Tredegar Museum.
If you choose to use your mobile, watch out for coloured QR codes to scan at points around town– each colour is for a different themed trail. The QR code will take you to the page on the Made in Tredegar website with the relevant audio taping to describe what you are seeing. Or you can access the audio tracks directly from the Made in Tredegar Website.

Silver Statues in Tredegar Wales

Tredegar Silver statues

One of the Tredegar Trails that we specifically took pleasure in was the Silver Statues, with metal shapes of noteworthy figures from the towns development as an iron town, from Chartists to Iron Masters. Dealing with the town clock, we rested on the bench next to the figures of Nye Bevan and Walter Conway who was born in 1873 and as an orphan, grew up at Bedwellty Workhouse.
Walter went on to end up being secretary of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society in 1915 and it was under his leadership that the society prospered. The society grew to run two medical surgical treatments with nurses, dentists and medical professionals, supplying a complimentary service to 20,000 regional people.
In Bedwellty Park we likewise found the statue of Samuel Homfrey senior, who was the regional Iron Master. Having actually married the child of Sir Charles Morgan, he was a co-founder of the Tredegar Ironworks on land leased from his daddy in law, and built Bedwellty House as a genteel home for his household, well away from the dirt and sound of the ironworks. It was his boy who acquired the ironworks, estate and house, remodelling it into the Georgian mansion we see today.

Silver Statues in Tredegar Wales
At the opposite end of the social spectrum are the silver statues of Anne Prosser age 16 and Mary Jones age 15, who worked in the mines in the 1800s. The list below year an act of parliament made it unlawful to utilize kids under the age of 10 in the mines.

Aneurin Bevan Memorial Stones

Nye Bevan Stones Wales
This location was simple to reach from the three areas that Bevan represented as an MP in between 1929 and 1960, of Ebbwr Vale, Tredegar and Rhymney. The main stone of the monolith represents Bevan himself and the three others represent the towns of his constituency, each pointing in their instructions.
Various walking and biking routes run through this location consisting of the Sirhowy Valley Walk that begins at the memorial stones and continues to Newport, where it ends at Tredegar House (National Trust), house of Sir Charles Morgan who rented the land for the Tredegar Iron Works.

A short drive outside Tredegar its worth stopping at the Aneurin Bevan Memorial Stones, 4 stone monoliths that were set up on the hillside where Nye Bevan would provide outdoors speeches to his constituents. Bevan was known as a fantastic orator, drawing large crowds who came to hear him speak.

Where to consume while visiting Tredegar

On our visit to Tredegar, we took pleasure in an outstanding lunch in the Orchid House tea space at Bedwellty House, which is open daily for beverages, cakes, sandwiches and home cooked lunch break dishes.
For supper we stopped at the Tredegar Arms Hotel and Restaurant, which served the town as a coaching home before it was converted into a bar in the 1970s and was provided a total restoration in 2017. The Tredegar Arms serves outstanding pub fare, and Guy enjoyed his steak, while I ordered a delicious chicken hamburger with fries, coleslaw and onion rings, followed by an apple crumble which we shared.

Dinner at Tredegar Arms

Strolling to the Chartist Cave at Trefil

Quarry at Trefil Wales.

We were touring around a couple of different places in South Wales, so we didnt remain in Tredegar, however an excellent choice would be the Tredegar Arms hotel and restaurant, which went through a remodelling in 2019. The structure was once a coach house for the Tredegar Ironworks and has actually been a pub because the 1970s.

Not far from Tredegar, we simply squeezed in a check out at the end of the day to Guardian, a spectacular sculpture by Sebastien Boyesen that was commissioned in 2020 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Bells mining disaster. Close up it ends up being more considerable, the figure of a miner with hands outstretched to secure those who risk their lives underground.

While visiting Tredegar and touring around other parts of South Wales, we remained at Roundhouse Farm near Nantyglo. Its about 15 minutes drive from Tredegar and makes an outstanding base if you desire self catering accommodation thats close to a series of destinations, such as the Blaenarvon World Heritage landscape, Welsh Valleys, Abergavenny and Brecon Beacons.
A peculiarity of the farm is that it includes one of the Round Towers, developed by the regional iron masters, Joseph and Crawshay Bailey who owned the regional ironworks. They constructed this and another close-by round tower in 1816, as a location of refuge, when their workers rioted as an outcome of their wages being cut. The towers were fitted out with cast iron from the foundry and the Grade II listed homes where we stayed likewise had unusual cast iron roof supports.

See Guardian of the Valleys, Six Bells.

Round House Farm Nantyglo Wales.

Where to stay while going to Tredegar.

