Glamorgan Street, Brynmawr – 1920s and forward to June 2014

Posted on by emyr

Two views of Glamorgan Street in Brynmawr – one a postcard view from the 1920s and a recent photo taken in June 2014.

The King William IVth (fourth) public house on the right is easily recognisable in both photographs, now advertising Sky Sports and Karaoke and back then, Rhymney Brewery Prize Medal Ales and Stout! Its name hints that it was established as a public house during the reign of King William IVth between 1830 and 1837.

But was this building, as the name suggests actually a public house dating back as far back as the 1830s?

Glamorgan Street in Brynmawr was laid out and developed as housing between 1827 and 1838. By 1838, the site of the King William IVth pub was certainly occupied by buildings.

One other piece of evidence is that of Slater’s Trade Directory of 1858-9, which records the existence of a King William IVth public house in Brynmawr. So far so good, everything seems to be falling quite nicely into place for this theory.

However, when we check the large scale 25 inch to a mile Ordnance Survey map of 1880, it doesn’t identify the current King William IVth building as a public house although the building opposite, which was also a public house and was called the ‘Shoulder of Mutton’, was shown on the 1880 map as a pub! Another building further north along Glamorgan Street was also shown on the 1880 map as a pub, which we know was called the Globe Inn.

However in Gwent Archives’ Collection there is an unpublished map dated to 1891, which was created by Brynmawr Local Board (Council after 1894) to plan road and pavement improvements in the town. On this map, no fewer than 6 public houses are shown and named between the present day King William IVth and the Globe Inn. Crucially, on the 1891 plan, the King William IVth is shown at its current location – please see below.

So is it possible that 4 new pubs were created near the bottom or southern end of Glamorgan Street between 1880 and 1891? It seems unlikely. It appears more likely that the 1880 Ordnance Survey map didn’t record all 6 pubs in this small area – perhaps the  ‘Shoulder of Mutton’ and the ‘Globe Inn’ were larger or considered to be the most important or significant. The Ordnance Survey weren’t in the business of exclusively mapping public houses and just because a building isn’t indicated as such, this is not in itself definitive proof that a building wasn’t used as a public house. The absence of a particular feature or piece of information on any map isn’t necessarily definitive proof that such a feature didn’t exist or a particular activity did not take place. It depends rather on the particular purpose of the map maker and their priorities or motivations in creating that map.

Coming back to the two photos, the most obvious differences in the streetscape over time is the absence of cars in the 1920s photograph although ample evidence of what horse-drawn traffic leaves behind can be spotted by the eagle-eyed viewer!

Gas street lamps in the 1920s have been replaced by electric street lighting of course as well; likewise wooden doors and sash windows by modern upvc type installations.

 

Glamorgan Street, Brynmawr 1920s

Glamorgan Street, Brynmawr 1920s

Glamorgan Street, Brynmawr June 2014

Glamorgan Street, Brynmawr June 2014

 

1891 plan of Brynmawr street improvements

1891 plan of Brynmawr street improvements


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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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