The Commercial Hotel – Abertillery.
The Commercial Hotel was originally an Inn and was known as the Commercial Inn in all early reports. The Commercial Inn, Abertillery was first mentioned in a report in the Monmouthshire Merlin on the 18th February 1865 when Mrs Emma Jarrett was charged with being drunk and riotous at the Commercial Inn, Abertillery and was fined 5s. or 21 days hard labour by default. Sadly no landlords name was printed though more than probably the licensee was Mr James Hoskins as below.
Mr James Hoskins.
In 1868 was named landlord. (More information to come).
The Abertillery Police Station at Market Street, Abertillery.
In the 1860’s the Abertillery Police Station was at Market Street, the police officer in charge was constable Patrick Flemming, he had been in Abertillery since 1869 and was resident at the station with his wife Mrs Mary Ann Flemming. The police station was listed as being adjacent to the Commercial Hotel and close to the Top Bell Inn, so it seems to have been situated where the Market Hall was later built, next door to the Commercial Inn.
Mr Edwin Hoskins.
In 1871 Mr Edwin Dando Hoskins was named landlord at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery. Mr Edwin D. Hoskins was married to Mrs Ann Hoskins nee Williams of Tredegar in 1869. Mr Hoskins had previously been living with his uncle at the Greyhound Inn, Nantyglo before coming to Abertillery.
The Perseverance Lodge of Abertillery.
In July 1873 the Perseverance Lodge of Abertillery moved their headquarters from the Commercial Inn to the Somerset Inn, Somerset Street, Abertillery.
Mr Joseph Balmond.
On 15th November 1873 Mr Joseph Balmond was the landlord at the Commercial Inn, Abertillery. In the report Mr Balmond was charged with allowing gambling on his premises. The game in question was skittles and the players used brass checks in lieu of cash. It was acknowledged that by using checks it was a way of getting around the gambling rules and regulations and it was not seen as gambling with money. These checks were then exchanged for cash over the bar. At this time the police started to clamp down on this practise and kept a look out at all licensed premises.
Brass Pub Checks.
Most public houses had these brass checks made for the purpose of gambling without using money, the name of the inn and its licensee was embossed on one side and a skittle player embossed on the other (as seen in the image left). The check featured is from the Rising Sun public house, Cwmtillery and is dated to about the 1860’s -1870’s while Mr Charles Reynolds was landlord there.
Mr Samuel Thorne.
In 1876 Mr Samuel Thorne was the landlord at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery.
In November 1881 a meeting of workmen from the Jaynes Tillery Colliery was held at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery in connection with the rules and regulations of blasting in coalmines. A new rule had been passed which prohibited blasting by explosives, though after a long discussion a resolution was passed that it was the unanimous opinion that it was unnecessary to discontinue blasting in mines, it would be an inconvenience and would not add to the safety of the collieries. The meeting hoped other districts would vote the same and asked the Home Secretary to reconsider.
Mr and Mrs James and Elizabeth Hanney.
During the 1880’s and early 1890’s Mr James Hanney and his wife Mrs Elizabeth Hanney was landlord and landlady at the Commercial Inn, Abertillery. Lodging with Mr and Mrs Hanney at the Commercial Hotel was Mr John Johnston Briggs, a pit-sinker from Durham working on sinking the Gray and Vivian Collieries.
The master sinker was Mr Joseph Briggs also from Durham and living at 58 Castle Street, Abertillery, they may have been related but it cannot be confirmed at this time. Both men, Joseph and John, Johnston Briggs were mentioned in reports of May 16th 1891 when the Vivian and Gray sinkers held a testimonial in the Railway Inn for Mr John Burgess the organiser for the fund for the widows and children of the sinkers who had lost their lives in the tragedy of December 1890 during the sinking of the Vivian Pit. By the mid 1890’s Mr Joseph Briggs, the master sinker had returned to Durham and was sinking Easington Colliery, County Durham, later censuses states that his daughters Misses Lavinia and Phyllis Briggs had been born in Abertillery.
