Llanelly Map 1860From a letter written by an old 'Llanellyite', now in the Llanelli Reference Library [1], David George Hogg (1858-1941) narrates his boyhood memories of the town centre, once the park and grounds of Llanelly House. The Park was surrounded by a high wall that continued all the way down Murray Street to the junction by Greenfield Chapel where there was an entrance gateway for horse-carriages entering this park.

Station Road Llanelly 1845The sketch by A. T. Thomas, The First of Station Road, was probably drawn from this entrance gateway. It gives us a glimpse of how the old industrial part of Llanelli to the south of the town looked in the mid 19 century. Included in the scene are the Copperworks and its associated docks as well as the foundry on the Wern. The park wall then continued as far north as Bradbury Hall which was a large house that was occupied by Mr Bagot, Manager of the Llanelly Gasworks. The site of Bradbury Hall is now the present day pub called 'Stamps'.

He describes what would have been the demise of the park in the 1860s and the development and birth of the main shopping centre of the town.

Llanelli Park 1850Then Thomas Street, Market Street and Water Street were the main thoroughfares of the town and would have been the location of the important business and tradesmen's shops. Also there was an old market place which was encompassed by Market Street, Park Street and Water Street. Its entrance was via a passageway between the Llanelly Mercury Printing Office and Newark's China shop in Market Street [3]. Upon entering one passed the butchers and flannel shops. As well as being the market place it was also where the fair was held and at its north end, near Water Street, Mr Studd located his giant swing which would hold fifty people! Today Tinnopolis studio marks the site of the old market place.

Entrance to the old market place between the Newark china shop and Llanelly Mercury print shopAccording to D. G. Hogg, fairs were also held near to the site of the old Cambrian Hotel, now [2013] the restaurant known as Altalia. Opposite the Pottery School (Market Street School), was the printing shop of The South Wales Press, whose editor was Mr Mee, father of Arthur Mee, (the Llanelli historian).

Early cricket was played in the Llanelly House Park, somewhere on the site of the present-day market place, but later it moved from the Stepney ground and was played on a pitch between Swansea Road and James Street. John Innes' descriptions of the location of the pitch are close by, at College Square [4]. The game was later played at Stradey. He recollected the early cricket players wearing flannels.

What is now Stepney Street, Murray Street and the Llanelli Market, was once a beautiful park until the mid-nineteenth century.

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[1] Llanelli Library Local Collection LC100
[2] The making of Station Road c1845 A T Thomas sketch
[3] Market Street Photograph – Llanelli Ref Library.
[4] 'Old Llanelly' by John Innes p 147
[5] 'Llanelly Park' by A T Thomas Snr.