Prior to the piped water network at Abertillery, residents had to rely on streams, water spouts and wells to obtain a fresh supply of water. As the town expanded and the population grew the need for water greatly increased. The Many collieries in the area put extra pressure on the supplies. At this time the population of Abertillery were under the jurisdiction of the old Aberystruth Rural Sanitary Authority based at Blaina.
The following is a Link to – The Early Council Authorities at Abertillery.
Abertillery Gas and Water Company.
In November 1866 the Abertillery Gas and Water Company was set up. The Company was incorporated with the power to supply Gas and Water within the Parish of Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, to manufacture, sell and dispose of Coke with residual products such as Bricks, Pipes and Tiles. To deal in Coal, Lime, Slates and Stone etc. Also the construction of Gas and Waterworks, with Sale or Lease of Undertaking.
The Abertillery Gas and Water Company gave notice of application for a Bill to be put before Parliament with their intent to purchase land at Abertillery. The land in question was detailed as being close to the Tin Works and to be purchased from Mr George Grey Rous, a past High Sheriff of Glamorgan and Reverend George Gore, both gentlemen being the Trustees of the will of the late Capel Hanbury Leigh. This land was to build a Gas Works to supply the town.
In August 1867 the Bill was given Royal Assent.
More land was purchased by the Company close to the Tin Works from Mr Edmund James and Mr George Williams for access and also at Heolgerrig to build a reservoir to supply the town with Water.
Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company.
During the early 1870s the Gas and Water Company was known as the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company.
The Formation of the Abertillery Local Board.
In December 1876 the Abertillery Local Board was established, the new Board took control of the Abertillery District from the old Aberystruth Rural Sanitary Authority that was based in Blaina. Many reports at the time seem to suggest that the Aberystruth Rural Sanitary Authority members based in Blaina had no objection to Abertillery setting up its own Local Board, on the contrary, it seemed that Abertillery, being such a large area was a drain on resources and the move was encouraged.
in March 1877 the first six officers of the new Abertillery Local Board were elected as follows – Mr Lewis Richards; Mr Titus Phillips; Mr J. Green; Mr P. A. Williams; Mr Basil Jayne; Mr E. Walker for the Abertillery Ward: Mr Josph Wallace; Mr J. A. Harding and Mr S. Jones for Cwmtillery Ward:
The District under the jurisdiction of the Abertillery Local Board covered the following area – From Aberbeeg up the Cwm Valley to Llandafal Village, Cwm and the Waterloo Inn, up over the Arael Mountain into Roseheyworth Colliery, up to Blaentillery Farm, Cwmtillery due east to the Parish of Blaenavon, along the imaginary line dividing the Parish of Aberystruth from the Parish of Abersychan, Pontnewynydd and Llanhilleth. The District contained a population of 6,000 and was divided into two wards, the Abertillery Ward and the Cwmtillery Ward.
The No1 Reservoir, Abertillery.
Sometime during the 1870s the Water Company constructed the first water holding facility, No1 Reservoir at Pen-Rhiw-Garreg, Pant-y-Pwdyn, this reservoir was nothing more than a four sided brick and mortar water holding building, later locally known as the Lighthouse. Built on a high elevation in order to get a pressurised supply of piped water to many of the houses, those houses that were in the valley and also those that were situated above the valley.
The No2 & No3 Reservoirs, Abertillery.
In the 1880s No2 Reservoir was built high upon the side of the Arael Mountain behind the Railway Inn over looking Bridge Street, No3 Resrvoir was constructed, situated again on the side of the Arael Mountain over looking the Abertillery Park area just north of where Cyril Place would later be built, close to the No1 entrance of Rhiw Colbren Coal Level, again both reservoirs were four sided brick and mortar water holding buildings. All these reservoirs were fed by natural spring water from the mountain. From all these reservoirs a network of pipes of various sizes supplied the town with water under gravitational pressure.
Abertillery Gas Works.
In January 1882 the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company had notice that the Abertillery Local Board intended to purchase the Gas Works at Abertillery.
The State of the Water Supply.