All the sinkers that came to Abertillery when the collieries were opening out were fearless and highly specialised in their field, they were often referred to as a different breed. They lived in lodgings in and around the town and were a very close knit bunch of workmen. In July 1892 the Chief Constable of Monmouthshire voiced his fears over the concern of an increasing population. The Llanhilleth area like most towns in the district had seen a huge growth in population owing to the new collieries being sunk. He said “A large percentage of the men who had arrived were pit sinkers and these were the wildest in society”. He asked for more policemen to augment the local force.
Miss Cadina Thomas.
In 1891 a Miss Cadina Thomas had tried to get the license transferred to herself and her husband, the Licensing Sessions objected to the request on the grounds that Miss Thomas and her husband had previously been in court with other licensing issues.
Mrs H. M. Edwards.
In the mid 1890’s Mr Hannah Maria Edwards was landlady at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery. In 1894 the Globe Hotel which Mrs Edwards owned was being rebuilt, the licence was transferred to Mr John Charles Edwards while Mrs Hannah Maria Edwards went to run the Commercial Hotel as licensee. Mrs Edwards was licensee until 1898.
The Oddfellows Society.
In 1894 the Oddfellows Society were using the Commercial Inn has their temporary headquarters until their new Hall was built.
Mr Thomas and Sarah Harris.
In September 1898 Mrs Hannah Maria Edwards transferred the licence of the Commercial Hotel over to Mr and Mrs Thomas and Sarah Harris of Brynmawr. Mr Thomas Harris was born in 1845 at Rudry, Glamorganshire and Mrs Sarah Harris was born in 1848 at Machen, Monmouthshire.
The Death of Mr Thomas Harris.
On 15th May 1909 Mr Thomas Harris fell from a bedroom window at the Commercial Hotel onto the street below, he sadly died from his severe injuries. Soon after Mrs Sarah Harris moved from the Commercial Hotel.
Mr and Mrs James and Maud Doolan.
In 1909 the Abertillery ex-policeman Mr James Doolan was landlord at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery. Mr Doolan was born in 1881 in Ireland and had recently retired form the constabulary and became a licensee. In 1909 Mr Doolan married Miss Maud Penry of Crickhowell. While at the Commercial Hotel Mr and Mrs Doolan had working for them Mr Ben D. Luther and Miss Annie Knight as servants.
The Billiard Room.
In October 1910, under the tenure of Mr James Doolan a billiard room (as seen right) was opened at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery.
The Death of Mr James Doolan.
In October 1917 Mr James Doolan sadly passed away. A short while later Mrs Doolan moved from the Commercial Hotel.
Mrs Elizabeth Snell.
In 1919 Mrs Elizabeth Snell was landlady at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery.
Mr and Mrs Alfred and Florence Williams.
In 1920 Mr and Mrs Alfred and Florence Williams were landlord and landlady at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery. Mr Williams was connected with the Aberbeeg Cricket Club.
The 1922-1923 Rates.
In 1923 the rates payable at the Commercial Hotel were £178. 12s. 9d. per annum, equivalent to £9,979.04 in today’s money.
The Death of Mrs Hanney.
In February 1924 Mrs Hanney the one time landlady at the Commercial Inn sadly passed away at her residence Warm Turn, Aberbeeg.
In 1924 Messrs Webb’s Brewers, Aberbeeg had the Commercial Hotel “To Let”. The company placed adverts in the local papers until Mr and Mrs Berrows became licensee’s in 1930. Messrs Williams and Jenkins must have been temporary tenants.
The Pride of Gwent Lodge R.O.A.B.
In November 1926 The Pride of Gwent Lodge in connection with the Royal Order of the Ancient Buffaloes moved from their old headquarters at the Lamb Inn to the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery.
Mr D. J. Jenkins.
In 1927 Mr D. J. Jenkins was landlord at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery.
Table Quoits League.
In December 1927 the members of the Commercial Hotel table quoits team who played in the league were as follows – Mr T. Williams; Mr E. Jones; Mr G. Fisher; Mr W. Beecham; Mr J. Woods; Mr C. Walker; Mr J. Bladway?; Mr H. Tovey; Mr H. Jones; Mr P. Woods; Mr D. Sheehan; Mr J. Bladwright?; Mr C. James and W. King:
The Abertillery Wednesday A.F.C.
