Gantre Row, Ebbw Vale

Posted on by emyr

During the early days of the Industrial Revolution (1780s to 1820s) in the heads of the valleys area of South Wales, many of the newly established ironworks erected terraced rows of cottages to attract and house key workers for their ironmaking activities.

Little available land in the area was flat and in order to overcome this challenge, 3-storey rows of cottages were often built, on sloping ground, with one row cottages on the upper side built on top of a separate, ‘cellar-type’ row of cottages on the lower side. See diagram below of a typical example, that of Office Row at Market Road, Nantyglo.

Office Row, Market Road, Nantyglo

Office Row, Market Road, Nantyglo

 

 

Gantre or Gantra Row was built about 1811 by the Ebbw Vale Ironworks for its workers. Built on sloping ground, there were 3 storeys on the lower side but only 2 storeys on the upper side. This particular row was demolished about 1955.

The second image in this post below is a view of the lower side of Gantre Row during the 1950s when the lower row of ‘cellar-type’ cottages had already been bricked up. The lower row had no rear entrances or back windows and being partly dug into the natural slope, these cottages were always damp and unhealthy houses. They were a prime candidate for so-called ‘slum clearance’ programmes bugun in the 1930s, stalled by the Second World War and then restarted in earnest during the 1950s and 1960s as wartime austerity lifted.

 

Gantre Row, Ebbw Vale

Gantre Row, Ebbw Vale

 

 

The last photo in this post is a view of the upper side of Gantre Row during the 1950s, which was the only approach into the upper row of cottages.

Notice the single tiny window and ‘stable doors’ on this side of each cottage.

 

Gantre Row, Ebbw Vale

Gantre Row, Ebbw Vale

 

 

Do you have any memories or photographs of Gantre or Sychffos rows in Ebbw Vale?

If so, the Access to Heritage Project would love to hear from you!


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Blaenau Gwent Access to Heritage Project

The Blaenau Gwent area has a wealth of local history and heritage.  Across the County Borough, groups of dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to preserve and enhance the history and heritage of their local communities. The Blaenau Gwent Access to Heritage Project aims to make this rich local heritage accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.  Thanks to a £250,000 funding package from the Heritage Lottery Fund, CyMAL (the museum, archives and libraries division of the Welsh Government) and Blaenau Gwent Council, the project is now up and running.
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