Brynmawr Historical Society

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The Griffin Hotel

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The Griffin Hotel in Brynmawr.

The Griffin Hotel was originally at the top of Beaufort Street in Brynmawr, probably the best hotel in the district in its day and used regularly by travelling salesmen; pack men etc as the town’s railway station offered access to all the South Wales Valleys. The Griffin Company also provided carriage rides to the station in Nant y Glô; this is before the opening of the GWR link to Brynmawr in 1915. The Griffin Company became the Griffin Bus Co. In 1916 a new building on the square in Brynmawr became known as The New Griffin.

Brynmawr Social Club Aug 2017

It didn’t start that way; in 1835 the Griffin Inn (as it was called) was sold at auction on June 1st. It was not the large building we’ve come to associate with the Griffin Hotel; there was a shop, a store room, a kitchen, a small parlour, three bedrooms, a brew house and other convenience. It stated in the advert for the sale that the building would be ideal to carry out a retail business of any description and the lease from the Duke of Beaufort would be for the lives of three persons to be named by the buyer.

Whilst looking for some further information about the Griffin I came across this little snippet. In it Brynmawr is mentioned as a village and some houses called the Double Houses. This was in 1838:-

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, That Application is intended to be made to Parliament in the ensuing Session, for leave to bring in a Bill, to make and maintain a Turnpike Road, to commence at the terminus of the Pontypool Turnpike Trust, at, or near, a certain place called the George Inn, in the town of Pontypool, in the parish of Trevethin, in the county of Monmouth, and to pass from thence through the said parish of Trevethin, and the parishes of Llanover, Llanfoist, and Aberystruth, all in the county of Monmouth aforesaid and to terminate at, and form a junction with, the Turnpike Road leading from the town of Abergavenny, in the county of Monmouth, to the town of Merthyr Tydfil, in the county of Glamorgan, at, or near, a certain place there, called the Double Houses in the village of Brynmawr in the parish of Llanelly in the county of Brecon.

 

The road mentioned would be the road from Pontypool to Brynmawr via Blaina and I’m assuming that would form part of Beaufort Street in Brynmawr with the Turnpike Road being the 1812 road leading from Govilon to Merthyr Tydfil. Nowadays it’s named King Street and the junction would be at what is today the Brynmawr Social Club. Was the original name given to the building the “Double Houses”? I may well be wrong and if anybody has any information on this I would be very pleased to have it.

Historically, the hotel became very important to the town. The Griffin Hotel was the chief stopping place for the mail coach running from Abergavenny to Merthyr. When the third storey was added to the building a Miss Jackson, (she later became Mrs. Wayne), acted as clerk of works and architect; the additions being made by Mr David Jenkins, a builder from Brynmawr. During the great storm of 1881 the demands of travelling salesmen or commercials for beds to sleep in were very great, and it became necessary, even though there were 30 beds in the hotel, to utilise the billiard tables and the couches and every available space for that purpose. At that time Brynmawr was cut off entirely from the outer world for three days. The posting arrangements at one time included 20 horses, a large number of vehicles, and a big staff of employees.

By 1916 the Rhymney Brewery Company who held the licence for the Griffin Hotel decided not to renew the licence on the grounds that the building needed considerable structural repairs. A Mr. W. H. Trump acted on behalf of the Brewery with instructions not to renew the licence if the repairs had not been carried out. Rhymney Brewery regretted taking this step for sentimental reasons because of the historical importance of the hotel but business could not be continued on sentiment. At the licensing meeting held at the Brynmawr Police Court the Chairman, Mr. L. Pritchard said they were sorry that the Griffin Hotel would cease.

In the meantime a new hotel was being built on the corner of Beaufort Street and Bailey Street to replace a previous public house known as The Castle. The old public house was demolished to make way for the New Castle Hotel.

Griffin Hotel 02 Aug 2017

This later became the New Griffin Hotel and a New Castle (a public house) was built on the opposite corner. The new building was certainly there by 1914 but in August 1916 there was   a sale held at the New Castle Hotel so it wasn’t yet called the New Griffin yet in September 1916 there was a sale of freehold cottages held at the New Griffin Hotel so sometime between July and September 1916 the New Castle became the New Griffin.

The Castle was there in 1895 so demolition and construction took place between 1895 and 1914. Materials were brought to the site by horse and cart.

(After the Griffin on the top of Beaufort Street closed its doors as a hotel it became Church House, then The Royal British Legion and it is now the Brynmawr Social Club).

Any further information that could be added to this article would be appreciated.

There are photographs of the New Griffin being built and of the previous tavern in the many books about Brynmawr.

 

 

© Eifion Lloyd Davies July 2017

By 1916 the Rhymney Brewery Company who held the licence for the Griffin Hotel decided not to renew the licence on the grounds that the building needed considerable structural repairs. A Mr. W. H. Trump acted on behalf of the Brewery with instructions not to renew the licence if the repairs had not been carried out. Rhymney Brewery regretted taking this step for sentimental reasons because of the historical importance of the hotel but business could not be continued on sentiment. At the licensing meeting held at the Brynmawr Police Court the Chairman, Mr. L. Pritchard said they were sorry that the Griffin Hotel would cease.In the meantime a new hotel was being built on the corner of Beaufort Street and Bailey Street to replace a previous public house known as The Castle. The old public house was demolished to make way for the New Castle Hotel. 

L-12 The New Castle Hotel

More images of the Griffin Hotel