The Central Hotel – Llanhilleth

The Central Hotel – Llanhilleth

The Central HotelLlanhilleth.
The building and licensing of the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth was one of the most confusing, complicated and protracted applications in the district. Planning began with a 99 year lease starting from 25th March in 1903, was constructed in 1905, finally given a full licence and opened in 1909.

In a newspaper report from February 1905 it was stated that there was a great need for a new licensed hotel in Llanhilleth, the author of the report said the Council had agreed to oppose the application and yet the need for a new hotel was absolute necessity. The population had increased and 150 to 200 houses had been erected. The bookings at the railway station had increased by 12,000 over the past year. it goes on to say the present accommodation was nothing but “Bedlam” there were queues of both sexes across the street attempting to be served at the Llanhilleth Hotel. The author finished by asking the Councillors of the South Ward to listen to the people and to enquire into their needs rather than spend their money on litigation to satisfy their own minds to oppose a much needed project.

Application No1.
On the 4th February 1905 an application was made at the Brewster Sessions by Mr Charles Telford Evans, Architect of Cardiff for a provisional grant of a full licence for a new hotel proposed to be erected at Cwm Court, Llanhilleth. Mr Ram K.C., instructed by Mr T. S. Edwards Solicitor of Newport, appeared for the applicant, while Mr H. S. Lyne of Newport opposed on behalf of the Police. Other opposition came from the following – Mr J. Corner, Barrister of Hereford with Mr P. D. Lewis Solicitor of Bargoed for the Landlord of the Llanhilleth Hotel, Mr J. A. Shepard of Tredegar on behalf of the Abertillery District Council and Mr L. H. Hornby of Newport for other interests.

Mr Ram on making the application stated he was applying for a licence for a new hotel proposed to be erected and that it was to be named “The Station Hotel” as of its close proximity to the recently opened G.W.R. Railway Station. Mr Charles Telford Evans, the applicant was already known in Llanhilleth and had recently built houses in the area and there were plans to build even more. It was stated that on the 1891 Census the population of Llanhilleth was 1,956 while the 1901 Census showed it had increased to 5,115 and the population in 1904 was 6,477. There was a possibility that the population would increase again as there were rumours that Messrs Lancaster & Co were planning on opening new collieries at Llanhilleth. There were only two licensed houses in Llanhilleth and only nine in the Parish of Llanhilleth, the Council had no reasonable grounds on refusing a licence. Upon returning to Court the Chairman of the Bench decided to uphold the objections made to the application owing to a defect in the “posting of statutory notices” and stated another fresh application could be made in the following March.

The building of the proposed Station Hotel at Llanhilleth went ahead in 1905.

Application No2.
On Saturday 4th March 1905 at an adjourned licensing meeting for the Pontypool Petty Sessional Division at the Town Hall, Pontypool, the application of Mr Telford Evens was again heard in front of Mr I. Butler (Chairman); Mr W. L. Pratt; Mr E. Fowler and Mr Dan Evans. Mr Charles Telford Evans of No8 Queen Street, Cardiff again applied for a full retail licence for the proposed hotel to be built at Cwm Court, Cumcuffin, Llanhilleth. Mr Ram K.C., instructed by Mr T. S. Edwards Solicitor of Newport, appeared for the applicant, while Mr H. S. Lyne of Newport opposed on behalf of the Police. Other opposition came from the following – Mr J. Corner, Barrister of Hereford with Mr P. D. Lewis, Solicitor of Bargoed for the Landlord of the Llanhilleth Hotel, Mr L. H. Hornby of Newport for other interests which now included the Landlord of the Walpole Arms, Llanhilleth. Mr T. Watkins, Solicitor of Pontypool for the Abertillery District Council and Mr Coulman, Solicitor of Newport for Messrs Partridge, Jones & Co of the Llanhilleth Collieries and of the Proposed new Llanhilleth Institute.