On Thursday 7th November 1889 the Local Board met at the Board Offices, Abertillery, Mr H. J. Phillips, presided, the following members attended – Mr G. B. Hammond; Mr Clark; Mr Dawson; Mr Thomas Robins; Mr J. T. Williams; Mr J. Gregory; Mr J. A. Shepard (Clerk); Dr Williams (Medical Officer) and Mr James McBean (Surveyor): The Board were alerted by Dr Williams the Medical Officer, to the fact that the water from the No1 Reservoir was contaminated, it was being fed by a stream fetid with manure deposited by cattle and sheep with evidence of human excrement. Fowl had also built nests behind the cistern. To combat this contamination the Local Board said that one central reservoir was needed and water piped to each reservoir from there.
In July 1891 the Surveyor Mr James McBean gave the Local Board a report on the state of the water at Abertillery. In the report he stated the Blaenau Gwent Church grave yard was water logged, grave diggers were having to remove the water from the graves with buckets before burials could take place. This water was issuing lower down through a water spout where people were drinking from. Mr McBean said they were “drinking from dead men’s bones”, he suggested that the Board drain the grave yard. There were reports of discoloured water with an odour, this water was tested and deemed to be favourable, he also wanted to take water samples from Clynmawr.
The Cwmtillery Reservoir Proposal.
In July 1891 at a meeting of the Fire Brigade at Pontypool it was mentioned that the Abertillery Local Board intended to build a large reservoir up in the Cwmtillery valley. Later the Abertillery Local Board initiated plans for its construction though had strong opposition from Messrs Lancaster, Spier & Co, who had their mining interests to protect.
The Purchase of the Coal Seam under the Reservoir.
On Friday 20th May 1892 the promoters – The Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company’s Abertillery Gas and Water Bill, in connection with the proposed construction of the Cwmtillery Reservoir was brought before a committee of the House of Lords, the Marquis of Bath presided. The following were present – The Duke of Leeds; Lord Herries; Lord Leamington and Lord Greville: Mr Balfour Browne Q.C., and Mr Phillips appeared for the promoters and Mr Ram represented the opponents Messrs Lancaster, Spier & Co. The committee heard how the Bill had already passed through the House of Commons though had serious opposition from the Lancaster, Spier & Company owners of the mineral estate upon which the Local Board wanted to construct the reservoir said they intended to sink a new pit, open out a new seam of coal under that area and did not want anything to obstruct their mining operations, if the reservoir went ahead, the Lancaster, Spier & Co would have to leave that lucrative coal seam untouched as a pillar to keep the ground beneath the reservoir stable.
The Bill came before the Lords over a period of a few days and the following Wednesday the Bill came for the final adjustment of clauses and after some discussion it was decided that the promoters should purchase the interests in the Colliery Company in connection with the coal left to support the reservoir, the Water Company had to buy the pillar of coal and leave it untouched to ensure the safety of the embankment of the reservoir. This pillar of coal was valued by the Colliery Company at £7,000. Another clause decided upon was that the company should not take possession of the land in question until the purchase was completed.
The Pillar of Coal under the Reservoir.
The pillar of coal below the reservoir contained at least 3 workable coal seams, originally the Old Coal Seam, the Three Quarter Coal Seam and much later the Garw Coal Seam. The area of the saleable coal which had to be left untouched was a fair amount.
The image (left) shows a portion of an official N.C.B. map of the area showing the Garw Coal Seam workings around the pillar, which can be seen in the centre of the image. The Garw Seam at Cwmtillery was the lowest geographically and first reached in the year 1935. This map shows the later extensive workings in that seam and the way they retrieved the coal from around the pillar left to stabilise the reservoir.
After 18 months the completion of the purchase of the coal beneath the reservoir by the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company was still unsettled by the Colliery Company and in October 1893 members of the Board travelled to London to try and come to some arrangement. Mr Togarmah Rees was instructed to prepare plans in accordance with the wishes of the Colliery Company. The South Wales Colliery Company, via Messrs Lancaster and Spier decided to leave a pillar of coal of three and a half acres beneath the proposed reservoir and that the Blaenavon Coal Company leave four and a half acres. The Colliery Company’s Engineer recommended the insertion of a clause in the agreement allowing the Company to mine coal around and beyond the reservoir if necessary.
The Takeover of the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Co by the Local Board.
In November 1893 The Abertillery Local Board applied to Parliament in the coming session of 1894 with their intent to purchase the undertaking of the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company. To relieve the Company from all liabilities and obligations with the respect to the supply of Gas and Water in the Parish of Aberystruth and Llanhilleth in the County of Monmouthshire.
