1999 Around Newport in 2½ days

Saturday 08 June 1:45 PM to Monday 10 June 5:15 PM

Price for single attendee: £317.00

Organised by Elaine Davey and Geoff Brandwood. Explore the history and buildings of this South Wales city and its surrounding area on a tour organised and led by Elaine Davey and Geoff Brandwood.
Newport and its hinterland has a long history from prehistoric settlement, through the Romans with their first major fort at Caerleon, the castle-building Normans, and as a significant medieval port. Victorian Newport boomed thanks to the coal trade and its development due to the Morgan family whose house we visit. Until the rise of Cardiff in the 1850s, it was the premier Welsh coal-exporting port. In 1906 came the wondrous Transporter Bridge. The hinterland has an enormously important industrial history including the World Heritage site at Blaenavon. Newport came to public attention in 2002 with the discovery on the muddy banks of the Usk of a 15th-century merchant ship, the earliest in Britain: we’ll have supper at its visitor centre and view the exhibition.
Saturday 8 June Meet at Newport railway station at 1.45pm (the 11.30 train from London Paddington arrives at 1.30pm but check). We board the coach to the Transporter Bridge where we will ride the gondola car across the Usk and explore the visitor centre. Walk led by Joseph Hoston, Newport’s Historic Building Conservation Officer (to be confirmed), through the city centre to view its buildings. Three-course dinner at the Waterloo Hotel & Bistro with its spectacular 1904 Doulton bar counter. We will take the coach there: as people may wish to return at different times, we suggest that participants share taxis back to the hotel at their own cost which will be very modest.
Sunday 9 June We take a coach into the Valleys and the World Heritage site of Blaenavon which developed around an ironworks opened in 1788 and thrived, along with its coal mines, in Victorian times. We start at the Visitor Centre for orientation with a talk. We view the King Coal exhibition and descend 300 feet into Big Pit. Lunch: own arrangements. We will then visit the ironworks for a guided tour. The afternoon concludes with something quite different: JD Sedding’s delightful little Llanfair Kilgeddin chuurch (1873-6) and its gorgeous Heywood Sumner sgraffito decoration (1888-90). Buffet supper at the Newport Ship Visitor Centre (transport arrangements as Saturday).
Monday 10 June After check-out we board the coach and visit Belle Vue Park (laid out by Thomas Mawson): opened 1894, terraces and tearoom 1910). Then Tredegar House with a talk about Lord Tredegar by the house’s historian, Paul Busby, and an opportunity to explore this wonderful mansion (late seventeenth-century with 1870s replanning) and its Victorian kitchens and servants’ areas. Then a visit to the Roman fort at Caerleon guided by Mark Lewis, senior curator: the site is very relevant to our interests as it was in the 1840s that an association was formed to research it and provide a museum (opened 1850). You could have lunch (own arrangements) at the c.1800 home of the prime mover, John Edward Lee (now the Priory Hotel & Restaurant). The museum has internationally important artefacts and a recreated Roman garden. Return to Newport railway station for trains after 5.15pm.
There will be a lot of walking with a few steep climbs. Details of the programme may need to be altered according to local circumstances.
If you want to read up the whole area is covered by John Newman’s The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire (2000).
Tredegar House is a National Trust property; we ask NT members to bring their cards with them.
Accommodation is at the Travelodge Central Newport, Bridge Street (a few minutes’ walk and visible from the railway station). There is no breakfast room - they provide packed breakfast boxes (not included in ticket price) but we recommend the Queens Hotel pub across the road for value and quality. It is a Wetherspoon’s pub and opens from 7am.
COST £240 per person double/twin; £317 per person single. All coach trips, visits, admissions, donations, gratuities, two nights’ room only accommodation, and dinner on Saturday and Sunday (excluding drinks) are included in the ticket price. Please state any dietary requirements. Booking required.*



Event code: 1999

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