Mr D. T. Alexander a Valuer of Cardiff gave his expert evidence as to the valuation of such property in the district and Mr Telford Evans gave an account on the proposed hotel and what it would contain, he reported the following information – The size was estimated at sixty-two feet six inches on the road and on the entrance to the Railway Station it would be ninety-seven feet. On the ground floor would be a Jug & Bottle department, a Luncheon Bar, thirty-four feet by thirty-three feet, a Smoking Room, Private Rooms, and a three stalled Stable and Coach House. On the first floor there was to be a Temperance Bar, seventeen feet by sixteen feet, where only temperance drinks would be sold, the approach to which was cut off from the rest of the building. Also on the first floor was a Billiards Room, Coffee Room and other Luncheon Rooms. On the second floor would be Bedrooms, a Club Room eighty-five feet by twenty feet, with a special entrance, Private Rooms etc. The total cost of the new hotel was stated as being £6,000 and would accommodate 590 people. Mr Charles Telford Evans had entered into a lease with Messrs Williams brothers (of the Limes House, Abertillery) and Mr Evans said if the licence was granted he would live at the hotel and put in a respectable Landlord to be approved by the Bench and the Police.

Cross examined by the opposition Mr Charles Telford Evans stated he had not previously kept a public house though he had owned at Llanhilleth three shops, a villa and stables and had built over 300 houses and had sold them all. The Bench insinuated that Mr Evans was only interested in making money and had no other reason to build, it was in his nature, though in replying mr Evan denied this and re-stated his intention on living at the premises.
Mr John Bain Architect of Newport inspected the plans and could not find fault in which they were presented. A few witnesses were called to the Bench and one spoke of how much a new hotel was needed as he at present had to queue for over 20 minutes to get served at the Llanhilleth Hotel. More witnesses spoke and at the close of Court the Chairman said their decision was that their was still no case for granting a licence.

Application No3.
On February 1906 the application was heard once again at the Pontypool Petty Sessional Division at the Town Hall, Pontypool. The Justices present were as follows – Mr Isaac Butler (Chairman); Mr A. A. Williams; Mr W. P. James; Mr W. L. Pratt; Mr D. Jones; Mr L. Llewellyn; Mr W. Lewis; Mr E. M. D. Bird; Mr S. T. Griffin and Dr J. R. Essex: Mr Charles Telford Evans was applying for a licence for the “Station Hotel” Llanhilleth which was now in course of erection. Mr Evans address was 215 Newport Road, Cardiff. Following the usual examination and cross-examinations and the hearing of the Police reports by Mr Henry Lewis the Chairman refused the application and advised that the legal one month appeal for a hearing in the following March should be disregarded and that it should not proceed until next year.

Application No4.
On Thursday 7th February 1907 the application was heard once again at the Pontypool Petty Sessional Division at the Town Hall, Pontypool. The Justices present were as follows – Mr Isaac Butler (Chairman); Mr A. A. Williams; Mr W. P. James; Mr W. L. Pratt; Mr S. Nicholas; Mr W. Lewis; Mr E. M. D. Bird; Mr D. Jones; Mr E. J. Richards; Mr J. Harmston; Mr S. T. Griffin and Dr T. J. Frost: On this occasion the application was for a Mr Charles Telford Evans though the Licence was for Mr Frederick James Matthews of Gwyddon House Abercarn. Mr Matthews had been chosen to take the Management of the hotel under Mr Telford Evan, he had previously been a Landlord of the Market Tavern, Abercarn for over 17 years without any conviction and his record was exemplary, he would be Manager at the hotel and pay a rent of £200 per annum.

At this time the Station Hotel had been constructed though it had changed its name to the Central Hotel.

Inspector Lewis gave a report on the Llanhilleth district of 1907, there were 9 Alehouses, 1 Beerhouse and 5 Grocers off-licences. Eighteen people had been convicted of drunk and disorderly conduct. He had been notified of Mr Telford Evans intention to apply for a licence for the premises erected at Llanhilleth which was to be called the Central Hotel. Inspector Lewis was instructed to oppose the application on grounds that there were two other such premises close by and there was no need for another, also the application was no different to the others that were refused two years previous. The Justices retired and upon their return the Chairman intimated that the application was refused.

