The White Hart Inn, Machen

button-theme-crimeThe White Hart Inn, Machen

Walls inside this pub are lined with Art Deco wood panelling from the ocean liner Empress of France, originally named Duke of Bedford. The ship was built in Glasgow for the Canadian Pacific Railway and launched in 1928 by the wife of Stanley Baldwin. He was Britain’s prime minister at the time. It could accommodate almost 1,600 passengers and had a crew of 510.

During the Second World War the liner was requisitioned to carry troops, and afterwards to take Canadian servicemen home. It was then refitted to carry fewer passengers in greater luxury, and renamed Empress of France. After withdrawal from service in 1960, it was sold to scrap merchant Cashmore, which cut up ships alongside the river Usk at Newport. The White Hart’s landlord bought some of the wood panelling and fixtures to decorate his pub.

In 1877, two youths were sentenced to 21 days’ in prison, with hard labour, for stealing a hen and a cock from the coal house behind the White Hart. The poultry belonged to the landlord, Edward Williams. In court, the prosecutor suggested a lenient sentence because the boys’ parents were in “needy condition”.

In 1900, five-year-old Thomas Jenkins, son of White Hart landlord Frank, was accidentally killed through playing with fire while his mother was temporarily absent.

The pub lies alongside National Cycle Network Route 4, which follows the former Brecon & Merthyr Railway route between Machen and Graig-y-Rhacca. The railway, which linked Newport to Brecon, closed to passengers in 1963 but this section remained in use for coal trains from Bedwas Navigation Colliery, which closed during the 1984-1985 miners’ strike and never reopened.

The White Hart’s customers in olden times were more likely to be quarrymen than miners. Machen quarry continues to produce dolomitic limestone for roads and railway ballast.

Postcode: CF83 8QP    View Location Map

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