The New Pontlottyn Store

The New Pontlottyn Store.
In 1897 as the town grew, the proprietors of the Pontlottyn Store – Messrs Morgan & Francis decided to have the old shop demolished and to have a much larger store built with extensions each side to keep up with the demand for goods.

In 1897 work started on the new building.

On Tuesday 8th February 1898 a meeting of Shop Assistants were held at the Great Western Dining Rooms, Abertillery. It was decided at this meeting to establish a branch of the National Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks for the Abertillery and District. Mr Enoch Jones was elected (Chairman); Mr Davies of the Pontlottyn Shop (Vice Chairman); Mr S. Rogers of Rogers & Co (Treasurer) and Mr E. L. Bevan of Rogers & Co (Secretary):

In May 1898 the store was completed. The Southern corner of the new building has a cartouche in moulded relief with the date of 1897 and the initials D.M. (David Morgan the original owner and father of Mr John Llewellyn Morgan) Messrs Morgan & Francis were the proprietors.

The following is a description of the new building by a Journalist from the newspaper of the time – “On the ground floor is the drapery and outfitting department, from this floor there are a few steps descending into general furnishing, this is a well lit area and is easily approached from the shop above. Leading from the main floor is a comfortably constructed staircase to the second level which is specially dedicated to the assistants, of whom 23 are employed with more soon to be introduced. The rooms on this floor comprises of a dinning room, general sitting room, private rooms and a library. On a further floor are the Millinery and Dressmaking departments. On the fourth floor were the bedrooms of the female assistants, the fifth and top floor were the bedrooms of the male assistants.

One would have to go to such important towns as Manchester, Liverpool or London itself to find better. Messrs Morgan and Francis has carefully and conscientiously studied the welfare of all their staff in their employ. There is also an ingenious contrivance in connection with the gas supply to the rooms. On each floor there is a tap on the gas line to each department which when turned off isolates the supply so no-one can accidentally leave the gas on at night and all staff can sleet in safety – The pavements outside the building abutting the main road has been widened a full two feet. The area at the back has been fully paved for the storing of boxes etc”.

A twenty four page catalogue listing all the available stock for sale was issued to the public. in the opening week the shop assistants employed at the Pontlottyn were helped out and taught on how to cope with such large numbers of customers by a number of special assistants from Cardiff, through the kindness of Messrs Morgan & Co the Hayes, Cardiff.

Each year during the month of June, the Pontlottyn Store Assistants outing was held. The assistants from the Pontlottyn used to hold their annual outings at Abergavenny and have tea at the Swan Inn. Over 60 members would travel by Coaches and Brakes, all expenses paid for by Messrs Morgan & Francis.

In the eraly 1900s the Morgan and Francis Store, Abertillery entered a Wednesday’s team into the Valley’s Cricket League. Council reports show they were given permission to play on the recreational grounds for a few years through the 1900s. In July 1905 they played Ebbw Vale at the park and the team was as follows – Mr Y. Thomas; Mr P. Lodge; Mr U. Moore; Mr Sleeman; Mr A. Baker; Mr G. Howells; Mr Rice; Mr Ivor; Mr L. Price; Mr W. Spencer and Mr J. Drew:

In June 1912 Messrs Morgan and Francis acquired the premises of Mr Edwin Price the Chemist and extended and altered the frontage of the Pontlottyn building at Somerset street also making more space at the rear.  

Later the company was taken over by Mr David Bernard Morgan (son of the late Mr John Llewellyn Morgan)

The Pontlottyn closed in the mid 1970s, it was later turned into a Kwik Save supermarket, for a short while in the early 2000s it was a Cheap Shop before being purchased by the Wetherspoons food and drink chain and renamed back to the “Pontlottyn”.

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