Newport First Stop - 100 Years of News Stories

Newspaper Reports 1870 - 1879

Researched by Derrick Cyril Vaughan

Star of Gwent. 20th April, 1870
The Baby Railway Traveller

On Sunday afternoon a little girl between three or four years of age was the cause of no small dilemma to Mr. Cambell one of the guards on the Monmouthshire Railway. On arriving at Pontypool a passenger drew his attention to the fact that a little girl was unclaimed in one of the compartments, quite composed and contented, like an experienced traveller. Anxious inquiries made of her elicited that her name was Jenny West, and that she lived in Mary Street, Blaenavon, and she had entered the carriage to follow her brother Joe who had gone to Pontypool. She admitted that "Ma" and "Dad' knew nothing about her trip, and that she had slipped into the train unobserved, as she did not know there was anything to pay, and she had no money. The good-natured guard realised he must take charge of his erratic passenger until the return journey from Newport; but he telegraphed to the Blaenavon Station for the parents to be informed. During the hours that the little passenger remained in the hands of the kind strangers at Newport, she was quite self possessed and contented. On her return journey she was taken in charge by her fellow travellers and returned to her anxious parents a very tired little girl.


Star of Gwent. 20th July, 1871
Theft of Water

Ann Davies and Jane Fibbs were charged at the Police Court on Saturday with unlawfully taking water, the property of the Pontypool Water Company - Mr. Hare represented the Company - Fibbs handed a receipt which was paid after this offence - Fined ten shillings each.

Star of Gwent. 24th August, 1871
Thunder Storm

A violent thunder storm passed over Newport on Wednesday evening. One of the chimneys of the Caledonian Hotel was struck by the electric fluid, but happily no person was injured.


Merlin. 11th January 1872
Girls Ragged School

We are requested to State that persons having old clothing at their disposal might beneficially place the same at the command of the managers of the Girls Ragged School in Queen Street, instead of indiscriminately giving articles to recipients, who in many cases are not really deserving or in want.

Star of Gwent. 18th January, 1872
General Tom Thumb

On Monday last Mr. Stratton otherwise "General Tom Thumb", his amiable wife, "Doughnut" and Miss Minnie Warren visited Newport. Two largely attended Levees were held, the numbers attending in the evening being immense, the spacious Victoria Hall being crowded to excess, from two thousand to three thousand persons probably being present. The diminutive carriage of the General and his party, was an object of great interest, as it passed through the streets, to convey the distinguished party from the Railway Station to the Queens Hotel, which they selected as their headquarters.

The entertainment was of the most attractive description. We have character representations by General Tom Thumb, including his unparalleled delineation of the first Napoleon's parade, preparatory to one of his great battles, and the excellent singing of Mrs. Stratton and Miss Warren added to which the Commodore's genuine acting in his comic and burlesque songs, which, there can be no hesitation in saying, is unsurpassed by any living artiste. The rounds of applause were frequent, prolonged, and repeated. The structure of the Victoria Hall is such that the two all attractive couples could, on a slanting stage, perambulate the entire length of the body of the Hall, so gratifying everyone present by a close view of the wonderful "four". This was announced as a farewell visit. We can only say if it prove to be so, the Newport public will not view such an arrangement with satisfaction; but that they will long remember (with regret that it was the last visit) the presence at the Victoria Hall, of General and Mrs. Tom Thumb, Miss Minnie Warren and Commodore Nutt.

Star of Gwent. 17th February, 1872
Crossing the Severn

Of the six schemes proposed for connecting the railway systems east and vest of the Severn only three now remain - two for bridging the river at Sharpness, and the Tunnel Project. The Severn Bridge Railway, in face of opposition, passed the Examiner at the end of last week, and the prospects of the Company are most encouraging.

Star of Gwent. 13th April, 1872
Severn Tunnel Railway Bill

The opposition to the Severn Tunnel Railway Bill, which was to have come before a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Thursday, has been withdrawn, and the Bill has therefore been referred back and will come before the Chairman of Ways and Means as an unopposed Bill.

Star of Gwent. 20th April, 1872

The fine barque "Nary Emily" recently purchased by Messrs Benyon and Co. of Newport was launched on Monday, the 9th inst. from the yard of Messrs Harvey, in the most successful and beautiful style and was witnessed by a large assemblage. The "Mary Emily" has a carrying capacity of over eight hundred tons and is metalled to the "bends". She was launched with her masts and top-masts in, and for the beauty of her lines and general model has an imposing appearance. The scene on so fine a morning enhanced by a display of new flags, was much enjoyed by all who witnessed it.

Star of Gwent. 20th April, 1872
The Alexandra Docks

Nothing but a personal inspection of this stupendous undertaking can give a correct idea of the works in progress at the Alexandra Docks, and which now afford employment for a large body of men of various classes. The construction of the entrance lock, is rapidly approaching completion, and its massive and everlasting wharves, indeed, are a sight to behold. Not a doubt strikes the mind as to their solidity and stability, whilst the workmanship is of the highest order, and a credit to engineering skills. It will be a grand day for Newport when the Alexandra Docks are opened, in as much that it will inaugurate an era of prosperity and development of trade and commerce in this port, the extent of which the present generation can scarcely value.

Star of Gwent. 16th July, 1872
Trade of the Port

The arrivals during the past week have not only been numerous but various, among which we noticed the "Corsair" steamer, direct from Charente, with about 3000 gallons of brandy, consigned to Mr. William Webb of Aberbeeg. We learn that direct importations would be more frequent were there more extensive vaults and warehouses for bonding wines and spirits at the port. The "Chesapeke" steamer is now loading 1000 tons of railway iron for foreign ports at the Spit, her length being too great to admit of her entering our docks, without making a Level and this the Dock Company will not do at neap tides.

