Bedwellty House. Some history about......

Bedwellty House

After receiving substantial grant funding for a full restoration, Bedwellty House is scheduled to re-open to the public in May 2011. The extensive work to restore the House back to its former glory has been managed by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and undertaken by the capable hands of contractors John Weaver who in turn have employed specialist craft people.

The future of Bedwellty House is bright with plans for it to become a focal point of the town encouraging visitors from far and wide. The new Manager hopes to hold many events such as open air concerts, exhibitions and private functions, weddings, etc.

Many changes will be seen not just in appearance but also in the use of the House. Besides the return of Tredegar Town Council with its bi-monthly meetings in the Council Chamber, Bedwellty House will now become the new home of Tredegar Registrar. This beautiful setting offers people the choice of various sized venues for wedding hire - Assembly Room, Miner's Room and of course the Bandstand.

So that's the future of Bedwellty House but let us have a look at its history now and how it came to be a jewel in Tredegar's crown.

Bedwellty House started as a small farm called Coedcae Y Cynghordy owned by Ludwig Rees. Samuel Homfray, Ironmaster at Tredegar Iron Company, purchased the property and its first renovation took place in 1809. But 1818 saw an extensive rebuild of the House extending it to the residence fitting for an Ironmaster.

The 26 acres of woodland in which the house was set were leased from Lord Tredegar and when in 1899 it was rumoured that Tredegar Company were to relinquish its lease the then Town Council expressed a desire to buy the estate as a public park for Tredegar. A deputation, led by Alderman Henry Bowen, met Lord Tredegar, prepared to pay a fair price they were suitably surprised to be offered the land for Tredegar residents free of charge with just the exclusion of a small area at the top of the 26 acres (Park Row area).

On 23rd October 1900, Chairman to the Council Rev. Alfred Barrett signed the agreement with Lord Tredegar and in November 1900 Bedwellty Park, as we know it, was opened to the public. Although, it must be noted that, the official opening was not until 18th April 1901 by Lord Tredegar.

In 1900 Tredegar Urban District Council moved its offices into the House and commissioned the refurbishment of one of the rooms into an elegant Council Chamber for its meetings. However in 1974, as a result of local Government re-organisation, Tredegar Urban District Council ceased and Tredegar Town Council was formed. Tredegar Town Council has continued to this day - all bar the temporary exile during the current renovations - to use Bedwellty House for its bi-monthly meetings and many other events/functions.

During the 1984 miner's strike one of the rooms was used as a food distribution centre and as refurbishment continued this room was aptly renamed the Miner's Room on its formal completion in 1987.

Over the years the House and Park has had a colourful history. It has been the home to local associations such as Tredegar Ladies Bowls, Tredegar & District Floral Art Society, Friends of Bedwellty Park and many more. It was for a period of time home to several departments from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. The House has seen exhibitions, VE/VJ celebrations, political meetings, BBC broadcasts, Citizenship services, and lately weddings whilst also being home to various historical memorabilia such as the Lambda bronze Aneurin Bevan bust; portraits of Aneurin Bevan, Neil Kinnock and Lord Tredegar which was painted by Rolf Harris' grandfather George Fredrick Harris; 6th Battalion Battle of Tredegar Hill Memorial and casket of earth; photographs of Tredegar past and much more.

Bedwellty House - a Grade II listed building - is regarded as one of the finest surviving examples of an Ironmaster's residence in Gwent so for it to be fully restored to its former glory only accentuates its beauty and importance in Tredegar's history.

Click on this link Bedwellty House  to see some of the memorabilia.

These links will show you some of the renovation work in progress at Bedwellty House and Park:-

Park Renovations 1; Park Renovations 2; Park Renovations 3; House Renovations.

Bedwellty House and Park is scheduled to reopen on 4th June 2011 with a Welcome Back Celebration. Further details and information on forthcoming events at the Park can be found at www.bedwelltyhouseandpark.co.uk .