St Woolos Cemetery - The Haunted Holy Ground

From the book "The Haunted Holy Ground" by Mike Buckingham and Richard Frame published in 1988.

Newport's First Labour Mayor

By Mike Buckingham and Richard Frame
First published 1988

© Mike Buckingham and Richard Frame 2012

Charles Thomas was born in Bradford and was underground at Oak Colliery near Barnsley when a gas explosion ripped through it, taking the lives of 360 men.

The conditions young Charles had experienced at first hand helped mould him into a convinced socialist and active trade unionist and when he came to Newport in 1888 he very shortly afterwards became secretary of the Glass Bottle Workers’ Union.

By 1902 Charles Thomas had been elected to the town council representing Crindau ward, which contained the town’s largest bottleworks.

On November 9, 1915, during the First World War, Charles Thomas, JP became Newport’s first Labour mayor.

Charles Thomas lived at Barrack Hill and from his position lofty in terms of both social status and elevation looked down on the sprawling industrial town for whose working people he had done so much.

His burial at St Woolos is wholly appropriate since his public service included chairmanship of the parks and cemeteries committee.

This committed socialist deserves our thanks to this day, for his determination that the ordinary people of Newport should have sufficient space to take their leisure, sufficient housing and dignified burial space gives us the fine parks and cemeteries we enjoy today.

Charles Thomas was buried in July, 1926 having attained the age of 71. With him is buried his wife, Annie, who died just two years later, also aged 71.