Rose Heyworth Housing Estate.
In the mid 1940’s the council were under pressure to provide housing in the district and plans were put forth with the approval of the Welsh Board of Health to build a housing estate on the eastern side of the valley (as seen in the main featured image above) north of Clyn Mawr and the cottages at Blaenau Gwent, it was mentioned that the site was earmarked for a school on 1.6 acres of the ground. Plans for a school were shelved and the housing project in connection with the building of at least 216 proposed houses went ahead.
The Preparation of the Housing Site.
On Saturday 6th July 1946 the Western Mail reported that the council were inviting tenders from contractors for the preparation of the housing site. They stated the layout of the site would require bulk excavation and filling of 32,302 yards cubed, the construction of over three-and-half miles of concrete kerb and four-and-half miles of drainage with a run of 15″ to 6″ inch pipes in culverts, sewers and drains. 29,400 yards of super-pitched and tarmac finished carriageway and footpaths. Over 3,150 yards cubed of rubble retaining walls and 144 numbered manholes. Tenders had to be submitted by 27th July 1946.
The Groundworkers and Development Team.
On Friday 6th September 1946 the council approved the tender of £57,329. 6s. 4d. from Messrs Kenyon and Phillips Limited of Isleworth, Middlesex for preparing the site.
The Start of the Construction of the Houses.
On Friday 8th October 1948 tenders were invited for fully qualified contractors to build 86 permanent houses of the dining/kitchen style. This was to be the first part of a complete scheme for the erection of 219 houses upon the site. Tenders had to be sent to Mr A. Gordon Jones (Engineer and Surveyor) for the Abertillery Council.
The Contractor and Architect.
The contractors were Messrs T. F. Howell Limited of Caerphilly and the architect was Mr G. Davies. Mr C. P. Howell was managing director of the company, they were general builders and amongst other projects they were responsible for building pithead baths during the 1940’s and 50’s.
The building of the first section of brick houses began, the cost of the contract was £120,391. Even though the company of T. F. Howell were the main contractors at Rose Heyworth they also sub-contracted work to other builders, in this case many were un-named.
The Brick Houses Construction Problems.
The building of the first batch of permanent brick houses didn’t go as planned, there had been problems with their construction and it was reported that the Rose Heyworth site had been the most difficult in the country, it was said that the lay of the land, drainage and terrain made the construction most difficult and all foundations had to be dug as deep as six-feet in depth. Men were said to have walked off the site complaining of bad working conditions after working in trenches full of water.
Pre-Cast Concrete Houses to Help the Housing Problems.
On Friday 17th June 1949 it was reported that the Welsh Board of Health suggested the construction of pre-cast concrete houses on the Rose Heyworth Site to aid with the problems encountered by building the permanent brick houses. It was said that the Cornish houses made of pre-cast concrete could be constructed at a rate of one every two days. These houses would be built on the site although the construction of the 86 permanent brick houses would still go ahead.
The Cornish Houses.
On Friday 16th December 1949 it was reported that the Welsh Board of Health had approved the construction of 146 Cornish type houses including 60 flats on the Rose Heyworth Estate. The cost of building the houses was stated as being £199,381. The clerk of the council Mr H. J. Williams said that it was possible the houses could be ready by the following summer.
On Friday 16th December 1949 progress on the brick houses that were under construction on the Rose Heyworth site at this time were as follows – 18 houses were roofed, 28 completed to the eaves, 44 to the first floor and 44 up to the damp-proof course. None had been completed inside.
The Rents Discussion.
In March 1950 the South Wales Gazette reported on the new houses at Rose Heyworth and that it had been the most difficult site in Wales from a house building view. This reflected in the fact that the cost of preparing the site for the 86 brick houses was nearly £30,000 and the estimated cost of every completed house was £1,863. The council said for that reason the rents (including rates) could not be less than £1. 6s. 6d. Councillors protested and wanted to approach the Welsh Board of Health for a grant to be able to reduce the rents at Rose Heyworth.
