Govilon wharf and warehouse

button-theme-canal button-theme-crimeGovilon wharf and warehouse

The wharf on the north side of the canal at Govilon was initially built for transfer of goods, primarily coal, between boats and wagons on the Llanfihangel Railway, a horse-worked tramroad.

The canal was extended to here from Gilwern in 1805. Govilon was the terminus for seven years, while the section to Pontymoile was built. The canal towpath was originally on the north bank, but it was switched to accommodate the Llanfihangel Railway Company’s new wharf. The tramroad opened in 1814 and ran to Llanfihangel Crucorney (north of Abergavenny). Later on, coal was transferred there to the Grosmont and Hereford tramroads.

Govilon wharf expanded after the arrival in 1821 of another tramroad, connecting Crawshay Bailey’s ironworks at Nantyglo to the canal. The tramroad crossed the canal on the bridge which now carries the B4246 road and then turned left to reach the wharf.

At the other end of the wharf you can see the three-storey warehouse which Crawshay Bailey built at around the same time for storage of iron awaiting onward transport by boat. Notice the external staircase to the first floor. Near it is a projecting triangular iron structure, once part of a crane. The warehouse now hosts offices of the Canal & River Trust, which looks after the navigable part of the canal.

In 1848 it was suggested that the canal needed better security, after two men were attacked at Bailey’s Wharf in Govilon by a group of men who were “on the strike”. The boat belonged to a Mrs Prosser of Brecon and was in the care of Henry Parry, who went ashore here to unhitch the tow rope so the boat could pass moored vessels. He was knocked into the canal three times. The “ruffianly assailants” walked across the moored vessels to injure his colleague, John Williams. They abandoned the attack when they discovered a jug of rum in the boat’s cabin and made off with it.

With thanks to the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust

Postcode: NP7 9NY    View Location Map

Canal & River Trust website – Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

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