Star of Gwent. 16th July, 1872
Newport Board of Guardians

At the meeting of the Newport Board of Guardians on Saturday, Mr. Joseph Latch, in the Chair, the only business of interest was the reading of a letter from Mr. E. Evans, for eighteen years the Relieving Officer, and who now retires from the post; in which letter he asks for £10 a quarter extra salary for the last twelve months, increased duties having been imposed through the prevalence of smallpox. Mr. James Brand and other Guardians spoke highly of the services rendered by Mr. Evans, but as there were only about a dozen members present it was thought expedient to defer the subject.

Star of Gwent. 28th July, 1872
Polo - Game at Clytha Park

Polo or hockey on horseback, is an Indian game, and was first introduced into this country by the 10th Hussars and 9th Lancers, who played several matches together. It has since become very popular and we believe a club is about to be started in London. A game was played last Monday at Clytha, the first attempted by civilians in this country, and it was so well received we understand that Captain Herbert (Late of the 9th Lancers) hopes to be able to form a club in Monmouthshire.

Star of Gwent. 24th August, 1872
Annual Outing of the Police

The Newport Borough Police Force, with their wives and children, on Tuesday and Wednesday, enjoyed their Annual Outing. The Corporation contributed a small sum, to which ratepayers can take no exception, in view of the general efficiency and good conduct of the Force. In addition, a number of the principal tradesmen contributed handsomely in token of their appreciation of the Borough constables. The arrangements were under the control of Mr. Huxtable, the Chief Superintendent, who exerted himself with assiduity to promote the comfort and pleasures of the party.

The Lighthouse was selected as the scene of the festivities, and merrily the hours sped amid the various sources of enjoyment which presented themselves on the shores of the Bristol Channel. An ample supply of creature comforts was provided and spread in a commodious tent - musicians, whose skill was brought into frequent requisition by the lovers of Terpsichore, played throughout the day, whilst there were games in variety on the green sward. The most enjoyable aspect of all, to some, were the briney waters which sparkled in the sun, and as if instinct with jocund merriment, throwing spray against the sea-washed walls and at each other. The party was safely and pleasantly conveyed from the Lighthouse in commodious brakes at once stout and fleet tutored by Jehus of admitted experience.

Star of Gwent. 12th October, 1872
Newport Hockey Club

The first meeting of the season will take place at the Cattle Market on Thursday 17th inst. when all members and those who wish to join the Club are requested to attend. Play will commence at three o'clock.

Star of Gwent. 28th December, 1872
A Greeting

Some of the bells of St. Woolos which heralded the advent of Christmas morn rang again on Thursday, a day set apart by common consent as a general holiday. Let us hope that Christmas passed off genially and right merrily in town and country. The bells, as they have been wont, will in a few days toll a knell - the dying note of the departing year. Then will they peal the birth of the new. In breathless silence will the knell be listened to, and with joyous gladness the peal shall be welcomed - for does it not tell of a new existence? Let the knell then, be the signal for retrospect, the peal an augury of happy times to come. 1872 is fast dying. May our moral and material ledgers be duly balanced. 1873 is close at hand. May all our readers in common with ourselves be prepared to welcome it with light yet earnest hearts, radiant with the prospect of a HAPPY NEW YEAR.


Star of Gwent. 18th January, 1873
Christy Minstrels

On Monday and Tuesday evenings, the Brothers Matthews' Minstrels gave entertainments in the Victoria Hall, and were largely patronised. The troupe are exceedingly clever and merit all the applause with which they were greeted. We shall be glad to see them revisiting the town.

Star of Gwent. 18th January, 1873
Lecture by Mr. Henry Vincent

On Tuesday evening, under the auspices of the Young Men's Religious Society, a lecture was delivered at the Town Hall, by Mr. Henry Vincent, the former Chartist. The accomplished and veteran orator, his energy being unabated, but his grey, nay white, and flowing beard betokening how many years had passed since first we saw him, more than fulfilled the heightened anticipations of his audience.

Mr. Vincent, who, after the outburst of cheering with which he was welcomed, said in his happiest way, it gave him great pleasure once more to meet an audience in the town of Newport and begged respectfully to wish them all a very happy New Year.

Star of Gwent. 31st January, 1873
"Letter to the Editor"


The time of year is now approached when efforts should be put forth to enhance the funds of the Newport Infirmary, allow me to suggest that a Ball be given for that institution, which I am sure deserves every support from Newportonians. I think if a few young gentlemen came forward and organised a committee, the Ball might be got up, and the proceeds tendered to the treasurer of the Infirmary.

Yours J. James

Star of Gwent. 15th February, 1873
Parrott Hotel Music Hall

Mr. F. Evans the proprietor of this hotel has opened a very spirited music hall in his large room when "a genuine evenings entertainment" may be enjoyed. The performances this week are full of novelties and comicalities and have proved highly attractive. Next week we understand there will be a change of programme.

Star of Gwent. 15th February, 1873

On Wednesday evening last at 6 pm. a poor old Woman of this town named Mary Coughlan was walking along Pontypool Road near Crindau, when a horseman galloped by and knocked her down bruising and otherwise seriously injuring her. The rider had not the humanity to stop and make enquiries but galloped on as fast as possible. The poor old creature was brought to Newport in a cart and is now suffering from the unfortunate accident. If this meets the eye of the party by whom this wrong has been done it is hoped he will make some atonement to the afflicted old woman.


Star of Gwent. 3rd January, 1874
Pantomime at the Victoria hall

There was a rush on Boxing night to witness the pantomime, and such a rush as no entertainment of a similar kind ever caused in this town before, the thoroughfare being completely blocked by an overwhelming crowd of anxious sightseers for a considerable time. The spacious hall was crammed long before eight o'clock and many persons were unable to obtain admittance. Never before was an audience more surprised and gratified with an entertainment for though something much above the average was expected, none were prepared to witness such a gorgeous and splendid entertainment, as was there presented to them, and the feelings of the vast assemblage were shown by continuous rounds of well-deserved applause throughout the evening. It has seldom been our lot to witness a piece better mounted, and the cost of its production by Mr. Harris, the energetic Lessee, must have been enormous and that gentleman deserves great praise for his pluck and perseverance. The scenery is entirely new and is painted by the scenic artistes Messrs Stoner and Goodear, in a style that proves them to be master of their profession.

