Abertillery Saddlers & Harness Makers.
Abertillery was still in its infancy while the Nantyglo, Coalbrookvale, Cwmcelyn & Blaina Iron Works and collieries and the many other industries further north were in full swing. The iron and coal companies had their own saddlers and harness makers, either working for them or independent saddlers that were in contract to the many different corporations.
Mr Edward Chegwidden.
The earliest saddlers I can find was at Brynmawr in 1859, Mr Edward Chegwidden, there was also a leather cutter by the name of Mr William Probert in the same year.
Mr George Dyke.
In 1871 there was a saddler in the Garnfach, Nantyglo by the name of Mr George Dyke.
Mr John Morgan.
In Blaina in 1891 there was a saddler in the High Street by the name of Mr John Morgan.
The Abertillery Saddlers.
In the latter half of the 19th century the industry at Abertillery was building up and also the population and the need for saddlers and harness makers drew quite a few tradesmen in such trades to the area.
Mr Thomas Owen.
In the 1870’s there was a saddler and harness maker by the name of Mr Thomas Owen at Church Street Abertillery. Mr Owen went bankrupt in August 1877, as reported in the London Gazette.
Mr John Rees Jones.
A while later Mr John Rees Jones, a saddler, came to Abertillery, he was originally the contractor to the South Wales Colliery Company Cwmtillery, Tillery Colliery, Penybont, Coed Cae Tillery Colliery and Cwmnant-y-Groes Colliery. He later opened a business at 6 Church Street Abertillery. In the 1880’s, Mr Jones was still trading in leather, though was also supplying the public and private companies.
Mr Thomas Davies.
In June 1892 Mr Thomas Davies opened another saddlery & harness making business at 83 Cwm Street (now Somerset Street) he informed the public that he could execute every description of saddlery and harness at the lowest prices.
Mr William Vaughan.
In August 1892 Mr William Walter Vaughan advertised he had opened his own saddlery and harness making business in Abertillery and had taken over the business from the late Mr J. R. Jones, Church Street Abertillery. Mr Vaughan would later move to Llanhilleth.
Mr S. M. Ash.
In January 1900 Mr S. M. Ash came to Abertillery and set up a saddlery and harness making business at 5 Oak Street, opposite the G.W.R. Railway Station at Abertillery.
In 1905 Mr William Walter Vaughan opened a branch of his saddlery business at Llanhilleth, opposite the G.W.R. Railway Station.
In June 1910 Mr William Walter Vaughan moved from his premises at Church Street, Abertillery to 40 Somerset Street.
Mr S. M. Ash at the Arcade.
In 1910 Mr S. M. Ash opened another shop in Abertillery within the arcade and also traded from his old premises at Oak Street.
Mr S. M. Ash at High Street, Abertillery.
In September 1920 Mr S. M. Ash sold his shop at Oak Street, he moved up to the arcade and opened another shop at the back of his other premises with an entrance onto High Street, opposite the National Church School. Mr Ash’s old premises at Oak Street was purchased and turned into refreshment rooms and renamed the “Station Cafe”. In October 1920 meetings were held at Station Cafe with the aim of re-forming the Abertillery Harriers Club.
Messrs W. Vaughan & Sons.
In 1920 W. Vaughan was still in Somerset Street trading as W. Vaughan & Sons.
Points of Interest –
In 2017 Messrs Ash, Saddler of High Street, Abertillery ceased trading and closed, ending 117 years in the same business. Messrs S. M. Ash were the second longest serving establishment in Abertillery behind Messrs T. H. Prichard, Chemists at the Medical Hall, Somerset Street, Abertillery who began trading in 1892 and are still in business today.