Ynys-y-garth cottages, Clydach Ironworks

Posted on by emyr

In the course of research last year, I came across an extraordinary example of both the fertility of couples and high death rate of children during the 19th century near the Clydach Ironworks, to the east of Brynmawr. This particular statistic is hidden away in a 1911 census return for an elderly couple who lived in one of the cottages in a terraced row called Ynys-y-garth, which has since been renovated and converted to a single dwelling unit.

The couple were known as Albert (70) and Esther (66) Barnett and by 1911 they had been married for 46 years. During their marriage they had 22 children of whom 14 had died, leaving 8 survivors. None of their surviving children were living in the parental home, which was just as well as the couple were living in a 2-roomed house! Albert was still working as a self-employed gardener despite his 70 years.

During the 19th century around half of all children did not reach their 5th birthday. Tough times …

Albert & Esther Barnett 1911 census Ynys-y-garth, Clydach Ironworks

Albert & Esther Barnett 1911 census Ynys-y-garth, Clydach Ironworks

Ruins of Ynys-y-garth cottages, Clydach Ironworks during the 1980s

Ruins of Ynys-y-garth cottages, Clydach Ironworks during the 1980s

 

 


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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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