"The Old Houses on each side of 'The Dip,' at Newport Bridge, Mon.
Sketched by W.H. Greene May 24th 1892, the work of demolition having now been commenced."
Image copyright J. Hayward.
See also pencil sketch by WH Greene which names the occupants of the buildings.

The rebuilding of this area at the end of the 19th Century must have symbolised a time of change, and reminds us today that the developments that are happening now are just a part of the evolution of the City.

In 1860, Edward Bevan wrote about the changes he had seen in his (long) lifetime. Some of the places he mentions can be seen in the picture above.


In Newport town the other day as I did try to wend my way,
A hundred faces I did see. Not one of them was known to me.
Mark my words I'm telling you that I have lived in centuries two,
And in my lifetime there has been three kings of England and a Queen.
What alterations there have been in the days that I have seen.

When in Newport I did go to school about 60 years ago,
Then I did know the streets and houses and almost all of the old faces.
Newport then was not so great, no houses further than Corn Street.
The old bridge I do remember was built of famous oaken timber,
All but one pier in the centre, that was built of stone and mortar.
Near the bridge was the old Dr. Hawkins, with his medicine and powder.
Opposite, just on the corner, was Mrs.Morgan the ironmonger.
Old Cornelius was a cooper, he lived where now lives Peter Napper.
The King's Head, I do remember, was kept by Chambers the old Quaker.
Tom Williams kept the 'Sloop and Betty', and famous beer there was and plenty.
There was a stone fixed in the ground, with staple and a ring all round,
The purpose was, as people tell, for the baiting of a bull.
The market butchers and their meat was in the middle of High Street.
Old John he kept a blacksmith's shop, not far from Latche's clock.
Where Dew now lives there stood the Griffin, it was a dark and dismal building.
Bad women of the lower sort in this house they did resort.
Morgan Williams on the green, the only house 'twas plainly seen.
By the Westgate was old Sal Bettle making lozenges in the kettle.
There was Tom Frost the old cordwainer, old Joe Latch the expert gardener
And Thomas the foremost butcher. Not far off was Billy Brewer,
In Newport he was the chief grocer, indeed then I do remember
His shop was full of goods from India, and yet no glass was in the window.
Old Tom Davies he did swagger, he was butcher and corn dealer.
A place, that's now called Friar's Field, was a rich meadow that did yield
Plenteous crops of grass and hay, and tack for cattle night and day.
In the middle stood the old Fryers surrounded all with thorns and briars.
The Clerk of Stow he lived in that with his low brown coat and three cocked hat.
The shipping then it was but slender, the Tredeger and the Moderator
Was the two vessels that did come every week to Newport town.
Places of worship there were but two, Mill Street chapel and the church on Stow.
The Westgate entrance to the town was built of very rough red stone,
I have been under it for shelter, when a boy at school with Viner.
No coal or iron was there found on any of the wharves all round.
No railway or canal, and coal was carried on the mule.
At Pill no houses there did stand, it was rich and meadowy land.
From Newport town to Pill I say, there was no house but old Mount Joy.
If old Squire Krinmin could but rise, he would open wide his eyes
To see his farm land at Fair Oak covered with buildings and with smoke.
These few facts I do remember of Newport, when it was but slender.
What alterations there have been in the days that I have seen.

Edward BEVAN - senior - 1860

Many thanks to J Hayward for sending us a copy of this poem, which he found in a second scrapbook of pictures and articles collected by WH Greene in the late 1800s.
Newport Past
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