About our Town
All the Heads of the Valleys towns are different, moulded by the
varying landscapes, by their residents through the ages and the
ironmasters who built the ironworks. Every town has its own charm,
its own character, but every one has a common bond - iron and coal.
However, it must be said that Tredegar is the jewel: a unique
valley town that can boast its own place in history. Tredegar is
the birthplace of the NHS, which was modelled on the Tredegar
Medical Aid Society. Aneurin Bevan, the NHS' founder, is Tredegar's
most famous son and when visiting Tredegar make sure that you take
in the Bevan Trail.
Tredegar is also Britain's first industrial planned town. It is
home of Number One Lodge of the Loyal Order of The Moose and the
magnificent Town Clock, the largest freestanding iron clock in the
Evidence of iron making in the Sirhowy Valley goes back to Roman
times. During the 18th century Tredegar exploded into a major
industrial centre with the wars against the French and
Americans. Firstly the Sirhowy Ironworks opened in 1778
followed by the Tredegar Ironworks in 1800. These works were built
at Uchlaw y Coed on an attractive piece of land owned by Sir
Charles Morgan. This lease was taken out by Samuel Homfray, Mathew
Monkhouse and Richard Fothergill. Homfray was already a powerful
ironmaster in his own right, running the Pen y Darren Ironworks
while Monkhouse and Fothergill were partners at the Sirhowy Works.
The new works was named Tredegar Ironworks after the Morgans'
ancestral home in Tredegar Park in Newport, and by 1805 it was in
All the time the works were developing the workforce numbers
were increasing. This was the beginning of the new Tredegar.
Fields, meadows and woods were gone, and in their place a smoking,
noisy giant born of the Industrial Revolution. Tredegar Ironworks,
as the town was originally known, grew rapidly. There was little
regard to planning and many houses were built in the most
unsuitable places. This haphazard growth caused many problems.
There were no sewers and no water supply. There was severe
overcrowding with up to eight children in one 'two up two down'
house. The squalid, harsh and oppressive living conditions with an
almost total lack of hygiene led to frequent epidemics and plagues
that meant that, in 1850, the average life expectancy was just 19.5
years of age.
Since these early days much has happened to turn Tredegar into
the proud close-knit community it is today. Gone now are the scars
of the Industrial Revolution replaced by woodland parks and green
open spaces once more. At the centre of the town you will find
Bedwellty Park and House, a gift to the people from Lord Tredegar,
while to the north-west lies Parc Bryn Bach, a country park of 340
acres with a 36 acre lake at its heart. These environmental
improvements together with its unique position as a gateway to the
Brecon Beacons have made Tredegar into a beautiful place to live,
work and visit.
For more history about our wonderful town click on the
Time Line 1800 to Birth of NHS