MODEL LODGING HOUSE, CORN STREET, NEWPORT, MON. OPENED 1890.
Model lodging houses date back as far as the 1830s. They were built by societies whose aim was to improve lodging conditions (and living conditions) for the poor. Newport’s first model lodging house was opened in 1890. It was built on a vacant corner at the junction of Corn Street and the newly constructed Upper Dock Street. The building was to accommodate up to 200 lodgers, all male, for 6d or 4d a night. The foundation stone was laid January 1890 and the lodging house opened September 1890.
[Previously there had been a lodging house in Corn Street run by Thomas Corner, known as Corner’s Lodging House. This continued to operate after the Model Lodging House was opened.]
You will find contemporary newspaper reports relating to the planning, opening and operation of the New Model Lodging House further down this page.
We have looked at the 1891 census to see how the new venture was working out around six months after it opened.
1891 Census Interpretation
There were 4 members of staff: the manager, Alexander Paterson; a general servant, Maggie Cameron; and two warders Thomas Grove and Thomas Clark.
There were 120 lodgers: all male and all were stated to be in employment.
CONTEMPORARY NEWSPAPER REPORTS
LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE
The Mayor of Newport (Mr. Mark Mordey), as chairman of the Model Lodging house Company established in that town, on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of the new premises about to be erected by the promoters on a convenient triangular site abutting on New Dock street and Corn street, where formerly the somewhat famous lodging house under the proprietorship of the late Mr. Thomas Corner stood. With a frontage of 90ft. to Corn street and 62ft. to New Dock. street, the edifice - a plain one - will rise to three storeys in the Italian style of architecture. Ornamentation will be secured by projecting windows of buff brick, a curb roof, with dormer windows breaking the sky line, and ventilating hoods on the roof, producing a pleasing effect not always acquired by so plain a class of building. The fronts will be in Risca blue Pennant rock work, relieved with Ebbw Vale brick and Bath stone. In the basement there are to be two large cellars, one for the use of a shop overhead, and one for the convenience of the lodging houses. The ground floor will consist of a large dining kitchen, 40ft. by 20ft., with a scullery or cooking kitchen attached to the same, 20ft. by 12ft., together with entrance halls from Dock street and Corn street; a large main hall, open, fireproof stairs continuing to the top of the building, ticket office, and rooms for the manager. At the back will be a large yard for light and ventilation, and providing all proper sanitary arrangements. On the same floor there will be a shop, with plate glass front, to Dock street 30ft. by 18ft., which will be either used by the company, or let for the sale of tea, coffee, and provisions. On the three upper floors will be well-appointed dormitories, divided off for women and men, with ample ventilation and proper sanitary arrangements on each floor. On the first floor the bedrooms will be 11ft., high from floor to ceiling, but on the others 10ft. Allowing for the most stringent regulations of the Local Government Board the premises may, it is thought, be registered for 200 inmates. The contract for building has been let to Mr. John Linton at £2460, but, with furnishing and fittings, the total cost will be brought up to over £3,000. The work, which is expected to be finished by the month of August next, is being carried out from designs of Mr. E. A. Lansdowne, architect, Newport.
NEW MODEL LODGING HOUSE AT NEWPORT
On Wednesday the Mayor of Newport (Mr M. Mordey) laid the foundation stone of the model lodging house, the first of its kind in Newport, which is to be erected by a company recently formed for the purpose. His Worship is chairman of the new company, and Mr T. J. Beynon is vice chairman. The design is to provide the poor with ample well ventilated rooms, where the decencies of life may be maintained at a cost in no way greater than that charged at the narrow tumbledown places now resorted to. The Mayor was presented by the architect (Mr E. A. Lansdowne) with a silver trowel, which bore an appropriate inscription, and afterwards those present were invited to luncheon at the Westgate Hotel. His Worship was supported by his co-directors, and by about 20 other gentlemen. The luncheon was teetotal, and it was stated that the new home of the tramping artisan would be conducted on temperance principles. There was one toast, “Success to the Newport Model Lodging-houses.” This was proposed by Mr A. R. Bear, one of the directors. he said that the opinion of several gentlemen who on Sundays were in the habit of going amongst the class whom the building was intended to accommodate convinced him that a model lodging house was a great want in Newport. He hoped it would be a successful financial venture for those who had laid out their capital, but whether it was so or not, it was a step one and all would feel proud of having had a share in taking. (Hear, hear.) The building would be central, it would be an ornament structurally, and it would be arranged so as to give the greatest amount of accommodation and comfort to those who might be expected to stay there. The toast was coupled with the name of the mayor, who, in acknowledging the cordial way in which the toast was drunk, referring to a humorous suggestion as to his occupying the first bed, said he need not be ashamed of doing so, for he was convinced that the accommodation afforded would be excellent of its kind. There were places where the tramping artisan had to put up with which he regarded as a disgrace to the town. They were not conducted properly, and the accommodation was the reverse of good. In the lower portion of the town the inmates of a lot of the small houses were now being turned out to make room for railway and other improvements, and these people found a difficulty in getting another shelter. He was told that since the unroofing of the houses in Mill parade, poor people had returned thither, as there were no rooms to be had, and they were unable to rent houses for themselves. It was a deplorable state of things, and he hoped means of remedy would soon be found. The Mayor concluded by expressing a firm belief in the development of the town, in which no man felt greater interest than he did, and then complimented the architect and builder.
The site of the new venture for the better housing of the poor is at the corner of Corn street and Dock street, and occupies a frontage of 90ft. to Corn street and 62ft. to the latter thoroughfare. The building will be carried out in a modified Italian style, with projecting windows of buff brick, curb roof with dormer windows breaking the skyline, and ventilating hoods on the roof. The front will be of blue Pennant stone from the Risca quarries, relieved with Ebbw Vale brick and Bath stone. The basement will consist of two large cellars; the ground floor of large dining kitchen, 40ft. by 20ft.; large scullery with cooking kitchen attached, 12ft. by 20ft.; entrance hall, ticket office, and manager's room. A fireproof open staircase will lead to the first, second, and third floors, which will be divided into men's and women's dormitories, with a total sleeping accommodation for 200 persons. On the ground floor there will be a shop, facing Dock street, which will be let or utilised by the company as a grocery store. Mr J. Linton, builder, is the contractor, at £2460.
MODEL LODGING HOUSES FOR NEWPORT
The model lodging-houses at Newport, built by a company of which the mayor (Mr. M. Mordey) is chairman and Mr. T.J. Beynon vice-chairman, are now completed, and will be thrown open for public inspection to-day (Wednesday) and tomorrow, the formal opening taking place on Friday afternoon.