The title of the pantomime is "The House That Jack Built; or Mother Hubbard, Mother Brunch, Mother Goose, and their Comical Cat and Dog." The dialogue sparkles with such jokes, and comic allusions, provocative of laughter. The dresses are new, rich and elaborate, each dress being in perfectly correct taste and especially fitted for the character, while jewelled and plated armour, the fairies wands and other ornaments, are costly and dazzling in the extreme; the whole forming a gorgeous spectacle such as is seldom or ever seen out of London.

Star of Gwent. 10th January, 1874
The Tredegar Race

Owing to the indisposition of Lord Tredegar and the adverse state of the weather, and other causes, the race meeting which has usually taken place in Tredegar Park on or about Old Christmas Day, was not held this year, and the customary Twelfth Night Ball shared the same fate, much to the disappointment of not a few, who, however, are much concerned to know that the state of his Lordship's health is the cause of considerable anxiety to the members of the family and a large circle of friends.

Star of Gwent. 31st January, 1874
The Marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh

On the occasion of the marriage of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh with Princess Marie of Russia on Friday last, the Mayor of Newport (Nelson Hewertson Esq.) gave another illustration of his liberality by causing to be distributed to over 5000 Sunday School children of all sects in the Borough, a bun and an orange each, in celebration of the auspicious event. An address was presented to his Worship signed by some of the scholars on behalf of about 200 who attended the Pill Roman Catholic School, cordially thanking him for his great kindness towards them. The front of the Town Hall was illuminated as was also the Westgate, and one or two other places in the town.

Star of Gwent. 7th February, 1874
Election Rioting At Newport

On Polling day there was a repetition of those disgraceful scenes which seem to he indigenous to a General Election at Newport. The roughs, who like rats come out of their holes in periods of popular excitement, appeared on the scene in vast numbers, to smash the windows of unoffending tradesmen, and do other work of destruction as senseless as it was mischievous and wicked. These ruffians have in reality no connection with either political party - they work upon their own hook, giving vent to their savage passion indiscriminately, and some of them taking the chances of plunder.

The Mayor in his efforts to arrest the arm of a fellow who was throwing a stone through a window of the Town Hall, was surrounded by the mob, knocked about, and illtreated; extracting himself from the crowd, His Worship found that he had been robbed of a valuable gold chronometer watch and chain. He was energetically assisted by Mr. Wyndham Jones, Mr. John Clarke, Dr. Morgan and other gentlemen who did all they could to induce the mob to disperse peacefully; but finding that "moral suasion' had no effect on the hardened natures of those they had to deal with, the military was called out; and the mob always as cowardly as cruel was swept away like chaff before the wind at the very first sight of fixed bayonets. The police patrolled the streets, and the soldiers remained, some at the Town Hall and some at the King's Read. There was no further necessity for their services. The miserable vermin having slunk out of sight into those mysterious holes whence they had emanated.

Star of Gwent. 21st March, 1874
St. Marie's Church

The solemn ceremony of blessing a peal of new bells, to be used in the tower of the Catholic Church on Stow Hill, is not an event of frequent occurrence in this county, and therefore it is one in which a great amount of interest is very properly manifested. We are fully aware that great exertions have been made in the last few months under the careful superintendence of Rev. Father Richardson, of St. Marie's Church, to secure to that church a fine peal of bells for the spacious and substantial square tower. This object has been attained, subscriptions and donations have flowed in unceasingly from various sources, the industrial classes of the town and neighbourhood have willingly contributed their mite towards the outlay. The solemn blessing of the bells took place at the Catholic Church, Stow Hill on Thursday morning last by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Hedley in the presence of a large congregation. The bells are nine in number and bear the following inscriptions - S.S. Cor Jesu; Marta Immaculator; St. Joseph; St. Michael; St. Gabriel; St Raphael; Angelus Custos; Omni Sancti; Pius IX Pon Max.

Star of Gwent. 11th April, 1874
Newport Tramways

We have from time to time given our renders information concerning the progress made by the Newport Tramway Company in launching their scheme fairly before the public. Mr. Walter West assured us that everything was ready for the contractors to commence work. On Wednesday last quite a sensation was caused in Tredegar Place by the presence of a gang of powerful navvies and a large quantity of shovels, pickaxes, stone etc.. The Directors of the Contract, a little before ten o'clock, set to work and cut the first sod. Afterwards the gentlemen repaired to the Queen's Hotel and cracked a few bottles of champagne and drank success to "The Newport Tramway Company."

C.O. 27th April, 1874
"Gentlemen" Larking

P. Morris, T. Phillips, and S. Phillips were summoned for being drunk and using obscene language in Bridge Street early on the morning of the 6th. P.C. Longville said that he was on duty with P.C. Walker at two minutes past two o'clock on Thursday morning in Commercial Street, when they heard a great disturbance in Bridge Street, and a great deal of shouting. They found the defendants kicking a hat about the street and swearing and shouting. He said "You must stop this noise, this will never do!" T. Phillips said "Who the ---- are you? We are gentlemen's sons and you are nothing but a policeman." They again began kicking the hat about and making a great noise. "If you are gentlemen's sons behave like gentlemen, there's certain to be a complaint about this." He then caught hold of Sydney Phillips by the collar of his coat and said - "Now Sir, if you don't stop this you'll have to go to the Police Station." Morris caught hold of him (the constable) and said "What are you doing that's my cousin, let him alone." He struck witness in the breast with his fist; and then the constable struck him on the side of the head with his staff. Morris swore fearfully. He had never heard any "rough" use worse language. Mr. Phillips foamed at the mouth; he was dreadful. Morris took hold of the constable's arm and said he would rather pay fifty sovereigns than be summoned.