Comparative rents of other council houses in the district at this time were as follows – Keir Hardie Terrace, Sofrydd 19/- shillings. Brynawelon Terrace, Sofrydd 18/11. Mount Pleasant Bungalows and Penrhiw Bungalows 13/4. It was reported that the average wage at this time was £4. 11s. 0d.
List of the First Tenants Chosen to be Tenants at the New Estate.
On Friday 5th May 1950 the South Wales Gazette printed a list of the first 100 applicants chosen by the council to be the first batch of tenants at the newly built Rose Heyworth Housing Estate. Their names and addresses are listed below.
The Application for Loans.
On Friday 26th May 1950 at a monthly meeting the Abertillery Council decided to apply for loans totalling £62,750. It was stated that the Rose Heyworth site where two housing schemes are being carried out will cost £320,000, the council having already spent £19,517 and it is anticipated that a further £30,000 will be spent over the next two months. The loans were from the Public Works Loan Commissioners.
The Cement Shortage.
On Friday 21st July 1950 the South Wales Gazette reported on the ongoing problems and delays in connection with the construction of the houses at Rose Heyworth. It was stated that there was a cement shortage. Mr R. Eke (Deputy Surveyor) the shortage of supplies had an adverse effect upon the employment of workers at the site. Mr Eke told the Abertillery Council’s Housing Committee that over an eleven-week period cement ordered for the Cornish houses had been 264 tons although only 49 tons had been received. In consequence 18 men had been laid off, 24 men were still on site. The position on the brick houses for the same period was of the 220 tons of cement ordered only 168 tons had been received. Ten men had been laid off because of the lack of cement and 52 men were still on site.
Mr Eke reported the progress as – The brick houses, sixteen brick houses had been completed internally, 42 roofed, 50 houses built to the eaves, 64 to the first floor level and 86 with foundations and 86 to the damp-course level. The Cornish houses – 2 were roofed, 2 to the eaves, 16 to the first floor level, 23 to the damp-course level and 24 with foundations laid.
On Friday 18th August 1950 the council invited tenders for the supply and delivery of 232 gas boilers. These gas boiler were to be supplied in such quantities as may be required from time to time until the completion of the housing scheme.
Bus Service for the Rose Heyworth Tenants.
On Friday 25th August 1950 the South Wales Gazette reported that Mr Arthur Henley of Tillery Road, Abertillery made an application to provide the tenants of Rose Heyworth with a bus service. The initial route stages and fares were as follows – 1/ The northern end of Attlee Avenue. 2/ The southern end of Attlee Avenue. 3/ The triangle at Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent. 4/ The Royal Exchange. 5/ The Labour Exchange. 6/Abertillery Church. 7/ The Station Hotel. The proposed fares were – 2d for stages 1 or 2 and 3d for 3 or mare stages. The council was not impressed with the fares and the application was sanctioned subject to a revised fare table.
The Start of the Bus Service.
On Monday 2nd October 1950 Henley’s bus service began. The bus operated between Abertillery Town and the Rose Heyworth Housing Estate via Brynteg and Blaenau Gwent.
On Friday 10th November 1950 progress on the brick houses that were under construction on the Rose Heyworth site at this time were as follows – The foundations of all 86 brick houses had been laid, 28 had been completed. The Cornish Houses were as follows – The foundations of 82 Cornish houses had been laid, none of the Cornish houses had been completed.
Sound Proofing of the Cornish Houses.
In December 1950 work was held up on the Cornish houses as the council tried to obtain the best quality concrete sound proof flooring for the flats in the houses. In April 1952 the council were asked if they would allow a deputation from a Bristol Corporation to inspect and test the new sound-resisting concrete flooring. The Bristol Corporation were faced with re-housing 2,000 people from their inadequately sound proofed flats.
Costs of Each House.
On Friday 16th February 1951 the Housing Committee released the figures for the cost of building each house on the Rose Heyworth Estate. Costs were as follows – Brick house cost £1,800 each. The Cornish 4 bedroom unit £2,205 each. Cornish 3 bedroom unit £1,300 each and the Cornish flats £1,371 each.
Names for the Various Avenues.
Of the final names chosen for the avenues, Attlee Avenue being the first, Brace Avenue the fourth, George Barker Avenue the fifth and Lawrence Avenue the third, the council wanted the second avenue to be named.
