History of Aberystwyth
1800-1850


1800

Shocking Discovery

Electric Battery devised by Alessandro Volta in Italy

World Population


-6000
0.01
-4000
0.02
-2000
0.03
-1000
0.05
- 500
0.10
1
0.20
1000
0.31
1750
0.79
1800
0.98
1850
1.26
1900
1.65
1950
2.52
1955
2.76
1960
2.98
1965
3.33
1970
3.69
1975
4.07
1980
4.43
1985
4.83
1990
5.26
1995
5.67
2000
6.07
2005
6.45
2010
6.89
in Billions

Ireland United

Parliamentary Union between Britain and Ireland

Bridge

New bridge opened to replace the one swept away in 1796

Aberystwyth Bridge
Aberystwyth bridge over the Rheidol
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau in 1829)

1801

Suspension Bridge

1st modern suspension bridge over Jacob's Creek in Uniontown Pennsylvania

Jacquard Loom

Jacquard's Loom was highly autonomous and used binary cards to change the pattern. Processing depending binary card data is regarded as a significant step in the development of computers.

Population

Population in Aberystwyth 1758 in 350 houses.

Pier

Small pier built on the Weeg (Small rocky ridge at the end of Pier Street,) to help protect fishing boats. This proved much too small and quickly washed away.

1803

Locomotive

Locomotive invented by Richard Trevithick in England

Travellers Guides

The scenery, antiquities and biography of South Wales: from materials collected during two excursions in the year 1803' by Benjamin Heath Malkin

The turnpike road from the Devil's Bridge to Aberiftwid is over a ridge of hills, exhibiting a general view of the vale, as the road by the Rydoll unfolds the fcenery in detail. The village of Efkynald excepted, there is little appearance of an inhabited country. About three miles from Aberiftwid, there is a fine fea view, agreeably broken by a promontory in front of the road. Other picturefque circumftances might be mentioned; but I haften to the defcription of Aberiftwid, which we approached by a turnpike gate, where arc a few houfes, known by the name of Piccadilly.

