Chapel Street’s Mount Cottages

Local historian and AbergelePost stalwart Andy (Nigel) Hilton has responded to the discussion about Mount Cottages over on this page.

He says: “I’ve managed to cobble together the relevant sections of two halves of the 1872 OS Map covering the Chapel Street/High Street area. They may shed some light on Andrew Hesketh’s comments regarding the 2 other Mount Cottage properties in the vicinity of the Old Police Station. I’ve also found an aerial photo which shows that same area, probably in the 1930’s I’d guess.”

Chapel St.1872 aerial view of Abergele

 

 

Author: Gareth Morlais

12 thoughts on “Chapel Street’s Mount Cottages

  1. There appears to be some slippage on the mating line of the map, if you line up the entry into the north part of the gas works, the buildings at the top end of High Street align better, there was a dog leg into High Street and field lines which can confuse. High Street was not improved when the terrace of cottages was built soon after the publication of your maps, but remained a bad corner until Llanfair road was improved in the 1950s.

  2. Unfortunately, that’s very true Brian. The original 1872 map I had brief access to is huge, one which I covered in a total of 12 photos, not all taken from the same height and with some slightly more off-vertical than others. As a result, the original images, when processed, were of slightly differing sizes and with varying elements of lens distortion. My lack of imaging (and photographic) skills, subsequently gave me all sorts of problems.Just trying to re-scale the map sections sufficiently to mate up the 2 halves being but one of them. Andrew Hesketh’s query related to properties he believed were in the vicinity of the old Police Station. I’d hoped that by including the east side of Chapel Street, even though it doesn’t line up perfectly, it might give him a better overall idea of the area.
    The additional information you’ve kindly provided in your comments will allow readers to better place things in their true context, so many thanks for that. Do you, by any chance, have any old maps of the area later than 1872, which might shed further light on the topic for Andrew?

  3. A good source of old maps that I have used in the past, can be found at http://www.cassinimaps.com, where there are several maps based on the 1″ series (sheet 116) available. Larger scale O/S maps sheets SH 9476-9576 (for Abergele Town) of various ages are held by the planning office and I believe can be viewed and copied by appointment, through the planning office. There are also several subscription and free historical map sites besides the main Ordnance Survey site on the net that have O/S sheets on view and can be printed off or in some cases “captured” with screen shots. You may need to obtain a licence from O/S to publish any part of these maps, but this is usually free for non-profit & research purposes.
    On the subject of the properties by the old police station site: The Chapel Street/Llanfair Road by the Police station was altered over time, the two main alterations being when the terrace of cottages ( Bryntirion Terrace) was built on the site of the farm orchard and retaining wall was built on the east side which made a bad kink (easily negotiated by horse transport up to Austin 7 days) at this stage much of the High Street farm buildings were demolished or altered and I would suggest that many other buildings by the road went at the same time, besides minor changes the area remained much the same until the aforementioned “kink” was removed, Llanfair Road widened and the retaining walls were rebuilt where the road was lowered, this happened in stages at the end of the 50s into the 60s though I am not sure of the precise dating., and has remained basically unaltered since. I hope this helps.

  4. This is fascinating, and I truly welcome the images and discussion. As an unintended consequence, it has helped me pinpoint the two Rose Cottages between the terraced houses on the west side of Chapel Street and the Chapel itself.

    Regarding Mount Cottages: I’ve tried to be the 1911 enumerator and walked this several times, but each time I’m thrown by imagining the immediate direction he (Ben Cybi Williams) took after the Police Station. He goes up the west side of Chapel Street, the 2 Rose Cottages, the Chapel, and arrives at the Police Station. He then immediately records the two Mount Cottages, followed by Field Cottage and is then on the west side of New Street.

    To get from the station to New Street he has ignored High Street, Mill Crescent, Pen-y-Banc and The Bull (all of which are recorded elsewhere in the Census). He records three dwellings between the station and New Street – Mount Cottages and Field Cottage. I can only think they lay up the narrow road to New Street that run between Fern Bank and The Bull, in the vicinity of Compton Yard.

    Your thoughts are welcome!

  5. I am pretty certain that Mr Ben Cybi Williams must have lost a page from his notes because I am pretty certain that the Mount Cottages were to the W of “The Mount”, behind the then “Pen y Bont” and nearby was another structure that could have been Field Cottage.
    I am sure that this has been discussed on these pages in the past. On your map “Abergele East” these structures are shown in red as inhabited, but the 1947 map of the same area shows only the outline, so indicating derelict structures.
    I can remember in the late 40s. that the larger remains were perhaps what may have been a pair of semi-detached cottages, backing right onto the Gele, with a defined plot of land (garden?) running alongside the river up to the path which coming from Faenol Ave was wide enough for tractor to access the narrow field by the river which was cultivated until the mid 50s. Also there were a few stones about 20yds. to the SE of this suggesting the outline of a small two roomed building or cattle shed. Access to them at that time was past the Hesketh Market or along the Narrow Gele footpath from Water St., widening after crossing the river on its way to Faenol Ave.
    There appeared to be no definite track to either of these structures, nor is one shown on either map. The area became more isolated after the building of the County School.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts Nigel. This has been discussed elsewhere as you say, and your recollections of remains adds weight to the idea that there were ‘Mount Cottages’ near the Mount – which, of course, makes sense.