Throughout the many appeals and hearings, there was support for but also opposition to the new hotel. The Free Church Council held public meetings at Glandwr and also many other such meetings held at Commercial Road Baptists Chapel to oppose the granting of a licence at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth.

Application No5.
In February 1908 the application for the licence was heard at the Pontypool Petty Sessional Division at the Town Hall, Pontypool. The Justice Mr Isaac Butler (Chairman) presided. it was refused yet again.

Application No6.
On Saturday 6th March 1909 the application for the licence was heard once again at the Pontypool Petty Sessional Division at the Town Hall, Pontypool. The Justice Mr Isaac Butler (Chairman) presided. On this occasion the applicant was Mr Charles Telford Evans though the Licence was for Mr Albert Simmonds, the Landlord of the Globe Hotel, Blaina, who was represented by Mr J. Sankey Barrister of Cardiff who was instructed by Mr J. G. Bishop Solicitor of Brynmawr. Mr Lyne of Newport opposed on behalf of the Police. Mr Donald Maclean M.P., opposed on behalf of the Temperance interests and Mr A. H. Hornby of Newport opposed on behalf of the owners and licensee of the Walpole Arms, Llanhilleth.

Mr Sankey addressed the Bench on behalf of the applicant and stated the hotel had been built centrally and that it was close to the entrance of the Railway Station, it was 365 yards from the Walpole Arms and 253 yards from the Llanhilleth Hotel and that there was no objection to the hotel structure. It was also stated that the last licence granted to a house in Llanhilleth was that of the Walpole Arms in 1896 and with the population growing there was a desperate need for another hotel.

Mr Sankey issued to the Bench a list of statistics relating to the numbers of customers attending the Walpole Arms and the Llanhilleth Hotel. The figures relating to the Walpole Arms January 30th 8.00pm 183 persons; February 5th 10.00pm 189 persons; February 6th 8.00pm 187 persons; February 13th 8.04pm 154 persons and Feb 20th 8.00pm 210 persons: The figures in regard to the Llanhilleth Hotel January 30th 9.00pm 170 persons; February 5th 8.40pm 213 persons (with 23 people outside in the street drinking); February 6th 9.10pm 194 persons; February 13th 9.15pm 166 persons; February 19th 8.30pm 217 persons and February 20th 9.00pm 187 persons; These hotels were so overcrowded that beer crates were used for temporary seating. These figures issued to the Bench were corroborated by many witnesses.

Mr Alfred Symonds of the Globe Hotel stated that he had signed an agreement to to take the house under a lease subject to a licence being granted. He stated he had no interest in any Brewery and promised to keep the hotel a free-house and not tied to any Brewery. Mr Symonds said that under the agreement with Mr Telford Evans he was to pay £400 rent per annum £2,000 down and to pay Fire Assurance, Compensation and Levies etc. After a short adjournment the Chairman came back and awarded the licence. Mr Illtyd Thomas was recalled to give evidence as to monopoly value. He stated that the figure they suggested was £3,626 He estimated that the trade would amount to 13 Barrels a week and an equal amount of Spirits, on which basis an average rent would be £9 8s 6d per week. The Justices fixed the monopoly value at £5,000.

On Tuesday 30th March 1909 at the Monmouthshire County Licensing Confirmation Committee at Usk, the following gentlemen attended – Mr C. S. Bosanquet presiding; Mr Sir Henry Mather-Jackson Bart; Mr Sir Arthur Mackworth Bart; Mr F. M. Humphrey; Mr A. A. Williams; Mr J, Butler; Mr S. N. Jones of Abertillery; Mr J. Green; Mr R. Richards and Dr T. E. Davies: The Central Hotel, Llanhilleth licence approval was confirmed. Dr W. E. Williams (late of the Limes House Abertillery) was also on the Committee and took part in the other business but left the room when the Llanhilleth case was heard owing to his connections with the application. The Committee held a brief meeting and fixed a new monopoly value at £6,000. The Clerk of the Peace Mr H. Stafford Gustard consulted with the Chairman and announced that the application would have to be referred back to Pontypool Magistrates as a formal matter owing to the changing of the monopoly value but could not see any other delays regarding the matter.