On Monday 11th December 1893 a meeting of the Ratepayers and Owners in the Abertillery District took place in the committee room at the Market Hall, Abertillery. The meeting was organised by Mr Lewis Reynold Rogers, Chairman of the Local Board to consent to the promotion of a Bill by the Local Board in the coming session of Parliament for an Act to authorise the authority to acquire the existing Gas and Water undertakings of the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company. Also to execute the work and exercise their powers and erect additional water works for increasing the supply to the Abertillery District.
Those present at the meeting were members of the Local Board included – Mr Titus Phillips; Mr Lewis; Mr Robbins; Mr Williams; Mr William Rees; Mr J. Wallace; Mr J. A. Shepard (Clerk); Mr J. McBean (Surveyor) and Mr T. Rees (Engineer) of Newport: Members of the Ratepayers – Dr W. E. Williams (Medical Officer) and Councillors Mr S. N. Jones and Mr W. Thomas:
Mr Togarmah Rees the Water Engineer of Newport explained the proposed scheme and what would be involved. The area of the Abertillery Local Board in 1893 was 6,733 acres with a population of 10,788, it was estimated that the population would double in the next 10 years. The present water tanks would be further supplied from springs in the mountain side and the total storage of water from the three tanks amounted to 474,250 gallons, with a total dry-weather flow of 82,520 gallons per day. From the existing water tanks pipes were laid to different parts of the town for distributing water, though as a considerable portion of the district was over 950 feet above sea level it was impossible to supply certain parts of the district from these three tanks.
The new reservoir would contain 40,000,000 gallons, the primary object of which was to supply compensation water down the Tillery Brook, which was not to be allowed to run below 300,000 gallons per day. The estimated cost of the works was £19,600, the cost of land and minerals £8,605, total cost £28,205, equivalent to £3,388,000 in todays money.
After the construction of the reservoir at Cwmtillery, the water was to be conveyed from the Tillery Brook by means of a conduit into the filter beds, onto the clear water tanks and then onto the population. The third conduit was to convey the water from the reservoir to the mains. The clear water tank was to be situated at 1115′ feet above sea level, sufficiently high enough to supply water to the highest populated points, such as Cwmtillery and Blaenau Gwent. The Engineer explained that the scheme included supplying the whole of the district from Crumlin up, taking in Llanhilleth. The Local Board were aware that many people were paying rates and not receiving water as they should and many more were relying on springs. After the purchase of the Gas and Water facilities from the Brynmawr and Abertillery Gas and Water Company the Local Board would be in total control of the Water and Gas supplies.
In November 1894 the Tender of Messrs Spitals & Co of Newport was accepted for the supply of pipes to be used at the new Waterworks Cwmtillery.
Tenders for the Construction of the Cwmtillery Reservoir and Waterworks.
In March 1895 Tenders were invited for the construction of a Reservoir, Filter Beds and Works in connection with the Water Scheme at Cwmtillery.
On Monday 1st April 1895 a monthly meeting of the Council was held at the Council Offices, Abertillery. The following gentlemen attended – Mr J. T. Williams (Chairman); Mr William Stewart; Mr D. Lewis; Mr J. T. Baker; Mr F. Padfield; Mr George Gregory; Mr W. Thomas; Mr Joseph Wallace; Mr W. Davies; Mr Togarmah Rees (Water Engineer); Mr J. T. Shepard (Clerk); Mr James McBean (Surveyor); Mr J. Williams (Inspector) and Mr D. Edwards (Collector): At this meeting it was stated that the Clerk of the Works for the pipe laying scheme at Cwmtillery was Mr Morgan Wallace on a wage of 30s per week.
The pipes were to have been laid at a depth of between 4′ and 5′ feet though owing to a mix up with the plans Mr Wallace was laying them at between 2′ and 3′ feet, owing to the bad weather they should have been laid at a greater depth. The average wage of the workmen working in the trenches at the reservoir were 23s 2d. per week, equivalent to £136.00 in todays money. The Bricklayers later employed by Mr Noel Bagley were being paid 9d per hour, based on a 5 day week that was equivalent to about £180.00 in todays money.