On Friday 15th June 1951 the South Wales Gazette reported that the council were looking for ideas as to what to name the second avenue. Suggestions were as follows – Browns Avenue after Mrs Florence Brown the first lady chairman of the Abertillery Council, Festival Avenue as it coincided with the present Festival of Britain, Progress Road and Grove Road was also suggested. It was later decided to name it in honour of Mr George Daggar, Member of Parliament for Abertillery.
The Festival of Britain Party.
On Saturday 14th July 1951 the tenants held a street party on Attlee Avenue for the 130 children on the new housing site. They were treated to ice-cream, lemonade, music and dancing. Rev Ivor Evans O.B.E., the pastor of Blaenau Gwent Baptist Chapel extended a warm welcome to the guest of honour Mrs Florence Brown J.P., Chairman of the Abertillery Council. Other guests included – Mr Hector Williams (Clerk) and his wife Mrs Williams; Mr Ray England (Treasurer); Mr Lloyd Robbins (Deputy Clerk); Mr D. J. Morgan M.M.; Mr George Shingler and Mr Ron Baker (Councillors): The organisers were Mrs W. Blacker, Mrs T. Dean and Mrs L. Clark. They three ladies collected money, crockery and food for the party. The Blaenau Gwent Baptist Chapel lent the tables for the occasion, Mr H. Silverthorne of the Radio Shop provided the music and Messrs L. Clark and H. Havard were Mc’s. It was stated that Mrs Blacker was one of the first six families to move into the new housing estate.
On Friday 2nd November 1951 the Abertillery Council’s Ways and Means Committee received a letter from the treasurer in which it was stated that it was necessary to borrow a further sum of £150,000 in respect of the construction of the houses at Rose Heyworth.
The Smith Road Telephone Kiosk.
On Monday 28th January 1952 the Abertillery Council announced that the G.P.O. were to install a telephone kiosk on the junction of Smith Road. It was to serve the new housing site.
The Community Centre.
In May 1952 the council hinted that there may be plans put forth for more housing on the Rose Heyworth site and also a community centre will be constructed.
The Proposed Fire and Ambulance Station.
On Friday 27th June 1952 the South Wales Gazette reported on the proposed construction of a fire and ambulance station on Rose Heyworth Road. The council had plans to build along both sides of the main road and were asked by the authorities to provide land for the construction of both service stations. It was mentioned the land in question was north of Rose Heyworth Colliery on the eastern side of the main road, between the colliery and Bournville. Messrs Warwill’s Ltd also applied to build a new factory on the Rose Heyworth Road although the matter was referred.
The Proposed Construction of a Fire Station at Rose Heyworth.
In October 1952 the Monmouthshire County Council proposed to build a three-bay fire station on the Rose Heyworth Housing Site. The Abertillery Council had plans to extend the site and build more houses, the site of one and three-quarter acres for the fire station would take up a great deal of building land. The council opposed the proposal saying even though a fire station was a necessary service for the area it would prevent 18 houses being constructed, they asked the Monmouthshire County Council to look for an alternative site and suggested land further north, Blaina side of the colliery.
The Road Building Scheme.
In November 1952 the council agreed a tender in the sum of £1,663 for the making up of the roads at the Rose Heyworth site, the matter had to be sent to the Welsh Board of Health for their final approval of the expenditure. In the same month the council approved the tender of £40. 5s. 4d., for 13 avenue name plates.
The Cornish House Washing Lines and Poles.
In December 1952 the council deliberated on supplying concrete poles for the Cornish houses residents for clothes drying. The council were told that it would cost £4. 13s. 6d. each house. This price was deemed unreasonable and it was suggested to supply one pole and to attach the line to the wall of the house, this would only cost the council £3 per house. The matter was referred back to the council for time to look for a cheaper option.
Council House Waiting List.
In March 1953 Mr C. E. Coles the Abertillery Housing Manager announced that there were 964 applicants on the council house waiting list. Although it was stated that figures may have been wrong as the list hadn’t been reviewed or updated since 1936.
The Proposed School at Rose Heyworth.