The Official Opening.
On Wednesday 26th May 1909 the Bar at the Central Hotel was officially opened. The reports stated it would be fully functional within a week. The first Barmaid was Miss Annie Powell.

On Wednesday 16th November 1910 a Billiard Exhibition was held at the Central Hotel, Mr Claude Falkiner the Champion of the West of England played against Mr B. Hole and Mr F. Williams in a game of 700 up. Mr Hole was beaten by 156 and Mr Williams was beaten by 187. Mr Falkiner made breaks of 238-101-84-76 and 75.

In June 1911 Mr Charles Telford Evans and Mr Simmonds of the Hotel was taken to Court for allegedly breaching the rules on selling beer from a tied house when the licence was originally granted for them to sell from a free house. It was heard that Mr Simmonds had allegedly been given £3,000 by Messrs Webb’s in advance on the understanding for him to sell their beer. After the hearings the Jury could find no ties, no mismanagement and no reason to suggest there was any wrong doing and ruled in favour of Mr Simmonds.

In September 1913 the Landlord was Mr Walter Chadwick. There was also an interesting Court Case in the same month where Mr Chadwick and the Barmaid was charged with serving a child under 14 years of age. The child came in for a “Noggin of Whiskey” to take out and he stated he was 14 years old. Upon leaving the premises a passing Policeman questioned him and found out he was only 13 years old. This led to the case going to court.

The record sale at Auction.
On Tuesday 21st July 1914 at the Westgate Hotel, Newport, the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth was sold at auction by Mr Phillip E. Hill, Auctioneer. The Hotel was purchased by Messrs Webb’s of Aberbeeg for £25,500, this was a record price paid for any licensed property in the county of Monmouthshire. The previous record was £24,500 that paid for the Pioneer Hotel, Ynysduu in 1909. The Central Hotel was one of only a few free-hold houses in the area and was on a 99 year lease starting from 25th March 1903 with a ground rent of £60.00. Mr Le Brasseur of Messrs Le Brasseur & Bowen of Newport were the Solicitors for Messrs Webb’s and Mr A. H. Bullock was the Solicitor for Mr Charles Telford Evans. The price paid for the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth – £25,500 is equivalent to 2.6 million in today’s money.

In 1914 the Brynithel Lodge of Buffaloes opened and had their headquarters at the Hotel.

In February 1921 the Buffalo Victory Lodge held a presentation night at the Hotel, Primo’s John Wilcox C.S., and David Jones C.W., were presented with Jewels by the Knights John Forsey and Jim Protheroe for services rendered.

In September 1922 the third annual Llanhilleth & Aberbeeg Allotment and Garden Society show was held in the Clubroom at the Central Hotel. The Officers were Alderman Mr William Thomas of Aberbeeg and Alderman Mr Michael Gorman of Llanhilleth. There were many prizes awarded in various categories, if anyone wants further names or information please ask, a full list available on request.

In the mid 1920s the Landlord was Mr George Thomas.

On the 17th December 1923 at a meeting of the School Sub-Committee it was proposed to use a room on the upper floor of the Central Hotel as a Clinic, it was chosen as the Hotel was a rated premises and the room had a separate entrance from the main building. There were a few other places suggested but I cannot find any other information on whether it did actually get used.

The Feeding Centre.
On June 10th 1926 during the General Strike a room in the basement at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth was used as a Feeding Centre. The Relief Committee set up the centre to feed the single men of the district, those who were dis-entitled to relief from any other source. The centre was in use seven days a week issuing 1 meal per person per day. In the first two weeks of its set-up it was cooking 200 meals per day, in the third week the numbers were up to 270 per day being fed at a cost of 4 1/2d per meal. The Kitchen Staff were selected from old Army Cooks who cooked meals from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon and gave their services free. The funds were raised from the Colliery Safety Men and the public.