Mr. Davis defending said the young gentlemen had been dining out at the County Club, and they left about two o'clock. One of the gentlemen happened to fall and lost his hat which they kicked in a joking way, when a policeman came up and interfered rather roughly. If he had not interfered they would have gone to a cab which was waiting for them at the door to the Club. The cabbie had fallen asleep on his box and they were sometime waking him up.

The Magistrates consulted for some time and then the Mayor said they were of the opinion the offence had been committed, as they could not deal with the poor and rich differently, they would inflict a fine of ten and sixpence each including costs.

Star of Gwent. 30th May, 1874
A Mad Dog

On Wednesday evening last the attention of a crowd of children was attracted to the peculiar movements of a little pet dog in St. Mary Street. The dog was foaming at the mouth and was very much convulsed. Believing the dog to be mad, the children were advised to get from it, but when they moved off the dog ran at one of the lads and attempted to fasten upon him. The lad managed to keep the animal at bay, until a young man came forward with a large stone, with which he terminated the dog's existence by smashing in its head.

Star of Gwent. 30th May, 1874
Church Parade

On Whit Sunday the members of the 1st Mon. Artillery Volunteers attended a church parade. It was hoped that there would be a good muster, and considering the facilities for holiday-making and getting out of town at this time of year, no complaint must be made in this respect. There were about eighty men on parade. The roll having been called, they started from the Drill Hall in East Market Street at 10.30, headed by the band of the Corps; they marched along Dock Street, Commercial Street and Stow Hill to St. Woolos where an impressive service was held.

Star of Gwent. 18th July, 1874
The Police

The Police Force has during the present week been entertained by the Mayor. His worship decided to give the men a day in the country, and in that way afford their wives and families an opportunity of sharing in the pleasures. The place elected was the Lighthouse, and as the whole force could not be spared at one time, the first half went down on Tuesday and the remainder on Wednesday. They were conveyed to and fro in drays, which started from the Town Hall each morning soon after ten. An efficient band accompanied the party and as ample provision had been made at the Lighthouse for the entertainment and amusement of the excursionists, they had no difficulty whatever in enjoying themselves.

Star of Gwent. 19th July, 1874
The St. Mellons Murder

It is currently reported from friends who have been permitted to see the accused man, Gibbs, committed on the charge of wilful murder of his wife, Sarah Ann Gibbs, that he intends, if possible, to destroy himself and the strictest watch is kept upon him. On one occasion he tore one of the sheets of his bedding to hang himself to one of the bars of his prison cell, he also had endeavoured to dash his head against the wall with sufficient force to cause material injury. Failing in these attempts, he seeks to starve himself, and refuses almost everything that is set before him. He has become, in consequence, very weak and emaciated.

Star of Gwent. 20th August, 1874
The Criminal History of Monmouthshire

Since the days of the Chartist Riots and the trials of the traders of that rebellion at Monmouth, nothing has occurred in the criminal records of the county to cause such extraordinary excitement, as the discovery of the decomposed body of Sarah Ann Gibbs, and the trial of James Henry Gibbs for the wilful murder of his wife. The news of this atrocious and abominable crime has penetrated to every hamlet and home, not only in this, but also in adjoining counties. For weeks past the chief subject of conversation amongst every class of the community has been "The horrible murder at St. Mellons." The culminating point in this awful tragedy will be reached today, when in accordance with official arrangement at eight o'clock this morning, the St. Mellons murderer will expiate his crime on the gallows within the walls of the County Gaol at Usk. But little public sympathy has been manifested for the prisoner. All who have carefully read the evidence given at his trial, feel satisfied that the verdict of the jury was the only one which they could have in justice returned. No effort has been made to secure a reprieve. During his incarceration the prisoner has shown no signs of contrition, and to the last has asserted his innocence, notwithstanding the consideration of the prison chaplain, who has been most kind and assiduous in pointing out to the prisoner the enormity of his crime, and the consequence of passing away from this life unrepentant and unforgiven. The unhappy criminal has heeded little to the admonition of the learned judge in passing sentence.

Fifteen years have elapsed since a public execution has taken place in the county. Although crimes of an atrocious or even murderous character have been more or less frequent in Monmouthshire, yet the crime of murder has not been proven within her borders for the period stated. The last execution was at the County Gaol, Monmouth, when Matthew Francis the labourer, formerly a tailor was hung for the murder of his wife at Pilgwenlly, Newport. Although arraigned at the March Assizes in 1859 the trial was postponed until the Summer Assizes. It is a singular coincidence that this prisoner was found guilty of the murder of his wife; that he cut her throat with e razor and that he was tried and sentenced to death on the very day on which Gibbs was condemned, and that the execution took place on 23rd August in that year.

Eight years elapsed between this and the previous execution. In 1851 Abel Obens, a licenced hawker, was tried, in conjunction with a paramour Eliza Dare, for the murder of an illegitimate child, which they drowned in the mill pond near the side of the Mill Street Station of the Monmouthshire Railway. Some time elapsed before the murder was discovered. Both prisoners were found guilty, and Obans paid the penalty of death upon the gallows, whilst the woman had her sentence commuted to transportation for life.

An atrocious murder was committed in 1849 when Mrs. Lewis, an aged woman, living at Nant Coch Farm, on the Bassaleg Road, was attacked on the highway as she was returning from Newport Market. Two Irishmen, named Sullivan and Murphy, killed her outright, and her body dragged inside a hedge. She had but little plunder, and yet her murderers left the few coppers Mrs. Lewis was known to have in the pocket underneath her dress. They were shortly apprehended, and the watch of the much abused victim was found on one of the men. At their trial both prisoners maintained the stolid hard-heartedness which they exhibited in the treatment of their victim, and died unrepentant and asserting their innocence.