In 1930 the Abertillery Wednesday A.F.C. used the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery as their headquarters.
Mr and Mrs Frederick and Lilian Berrows.
In 1930 Mr Frederick John Henry Berrows and his wife Mrs Rose Lilian Berrows were landlord and landlady at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery. The couple had also been steward and stewardess of the Constitutional Club at Aberbeeg.
The Skittles League.
In 1931 the members of the Commercial Hotel skittles team who played in the league were as follows – Mr Fred Whittington (Captain); Mr Frederick Berrows; Mr Arthur White; Mr Charles Coleman; Mr Gus Shepherd; Mr J. Gallier; Mr F. Watkins; Mr W. Price; Mr H. Williams; Mr T. Hitchings; Mr B. Wallace; Mr Lance Winmill; Mr Charles Coleman (2nd) and Mr B. King:
The Skittles League.
In 1932 the members of the Commercial Hotel skittles team who played in the league were as follows – Mr F. Berrows; Mr F. Watkins; Mr F. Whittington; Mr F. Waters; Mr A. Ford; Mr C. Burrows; Mr T. Hitchings; Mr T. Williams; Mr A. Rogers; Mr A. White and Mr W. Price:
The Depature of Mr and Mrs Berrows.
In 1932 Mr and Mrs Berrows left Abertillery to become steward and stewardess at the Swansea Workingmen’s Club, Alexandra Road, Swansea.
Mr C. J. Pope.
Upon the departure of Mr and Mrs Berrows Mr Cyril J. Pope became landlord at the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery.
On Friday 30th April 1934 the Commercial Hotel, Abertillery was used as a sports venue for a boxing tryout. The South Wales Gazette reported that Mr Bert Plummer was making a strenuous effort to reintroduce boxing in Abertillery. The boxers who appeared were – Johnny McCoy of Argoed (who had been recently defeated by Herbie Hall for the fly-weight championship of Wales); Kid McCoy and Vic McCoy both of Argoed; Les Morgan of Bargoed; Harry Prosser of Cwm; Johnny Gilbert of Abertillery; George Francombe of Abertillery and Ken Wilcox of Abertillery: Many more featured on the night but were not named in the report. Mr Bert Plummer was M.C. with Mr E. Heapy as timekeeper. The assistants were – Messrs Oliver Bevan; E. Williams and Matt Watkins:
The Death of Mrs Rose Lilian Berrows.
In May 1935 Mrs Rose Lilian Berrows the one time landlady at the Commercial Hotel sadly passed away at her residence in Swansea.
A List of Landlords and Landladies.
A complete list of landlords and landladies (1868 – Present)
Mr James Hoskins (1868)
Mr Edwin Dando Hoskins (1871 – 1872)
Mr Joseph Balmond (1872 – 1876)
Mr Samuel Thorne (1876 – 1884)
Mr and Mrs James and Elizabeth Hanney (1889 – 1891)
Mrs Hannah Maria Edwards (1895 – 1898)
Mr Thomas Harris (1898 – 1909)
Mrs Jane Harris (1909)
Mr James Doolan (1909 – 1917)
Mrs Elizabeth Snell (1919)
Mr Alfred Williams (1922 – 1924)
Mr Thomas Stewart (1925)
Mr John David Jenkins (1926 – 1929)
Mr Frederick John Henry Berrow (1930 – 1932)
Mr Cyril James Pope (1933 – 1951)
Mr William Owen (1952 – 1955)
Mr Herbert A Matthews (1956 – 1960)
Mr Herbert A. Matthews (1959 – 1960)
Mr George Wynn (1961 – 1962)
Mr Benjamin A. Merrington (1963 – 1966)
Mr Desmond Jones (1967 – 1968)
Mr Haydn John (1969 – 1977)
Mr John Ellis (1978 – 1983)
Mr William Charles Gough (1983 – 1994)
Mr Garvin Gough (1995 – Present).
The complete list of the landlords and landladies was kindly supplied courtesy of Mr Bryan Boots.
The Later Years.
The Commercial Hotel, Abertillery is to this day still open and trading.