The Officers of the Feeding Committee were as follows – Alderman Mr M. Gorman J.P. (Chairman); Mr W. E. Burgess (Treasurer); Councillor G. Gibbs; Mr H. J. Stone (Joint Secretaries); Mr Percy Gwillam (Steward); Mr W. E. Harper and Mr Ivor Morgan:

In 1927 the takings at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth was on average £1,000 per week, that is the equivalent to £55,096,00 in today’s money.

In March 1927 the Landlord Mr G. H. Thomas attempted to transfer the licence of the Central Hotel to Mr William Edward Shelldrake though it was opposed by the Overseers of the Parish. Mr L. H. Hornby of Newport made the application for Messrs Webb’s of Aberbeeg and Mr John Moxon of Newport represented the Overseers. The transfer was opposed on the grounds that prior to 1921 Mr G. H. Thomas was taking on average £1,000 per week at the Hotel, after 1921 trade fell and the landlord fell into arrears with which the Overseers had given him time to pay in instalments, by transferring his licence he would no longer be able to pay them back and the Overseer wanted him to be in a financial position to do so, with that they opposed the transfer. That being said, in May 1927 the licence was eventually transferred to Mr William E. Shelldrake.

In November 1927 the Central Hotel featured in the Quoits League, I don’t know if they were in the league prior to this but this is the first score card I could find published in the newspaper. The Names of the team members were as follows – Mr A. Green; Mr J. Lewis; Mr E. Morgan; Mr C. Bevan; Mr G. Green; Mr G. Pitts; Mr T. Smith; Mr W. Pritchard; Mr E. Thomas; Mr R. Giles and Mr M. Lewis: In February 1928 the Central Hotel finished the season as winners of the Webb’s Challenge Cup and League Medals and went through the season without losing a single game.

The Athletic Club formation.
In June 1928 a meeting at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth was held with the intention of forming an Athletic Club with the headquarters being at the Central Hotel. The promoters were Mr Jimmy Price and Mr Dan Morgan both of Blaencuffin Road, Llanhilleth. Mr Price was one of the founders of the Llanhilleth R.F.C that had been formed in the early 1890s and Mr Morgan was an ex-Llanhilleth Rugby full-back better known as “Dan Trorchy”.

On Wednesday 13th June 1928 an Athletic Club was formed at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth. Mr Fred Berrow presided and it was stated that the club would consist of Rugby Football, Association Football, the Harriers and Boxing. The following gentlemen pledged their support for the club – Mr Dick Power (Heavyweight Champion of Wales); Mr Roy Martin; Mr Ivor Bolt; Mr W. Bowen; Mr W. Mathias; Mr Jim Price; Mr Dan Morgan; Mr Frank Jones and P.C. George Cripps: The question of a Cycle Team was raised and it was decided to ask the Parks Committee of the Abertillery District Council for a section of the recreation ground. At the close of the meeting Mr Tom Lewis was elected Chairman, Mr Dan Morgan Vice-Chairman and Mr Jack Evans was elected Assistant Secretary.

Signalmen’s Union.
In March 1929 a branch of the Signalman’s Union was set up at Llanhilleth and their headquarters were at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth. The following gentlemen were elected Officers – Mr C. Holloway (Chairman); Mr Robert Dearlove (Vice-Chairman); Mr W. Rimmell (Minute Secretary and Treasurer) and Mr Horace Cunningham (Secretary) the unit was confined to Railway Signalmen of the Western Valley’s.

The second Athletics Club formation.
In April 1933 an Athletic Club in connection with the Llanhilleth Blues Association Club was set up at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth. Mr H. Good presided at the meeting where the following gentlemen were elected as Officers – Mr H. Good (Chairman); Mr E. Salter (Treasurer); Mr Stanley Smith (Secretary): The Committee had the services of Mr William Salter, an ex Army Gymnast and instructor. Mr W. E. Shelldrake of the Central Hotel granted them the use of his Gymnasium Room.