The previous year 1848 Matthew Kelly, a private in the 14th Regiment of Foot, then quartered at Newport Barracks, deliberately shot his sweetheart named Agnes Hill, prompted it was shown, by groundless feelings of jealousy. He was known to be attached to the unfortunate girl, yet in a moment of jealousy shot her dead. At the investigation before the Coroner the prisoner was present, and asked to kiss the stiffened corpse as it lay in its shroud. He was found guilty, and suffered the penalty of his rash deed at the hands of the common hangman.

In 1841 William Rees was found guilty of the murder of Mary Moxley at Chepstow, and there is no doubt that he justly paid the penalty of his life, according to the law, for taking the life of an unoffending woman.

Star of Gwent. 17th October, 1874
Thomas Street Gates Smashed

The large railway gates, at this very dangerous level crossing were run into and smashed by the down express on Saturday night last. The up-mail and a goods train had passed through, and the gates were closed. The man in charge believed the down express to be five minutes late. The train made up her time between Chepstow and Newport and dashed through the gates. The debris was soon cleared away. It was very fortunate that no person was crossing the iron road at that time.

Star of Gwent. 12th December, 1874
The Newport Tramways - The First Ride

The trial of the new line between Tredegar Place and Pilgwenlly was made on Thursday last. At one o'clock one of the cars was drawn from the car shed erected on Friars Fields, to the terminal portion of the line outside the Queens Hotel, and there awaited the arrival of the directors of the Tramway Company and a few friends. Upon the sides of the car were printed the words "Bridge Street, The Docks and Pilgwenlly." The company already have two cars and more will be received from the makers shortly. Of light draught and by no means unsightly in appearance they have been constructed to hold sixteen persons each inside and there is no knife-hoard. The cars are each drawn by one horse with much greater ease than one would imagine, and a ride in them is attended with much comfort and convenience.

Those who traversed on the trial ride, expressed themselves as much pleased with the journey, and whilst speaking very favourably of the line, wished every success to the new undertaking. Alighting from the car, the Company repaired to the Queens, where luncheon was provided and which all thoroughly enjoyed.

Star of Gwent. 26th December, 1874
The Health of Lord Tredegar

The public will regret to hear that Lord Tredegar has been suffering from a somewhat severe cold for several days. We are glad to be able to announce that no fears are entertained for his recovery.


Merlin. 16th April, 1875
Opening of the Alexandra Docks

The magnificent docks which have been constructed on the river Usk were opened on Tuesday last and the occasion was made one of general rejoicing. By half past eight the crowds were streaming over Newport Bridge to Clarence Place where the procession was to be formed, and the marshalling of the various bodies and bands of music, presented a very animated spectacle.

The procession led by the Newport Mounted Police included seven bands; Representatives of the Trades with their emblems; The Good Templars; The Ancient Shepherds; The Foresters; The Oddfellows; The Body of Shipbrokers and Merchants' Employees; all being in full regalia. The Army was represented by the 7th Monmouthshire Rifle Volunteers and bringing up the rear, the Mayor, supported by Members and Officers of the Town Council followed by the inhabitants of the town.

As the procession wended it way over the Newport Bridge to the Alexander Dock via High Street, Commercial Street, Commercial Road and Mill Parade, the cheering of the many thousands lining the route almost drowned the music of the bands. It was the scene of rejoicing and animation such as the population of the Borough has never before witnessed.

On arrival at the docks and after due ceremonial and a speech by his Worship the Mayor, in the course of which he referred to the illness of Lord Tredegar and that Lady Tredegar, who had been due to open the new dock on his behalf was detained by this Lordship's relapse and was unable to attend. Mrs. Evans the wife of the Mayor, was then asked to officiate in her Ladyship's absence. At twenty minutes past eleven Mrs. Evans with a slight pressure of the hydraulic lever opened the gates of the inner lock, amid loud cheers from many thousands of throats, salutes of cannon, and "Rule Britannia" from the bands, the gates opened with great ease and the George Elliot passed into the magnificent dock, evoking the greatest display of enthusiasm as she glided across the broad sheet of water.

After all due ceremonies had been carried out the procession reformed and walked back to the town, dispersing at the Victoria Hall.

A dejeuner took place at the Victoria Hall which had been prettily decorated for the occasion. Messrs Ewing & Son catered elegantly and as far as the edibles, wines, and table decorations were concerned, everything was conducted in the most creditable and satisfactory manner. While the meal was in progress the Mayor sent a telegram to this Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, informing him that the Alexandra Dock named after Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales, had been successfully opened in the presence of forty thousand people. Within the hour a reply was received from His Royal Highness thanking the Mayor for his message and congratulating the citizens of Newport on their new dock, and wishing them prosperity in the future.

Star of Gwent. 30th May, 1875
Stow Fair

This annual fair was held in the Cattle Market on Thursday last. There was a very fair collection of animals, although nothing compared to former years, when this fair enjoyed a very wide reputation. Business in some departments was dull, a large number of cows and calves failing to find purchasers. There was also little demand for sheep. Horses were fairly well represented, and some useful animals fetched good prices. Mr. Pennor, Auctioneer had a sale of horses etc. which attracted spirited competition.

Star of Gwent. 30th June, 1875
Death of Lord Tredegar

Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan the first Baron Tredegar of Tredegar Park Newport, Monmouthshire died on Friday April 16th having attained his 83rd year.

Merlin. 17th September, 1875
Stifled on a Lime Kiln

On Sunday morning the dead body of an elderly man named William Morgan was found on a lime kiln at Liswerry. It appears that the old man was at one time well known in the neighbourhood but had not recently lived there. He came back, "on tramp" and went to sleep on the kiln, in order to be warm, and must have been suffocated by the exhalation of the limestone. It would seem from a letter found upon him, that his object was to reach Scotland. The inquest was held at the King of Prussia, when a verdict of "found dead" was returned.