It had long been suggested by past council planners to build a school somewhere along Rose Heyworth Road. It had been brought to the council’s attention as the new houses were being constructed and the idea of a school was once again on the agenda.
In June 1953 the mineral valuer reported to the council that a water supply pipe running between the No.2 Rose Heyworth site and the colliery was causing some anxiety. It was therefore necessary to change the site of the proposed new school.
Shops on the Rose Heyworth Site.
On Friday 18th September 1953 the South Wales Gazette reported on the proposed building of three shops, two with flats, at a cost of £9,595. The Abertillery Council Housing Committee said that conditions encountered while building the houses had pushed up the price on the construction of the shops. Plans were to be sent to the Ministry for approval.
In the mid 1950’s a shop was constructed on the hill opposite the junction of George Daggar Avenue. Arthur and Doris Newman were the proprietors.
The Lock-Up Garages at the Rose Heyworth Site.
In November 1953 a block of 12 lock-up garages were to be built by the council at a cost of £3,096, on average £250 each. An approach road and retaining walls would have to be built though thought desirable on a new housing estate such as Rose Heyworth.
Final Costing for the Houses.
On Friday 22nd January 1954 the Abertillery Council issued a final cost of the housing project at Rose Heyworth, they stated the following – The contract price for 146 Cornish houses at Rose Heyworth was £199,381, the estimated final cost is £222,500. The contract for the 86 brick houses at Rose Heyworth was £120,391, the estimated final cost is £124,470. There was also an extra cost for the initial preparation of both sites, this was reported as being £6,107.
The Old Age Pensioners Houses.
In March 1954 it was proposed to build nine old age pensioners houses on the Rose Heyworth housing site. In May of the same year work on them began, the buildings were completed in October 1955. The council later reported that they went over schedule and the same problems in their construction was raised, lack of supplies, workforce and bad weather being at the forefront of the problems.
Applications for the Tenancies of the Old Age Pensioners Bungalows.
In September 1955 Mr H. J. Williams (Clerk) stated that fifty applications had been received for the nine old-age pensioners houses on the site. Mr Williams said that he would allocate them as follows – Cwmtillery would have three houses, Abertillery two, Six Bells two and Aberbeeg and Llanhilleth would have one each. These houses were later named Lansbury Bungalows.
Garage and Filling Station on the Rose Heyworth Housing Site.
In October 1957 it was suggested to construct a garage and filling station on the housing site, the idea was later rejected.
The Rose Heyworth Tenants Association and Community Centre.
On Saturday 15th April 1961 the tenants at Rose Heyworth Housing Estate organised themselves into an association called the Rose Heyworth Tenants Association. Mr Clarence Lloyd was their first chairman. The residents wanted a community centre come welfare hall built at the estate and through door-to-door collections and fund raising activities they raised enough money to have a hall constructed. Originally intended for children of all ages and their parents and families to gather for entertainment, though it was later suggested by the association to have a bar to sell alcohol.
The Teenagers Committee.
In March 1962 the members of the Rose Heyworth Tenants Association decided to hand over the organisation of the children’s and teenagers future activities at the welfare hall to a committee of fifteen-year-olds. There had been a meeting of the association at which the young people were asked to express their views on local amenities for the youth. In order to allow the children to have a greater say and to show what they could achieve it was agreed to make them responsible for games, dances and other activities to be held at the centre.
Elected to lead the committee was fifteen-year-old Christopher Cole, Miss Pamela Meredith was vice-chairman, Miss Gwyneth Jones was secretary with Miss Sandra Horswill as minutes secretary.
Steward and Stewardess.
In May 1962 advertisements were placed in the paper for a steward and stewardess at the Rose Heyworth Club when it was completed in June 1962, all applications had to be sent into the secretary – Mr Sid Griffiths, 14 Lawrence Avenue, Rose Heyworth, Abertillery.
The Community Hall Building.
Sometime in June 1962 the Rose Heyworth Community Centre had been built and completed.
The Un-Official Opening.
