First Stop' - 100 Years of News Stories
Merlin. 2nd January, 1852
On "Christmas-day in the morning" last week, Captain Dando piloted his handsome craft, the Dart Steamer, from Bristol, with a happy party of visitors to their friends on the Newport side, who, however, shortly after found themselves on the mud at the mouth of the river Usk, near the lighthouse, where they remained until the evening tide, to the great disappointment, not only of those aboard, but also of their waiting friends ashore.
The corps of musicians, under the skilful leadership of Mr. Thomas Gillman, have gained considerable fame during the Christmas festivities by their excellent performances at the mansions of the neighbouring gentry in this locality.
Some vile scoundrel actuated by the basest of malicious motives, broke into the stable of Mr. Thomas Richards, Dock Street, on Tuesday night and drugged three of his valuable horses in a peculiar manner, which seriously affected the animals and prevented them from working for a day or two. The police are actively engaged in tracing the offender.
The supporters of this gentleman have announced his intention to comply with the requisition presented to him soliciting him to become a candidate for the representation of the United Boroughs.
During the week public meetings were held by the supporters of Mr. Bailey, the Conservative candidate, and Mr. Lindsay, the Liberal, and an active canvass of the electors was instituted by the friends of each gentleman. Owing to the depressed state of trade generally, a large number of the working classes were unemployed at the time, and it is not difficult to imagine that those misguided men were readily converted into willing instruments, not only for keeping up a most unhealthy state of excitement and intimidation, but also as powerful agents in the destruction of property.
Organised bands of working men were seen perambulating the town in a most disgusting state of intoxication, affording unmistakable evidence from their demoniacal appearance, that had it not been for the efficient and temperate exercise of the powers confided to the police authorities of the town, even human life would have been sacrificed to the despotism of mere brute power.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings those bands of ruffians decorated with the red colours, distinguishing the partisans of Mr. Lindsay, made most savage onslaughts on the houses where Mr. Bailey's committees were sitting - breaking every window and destroying other property to a most fearful extent; nor could these savages be successfully suppressed by the local police force, therefore the Magistrates were forced to apply to the Bristol Magistrates for extra assistance which was accordingly given. Requests were also made to the Magistrates of Glamorganshire when 25 of their police and 10 of the Borough of Cardiff force were immediately placed at the disposal of the Newport authorities.
The nomination of the respective candidates took place on Thursday last. The adherents of both candidates mustered in strong force; and although attempts had been made by the partisans of Mr. Lindsay to pack the court with their own force, nevertheless a show of hands resulted in favour of Mr. Bailey, who was proposed by Samual Homfray, Esq., of Bedwellty House, Tredegar, and seconded by Alexander Rolls, Esq., of Monmouth. The day of the election broke with even more than the ordinary excitement resulting in a contested election. From an early hour it was evident the excitement had extended itself to the workmen from Nantyglo, Ebbw Vale, and the adjoining coal and iron districts, who came pouring into the town, armed with bludgeons, sticks and stones. This inundation of strangers is mainly attributed to the fearful destruction of property inflicted on the supporters of Mr. Bailey during the three preceding days, and a general impression that the voters favourable to his election, were to be prevented from recording their votes by brute force. The workmen from Nantyglo - (blue) took up their quarters at the Parrott Inn, and the Ebbw Vale men (red) at the London Porter House. An irresistible attack was made upon the Parrott Inn, demolishing every window-frame and shutter in the house and otherwise inflicting serious injury. This was the signal for the blues to come to the rescue, when a riot of the most tumultuous character ensued.
Sticks and stones were flourished and thrown in all directions, the blues driving the reds towards the Westgate Inn. In the midst of this most fearful contest the most daring and intrepid courage was exhibited by the superintendent of the local police, Mr. Stephen English, who, despite the stones, many of them it was later discovered weighing upwards of a pound each, sailed into the midst of the crowd alone and unprotected, and as it were by the very magic of undaunted courage effectually suppressed the riot and in all probability prevented a fearful effusion of blood. The moment Mr. English rushed into the midst of the combatants, a powerful and huge ruffian made an attempt to hew him down with a large ash stick; but the superintendent escaped too-evident destruction by closing with the ruffian and wresting from his powerful grasp the bludgeon which fell upon the ground and was broken by the sheer force of its fall.
On several occasions during the day severe conflicts were suppressed by a similar exhibition of undaunted courage on Mr. English's part, and we regard it as mainly attributable to his exertions that the absolute loss of life did not ensue.
An Act was obtained dated July 31st 1845, for making a Railway from Newport to Pontypool. During the construction of this line of eight miles, Mr. Noah Bowen, of Pillgwenlly Foundry, obtained the contract for making the iron bridge of 52 feet span, which strides the canal at Pontymoile. After seven years, the time occupied in making the line, the Newport and Pontypool Railway is now completed, inspected by Captain Simmonds, and opened on Wednesday June 30th, with every demonstration of hopefulness and pleasure on the part of the public at so important an event. From an early hour large numbers of people gathered in the neighbourhood of the temporary station on the embankment at the foot of Barrack Hill, which is reached by a long flight of steps, and there was a fine display of bunting. The train containing the Directors, Railway Officials and visitors started at 2.15 amidst the salvos of artillery from the Barracks, and the swell of martial music of the 48th Regiment. At Cwmbran, Pontnewydd, and Pontrhydrun stations, "Prosperity to the Newport and Pontypool Railway" appeared on many a rude banner. On approaching Pontypool triumphal arches, mottoes, and wreaths appeared in profusion. At the Clarence Hotel luncheon was served, Crawshay Bailey, Esq., M.P., presided, and speeches were delivered with bumper toasts.
Can you inform, readers why the inhabitants of Pillgwenlly are suffering all the annoyance of the dust at this season of the year, whilst the streets of the old Borough are quite drenched with water? For what purpose do we pay Board of Health rates? I have observed the street as far down as the Cattle Market, including the road to the Market Gate, and a bye road to a field behind Mr. Turner's garden, quite saturated, but lower than that point no cart appears after 8 o'clock in the morning and then the supply of water is so extremely scanty, as to be perfectly useless - in fact, a good garden watering pot would do nearly as much service. As a ratepayer and shopkeeper, I have just reason to complain, and I hope burgesses of the west end will be alive to their own interests on the 1st November next.
Your obedient servant.
A lover of Justice.
On Thursday last at a late hour the premises of Mr. Lazarus Roberts, coachbuilder in Skinner Street, were found to be ablaze; caused it is supposed, from someone throwing the snuff of a candle among some loose shavings which smouldered for some time previously to bursting forth. The officer on duty at the station house on receipt of the information, immediately wheeled down the light carriage with the apparatus etc. to the fire, the hose being attached to the plug at a distance of 200 yards. Superintendent Huxtable took command of the delivery pipe, and a large volume of water was poured upon the blazing building.
The fire was got under in about three quarters of an hour.
Damage to the amount of £100 was occasioned; but it was fortunate
for Mr. Roberts that the property was insured. Valuable assistance was
rendered by Mr. Bruton and his "corps dramatique" who forsook
their Thespian occupations in their booth hard by, to quench the fire
that was consuming their neighbour's premises.
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First Stop' - 100 Years of News Stories