At this meeting the Tenders of the following contractors were opened – Mr J. Meyrick of Sirhowy £19,277. 17s. 6d; Mr Jenkins of Cilfynydd, Pontypridd £15,709. 6s. 8d; Mr John Linton & Co of Newport £17,552. 5s. 5d; Mr T. Jones Davies of Newport £11,085. 11s. 0d; Mr Norman Jones & Co of Cardiff £ 15,824. 13s. 0d; Mr James Allen of Cardiff £16,506. 15s. 2d; Messrs Aird & Son of Lambeth £17,846. 0s. 0d; Messrs Baines, Chaplain & Co of Cardiff £19,413. 11s. 4d; Mr T. Goldsworthy of Newport £22,500. 0s. 0d; Mr C. Gardner of Penarth £19,303. 18s. 5d; Mr Noel Bagley of Abertillery £15,623. 6s. 10d: The position of Clerk of the Works was advertised with a wage of £2. 10s per week, equivalent to £300 in todays money.
The Tender of Mr Noel Bagley at £15,623. 6s. 10d. The position of Clerk of the Works was awarded to Mr Leaworthy, though later there were reports of a Mr John McIlwaine as the Clerk of the Works with a wage of £2. 10s. per week. The Council appointed Mr Ernst Lichtenberg as Joint-Contractor to Mr Bagley at the Cwmtillery Waterworks.
The Construction of the Cwmtillery Reservoir.
The construction of the reservoir was was not an easy operation, the Council gave the Contractor Mr Bagley about 3 years to complete the work. Although not many records were kept from this time and it seems that Mr Bagley finished work on its construction before it was completed. Many later reports stated he had finished owing to circumstances beyond his control. The Council later employed Water Engineers and other Contractors to complete the work though many problems arose over the following years with leaks and instability in the water bed and groundwork.
The photographic image (as seen above) was kindly supplied courtesy of Mr Bob Evans. It shows the Cwmtillery Reservoir and Filter Beds prior to the new Treatment Works being constructed.
In July 1898 during discussions in connection with the proposed construction of an open air-baths at Abertillery the Council recommended using the No3 Reservoir for swimming purposes. This idea was never taken seriously and Mr A. Tilney carried on with the construction of the Open Air Swimming Baths at the Park, Abertillery.
The Drought of 1899.
In August 1899 a long summer drought made matters worse, the Council were under pressure to supply the town with water and made arrangements with the various landowners in the area i.e. Webb of Aberbeeg, Lancaster Co and Messrs T. P. Price for permission to access their water spouts, wells and streams in order to augment the towns water supplies. The Water Engineers were busy diverting stream water at Pullingers Level, Gelli Crug, Mount Pleasant, Brynithel and at Aberbeeg. Mr William Stewart, General Manager of Powells Tillery Co said the Vivian Colliery needed water but was willing to offer what they didn’t need.
The Pillar Question and the Coal Company.
In September 1899 there were rumours that the Colliery Company at Cwmtillery who had charged the Council £7,000 for the pillar of coal beneath the reservoir and who had promised to leave the coal untouched to keep the reservoir stable, had indeed mined it and that is why the Dam and Reservoir was now leaking uncontrollably. Mr J. T. Williams of the South Wales Colliery Company issued a statement in which he fully denied such a thing had happened and stated that even though the Council were charged £7,000 for the original pillar, the Colliery Company made sure that 20 acres were left untouched in order that the land was kept as stable as possible. At this time Councillor Mr C. W. Carpenter alluded to the possibility of abandoning the reservoir altogether.
In October 1899 Mr Arthur Tilney had nearly finished building the Open Air Baths at the Abertillery Park, it had been filled with water which and had to be filtered and the area landscaped, though at this early point, at a monthly Council meeting one of the Councillors laughably remarked “Does Mr Tilney want to swap his Baths for our No3 Reservoir, as his swimming bath is the only reservoir that holds water!”
Bore holes were still being drilled at the Cwmtillery Reservoir to locate the leakages, the Waterworks were swallowing up the profits in the Gasworks, money that would have to be met out of the general rate. Over the next few months the Council appointed various Water Engineers to give their opinions and expert advise on the leakage situation at Cwmtillery Reservoir.
In November 1899 Mr Daniel, Engineer wrote a report on the situation at the Waterworks at Cwmtillery.