On Saturday 22nd September 1962 the Rose Heyworth Tenants Association Club bar was un-officially opened and selling alcohol as seen on the bar takings ledger. The opening night’s bar takings was £163. 10s. 2d. equivalent to £3,582,89p in today’s money. The first full week’s bar takings commencing Monday 24th September through to the following Sunday 30th of September was £416. 15s. 6d. equivalent to £9,132,63p in today’s money.
The Official Opening.
On Saturday 27th October 1962 the Rose Heyworth Tenants Community Hall, Rose Heyworth Tenants Association Club was officially opened. Even though the community centre and bar had been operational since the previous September it was reported as being officially opened five-weeks later. The original building was approximately 60′ feet by 40′ feet, the function room being only about 40′ foot square with the lounge being about 20′ feet wide.
Mr Wyndham Meredith.
The first club steward was Mr Wyndham Meredith with the first secretary being Mr Cyril Hayes.
Lorraine’s Hairdressing Salon.
In the mid 1960’s a Lorraine’s Hairdressing Salon opened on the site, the salon was adjoining Lorraine’s Stores on the hill opposite George Daggar Avenue.
Lorraine’s Coffee Bar.
Sometime in the late 1960’s a coffee bar was opened on the hill just below Lorraine’s Stores and Hairdressers. The proprietors of the coffee bar were Enoch and Rita Williams.
The Bungalows and Maisonettes.
In the late 1960’s early 1970’s the council added more housing to the Rose Heyworth site when they built maisonettes and more bungalows for the old age pensioners and the disabled on land at George Barker Avenue.
Notes of Interest –
Names and Addresses of the First 100 Successful Applicants.
On Friday 5th May 1950 the South Wales Gazette printed a list of the first 100 applicants chosen by the council to be the first batch of tenants at the newly built Rose Heyworth Housing Estate. Their names and addresses were as follows –
W. J. Burnett, 19 Lower Viaduct Terrace, Crumlin.
E. L. Lewis, 136 Lewis Street, Crumlin.
W. J. Connett, 113 Lewis Street, Crumlin.
A. J. Wilkes, 2 Woodleigh Cottages, Viaduct Terrace, Crumlin.
M. R. Watkins, 147 Lewis Street, Crumlin.
C. C. Williams, 10 Hillside Terrace, Crumlin.
C. Newman, 18 Hyde Place, Llanhilleth.
H. M. Parry, 33 High Street, Llanhilleth.
W. J. Thomas, 57 Blaencuffin Road, Llanhilleth.
F. Cooper, 46 Hafodycoed, Llanhilleth.
L. J. Thomas, 52 Hafodycoed, Llanhilleth.
J. H. Wilkinson, 28 Hafodycoed, Llanhilleth.
J. Carter, 71 Blaencuffin Road, Llanhilleth.
A. Price, Rhos Villa, Hafodyrynys.
S. R. Williams, 48 Belmont Terrace, Llanhilleth.
W. E. Davies, 17 Hafodarthan Road, Llanhilleth.
A. Hockey, 23 Meadow Street, Llanhilleth.
D. J. Chivers, Brondeg Bungalows, Aberbeeg.
T. J. Parfitt, 18 Brynheulog, Terrace Llanhilleth.
B. C. G. Evans, 29 Brynhithel Terrace, Llanhilleth.
Jayne, Castle Cottage, Old Church, Brynithel.