The building of the caftle is thus related. King Henry the Firft, about the year 1109, told Gilbert Strongbow, that as he had frequently petitioned to obtain fome lands in Wales, he might now win and poffefs the lands and inheritance of Cadwgan ap Blethin. Gilbert immediately collected his forces, and having landed in Cardiganfhire, reduced the country to fubjecion with little difficulty. He then built two caftles; one in the direction of Pembrbkefhire, perhaps at Kilgerran, and the other at this place, on I the river Rydoll, one mile from Lan Padern. It was of courfe the policy of this intruder, to embroil the native proprietors with,the King of England, that his own houfe might be aggrandized by conquefts and confifcations. About the year 1111, Gruffyth ap Rees came over from Ireland, where he had been brought up from his childhood. He had not refided more than two years in his native country, before he was accufed of aiming at the fovereignty of South Wales. King Henry made feveral attempts to poffefs his perfon; but the vigilance of his friends defeated every confpiracy. In the courfe of time, he was enabled to act on the offenfive. After many other bold and fuccefsful feats, in the year 1116, he encamped near the fortified manfion on the banks of the Rydol, between Aberiftwid and the town of Lan Padern, with the intention of laying fiege to the caftle of Aberiftwid on the following day. But a reinforcement from a caftle in the neighbourhood, with a fuperiority of military ftratagems on the part of the enemy, converted the aggreffion of the Welfh into a defeat. Prince Gruffyth ap Rees fought with better fortune in the year 1135; for he took and razed the caftle of Aberiftwid, and flew the Normans and Saxons that were fettled in Cardiganfhire. Some of thofe who efcaped fled over the fea to England. Gruffyth reftored to the Welfh their lands and habitations, of which they had been deprived. Others of the Normans and Saxons retreated with lefs precipitation from Gruffyth ap Rees; but they were unexpectedly attacked, near the vale of Neath in Glamorganfhire, by the fons of Caradoc ap Jeftin, who flew more than three thouland of them, and put the reft to flight. Some of them efcaped into Gower, where they found proteftion in the caftles, that had been erected there by Henry Beaumont. This caftle was reinftated by Cadwallader, fecond fon to Gruffyth ap Conan, and again deftroyed by Owen Gwineth, the eldeft fon and fucceffor, on account of his brother's contumacy. It continued to experience all the viciflitudes of a predatory warfare, alternately fortified and overthrown. Such fortifications, as were then in ufe were indeed eafily demoliflied; but in the courfe of time it owned a more powerful mafter, though even his formidable provisons were not effectual againft the defperate enthufiafm of expiring liberty. King Edward the Firft rebuilt it in the year 1277, and returned to England in high triumph. But the oppreffions exercifed by the rulers of the Marches did not permit the peace concluded between the Prince of Wales and the King of England to continue. Among the brief fuccefles of the Welfh, the year before their fubjction was fealed, is to be numbered the fplendid capture of this newly erected Englifh fortrefs. Many other caftles were taken in that diftrict, and the partifans of foreign domination were grievoufly haraffed throughout the country. This caftle, in the year 1404, was taken by Owen Glandwr, during one of his molt vigorous campaigns. The embattled houfe before mentioned, which now forms an interefting ruin, is reported to have been one of his refidences. What was the origin of this caftellated manlion, does not appear; but we have already feen that it muft be nearly coeval with the firft foundation of the neighbouring caftle; and one of the barda teftifies it to have been inhabited by the native princes. The common ftory prevails, of a fubterraneous communication with the caftle on the one hand, and the fanctuary of St. Padern on the other. The original extent may eafily be traced, and one of the towers is, nearly perfect. The apartments have evidently been numerous, and on a large fcale. The eftate now forms a part of Nanteos. The caftle ftands at the extremity of the town, overlooking a wide expanfe of fea. Little of it remains, except a folitary tower, lofty and weather beaten, which, with the ruin on the bank of the river, gives a pidurefque and dignified air to the approach. The town, though generally reprefented in the tours and direc- tories afr irregular and dirty, appeared to me rather above than below below the level of Welch towns in general. It is much frequented as a bathing place, efpecially by Shropfhire and Herefordfhire families. The coaft is grand, and the marine profpect particularly fine. The rocks are lofty, black, and excavated; the layers of flate in general dip downwards, and the cliffs are in every refpect of an oppofite charafter to thofe of limeftone, which linethe coaft of Pertibrokefhire and Glamorganfhire. The harbour is fufficiently comrriodiaus for the utmoft extent of trade, of which the place, from its fituation, is capable. That, indeed, is not inconfiderable; for lead, calamine, and oak-bark, are exported in fome quantity, as well as a few manufactured goods to Briftol and Liverpool. Should the north of Cardiganfhire ever rife into a ftate of high improvement, the poflibility of which recent experience can atteft, no dlfcouragement can be fuppofed to operate againft its interefts from want of a market, fince the intercourfe with large towns, and efpecially Liverpool, muft always be ready and advantageous from this port. But the town was in the plenitude of its importance, when the mines were worked to the immenfe profit which has been fet forth in the preceding chapter. The gratitude of Mr. Bufhel has already been recorded; the fpirit of the people was equally on the fide of royalty; and the caftle, though now a mere fragment, was even at that late period tenable for fome time, againft the forces of the parliament. It is a circumftance not altogether to be difregarded, that the town appears to have been mifnamed; as it really ftands on the northern bank of the Rydoll. Juft below the town, the two rivers mingle their waters with the ocean, nearly at the fame place.

1807

March 13: Hafod Fire

This magnificent edifice, together with the greater part of its valuable contents, was totally destroyed by fire, on the morning of March 13th, 1807. It would be impossible to calculate the loss which literature has sustained in this conflagration, which consumed many very rare and expensive books, a collection of Welsh manuscripts, and other articles impossible to be replaced [21]

1809

Printing

'James and Williams' run the 1st printing press in Aberystwyth - before then anything printed had to be sent away for.

1810

Canny

Frenchman Nicholas Appert won a prize for his discovery that food cooked in a sealed jar did not spoil. In England Peter Durand received a patent for Nicholas Appert's method applied to any suitable vessel. Within a few years the tin plated can proved the most effective container.

Bank

'The Aberystwith and Tregaron Bank' opens on Bridge St. The design of the notes incorporates black sheep - apparently to help the local population understand the denomination. It is for this reason that the bank became popularly know as 'Banc y Ddafad Ddu' (The Black Sheep Bank) and not because it went bankrupt and was closed down in 1814

The £1 and £2 bank notes issued by the The Aberystwith and Tregaron Bank
The 10 Shilling, £1 and £2 bank notes issued by the
Aberystwith and Tregaron Bank

Day Trip

Travel to Shrewsbury takes a whole day by Stage Coach

Stocks

Last recorded repairs to stocks

Bath

Located where the northerly shelter on the promenade now stands, work was started on Dr Rice's bath house called 'Penbryn House'.

The New Aberytwyth Guide - TJL Pritchard, 1824,[15]

THE MARINE BATHS.

