The Gaen Brothers, Building Contractors.
The Gaen Brothers comprised Messrs Thomas Gaen born 1862; Charles Gaen born 1864 and Frederick Gaen born 1869. The family were from Langton Matravers, Dorset, the sons of Mr John Thomas Gaen and Ellen Gaen. Their father was a Stone Mason and all three sons entered the trade at an early age as Builders, Masons and Contractors.
Thomas and Charles Gaen both left Langton Maltravers in the late 1880s and headed for South Wales. In 1886 Mr Thomas Gaen married Miss Catherine George and I believe they both lived in Cadoxton, Cardiff. Mr Charles Gaen married Elizabeth Bower and also lived in Cadoxton Cardiff.
The two brothers set themselves up in the building trade though I don’t think Frederick Gaen their younger brother came with them at this time or was in a business with his elder brothers but in later censuses he was residing in South Wales and was in the building trade.
In the early reports Mr Charles Gaen was in the building and investment trade just a short time before Thomas entered into it and was originally living in Treharne Road, Cadoxton, Cardiff.
In October 1890 the Park Castle Land Company Limited was set up. The company was a group of business men with the intention of purchasing land at Barry, Glamorgan for building purposes. The gentlemen were as follows – Mr L. W. Jones (Bank Manager) of Cadoxton; Mr J. Roberts (Builders Merchant) of Barry Dock; Mr G. Neale (Physician) of Cardiff; Mr C. Gaen (Builder) of Cadoxton; Mr J. Lewis (Builder) of Barry Dock and Mr J. Walters (Merchant) of Treherbert: Offices were at Vere Street, Cadoxton, Cardiff.
In December 1890 the Park (Barry Dock) Building Company Limited was set up. The company was a group of business men with the intention of purchasing land at Barry, Glamorgan for building purposes. The gentlemen were as follows – Mr J. Lewis (Builders Merchant); Rev J. W. Matthews of Cadoxton; Mr Charles Gaen (Builder) of Cadoxton; Mr Thomas Gaen (Builder) of Cadoxton; Mr D. Jones (Accountant) of Barry Dock; Mr E. Williams of Pontypridd and Mr J. Roberts (Builders Merchant) of Barry Dock, Glamorgan. Registered by Mr C. Doubble of 14 Sergeants-Inn, Fleet Street, London.
During the early 1890s this company was involved in the construction of many houses in the Barry area.
In August 1891 a new company was set up, the Robert Street (Barry Dock) Land and Property Company Limited. The company was a group of business men with the intention of purchasing land at Barry, Glamorgan for building purposes including houses and shops etc. The gentlemen were as follows – Mr D. E. Davies; Mr W. Townsend; Mr C. Gaen; Mr T. Gaen; Mr A. Davey; Mr F. W. Brett; Mr W. H. D. Capel: Mr D. E. Davies (Solicitor) of St Mary’s Street, Cardiff and Messrs David Shaw and David Jones & Co (Secretaries) of Vere Street, Cadoxton, Cardiff.
In 1892 the Gaen Brothers were building houses on a street in Cardiff called Gaen Street, named after them.
During the 1890s the Barry Dock Company were constructing many houses in Blaenau Gwent and the brothers were responsible for the construction of Gaen Street, with Lewis, George, Norman, Walter, Edward Street etc, (hence the names of Cardiff Road and Barry Dock being associated with the properties in Blaenau Gwent). These houses were built by the Gaen Brothers and the Barry Dock Company for the Abertillery Land Investment Company. The latter was not very forthcoming in their payments to the Gaen Brothers and they took the Abertillery Company to court, the court judged in favour of the brothers and later they forced the Abertillery Company into bankruptcy.
Mr Frederick Gaen married Margaret? and was living at Margam as a Builder.
In 1896 the Brothers were chosen to build and construct a new road and bridge in Abertillery, later known as the Foundry Bridge and Station Hill (as seen in the featured image above).
Though the brothers lived in Cardiff and their Company was based there they also lived at Abertillery and on one official document from about 1900 they both resided at Brynteg, Blaenau Gwent, Abertillery and Mr Thomas Gaen was a member of the Liberal Snooker Club in 1906. This may have been temporary as they were in the area overseeing many building projects from the mid 1890s to about 1905. While they had a connection to this area during this time Mr Thomas Gaen also lived in Alma Street and at Oak Street, Abertillery.
In 1905 Charles and Frederick Gaen were partners and were trading as Messrs C. & F. Gaen, Builders Merchants, Port Talbot.
In March 1907 Mr Thomas Gaen sold his House, Yard, Workshops and Stables at Oak Street, Abertillery and the following year was listed as living at No20 Alma Street, Abertillery.
In 1909 Mr Charles Gaen was living in Darlston, Port Talbot and was an Asphalt Dealer. He sadly passed away in August 1910 at 46 years of age. The following year his wife Elizabeth was listed as being the head of the Asphalt Company whilst living at Darlston.
On the 1911 census the younger brother Mr Frederick Gaen of Langton Maltravers, Dorset is registered as a builder and living as a widower in Bryn Athan, Port Talbot.
In March 1940 Thomas Gaen sadly passed away, the address was 121 Bedwelty Road, Aberbargoed.
(More details to come)