Round House Farm Nantyglo Wales.
Ours was a two bedroom home, Henrietta, and it was an enjoyment to stay in a Welsh cottage that was cosy and well geared up, however with fresh, modern furnishings. The open strategy ground flooring with stone flags and areas of ornamental exposed stone walls, included lots of seating, a table and a kitchen location.
Upstairs were a single and double bed room that would be ideal for a household, styled with tasteful modern-day furnishings and a big restroom with shower. We found it really relaxing to look out on the green fields from our bed room to see the sheep and horses grazing close by.
Book here for Roundhouse Farm Henrietta Cottage or their other homes, Mary and William.

Homes near Tredegar.

Chartists Cave Trefil Wales
The Chartists took their name from the 6 point charter of rights that they required, pressing for working males to can vote and pick their own representation in parliament. This movement grew from the 1830s and in 1839 the Newport rising saw 4000 armed working guys from the valleys of South Wales marching on the town.
At Newport, they were met by soldiers who fired into the crowd to put down the increasing and the leaders of the uprising were subsequently condemned of treason, although their death sentence was commuted to transportation. It is thought that the Chartist Cave was a meeting point in the preparation of the uprising and a place where weapons made covertly at the ironworks could be concealed.

This short article was sponsored * by Visit Monmouthshire and Southern Wales who provided some of the experiences and accommodation mentioned.
* More details on my policies page.
This short article is initially published at Heatheronhertravels.com.

Near Tredegar is the village of Trefil, a starting point for some rugged moorland walks and an area where Nye Bevan liked to stroll and practice his speeches. With our guide, Alyson Tippings we took a walk to a local landmark, the Chartists Cave. Bevan undoubtedly took inspiration from the Chartist movement, which was one of the earliest to press for improved conditions and democratic rights for working guys of the mines and ironworks.

Guardian Statue in South Wales.

The Round Tower Nantyglo Wales.

The Guardian Statue in Six Bells, Wales.

The current history of Tredegar has been coloured by social reformer and politician Nye Bevan who was born in the town and grew up in a family of 10 children. No 10 The Circle likewise supplies a base for Made in Tredegar, a film task to produce videos and audio material from Tredegar. Six various themed Tredegar Trails have actually been established, to help you explore the location, including Bedwellty Park, Around the Town and Bevans Tredegar. Close to Tredegar is the village of Trefil, a beginning point for some rugged moorland walks and a location where Nye Bevan enjoyed to stroll and practice his speeches. We were touring around a couple of various locations in South Wales, so we didnt stay in Tredegar, however a great choice would be the Tredegar Arms hotel and restaurant, which went through a remodelling in 2019.

Trefil Valley View towards Brecon Beacons (in much better weather than we had!).

There are 3 cottages in a balcony at Round House Farm made from the original barn that forms one side of a confined farm backyard. In the previous working ponies from the mines and foundries would be kept safely in farmyards like this, considering that without them the works could not operate.

If you make the same walk as we did above Trefil, its worth stopping at the Top House Bar which is a friendly neighborhood club serving beverages and home cooked food. It was a favourite drinking area of Nye Bevan who was born in the area and enjoyed to stroll in your area on the moors. The pub is situated high up in the town of Trefil and makes a good place to end your walk to the Chartists Cave.

Guardian of the Valleys, Six Bells.

You info on all the things to see in Tredegar and the surrounding area of Southern Wales, have a look at the Southern Wales and Visit Monmouthshire sites. On social media follow the @SouthernWales, @VisitMonmouthshire and @Dargandecymru (Welsh language) instagram feeds for more motivation.

The Top House at Trefil Wales.

Where to consume in Trefil.

Wild Welsh ponies at Trefil Wales.
Our walk took us to the peak neglecting the Dyffryn Valley where Nye Bevans ashes were scattered and the Brecon Beacons National Park, although the weather condition was so misty and damp that we might barely see any of the views!

Red Cap mushroom at Trefil Wales.
We continued along the flat tramroad through the old Trefil quarry, which was used to provide limestone to the Sirhowy Ironworks. It has long been deserted and we strolled back to our beginning point via the gain access to roadway for the new quarry which is still in usage.

Round House Farm Cottages at Nantyglo.

Tredegar Arms at Tredegar Wales.

Chartists Cave Trefil Wales
The little cave is open to stroll inside, the walls covered with hanging ferns. Two narrow openings within cause more tunnels that have been explored by regional cavers but didnt look extremely safe or welcoming to us! Still it was a practical location to shelter from the rain for a cup of tea from the thermos and house made Welsh cake that our guide Alyson kindly offered. (Note: do not attempt to explore the inner chambers without a knowledgeable caver!).
After our stop at the Chartists Cave, we made a circular path back to our beginning point, passing the wild Welsh mountain ponies who considered us curiously through the mist and appeared quite unafraid. Although they live out on the moor all year round, these ponies do have owners amongst the local farmers who watch on them, although they are never ever ridden or used for any farm work.

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Tredegar Arms hotel and dining establishment.

Strolling by the quarry at Trefil Wales.

Plan your journey to Tredegar.

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