J. Howells, 9 Caefelin Street, Llanhilleth.
L. Williams, 33 Caefelin Street, Llanhilleth.
R. Fildes, 47 Commercial Road, Llanhilleth.
R. A. Paget, 46 Penrhiw Bungalows, Llanhilleth.
J. Barnes, 8 Railway Street, Llanhilleth.
E. E. Blackford, 22 Railway Street, Llanhilleth.
A. E. Withers, 15 Railway Street, Llanhilleth.
B. Davies, 26 Railway Street, Llanhilleth.
I. Davies, 2 Victoria Terrace, Llanhilleth.
B. J. Ashley, 11 Alexandra Road, Six Bells.
A. White, 144 Richmond Road, Six Bells.
W. G. Lewis, 11 Aberbeeg Road, Aberbeeg.
J. Hillman, 26 Alexandra Road, Six Bells.
A. Waters, 89 Under Alexandra Road, Six Bells.
C. E. Seabrook, 27 Alexandra Road, Six Bells.
J. Small, 97 Under Alexandra Road, Six Bells.
T. E. Tune, 63 Arrail Street, Six Bells.
E. Richards, 97 Arrail Street, Six Bells.
S. J. F. Blake, 98 Arrail Street, Six Bells.
T. A. Coles, 28 Under Bridge Street, Six Bells.
T. Whittington, 17 Bryngwyn Road, Abertillery.
H. E. Wilcox, 8 Eastville Road, Six Bells.
A. Smith, 3 Gilfach Cottages, Six Bells.
G. Cole, 1 Lancaster Street, Six Bells.
G. Litten, 11 Lancaster Street, Six Bells.
J. Lane, 61 Lancaster Street, Six Bells.
A. G. Hemms, 1 Lower Lancaster Street, Six Bells.
J. Gwillym, 3 Lower Lancaster Street, Six Bells.
J. H. Smith, 49 Richmond Road, Six Bells.
T. H. Davies, 25 Victoria Road, Six Bells.
W. J. Jones, 33 Queen Street, Abertillery.
T. J. Dean, 23 Under Somerset Street, Abertillery.
W. Hughes, 50 Carlyle Street, Abertillery.
A. E. Wall, 75 Carlyle Street, Abertillery.
W. J. Hodges, 80 Carlyle Street, Abertillery.
D. Rees, 9 Castle Street, Abertillery.
G. F. Clarke 21 Castle Street, Abertillery.
T. W. Stroud, 41 Castle Street, Abertillery.
W. J. Davies, 65 Lower Castle Street, Abertillery.
M. Meredith, 15 Under Bishop Street, Abertillery.
E. W. Sterry, 26 Bisop Street, Abertillery.
R. Eyers, 34 Evelyn Street, Abertillery.
W. E. Francis, 4 Under Gray Street, Abertillery.
A. Price, 36 Under Gray Street, Abertillery.
S. Penny, 19 Gray Street, Abertillery.
M. Hayes, 3 High Street, Abertillery.
W. Simmonds, 2 Newall Street, Abertillery.
E. Phillips, 18a Park Place, Abertillery.
S. C. Warrender, 38 Under Queen Street, Abertillery.
D. E. Holland, 4 Upper Levels, Cwmtillery.
L. Nash, 4a Vivian Street, Abertillery.
H. Morris, 35 Vivian Street, Abertillery.
J. M. Woodward, 31 Clynmawr Street, Abertillery.
R. Jenkins, 12 Kings Head Cottages, Abertillery.
C. M. Silcox, 22 Oxford Street, Abertillery.
A. James, 96 Under Alma Street, Abertillery.
A. J. Kinnersley, 4 Blaenau Gwent Rows, Abertillery.
E. Preston, 38 Blaenau Gwent Rows, Abertillery.
T. J. Vince, 28 Bournville Road, Blaina.
T. Williams, 111 Bournville Road, Blaina.
H. Roberts, 5 Club Row, Cwmtillery.
C. B. York, 13 Gaen Street, Abertillery.
A. J. Greaves, 31 Gaen Street, Abertillery.
I. Beech, 2 Grosvenor Road, Abertillery.
C. J. Williams, 33 Grosvenor Road, Abertillery.
F. Greener, 32 Gwastod Terrace, Cwmtillery.
V. E. Hillier, (Newspaper error)
J. R. Rice, 2 Under Rices Houses, Cwmtillery.
J. A. Sweet, 1 Stores Houses, Cwmtillery.
H. Haines, 82 Tillery Road, Cwmtillery.
V. Hanney, 27 Ty Bryn Road, Abertillery.
W. Williams, 36 Montague Street, Blaenau Gwent.
I. Coombstock, 1a Nantygraig Cottages, Cwmtillery.
T. Morris, 26 Oxford Street, Abertillery.
W. Hulme, 60 Penybont Road, Cwmtillery.
G. Haycock, 11a Portland Street, Abertillery.
A. C. Boot, 54 Victoria Street, Blaenau Gwent.
A. V. Price, 16 West Bank, Cwmtillery.