Merlin. 12th November, 1875
Rioting on 5th November at Newport Death of Police Constable

An inquest was opened by Mr. Brewer, Coroner, at the Queen's Hotel, on Wednesday night on the body of Thomas Turner, aged 43, police constable in the Newport Borough Police Force. He leaves a wife and seven children. P.C. George Richard Jones, a police constable, was the first witness. He said that on Friday night last he and P.C. Turner were on patrol together in Portland Street until about a quarter past eight. They then proceeded on the right hand side of the ballast road, going towards the Royal George. Everything was quiet at the time in the street. As they came opposite Mr. Kerslake's mill they saw a mob coming around the corner into Portland Street from Castle Street to meet them. P.C. Turner said to let them go by, but the mob turned opposite Portland Street Chapel, and charged them with stones they had in their hands. They did so without provocation; nothing had been said to them. The stones were so numerous it was impossible to escape them. The crowd had a tar barrel dragging it along, witness received a blow on the side of the neck from a stone and one on the shoulder. The blows came one after the other and knocked him down, just opposite Mr. Daniel Homer's shop. Witness got up and found his brother officer (Turner) lying about a yard off. Witness went to him together with William Morgan, who lived opposite, and they raised Turner up. They found he could not stand and he complained of pains in his back and his one eye seemed to be damaged. Someone came with an armchair and they took him in this to the station at Temple Street. On the way Turner said, "Jones, take hold of my leg," and witness did so as he believed the leg to be broken for blood was running on to his fingers under Turner's leggings.

At the station the deceased was left in charge of Sergeant Wilcox who called a doctor and Turner was taken to the Infirmary. Dr. Turner, house-surgeon at the Newport Infirmary, gave evidence that at 10 o'clock on November the 5th deceased was admitted with a had fracture of the leg and other abrasions. The bleeding in the leg was immediately stopped and the leg was set and every means taken to subdue the inflammation. Notwithstanding, on Sunday morning mortification set in. After due consultation of all the medical officers, they were agreed that nothing further could be done. The deceased died on Monday afternoon, at a quarter to two, the cause of death being shock from the injury and mortification. The Coroner then addressed the jury, who retired and after about fifty minutes of deliberation, returned the following verdict.

"That the death of Thomas Turner was caused by a compound fracture of his right leg, on the night of November the 5th, but there is no satisfactory evidence to show how the fracture was caused; and the jury beg to recommend the Watch Committee to take steps to prevent any more Licenses being granted for the sale of fireworks, as they are of the opinion that such a course would be the first step to putting down the disgraceful scenes witnessed on the 5th of November."

Merlin. 19th November, 1875
The Death of P.C. Turner

The funeral of P.C. Turner, who received injuries on the 5th of November, was on Friday afternoon, and the event naturally elicited considerable sympathetic interest in the town. As many of the police as could be spared from duty attended. We are glad to see that a subscription list has been opened for the benefit of the widow of the deceased, and the seven children, and no doubt people will readily and generously respond to the charitable appeal made to them.


C.O. 15th January, 1876
Alarming Occurrence

On Wednesday night between six and seven o'clock the lights in the streets and houses contiguous to Stow Hill were suddenly extinguished. For days past men have been at work connecting the service gas pipes with the new mains. By some means or other a lump of cotton waste had been left in a pipe on Stow Hill, and the pressure of gas drove it up the service pipe and put out the lights. The gas was then passing through the main with full force, and a lighted candle was put in contact with it, when a tremendous flame burst forth. Gravel and rubbish were thrown in to extinguish the fire. A man got in a trench to repair the joint, but the escape of gas was so great, that he was well-nigh suffocated. He was taken out apparently dead, but was removed to Doctor Cheese's surgery and soon revived and is said to be not much the worse.

Star of Gwent. 23rd January, 1876
A Brute of a Horse

On Wednesday morning a cab horse, belonging to Mr. Alfred Morgan, took a particular fancy to the shop front of Mr. Villiers, photographer, and committed a little damage there. The animal which was being driven along Commercial Street suddenly refused to proceed any further and neither coaxing nor whipping had any apparent effect, except to make bad worse for the ill-tempered brute made for Mr. Villier's shop window, and after smashing a photograph case, reared and tumbled over on to the pavement, upsetting the cab in its fall. After this little hanky-panky, the animal was assisted to its feet, and it was found that the cab was slightly damaged. No doubt fruitless endeavours were subsequently made to point out to the brute the error of its ways.

Star of Gwent. 20th July, 1876
Assault on Policeman

George Watkins and John Francis were charged with assaulting P.C. Gamblin.

From the constable's statement it appeared that on Saturday night he was on duty in Dock Street and had in custody a man named Thomas Watkins. The prisoner's brother George Watkins interfered. He was forced to knock George Watkins with his staff. He got his prisoner as far as the Masonic Hall, when he was struck on the head, cutting through the helmet, and the blood freely flowed. Francis then interfered and followed them up Dock Street. By the chapel Francis threw a stone, which struck the railings missing him. Francis was sentenced to one month's hard labour; Watkins was liberated, the Magistrates considering that he had had sufficient punishment.

Star of Gwent. 9th September, 1876
The Tredegar Memorial Corn Exchange

We are glad to know, on the authority of Mr. R. Stratton, that Lord Tredegar has presented an excellent site for the purpose of the Tredegar Memorial Corn Exchange, viz, that known as "Nappers," originally the site of Napper's Muffin Shop adjoining the Tredegar Estate Offices.