Messrs Travers, Smith, Braithwaite and Robinson.
In December 1899 Messrs Travers, Smith, Braithwaite and Robinson. Engineers wrote a report on the situation at the Waterworks at Cwmtillery.
The Suspension of Work at the Reservoir.
In March 1900 work at the Cwmtillery Reservoir was temporarily suspended, there were problems over the engineers work certificates and the matter was referred to the Clerk Engineer Mr Togarmah Rees.
In January 1901 Togarmah Rees the Engineer at the Waterworks, Cwmtillery advised the Council to cancel the contract with Mr N. Bagley and to take over the work at the reservoir. It was calculated that it would cost the Council £500 and an application for sanction to borrow the amount would be made to the Local Government Board. Mr Bagley agreed and by mutual arrangement concluded the contract.
Mr Noel Bagley.
In April 1901 it was reported that Mr Noel Bagley, the constructor of the Cwmtillery Reservoir had been successful in obtaining a large contract to build 3 covered reservoirs along with 8 miles of piping at Penybont, near Bridgend, Glamorganshire.
Proposed New Extension of the Reservoir.
In November 1901 the Council had asked the Local Government Board to borrow £4,500 to complete repairs to the reservoir. Before they could consider the loan, the Council must hire expert Water Engineers to report on the matter. Messrs G. H. Hill & Son were called upon to give their advice on the many problems at the Waterworks at Cwmtillery. At this point Mr Noel Bagley wrote a letter to the South Wales Gazette in which he gave his opinion on the subject. Mr Bagley wrote how the ground on the east and west was rocky, the actual Dam was built on slipped ground, he corrected the reports that the actual Dam was leaking, saying the Dam was fine, the water was leaking through the Puddle Trenches and below. He finished by saying the Council could have remedied the problem if they had extended the both sides of the Dam and abutted them further into the mountain side into good holding ground when the first leaks appeared.
The Reservoir Extension.
In November 1901 the Abertillery Urban District Council gave notice it intended to extend the Cwmtillery Reservoir. It was to be formed by an embankment 10 chains 80 links in length from east to west, crossing the Tillery Brook at the northern end of the Tillery Brook, together with necessary Shafts, Pumps, Tanks, Filter Beds, Sluices Tunnels and Channels etc.
Just after the notice to inform Parliament of the Council’s intention to enlarge and extend the reservoir, Mr H. Rofe, another Water Engineer engaged by the Council visited Cwmtillery to give his expert advice on proceeding in connection with the present leakages.
At a later Abertillery Ratepayers meeting held at the Oddfellows Hall, Queen Street, Abertillery it was stated that Abertillery Council wanted to borrow £30,000, to pay off what they owed and to complete and extend the Cwmtillery Reservoir. It was reported that if they did not act straight away it was only a matter of time before a Colliery owner obtained an injunction against the Council to restrain them from taking a drop of water from the stream closely followed by any amount of Mill owners down through the Ebbw Valley. Also the Clerk in his position as a legal adviser stated the Council were under legal obligation to complete the Cwmtillery Waterworks, if not there would be very serious consequences. Nothing seemed to have been achieved at this time and plans were put on hold.
In May 1902 some money had been obtained and Screening Tanks were constructed at the Waterworks site, Cwmtillery.
Mr James McBean and the Repairs to the Reservoir.
Since the very start of the construction of the Cwmtillery Reservoir in 1896 it had never properly held water. Over the years it has been plagued with leaks and blockages etc, it had lost on average 90,000 gallons per day through leakages. The Council had, over the years paid various Water Engineers to solve these problems though they failed to do so and when the last attempt to fix the leakages also failed, along with over £40,000 spent on it, the Council turned to their Surveyor Mr James McBean. Mr McBean took up the challenge and with a gang of navvies began work on locating the faults and repairing the reservoir.
In April 1907 Mr James McBean finished his work the reservoir, he had completed the repairs that had baffled many Water Engineers over the past eleven years. The Council visited the reservoir and found it had 42′ feet 6″ inches in it and it contained 50,000,000 gallons of water. There was an overflow of 730,000 gallons per 24 hours and the tunnelling had no leakages. Mr Flowers the Councillor praised Mr McBean on his success and said he deserved every credit in what he had achieved.