The Skittles Teams.
On Saturday 10th June 1933 a meeting was held at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth to form a Skittles Team to compete in the Western Valley Skittles League. Mr Stan Beard presided and the following Officers were elected – Mr F. C. P. Pratt (President); Mr Gomer Evans (Vice-President); Mr Stan Beard (Chairman); Mr W. E. Shelldrake (Treasurer) and Mr Thomas Lewis (Secretary): A list of 30 players were submitted and a few of the team were as follows – Mr T. Lewis (Captain); Mr W. E. Shelldrake; Mr W. Andrews; Mr F. Jones; Mr F. Watts; Mr T. Davies; Mr W. Hill; Mr N. Davies; Mr H. Lane; Mr M. Davies; Mr Tom Thayer; Mr B. Sainsbury; Mr W. Hall; Mr H. Blanche; Mr D. Smith and Mr H. J. Jeffries:

In August 1933 the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth received a letter from Messrs Whitbread & Co with their intentions to provide a Challenge Cup for the individual Skittles competition among the “A” and “B” team club members. In September 1933 Messrs Whitbread & Co presented the Central Hotel with the Silver Cup, the trophy was received by Mr Tom Lewis Secretary of the Skittles Club.

In November 1933 at a meeting in the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth, the Skittles Committee decided to form a Wednesday Night League as well as the usual Saturday night league and in December 1936 the Committee ran a Friday night league. By the late 1930s there were at least three different Skittles nights in the Western Valley’s Skittles League.

In September 1934 at a meeting of the Crumlin and District Skittles League it was announced that the Central Hotel Llanhilleth and the Walpole Hotel would remain in the Marsden’s League at Abertillery.

The Rifle Club formation.
On Monday 25th November 1935 a meeting of local tradesmen and others was held at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth with the intention of forming a Miniature Rifle Club. The following gentlemen were elected Officers – Mr Kenneth Webb of Aberbeeg (President); Captains Jack Lewis and Mr J. G. Thomas (Vice-Presidents); Dr T. J. Frost; Dr R. W. Scanlon; Dr L. Stanfield Frost; Superintendent Roynon Baker; Mr W. Blackwood Jones; Mr Leslie Webb; Mr W. E. Burgess; Mr Jim Jones; Mr A. Sherman; Mr Harry Lewis; Mr W. E. Shelldrake; Mr L. Thomas (Chairman); Mr W. J. Herbert (Treasurer) and P.C. W. Etherington: Committee – Mr H. Traves; Mr C. G. Hopkins; Mr A. Thomas; Mr W. G. Thomas and Mr H. G. Jefferies: The club would be known as the Llanhilleth and District Miniature Rifle Club. The promoters of the club were Lieutenant F. J. Herbert and P.C. Etherington. Lieutenant Herbert was in a Shooting Team that toured Canada a few years previous and was a Bisley Shot. P.C. Etherington was a member of the Monmouthshire County Police rifle team who were the runners-up in the 1934 National Police Championship.

On Monday 2nd December 1935 a Rifle Range that had recently been constructed at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth for the Rifle Club, was officially opened. The range was 75′ feet long and was considered to have been the most up-to-date of its kind in the Western Valley’s. After a shoot-out the principal Marksmen were as follows – Lieut F. J. Herbert and Mr George Silverthorne with 96 points each; P.C. Etherington 94 points; Dr R. W. Scanlon 91 points; Mr Arthur Thomas 81 points; Mr Harold Traves 78 points; Mr Reg Butler 76 points; Mr G. H. Jefferies 62 points and Capt. J. G. Thomas with 60 points:

The Dart League formation.
On Wednesday 20th January 1937 Mr Edgar Richards presided over a general meeting which took place at the Six Bells Hotel to discuss the formation of a Dart League. It was said that the game was all the rage throughout the country and in places like Newport, Cardiff and Bargoed have their own leagues. Pubs had their players and teams but were desperate for some organised league. At this meeting the Abertillery and District Dart League was formed. Mr Edgar Richards was elected Chairman, Mr Tom Bayliss was elected Secretary. Members of the Committee were as follows – Mr Arthur Edwards of Crumlin; Mr W. Sailes of Abertillery; Mr A. Rudge of Llanhilleth; Mr W. Morgan of Abertillery; Mr V. Harris of Abertillery and Mr E. Richards of Six Bells: The Blaina representative was Mr Gerner of the National Darts Association and Mr P. Lewis Secretary of the Cardiff League. Meetings were to be held at the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth.