At the northern extremity or the Terrace, adjoining the commencement of Craiglais, stand the Marine Baths. The building is erected on a rocky foundation, and projects right into the sea; being defended from the violent assaults of the ocean by a strong wall, as well as the more impregnable fortifications of strong black, or deep blue rocks, massive, and singularly romantic in their appearance. It is almost an injury to the Proprietor to proceed on a premature description of what, (considering his great projected improvements, which are even now commencing,) may be called a mere beginning; however, favoured as we are by his communications on the subject, we can safely acquaint the reader with the nature of those improvements. The Baths are erected on scientific principles suggested by an eminent Engineer, undermined by vast iron pipes, branching out many fathoms into the sea, and conveying from a rocky, sandless portion of the ocean, the pure saline stream; which is pumped, and by a conductor led, into an immense boiler, containing five hundred gallons. From the boiler are various pipes, leading to the different baths. These baths are each six feet long and two and a half wide, lined with Dutch tile, which being much less porous than marble, is more effectually cleansed from all impurities to which they are liable; and each occupies one end of a neat little room, with fire, where every desirable accommodation has been studiously considered; and there are two cocks attached to every bath, one conducting hot, the other cold water, which bathers can turn, and temper by an intermixture at their own pleasure. In addition to these, there is '

A COLD PLUNGING BATH.

In another room, with its corresponding apparatus is

A SHOWER BATH.

which is recommended on the score of bathers being less liable to the cramp, than when using the Cold Bath. In an apartment up stairs, with all its attendant necessaries, is

A VAPOUR BATH.

This is a comparative recent invention, and considered a discovery of so much import, as in all medical establishments to supersede the use of the Hot Bath: for the nature and properties of which, the reader is referred to 'Sir Arthur Clarke's Essay on Warm, Cold, and Vapour Bathing,' pages 100 and 106.
This building also contains bed chambers, for the accommodation of those whose health ' would render it dangerous to remove them: and a handsome sitting room, with a large bow window, looking over, and commanding an expansive view of the sea, as well as of the distant objects, and alpine wonders, before dilated on in the description of the Castle Ruins, which are also to be seen from this spot, as well as the whole Terrace, a great portion of the town, and, on the other side, a view over Craiglais, and its wild and rugged coast. In its finished state, this building will doubtless be an ornament to that part of the Terrace on which it stands

Aberystwyth Prom 1860's
Prom around 1860 showing the bath house to the right.
The mound on which it stood was supposed to be the site
of the town gallows.

This building was removed in 1892

1811-18

Luddites

British recession leads to machine-breaking by Luddites

1811

Population

Population 2264

1813

School

The Ysgoldy built as a Church school, later becoming the private Aberystwyth Grammar School. The Parish Hall was built on the site in 1914. [7]

1816

Stethoscope

The Stethoscope is devised by René Laennec in France

London 48

Travel from London by Stage Coach takes 48 hours (28 hours to get from London-Kington, and another 13 hours from Kington-Aberystwyth)

1818

Bank

Opening of the 'Aberystwith Provident Bank for Savings' on Bridge Street

1820

July 1: Ball Room

In order to provide suitable amusements for visiting gentry a 'Ball Room' was built - later it was know as The Assembly Rooms. The ball room was used mainly at night so during the day it converted into a reading room, card room, billiard room & bar. It was designed by the London architect George Repton and built on land donated by W.E. Powell of Nanteos.

Ball Room Rules include:
A Ball will take place every Tuesday evening during the Season
the first dance to be called at nine o'clock precisely
Country Dances and Quadrilles alternately;
and a dance not to be called after one o'clock
That no Servants be admitted
That no Gentlemen (Military excepted,) be admitted in boots.
The Promenades commence the first Wednesday in July at one o'clock, and continue twice a week during the season. On Wednesday the Welsh Harper attends, and on Fridays, a small Military Band and the Welsh Harp alternately.

Card Room Rules include:
No game of Hazard to be allowed[15]

(Currently the building is used by the university for Music & Education.)

1822

Whip

Last public whipping through streets of Aberystwyth

Prom

Work started on Promenade in front of Marine Terrace - completed in 1874[19]

1823

March: New Religion

Welsh Calvinistic Methodists formed in 32/34 Great Darkgate St (later Co-op now Supersave)


Welsh Coast Near Aberystwith
WELSH COAST NEAR ABERYSTWITH
(Published 1823)


Aberystwith And Cardigan Bay
ABERYSTWITH AND CARDIGAN BAY
(Published 1823)

1824

Trade Unions

The repeal of the Combination Act in effect legalised Trade Unions. In 1825 new acts were passed to restrict trade union action.