Star of Gwent. 23rd September, 1876
An Electric Time Ball

We have been informed that it is the intention of Mr. R.J. Whitehall, Jeweller, Commercial Street, to erect an electric time ball at his establishment, thereby supplying a long felt want - correct time - a boon which will be appreciated by his customers. The ball will fall every morning at ten o'clock exactly.

Star of Gwent. 7th October, 1876
Revising the Burgess List

The Mayor, (Mr. H.P. Bolt), Mr. John Mason and Mr. W. Watkins assessors, held a Court on Wednesday at the Town hall for the purpose of revising the burgess list. The business occupied three hours.

Star of Gwent. 21st October, 1876
Skating Rink

We are pleased to say that the inauguration of the new floor of asphalt at the Rink passed off with great éclat. The members of the Newport and County Skating Club, to the number of about 70, inaugurated the floor in the afternoon on Wednesday last, whilst the public assembled in the evening to nearly twice that number and appeared to enjoy most thoroughly the excellent "go" of the asphalt. With the addition of ferns and firs, lavatories, a well stocked buffet (of non-intoxicating beverages), and other arrangements and improvements, the rink affords to non-skaters a most pleasant lounge, whilst active patrons find every convenience for them.

Star of Gwent. 11th November, 1876
The Fifth of November

This anniversary was kept up with considerable spirit in Newport on Monday night. Bands of youths paraded the streets with lighted tar barrels while the number of squibs and crackers exploded must have been enormous. The day marked the anniversary also of another prominent event in English history, the inauguration of the Revolution of 1688 by the landing of William the Third at Torbay. In recent years an additional interest has been attached to the date, from the victory of Inkerman over the Russians in the Crimea, being gained on this day in 1854. Like the massacre of the Huguenots in Paris on St. Bartholomew's Day in 1572 and the Irish massacre in 1641, the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, standing as it were midway at about a distant of thirty years from each of those events. It may be interesting to add that on this day in the year 1800 the Royal title of "King of France" was abandoned by George III after having been borne by the Monarchs of this Country, somewhat vaingloriously in those of later epochs, for more than four hundred years.


Star of Gwent. 6th January, 1877
Police Court

William Lawrence, who was represented by his wife, was charged with allowing a mule to stray on the highway at St. Brides, near Newport, on Sunday the 17th instant. P.C. Rowen proved the offence, defendant had been cautioned and reported before. His wife said the mule had got out unknown to them. She and her husband always tried to keep the mule in. She promised to keep it in, in future, and was only fined five shillings including costs.

Star of Gwent. 20th January, 1877
Letter to the Editor


Knowing your strict sense of honour, and your love of justice, will perhaps be sufficient excuse for requesting a few lines, in your issue this week. Last week's Star of Gwent under the heading 'Police Proceedings' my name is mentioned under the heading 'A Landlady Charged with Drunkeness'

The facts of the case are these: On the night in question, Sgt. Winmill entered my house and found two gentlemen connected with the trade of the Port, awaiting the arrival of two captains lodging at my premises. They had gone to the theatre to witness the pantomime, and on the way back had been delayed. Sgt. Winmill subsequently summoned myself and the two gentlemen, who were waiting the settlement of accounts, now the captains' ships were ready for sea. As proof of the 'weight attached' to the matter the Magistrates dismissed all the summonses.

On the day in question I had a hard day's toil; and after the house had been closed I entered a page and a half of accounts, besides some matters connected with the business; and at the time of Winmill's visit I had dropped asleep from sheer fatigue.

Now Sir, I think it is a cruel thing for any police officer to jump at such a hasty conclusion, which might injure a person's credit and character; but as I am known to the firm, with whom I deal, and have been dealing for many years, trying to injure my credit is out of the question. Had it been otherwise, Sgt. Winmill would find himself subject to the unpleasantness of an action at law.

Yours respectfully,

Susan Briggs
Caledonian Hotel

Star of Gwent. 20th January, 1877
Local Festivities

The gathering which took place on Thursday night at the invitation of the Mayor of Newport is the first of the kind which has taken place in Newport for many years. No pains seem to have been spared by the Mayor to make his guests as comfortable as possible, and the result was that the banquet and ball were a thorough success. No one who was present at the banquet could fail to see that these assemblages of men, holding opinions widely different and so pronounced that they agree to differ, was of considerable value, for there is nothing so productive of good results as a free interchange of opinion.

The speeches were not brilliant. The Conservative M.P. for Monmouth Boroughs contrived to make a clever little speech about nothing, and was heartily cheered for doing so. Lord Tredegar and his brother Colonel Morgan were also there. Lord Tredegar is a humorous man. He evidently reads humorous books and he is often very smart in his sayings. He is a tactician, and he knows what form of speech at a banquet will make people laugh. He made the gathering laugh, and his brother seemed to possess the same virtue. There were, therefore, three Conservative Members of Parliament at the banquet. It is hardly necessary to recapitulate' the speeches that were delivered.

Star of Gwent. 3rd February, 1877
Down on the Marshes

On Saturday 3rd inst. some young gentlemen of Newport who, (finding life flavourless and insipid) are desirous of violent deaths, were in solemn conclave and striped jerseys assembled on the Marshes, where they will be joined by a few kickers from Swansea, who, weary of the insanity of contemporary existence, as practised in their part of the principality, have reconciled themselves to the severance of all earthly ties and the adoption of varied hose. The final ceremony will comprise an energetic wrangle for a piece of puffed out, leather covered, never-to-be-sufficiently-condemned bladder, which has been chosen the inanimate recipient of the departing, before mentioned, life weary. A few wild yells, a few murmured 'good-byes' and the Marshes will again be peaceful and down trodden; while the inquest will be held in the adjoining inn. They call it 'football' while they live!