At the following meeting of the league there was a good attendance with delegates from Pontypool and Blaenavon, though these were advised to form their own Eastern Valley League and was givin advice on the formation by Mr Edgar Richards. At this meeting the Officers of the Abertillery and District Dart League were elected and were as follows – Mr Kenneth Webb (President); Mr Edgar Richards (Chairman); Mr W. Morgan (Vice-Chairman); Mr Ivor Pearce (Treasurer) and Mr Tom Bayliss of No41 Marlborough Road, Six Bells (Secretary). Mr Kenneth Webb put up for competition a Challenge Cup to be played for by the league clubs. The Executive Council of the League were as follows – Mr W. Sailes; Mr I. Pearce; Mr T. Bayliss; Mr W. Morgan all of Abertillery; Mr A. Rudge of Llanhilleth and Mr A. Edwards of Crumlin:

In January 1937 the first teams to feature in the Abertillery and District Dart League were as follows – Six Bells Hotel; Central Hotel Llanhilleth; Kings Head, Abertillery; The Drill Hall, Abertillery; The Mitre Inn, Abertillery and The Navigation, Crumlin:

In April 1938 the Abertillery and District Dart League had become very popular and many more teams applied to join the league as seen as follows – Southern Division, The Ivorites Inn; The Six Bells Hotel; The Bell Inn; The Central Hotel, Llanhilleth; The Coach & Horses; The Royal Oak; The Crown “A”; The British Legion; The High Street Social Club and Aberbeeg Social Club: Northern Division, The Kings Head; Cwmtillery S.S.C.; Cwmtillery Workmen’s Club; The Celtic Social Club; The Penybont Workmen’s Club; The Red Lion (Blaina); The Mount Pleasant; The South Wales Inn; The Royal Exchange; Blaentillery Workmen’s Club; The Crown “B” and the Six Bells Colts:

(More information to come)

Recently the Central Hotel closed, became derelict and the building was demolished to make way for an approach to the Railway Station which had reopened on the line from Ebbw Vale to Cardiff.

Points of interest – Mr William Edward Shelldrake, Landlord of the Central Hotel came from a military background. His father Mr Edward George Shelldrake a native of Sudbury, had served in old 24th Foot Regiment and fought in the Afghan War and at the close of that war was given the Freedom of Sudbury. Shortly afterwards his Grandmother was similarly honoured also his uncle Major Harry Shelldrake.

Mr William Edward Shelldrake, Landlord of the Central Hotel had for many years served in the Merchant Navy and upon the outbreak of the Great War became attached to the Royal Navy. Mr Shelldrake had an outstanding war record won in many parts of the world and retired with the rank of Petty Officer.

In September 1929 Master Willie Shelldrake aged 14 son of Mr & Mrs W. E. Shelldrake of the Central Hotel, Llanhilleth was selected by the Admiralty authorities for admission to the Royal Hospital School, Greenwich. He was to undergo training to enter the Royal Navy. The school was only for the sons of Naval Officers only.

In May 1930 Master Teddy Shelldrake youngest son of Mr and Mrs Shelldrake of the Central Hotel was successfully enrolled into the same Royal Hospital School, Greenwich as his elder brother Willie Shelldrake.

In July 1931 it was announced that Mr Willie Shelldrake had completed his 2 year naval course and was awaiting a permanent position on board a ship. During his training at Greenwich, Willie Shelldrake became a first rate juvenile Boxer and won many prizes.

In August 1932 it was reported that Mr Willie Shelldrake had been on the H.M.S.”St Vincent” and had now been transferred to the light cruiser H.M.S.”Caradoc” he would leave to various stations in China for a period of two and a half years. Whilst on board the “Caradoc” he had a fellow companion from Llanhilleth Mr Jack Webster son of Mr William Webster, of Hafodarthan Road who was trained at Gosport.

 

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