Comments on Apathy, Mining and Rent


The New Aberystwyth Guide - TJL Pritchard, 1824,[15]

Severe reflections have been made, both by strangers and natives, on the lack of ingenuity and spirit of enterprise discoverable in the people of this county, whose apathy continues them poor, although possessing a rich country: while they have the mortification to see strangers bear away their treasures, as well as the palm of industry and science [15]

Mr Evans, in his tour, observes,
"yet, though this country is so prolific in mineral substance, still, from the neglect of centuries, and the indolence, ignorance, and poverty of the present inhabitants, it may be said of its subterraneous treasures, 'Terrae perdunter opes;' and although modern discoveries in chemistry have furnished much better means of separating the metal from the heterogeneous substances combined with it in the ore, both in the humid and empyreumatic way, diminishing labour, and increasing the produce, yet metallurgy seems to have made no advance. It is far from what it ought to be - a science" [15]

EXTORTION IN LODGING-HOUSES,

" These exactions, are Most pestilent to the hearing."--SHAKSPEARE.

A bitter and justly severe chapter might be written under this head, but certainly not in reference to Aberystwyth, to any great extent; although it is not to be denied that some individuals have injured the growing prosperity and reputation of the town by this most hateful and ruinous system. For ruinous it is, in every sense, both to the good name of the public in this part of the world, and will ultimately prove so to the rapacious and selfish wretches, who disgrace their country and themselves. Would examples avail as warnings of celebrated marine bathing-towns that have out-lived their day of attraction, and sunk into comparative insignificance, they are to be found, contiguously situate, and emphatically destitute of the admiring strangers, that once gave consequence and fashion to those favoured spots ; and the greedy beings who brought on themselves this deserved and unprofitable loneliness, now, vainly mourn and murmur in the shadow of their desolation. What place was so much resorted to as Swansea, till lately? but her attraction has ceased with the growth of extortion, and the bright days of Tenby are no more. The town is comparatively deserted by the visiting public; and the people there, with singular frankness, confess the justice of their doom, and own that their shameful and insatiable spirit of avarice has disgusted and driven them away, perhaps, forever. It will be confessed by them that when their town leaped into unexpected popularity, they became bewildered with their sudden fortune, and were ignorant what to ask for their houses, consequently required thrice as much as they ought; and beyond what the most greedy votaries of exaction would have claimed, either at Brighton, Bath, or Cheltenham. We have heard of two guineas per week being asked at Tenby, for a very ordinary back parlour and bedroom, obscurely situate; and on the infamous terms being acceded to, the wretched proprietor, in the true spirit of unslakeable selfishness has lamented that he did not extort an additional guinea ! Let Aberystwyth, in the youth of her prosperity, think of this, and by shunning the faults, avoid the fates of those towns; and be assured

" I have spoken
Most bitter truths, but without bitterness ;
Nor deem my zeal nor factious, nor mistimed."

Roads may be cut, houses built, piers erected, hills levelled, and hollows filled, and every species of improvement perfected, that taste can suggest, or liberality complete-in vain-absolutely in vain! if the base and grinding spirit of Extortion is once suffered to get root. It will gain ground and undermine the noblest foundations public spirit can lay, and crumble to dust the fairest piles of human ingenuity.
The vampire-spirit of Extortion is the foulest fiend of Lucre, and feeds on its victim's blood securely; unimpeded by the legal bars that bound the progress of other atrocities. Theft has its gallows, murder its gibbet, and suicide its nameless grave amid the cross roads, but Extortion is a chartered villain; and although allied to meanness, cowardice, and robbery, the blood-sucker assumes the name of Thrift, and is sheltered from their disgrace by the intervention of dishonest wealth. But the disguised felon shall not escape; while public indignation has a brand to wield, it shall hiss with fire on his shameless front, and deeply indent the blazing characters of his infamy.

1825

September 27: Railway

Opening of 1st Public Railway (Stockton to Darlington)


Welsh Coast Near Aberystwith
ABERYSTWITH CASTLE
(Published 1825)

1826

Snap

After many years investigating photosensitive materials, French inventor Nicéphore Niépce takes the worlds 1st photograph

1829-1851

Cholera

Cholera pandemic in Europe. It will reach London by 1832 where it will kill over 3000 people

1829


Ruins of Aberystwyth Castle
Aberystwyth Castle Ruins
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau)


Plas Crug near Aberystwith
PLAS CRÛG NEAR ABERYSTWITH
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau)


Llanbadarn Vawr
LLANBADARN VAWR
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau)

1830


Castle House - Aberystwyth
J.P.Neale
S.Lacey
ABERYSTWITH
From the Castle Hill South Wales

Curiosities of Great Britain
England & Wales delineated
Historical, Entertaining & Commercial
by Thomas Dugdale, Assisted by William Burnett, 1830

