Tredegar Town Clock

button-theme-womenTredegar Town Clock

Photo of Tredegar town clock c.1900Tredegar’s landmark clock was erected in 1858 – a year after the untimely death of the woman who came up with the idea and raised funds.

Mary Elizabeth Davis, born in 1925, was the wife of Richard Powell Davis, manager of Tredegar ironworks. Her uncle was William Thompson MP, a wealthy industrialist whose brother-in-law Samuel Homfray Junior had managed the ironworks before Richard. William died at Bedwellty House in 1854.

Richard offered to donate £400 towards the £1,000 needed for the new clock, provided the rest was raised locally. Mary and her sister, Agnes Jones, organised a fundraising bazaar. Before the sale could be held, both sisters died – within weeks of each other.

Mary had suffered from tuberculosis for seven years and died at Bedwellty House of a lung haemorrhage on 13 August 1857, aged 32. She is commemorated by a metal bench facing the clock, and by a large memorial in St George’s Church.

Agnes, wife of Rev John Jones, died at Vale Cottage, Tredegar, on 8 September, aged 38, as a result of giving birth to a daughter who died in infancy. In autumn 1857 the items donated for the sale were sold by tickets costing a shilling each.

The clock tower is 22 metres (72ft) tall. It’s thought to be the UK’s tallest clock tower made entirely of iron. It was originally known as the “illuminated clock”, as the four dials were lit from inside by gas.

The clock couldn’t be illuminated in the Second World War, because of blackout precautions against air raids. Townspeople celebrated the end of the war by lighting up the tower with hundreds of lamps.

Photo of Tredegar town clock and Castle Street c.1900The clock has been reliable for much of its history, but in February 1860 a resident complained in the press that it was five hours slow! It had been 10 minutes fast for some time, which made Mr Gibbon, driver of the mail cart, appear to be 10 minutes late when he was punctual.

The photos show the clock c.1900, when it still had steps around the base. The steps were replaced with gardens after becoming a gathering place for prostitutes!

When the clock was renovated in 1996, the company which had built the clock in the 1850s overhauled the mechanism and reglazed and regilded the dial frames.

Postcode: NP22 3PS    View Location Map