Star of Gwent. 17th March, 1877
Frost the Chartist

Sir Edward Watkin is engaged in promoting a subscription on behalf of Mr. John Frost; the well known Welsh Chartist, who was sentenced to death in 1839 through his participation in the rising at Newport. Mr. Frost is 93 years of age and still lives in the neighbourhood of Bristol. It is somewhat singular that the jury, judge, and counsel engaged in his prosecution, thirty eight years ago, are all dead. His sentence was commuted to one of transportation for life, and he was sent to Van Diemen's Land. He lived through it all, and when the amnesty was granted to political prisoners at the close of the Crimean War, he was able to return to his native country.

Mr. Frost was a Justice of the Peace, had been Mayor, and was a successful tradesman in Newport at the time of the Chartist Rising. He very ardently, but not very wisely, espoused their cause and lost both property and liberty for what he conceived to be his patriotic duty.

He is in fair health now, but his memory at times somewhat wanders. He lives with his daughter who has attended his declining years with affectionate care and solicitude. Sir Edward Watkin hearing of his position, voluntarily sent his family £20 a few days ago, and he is now engaged in the benevolent work of trying to raise £200 or £300 to solace the old Chartist's exile in the days of proper forgetfulness.

Star of Gwent. 24th March, 1877
The Telephone

It is difficult to keep pace with the rapid progress which science is making in every direction, and men hardly realise the improvements and wonderful discoveries which are being made. One of which promises to be of great importance and convenience in business affairs, is the telephone, which has recently been constructed and practically developed by Professor A. Graham Bell, and by means of which, it is possible to send articulate sounds over ordinary telegraph wire. Professor Bell is now able to communicate planely between any points, however distant.

Star of Gwent. 14th April, 1877
Brutal Assaults

There is an extraordinary want of uniform severity displayed by Magistrates when dealing with the punishment of crimes of brutal violence, and the consequences which the perpetrators are too often visited with, are given penalties ludicrously inadequate to the atrocity of their acts.

There is absolutely no ground of reason or sentiment, upon which it is possible to justify the strange forbearance of the various Benches, towards pure and simple cruelty. If the malignity of the motive is the essence of crime, what can be more detestably wicked than the attempt to maim a poor fellow creature, who has given no cause of offence, or the policeman who is doing his duty? If, on the other hand, the heinousness of the crime is to be measured by the amount of distress inflicted on these occasions, what comparison is there between violent personal assaults and depredations upon properties? If there are any crimes which are capable of being checked by fear of consequences, they are crimes perpetrated out of sheer brutality, and without even the hope of gain.

There is but one way to deal effectively with such cases, that is to employ physical pain as a deterrent. The lash is not yet obsolete, and we confess that we do not desire that it should be abolished, until human creatures with the instincts of brutes are obsolete also.

Star of Gwent. 29th July 1877
Death of John Frost

We understand that Mr. John Frost, the old Chartist, died at his daughter's home in Stapleton, Bristol on 27th inst. at the ripe old age of 93.

Mr. John Frost, prior to the lamentable outbreak in which he was the prime leader, commenced business in Newport as a tailor and draper in 1811, in a house belonging to his step-father, near the Royal Oak, Mill Street. Shortly after this he married a widow named Geach, who, with her two children, resided with her uncle, Mr. William Foster, a member of the old Corporation and Mayor of the Borough in the years 1804, 1812 and 1817. At Mr. Foster's demise Mrs. Frost and her children derived a handsome property. By Mr. Frost, she became the mother of two sons and five daughters. About the year 1822 Mr. Frost first displayed aspirations to rank as a public writer, and pamphleteering was a favourite mode of showing his hostility.

Mr. Frost was an early convert to the cause of the Chartists. His earnest advocacy and strong expression of language soon got him into trouble. His prosecution for libel and committal to prison tended to increase his popularity and brought him more into public favour. He was elected one of the Council of the Borough at the close of 1835 and was recommended to the King, by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for appointment as one of the Justices of the Peace for the Borough. He is said to have performed the duties with diligence, zeal, independence and impartiality. In 1837 he was elected to fill the civic chair, and during his year of office as Mayor, acted with becoming dignity. He subsequently became so extreme in his political views, and so violent in his language that the attention of the authorities was called to the matter, the result being that Mr. Frost's name was obliterated from the list of Justices of the Peace. From thereon his life is a matter of history, made poignant by the utter futility of the enterprise in which he participated.


Star of Gwent. 11th May, 1878
The Tailors

There is some dispute amongst the tailors of this town, which it was feared a day or two ago would lead to a strike, but we have every reason to believe that matters will be amicably settled and a strike happily avoided. The masters are making overtures to the men for an advance in their rate of pay of one halfpenny per hour on the old log, but the men want more money, and asked the masters to grant it on a new log. This the masters do not seem inclined to do, but we believe, terms will be agreed to and a strike avoided.

Star of Gwent. 11th September, 1878
Opening of Corn Exchange

On 4th inst. a much desired need has been fulfilled by the opening of the Corn Exchange in High Street, on the site of the late Mr. Peter Napper's "Muffin Shop" at one time famous for its hot muffins and gingerbread.

The new building is to be known as the 'Tredegar Memorial Corn Exchange' and is erected to the memory of the late Lord Tredegar.


Star of Gwent. 12th May, 1879
Drunk and Disorderly

Mr. Dugmore of the Market Boat Inn, Stow Hill, was charged with being drunk and disorderly on Stow Hill. P.C. Pike proved that the prisoner was outside the Market Boat beer house on Saturday night kicking at the door, he said he wanted some words with his wife. The prisoner said he was getting away from his wife and was going quietly to his lodgings; he denied he was drunk. Inspector Williams said he was very drunk when brought to the station. The Bench fined the prisoner ten shillings and the costs or fourteen days imprisonment. Mrs. Dugmore applied that her husband be bound over to keep the peace, as she was afraid of her life. In reply to her husband Mrs. Dugmore said he gave her a couple of black eyes last Christmas, and on Saturday night he threatened her. The Magistrates bound the prisoner over to keep the peace for six months.


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