In July 1907 Mr Henry Ward Williams (Iron Founder) of Abertillery supplied a Nine Horse-Power Gas Suction Water Pump to the Cwmtillery Reservoir.
The Abertillery and District Water Board.
In January 1910 it was reported that under an Act of Parliament in session later the same year, the Abertillery and District Water Board would be established. The Water Board would take in four areas – Abertillery, Abercarn, Risca and Mynyddislwyn. Under this Act the Councils would apply for a Bill to constitute and incorporate a Water Board and to authorise such Board to construct works for obtaining water from the Grwyne Fawr and to supply the said areas and portions within the urban districts.
Over the following months the proposed building of the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir was strongly opposed by various parties between Abergavenny and Abertillery. There were many objections from private landowners and colliery companies, though over time the majority of these objections were withdrawn and permission was granted.
The Cwmtillery Reservoir Proposed Expansion.
In July 1910 during the reading of a Joint Water Bill before the House of Commons Select Committee, it was heard that as of the ever increasing population and a greater need for water, the Abertillery Council were planning to enlarge the present reservoir and seeking to take 4 and a half acres of land for that purpose. The Llewellyn Estate, owners of the farmland upon which the proposed site would be affecting and the colliery owners lead by Messrs Lancaster & Co were against the proposal. The Engineers stated their fears on enlarging the current reservoir as of the past subsidence problems in the area. It was mentioned that even though a pillar of coal was left untouched to keep the water bed stable, the colliery owners had mined all around the reservoir and that seemed to have affected stability and had caused the leakage problems that had plagued the Water Works since the time of its construction. If the Council wants more water they should look elsewhere for a larger more stable supply.
In March 1912 the population of Abertillery reached 40,733, at this time a major project began on extending and enlarging the water mains throughout the district with the Western Valley’s Water Co. This was done in connection with the proposed new reservoir at Grwyne Fawr and part of its massive infrastructure. Messrs William Underwood & Bros were the Contractors, contracts were given to the Mannesmann Tube Co Ltd for the supply of Steel Pipes and with the Staveley Coal and Iron Co Ltd for the supply of Cast Iron pipes. It had been planned to send more than 150 men to work at the Cwmtillery Reservoir but owing to the present strike the trains would not transport any contractors tools or machinery to Cwmtillery.
The Grwyne Fawr Reservoir.
On Wednesday 14th February 1912 the ceremony of cutting the sod for the new Grwyne Fawr Reservoir took place. Many dignitaries travelled by train to Abergavenny then by brake to the place at Llwyncellyn Farm, Cwmyoy, near Abergavenny. The original contract was priced at £300,000 and when constructed would serve four urban areas, the joint authorities of Abertillery, Abercarn, Risca and Mynyddislwyn. After the Ceremony the party travelled back to Abergavenny for a luncheon at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.
The Contractors were Messrs W. Underwood & Brothers of Dunkenfield, Chesire with Mr Baldwin Latham the Chief Engineer. This reservoir was built in the Black Mountains close to Llanthony, with a water level at a height of 1,790 feet above sea level with a 173′ feet high Dam. At this height the reservoir was able to deliver water, (gravity fed), to Abertillery, Risca, Abercarn and Mynyddyslwyn to supply over 100,000 residents. Water from the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir would be supplied through pipes laid underground from Grwyne Fawr to Abertillery and Risca passing through two counties, one borough, four district council areas and eleven parishes.
Work on the major construction scheme which initially involved over 450 workmen slowed at the onset of the Great War 1914-1918 as of lack of labour, some groundwork and pipe-laying began, though in 1915 the Government commandeered the many miles of railway lines which were later used for war purposes and all work came to a halt. The whole site was stripped of its infrastructure and the Messrs Underwood Brothers had their contract terminated. Work was restarted on the reservoir in 1919, though the economic climate at this time was such that it was deemed to risky to place a contract for the work and materials etc, so the Board appointed Mr J. F. Jupp M.Inst.C.E., of Newport as Engineer and the work was to be carried out by direct labour. The whole site had to be reconstructed, a light railway was laid, two powerful locomotives were ordered and the construction resumed.
Cwmtillery Reservoir Cracks Again.