ABERYSTWITH, a market town and seaport in the hundred of Glenaur Glynn, and also a township in the parish of Llanbadarn Vawr. It is situated at the confluence or the rivers Ystwith and Rhyddol, at which the former falls into the sea in the bay of Cardigan. The building of a castle, of which some vestiges remain, is attributed to Edward I. It stands on a craggy eminence projecting into the sea at the west of the town, and affords a magnificent view of the whole line of Welsh coast within the bay of Cardigan. The streets are steep and uneven. The houses, which are principally formed of dark slate, present a very singular appearance. For some years past its celebrity, as a summer retreat and bathing-place, has been annually increasing, which is greatly contributed to by the beauty of the neighbourhood, and the commanding prospects around. The roads to it have been made excellent, and the customary amusements of plays and assemblies during the season add to the attractions for summer visitants. There was formerly a herring fishery, and the practice of fishing is still carried on with considerable advantage by the natives. About seven miles north of Aberystwith, on the sea coast, a considerable extent of land, has, by drainage, been recovered; twelve miles of embankment have been formed; and two navigable cuts, with a road of three miles and a stone bridge completed

Mail arrives 7 A.M. departs 5 P.M. —Fairs, 1st Monday in May and November, chiefly for hiring servants.— Bankers, W. Davis and Co., draw on Esdaile and Co.—Inns, Gogerddon Arms, Old Lion, and Talbot.—Markets, Monday and Saturday.


1831

Theatre

Theatre built at the corner of North Parade and Thespian St

Census

Town's Population 4128 including about 500 seamen. 712 houses

Trail of Tears

America starts a policy of internal Ethnic Cleansing that will last over a decade.

1834

Foundry

1st Foundry built between harbour and South Rd

Map of Aberystwyth from 1834
Map of Aberystwyth from 1834
Most buildings within the circular old town walls. but some
new buildings now appear to the east and over the bridge

  • Monday before Easter Sunday
  • Whitsun Monday
  • 14th May
  • 24th June
  • 16th September
  • 1st Monday after 11th November
  • Monday before Chirsmas Day

Fairs Aberystwyth in 1834

1835

Council

Municipal Corporations Act brought to an end the Town Corporation and an elected Town Council was formed.

Castle

Some repairs are made to castle ruins
It is made illegal to remove stone from the castle ruins (typically used for house building)

1836

St Mike's #1

Chapel of St Michael pulled down

Castle House - Aberystwyth
Chapel of St Michael shown on 1834 Map
It's the building to the south of the large cross shaped building

1837

May 5: Poor

Aberystwyth Poor Law Union / Workhouse

Water

Opening of new Water Works - small reservoir in the dingle under Constitution Hill between Cliff Terrace and Brynymor Road. (In 1883 the main water supply switched to a pipe from Plynlimon)

BrynYmor reservoir - Aberystwyth
BrynYmor Reservoir

Harbour

Foundation stone of the harbour pier laid
Harbour ranked as the 3rd most important in Wales

REPORT upon the Proposed Municipal Boundary of the Borough of Aberystwith,
House of Commons papers 1837, Volume 26

THE Ancient Limits of the Borough of Aberystwith extend two miles from North to South, and average three quarters of a mile in breadth

The Borough is co-extensive with the Chapelry of Aberystwith, which forms, part of the extensive Parish of Llanbaden-fawr.

Four Rates are raised in the year for the poor, and other purposes each Rate is 1s. in the pound, on two-thirds of the Rack-rent.

The sum raised is about 960l., of which it appears that only 12l. 12s. is annually paid for County Rates.

The amount of Rates in the rural District of the Chapelry is about 100l., principally on land; the inhabitants of the District generally occupying cottages exempt from any Rates whatever.

The Town of Aberystwith is situated on the Western Coast of South Wales, 207 miles from London, and 39 from Cardigan. Within the last few years it has grown into considerable reputation as a Watering Plate, and is The resort of numerous families and occasional visitors, during the season, from all parts of England. It is calculated that in the months of August, September and October upwards of 1,500 persons come to reside in the Town, and that the casual visitors during that period amount tof several thousands.

The Commerce of the Port is principally in Lead Ore, Pig Lead, Oak-bark; Corn and Butter, Coal and Culm are imported from the North and South of Wales; Groceries, Shop-goods and American Timber (direct); and as there is no Market Town within 18 miles, it supplies an extensive rural District.

There is at present no lighting or watching in the Town, nor is it regularly pitched or paved, but an Act for these purposes was obtained during the last Session of Parliament, and a Rate not exceeding 2s. 6d. in the pound on the Rack-rent authorized to be raised on all houses of a 10l. rental, and upwards. Some of the streets are broad, and contain respectable houses and shops, and will probably be much improved under the operation of the new Act. The Marine Terrace consists of a broad Parade facing the sea, with many very excellent houses for private residence, lodging and boarding, and the rents during the season would appear to be as high as in the best frequented watering places elsewhere. A Square has been recently much improved, with handsome buildings both public and private; and there is a confident expectation prevailing throughout the Town and neighbouring rural district, that extensive building speculations now entertained by the noblemen and gentlemen, proprietors of the land, will be carried into effect. The appearance of the Town, with the exception of the parts alluded to, is not particularly distinguished for superior neatness and respectability; the observation applies more especially to the little village or rather suburb of Trefechan.