    However It’s not just the 1911 Census that suggests that ‘Mount’ cottages also existed behind Chapel Street in the New Street area. The final entries for District 2 in the 1901 Census, immediately after the enumerator concluded New Street, are “Back Chapel Street” and there are two uninhabited building referred to simply as “Mount”. This would place them in the same sort of area that I believe Mr. Williams was in when he recorded something similar in 1911.

  7. Does the Model Railway Club now occupy the upper part of the cottages we are looking for? In general conversation with a friend who also worked on the “Christmas Card Special” that worked out from the Abergele Post Office in the late 40s and 50s he reminded me that there was some mail addressed to Back Chapel Street which was delivered to these cottages, now I believe to be occupied by a motor repair workshop and recently a computer repair business. The Mount didn’t however ring a bell, but I think this may be in the right area.

  8. I’ve been fascinated by this thread and grateful for the valuable input from Brian above. His recollections pre-date my own by some years so have proved wonderful memory-joggers in many respects so, thank you for that. Thanks also to Huw Waters for the selection of maps of the area between 1872-1970.
    Maybe Brian can confirm the following vague memory I have that, way back in the 1950’s, the narrow access to New Street, off Chapel Street (between Fern Bank and The Bull) was also known locally as the Mount. If that’s the case and following the Enumerators’ path as described by Andrew above, can I postulate the following:
    At the west end of New Street (almost due north of the gasometer), is a building (also shown on the 1872 map above) to the left of the number 787. I wonder if this was Field Cottage – there is/are field(s) adjacent to it. Moving forward in time to the 1913 map there now appears one long building with 2 smaller conjoined ones on a north-south alignment, immediately west of that ‘Field Cottage’. Could the 2 dwellings be Andrew’s Mount Cottages? The 1899/1900 maps both merely show one long building whilst the 2+1 configuration subsists as late as the 1970 map. The last time I was in that area of town was approx. 2001, when I took my old Land Rover to be serviced at the garage that used premises in the yard there. Unfortunately, I can’t now remember the exact layout of the properties.
    Perhaps Brian can shed further light on this?

  9. I think Nigel has come to the correct conclusion in his search for these structures, his description seems to fit in with the ground features and also local memories. AirFilms photograph WPW025177 which is an unidentified plate, shows the area clearly, interestingly also showing the gasworks just past its zenith with chimneys still standing from the small retort house and two gasholders, there were eventually a total of three small gasholders to serve the town and Pensarn when the gas was supplied by the Rhyl Gasworks.
    In passing I mentioned “The Christmas Card Special”, to explain, youths were used to deliver the masses of Christmas Post which arrived at the Abergele Sorting Office for the week before Christmas, providing they had the permission of their parents and the Headmaster of their school. The sacks of mail were sorted in the usual way but then put into a large pantechnicon with up to six youths and a regular postman or two, the rear doors having been removed to make life easier (no H & S in those days) the boys (and the odd girl) delivering to the door under the guidance of the postman, parcels and mail, if you were a bit slow you would have to run up the street after the van. At times it looked like Fred Carno’s Circus but proved a very efficient operation giving some exercise and well earned Christmas Cash to the youth of Abergele.

  10. Nigel / Brian – very many thanks for the time and effort expended trying to help me make sense of this. Particular thanks to Nigel for the email which further detailed Brian’s suggestion into what I think is a correct theory – that the southern part of Compton Yard row was two dwellings at the turn of the century, and that they are the elusive ‘Mount Cottages’.

    I have taken a little walk to have a look. Today those two parts are listed as Units 1 & 2, indicating an internal partition of sorts, and today they are run by the Conwy Model Railway Club. I have not been inside but they are a little different to the rest of the row from an external inspection. For a start they share a chimney stack. By comparison to the single stack at the north end, the southern stack is relatively ‘ornate’ in that it is partially of the yellow brick prominently seen on Gele Avenue. It also is topped by two pairs of pots suggesting two dwellings beneath. By comparison, the other stack is of plain red-brick with one pair of pots. Also, the rest of the row appears more akin to use as warehouse / storage, including wide ‘doors’ on the upper floor for winching things up and down. Perhaps that part of the row was used by Fern Bank Dairy? The location would also fit just about perfectly with the likely routes taken by the 1901 and 1911 enumerators.

    I think, gentlemen, that you may have cracked it!

  11. Thanks again to Brian for his recollections and valuable input.I well remember the ‘Christmas Card Special’ he mentions in that when I was at the Grammar School (as it was known in those days),several of the 6th Formers would assist with the Christmas deliveries.Ellis Wynne Williams, the well known Local Historian and Author, had 3 sons at the same school two of whom to my certain knowledge undertook those duties.
    Regarding the image Brian mentions,I know the one you mean. That, along with other fascinating photos being available on the ‘Britain From Above’ site.I’m pleased that, between us, we appear to have located Andrew’s elusive cottages.I wonder if the Rates Books of the time would have confirmed matters with certainty. Cheers all.

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