In May 1922 there was a report in the South Wales Gazette titled “The Cwmtillery Reservoir” – “Supply Endangered by Mountain Fissures”. Cracks were appearing in the walls of the reservoir, fissures were opening in the ground and water was pouring through and getting into the mine workings. If things wasn’t put right the Water Engineers feared a collapse in the waterbed.
In June 1922 at a meeting of the Abertillery Water Board at Newport, Mr G. H. Phillips presiding with Mr J. Francis Jupp, Water Engineer reported the situation of all reservoirs in the County and mentioned that the Cwmtillery Service Reservoir was again on the move with slight movement with cracks appearing in the tank walls.
On Wednesday 30th September 1922 a monthly meeting of the Abertillery Water Board was held in Newport, Mr Godfrey Phillips presiding, the following members attended – Mr J. T. Boots; Mr D. Thomas; Mr T. R. Jenkins; Mr F. Athay; Mr David Lewis; Mr J. M. Roberts; Mr L. Elliott; Mr J. Morris; Mr William Jones and Mr S. Pask: The Engineer Mr J. Francis Jupp reported on the rainfall and water levels, all reservoirs were full and well maintained with a good flow of water. More cracks were appearing in the Cwmtillery Service Reservoir and the work with cutting “Grips” above the fissures in the surrounding hillside was underway. Over 705 yards had been cut and had proved successful in diverting the water into its natural course.
Grwyne Fawr Reservoir Completion.
On Wednesday 28th March 1928 the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir was formally opened. Mr David Lewis J.P., of Risca performed the opening ceremony after which a luncheon was held at the Town Hall, Abergavenny. The cost of the construction was £1,000,000.
The Cwmtillery Reservoir is still in service and is home to an Angling Club. During times of drought (not very often) the water level drops (as seen in the image left) taken in 1994 during the long dry spell of that year.
(More information to come).
Notes of Interest –
Mr Noel Bagley, Building Contractor and Architect. Born in Wing, Oakham in the County of Rutland. He came to Abertillery in the late 1880s and lived at No39 Oak Street Abertillery, lodging with Mr John Winmill and family.
In 1894 he married Miss Amy Emmaline Johnson, daughter of George and Priscilla Johnson of Peterborough, Northamptonshire, England. Mr George Johnson was a Locomotive Foreman for the G.W.R., at Peterborough. Noel and Emmaline moved into No70 Oak Street, Abertillery and had 6 children, amongst them were – Miss Winifred Ethel Bagley, born 1895. Miss Dorothy Bagley, born 1898. Master William Bagley, born 1901. Miss Laura Bagley, born 1902 and Miss Queenie Bagley, born 1904.
Mr Noel Bagley constructed the Vivian Colliery Railway Sidings and was part of the engineering group involved in the extensive alterations to the Abertillery Railway re-routing scheme and new Station and the Bush Hill Bridge. He was responsible for the building of the new Six Bells Hotel, the new Station Hotel, the Six Bells Colliery Screens and Washery Building, the Bon Marche and many other buildings and he also constructed the Cwmtillery Reservoir.
He later built his home “Rutland House” in Oak Street in the early 1900s and more than probably named it after his home County of Rutland.
On Friday 15th March 1907 Mr Noel Bagley sadly passed away after suffering from Pnuemonia at his home at Abertillery.
Not long after his death, his wife Amy Emmaline and children moved from Abertillery to live with her mother Mrs Priscilla Johnson at No9 Providential Place, Newtown, Peterborough, who at this time was also a widow.
Mr Lewis Reynold Rogers of Rogers Buildings, Abertillery 1857-1894.
Mr L. R. Rogers was a tradesman and proprietor of the Abertillery Tea Exchange, Rogers Buildings Cwm Street, Abertillery (opposite Bon Marche). He was a member of The Abertillery Market and Public Hall Co Ltd, was founder of the Abertillery Chamber of Trade, was President of the local Liberal and Labour Association and also Chairman of the Abertillery Local Board.
In April 1894 Mr Rogers had been inspecting the site of the proposed Cwmtillery Reservoir for the Council and was taken ill, he took to his bed and never recovered.
On Friday 27th April 1894 Mr Lewis Reynold Rogers sadly passed away at 37 years of age. He left a widow, two sons and two daughters.
The following is a Link to – Lewis Reynold Rogers.