An addition to the Old Borough was made by the Parliamentary Commissioners, on the North East of the Ancient Limits, to include land that was then and is still very generally considered as liable to be built over, as soon as the tenure by which it is at present held will admit;

The existing Limits are greater than what, by our Instructions, we are called on to propose for the future, but it is difficult to recommend any mode of abridging these Limits with reference to the future increase of the Town. The proposed buildings will probably extend along the whole line of the Hereford Road within the present Boundary, and ultimately unite the little village of Pen-y-dyna with the Town. There is also a disposition to build over the land on the Western side near the Harbour; but the land to the East of the Hereford Road, being subject to be flooded, is not likely to be occupied with buildings.


1838

January 5: Infirmary

Opening of the Aberystwyth Infirmary and Cardigan General Hospital on Upper Portland Street. This was funded by charitable contributions.

1839-1844

1839

Tea for Opium

The British love of tea leads to a huge trade deficit with China. Even though prohibited, Britain started selling opium into China to balance the trade. Alarmed at the damage opium was doing to it's people China became more strict in enforcing the ban on Opium. Britain's response was to send battle ships to what is now known as The First Opium War

Lighting

Aberystwyth is one of the 1st towns in Britain to get Gas Street Lighting (Electric street lighting arrives in 1894)

1840

May: Stamps

1st postage stamps start to be used in May. Although popular, it soon became apparent that it was often difficult to notice if the 'penny black' had been cancelled or not. Within 10 months the same design was printed in red, and the 'penny red' remained in use for decades.

Foundry

2nd Foundry built in Northgate St

The Cambrian traveller's guide, and pocket companion - G. Nicholson[26]

ABERYSTWITH, a sea-port, borough, market-town, and chapelry, in the parish of Llanbadarn Vawr, Cardiganshire, is a delightful summer retreat, situated on the conflux of the rivers Ystwith and Rheidol. Of late, this watering-place has greatly improved, both in extent, convenience, and importance, forming at present the largest town in the county ; and the roads leading to it are equal to the best in England. The gentle inclination of the beach, situated in a noble bay, the clearness of the water, salubrity of the air and the neighbouring springs, have established its reputation as an excellent resort for invalids, who can here enjoy every luxury connected with sea-bathing. The houses are in general well built, many laige and handsome, and the streets regular, well-paved, and macadamised. Aberystwith is a borough by prescription. The government is vested in a mayor, recorder, chamberlain, and common burgesses, assisted by a town- clerk and subordinate officers. It is one of the contributary boroughs of Cardiganshire who return one member to parliament. The right of election is now in the resident burgesses, and all persons occupying a house or other premises of the clear annual value of ten pounds. The mayor of Cardigan is the returning officer. Aberystwith was once fortified with walls, a portion of which, stripped of its facings, still remaine on the shore. The Cattle, situated west of the town, on a bold eminence projecting into the sea,....

...On the N. w. is a tower about 40 feet high, in which an arched doorway still remains. This ruin is now the property of the Duke of Newcastle. The late proprietor, Mr. Jones, of Havod, granted a lease of it to Mr. Probert, an agent of Earl Powis, when an excellent promenade was formed, which commands a fine view of the whole of Cardigan Bay. This vast curve is formed by the projecting counties of Caernarvon to the north and Pembroke to the south; the coasts of Merioneth and Cardigan occupy the centre. No situation south of Caernarvon affords to advantageous a prospect of the Welsh Alps as this and the adjacent cliffs. The lofty hills which confine the estuary of the Dyfi, and elevate their broad ridges far above the Cardigan rocks are surmounted by Cader Idris and its subordinate eminences. These are overtopped by the gigantic mountains of Caernarvonshire, among which, in clear, weather, the sharp peak of Snowdon may be discerned, in sublime pre-eminence, towering above the adjacent crags. The boundary line becomes more uniform to the south. This magnificent bay is also agreeably diversified by the transit of numerous vessels in every direction. North of the castle is a level beach, to which succeeds a long range of lofty slate rocks, rendered cavernous by the action of the waves. At the base of these cliffs extends a reef of subordinate rocks, adorned with numerous beautiful corallines, fuci, and a variety of marine productions, valuable pebbles, agates, conglomerates, jaspers, moceos, trapstones, &c. These are set and mounted in gold, into brooches, bracelets, seals, &c., by working jewellers.

The Church is dedicated to St. Michael, and detached from the castle ruins by a stone wall. It was erected in 1786, but, being found too small for the convenience of a rapidly increasing population, it has been lately taken down, and superseded by a handsome new structure, in the modern Gothic style, after a plan by Mr. Haycock, at an expense of 3500l., affording accommodation for 1100 persons. The present incumbent is the Rev. John Hughes, a minister eminent for his talent, piety, and apostolical zeal. There are two full English services and one Welsh performed every sabbath, besides one in each language during the week. Mr. Hnghes is assisted in these arduous duties by a curate. It is in contemplation to build a new church here immediately, expressly for the Welsh service. A fine toned organ, by Robson, has recently been added to the church, at an expense of 350l., defrayed by voluntary subscription of the inhabitants. The new church now in progress at Llangorwen, in this vicinity, promises to be the best specimen of ecclesiastical architecture within that district.

The Harbour, notwithstanding considerable improvements, is still in so bad a state as to form a serious drawback to the commercial interests of the town. A new act of parliament was, however, obtained, enabling the trustees to borrow, on the credit of the dues, a larger sum of money than the old act empowered, in order to carry into effect the works recommended by the late Mr. Nimmo, and the present engineer, Mr. Bush. These works are now in progress, and are estimated to cost 14,000l. Part of these improvements, consisting of a substantial pier, has already been carried out to a considerable extent on the south side of the bar, and, when the whole shall be completed, an important increase in the trade of this port is confidently anticipated. A bridge, forming part of the harbour works has been thrown over the river Ystwith, which the visiters in the season avail themselves of to make excursions to the beach, rocks and heights on the south side of the town, abounding in attractions, but hitherto entirely inaccessible.

The Custom-house, erected in 1773, has been superseded by a new one, built conveniently for the shipping, and overlooking the harbour. A gateway at the south end of the terrace forms the entrance to the Castle-house, erected by the late Sir Uvedale Price, Bart., of Foxley, after designs by Mr. Nash. It is a singular structure, in the Gothic style and castellated form, consisting of three octagonal towers connected by ranges of apartments, having a light and elegant balcony facing the sea. It is now occasionally occupied by its present proprietor, Sir Robert Price.

The Assembly Rooms were erected in 1820, from designs by Mr. Repton, and comprise a ball and promenade room, which is used as a reading room, a card room, and billiard room. The season commences in July and ends in October, but many families come as early as April, at which period lodgings can he obtained remarkably cheap. From the great increase of buildings here of late years, lodgings have come down very much in price; entire twelve-room houses, furnished in the best manner, supplied with water-closets, and replete with every accommodation, can readily be had, from October to May as low as from 20s. to 40s. per week. Owing to this, and the well-known mildness of the winter months here, the 'number of permanent residents has been steadily on the increase. The recent introduction of a purer description of water, and the many other improvements lately effected and now in progress, have added considerably to its attractions as a place of winter residence. Concerts are frequently given during the season.

The Marine Parade, an elegant crescent, is situated on the margin of the sea. At the north end, is Craiglais, or Constitution Hill, and on the south are the castle ruins, both of which contain excellent walks. The Marine Terrace, which forms the east side of the parade, is a handsome range of modern buildings, affording every accommodation for private families. Most of these erections are let for lodgings during the summer. They command a fine marine view, including the sea and beach, from which pleasure-boats are constantly starting.

The Market-place. was erected in 1824, in the street leading to the castle, by a tontine subscription. The markets are held on Monday and Saturday, and are now entirely confined to butchers meat. Another general mart, upon a handsome plan, has been raised upon the site of the old Talbot inn, where an entire new street has arisen.

This attractive watering-place also contains a Town-hall and Theatre. The two Dispensaries have merged into one Infirmary, or general hospital, which is open to all the kingdom. Here are likewise a Grammar and a National School. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents and Wesleyan and Calvinistic Methodists. In 1834, an act of parliament was obtained for the general improvement of the town, under the authority of which several important improvements have been carried into effect, whilst others are in progress. Among the most prominent advantages derived may be mentioned a supply from springs in the neighbouring hills of the purest water, brought by means of pipes into every dwelling, house in the town. The works are constructed according to the plans of George Bush, Esq., civil engineer, at a cost of upwards of 6000l. In September, 1838, the town was lighted with gas by a company formed among the inhabitants. The gas-works were erected by the Messrs. Stears, of Stroud. The gas is of a very pure quality, and generally taken into the shops and dwelling-houses. The public lights are upwards of 100, and the lamp-posts, raised by public subscription, are after a most elegant design.

Aberystwith has for some time possessed the advantage of a daily mail from London via Cheltenham, -which arrives at half -past eight in the evening ; and, since the Birmingham Railway has been opened, an additional mail is about to be established via Shrewsbury, which will arrive some hours earlier.

Since the passing of the municipal reform act, there has been introduced a part of the London police force, which, under an active and efficient magistracy, preserves the town in the utmost good order.

The Bathing is well conducted : hot sea-water baths are provided, with every requisite accommodation, and bathing-machines are in attendance. From the convenient sloping of the beach, a facility of bathing is afforded at almost any state of the tide, within a very short distance from the shore. The beach being of pebbles, the water is always clear, and there is a good sandy bottom at all hours of the tide. The Marine Baths are at the north end of the Marine Parade, on an eminence projecting into the sea. Besides cold baths, there are a cold plunging-bath, a shower and vapour bath, with bedrooms for invalids. Near the centre of the terrace there is another warm bath, and others in different parts of the town. In addition to these advantages, Aberystwith possesses a chalybeate spring. It has lately been put in thorough repair, being supplied with a pump and other conveniences. It is situated a few hundred yards east of the town, almost at the commencement of a pleasant walk, leading by Plâc-crug to Llanbadern. It is not unlike the Tunbridge waters. It contains valuable medicinal properties, but should not be used without medical advice. It is simply chalybeate, neither acidulous nor saline to the taste, except when it has been mingled with the sea-water at high tides. It is generally taken at eight in the morning, and again between breakfast and dinner, gradually increasing the dose according to age and habit.

The Races held here occur about August, in a field near Gogerddan, 3 miles distant, and usually last two days. Archery and cricket clubs have been also established and conducted with spirit. As an angling station, the vicinity of Aberystwith presents to the votaries of that pursuit many attractions. The autumnal fishing for salmon and sewin is excellent, and within a day's excursion there is good sport on the lakes. A Fly-fishing Club has lately been established here ; and, owing to their praiseworthy exertions in preserving the river from poachers, the angling has become greatly improved. Fly-fishing in the sea for bass is also much practised, as many as from four to six fish of from 3 to 5 lb. each, being frequently taken in a morning in fine bright weather.


1844

Royal Drought

Severe Drought

The King of Saxony's Journey Through England and Scotland in the Year 1844 - Carl Gustav Carus[25]

It was, however, nearly dark when we reached this watering place, where unfortunately the inn was nearly all occupied by tourists, so that it was not till after some trouble we could obtain lodgings, which we did at last in one of the neighbouring houses. As a sort of compensation for this a serenade was given to the illustrious guest, who was soon recognised - spite of his incognita, and at a late hour of the night, 'God save the Queen' was sung.

As I went out of the hotel early in the morning, in Aberystwith, the splendid green sea lay before me, and its mighty waves beat on the shore; a great variety of brown and gay fuci were thrown out on the sandhills, which formed the strand, whilst to the left, on a bold promontory, stood a ruined castle, whose dark walls formed a good contrast to the colour of the sea, reflected from its broken waves. As I walked up and down in front of the hotel, I was soon accosted by a boatman, - who asked me if I was not disposed to enjoy a bath on this fine sunny morning? True it is, that I earnestly longed to plunge into the refreshing waves, but here too, time was too limited to suffer me to indulge my inclination.

When we were afterwards at breakfast, a multitude of boatmen and townspeople collected before the house with music and all sorts of flags; they erected their standards, among which the royal ensigns of England floated at the top, and with such music as the place could afford, they favoured his majesty with a serenade, and concluded by a hearty hurrah. The scenes had and extremely pretty appearance as viewed from the window. In the foreground, the assemble boatmen and people with their waving colours, behind them the yellow sand, and further in the distanced the splendid smaragdine sea.

When the carriages were brought to the door for departure, the people did not fail to accompany the exalted traveller with their colours and music, and salute him by a continued round of hurrahs. The multitude thronged around, the postilions could only go at a walking pace, and we thus proceeded till we reached the bounds of the town, when the people drew up on both sides, and suffered the carriages to proceeds amidst an unceasing volley of cheers. In short, this old town was not willing that a king should be allowed to pass, notwithstanding his incognito, without every testimony of respect and honour, which it was in the power of the people to bestow. It is probably long since it has been visited by a monarch.

The King of Saxony at this time was 'Frederick Augustus II' and Carl Gustav Carus was his physician.

Illustration of Aberystwyth from 1844
Illustration of Aberystwyth from 1844

1845

Famine

A very wet summer and Potato blight devastates crops in Ireland leading to famine between 1846-1851. Civil servant Charles Trevelyan, was put in charge of handling the famine from London. He turned away food aid, closed soup kitchens and continued the export of Irish grown grains leaving the remaining meagre resources to 'free market' forces. These measures significantly contributed to the 750,000-1,000,000 death toll during these years. In 1848 Trevelyan was knighted for his services in Ireland!

Castle

Castle excavated to reveal more about its structure and history.

1847

Deaf and Dumb

Opening of the Cambrian Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Pier Street. (This was the 1st such institution in Wales.) It was moved to Swansea in 1850