Philip Cox, chairman of Friends of Newport Ship, writes about Newport's Heritage for the Argus campaign We're Backing Newport. From the Medieval Ship to the Transporter Bridge, the city has lots to offer.
Our rich heritage is fascinating, and each site is deliciously intertwined with others. Newport Museum holds many key artefacts for the projects that are ‘owned’ by the City, the Museum itself, the Medieval Ship and the Transporter Bridge, plus it links with Roman Caerleon and Caerwent and Fourteen Locks; a veritable ‘string of pearls’ with which Newport is blessed.
Our maritime trading history is enriched by the many vessels found on the fringes of the Severn Estuary which need to be displayed and interpreted for all to understand.
From prehistoric plank boats, the celtic-romano ‘Barlands Farm’ boat, the Medieval Ship and so many others, Newport acted as a hub, a lowest crossing point of the Usk, a major port with canal connections, a ships’ graveyard and so much more.
The Friends of Newport Ship have always taken the widest possible view about supporting all heritage tourism in and around Newport and South East Wales. It is only by collaborative working that we can piggy-back on each other’s visitors and encourage people to learn about Newport’s past, its heritage and its attractions.
The Newport Medieval Ship project will see over 2,200 visitors this calendar year (almost double last year’s figure), many referred by other Newport sites, and most of our visitors are referred on to other sites, including St Woolos’ Cathedral, our canals, our ornamental gardens and more widely the CADW sites and other regional attractions.
When a final home is found for the Medieval Ship, it is estimated that it will draw somewhere around 150,000 visitors a year into Newport – that’s worth something like £7million to our local economy. All these visitors can be directed to other ‘linked’ sites to increase footfall and potential spending in Newport.
The Medieval Ship Centre is open on Saturdays until Saturday, December 10.
Newport Transporter Bridge
One of the many attractions Newport has to offer visitors is our iconic Transporter Bridge. Only eighteen “Aerial Ferries” were ever built and just eight remain, of which six are working. There are three bridges in Britain; the other two are at Middlesbrough and Warrington.
People visit from all over the world and the Visitors’ Book in the Visitor Centre indicates their amazement and admiration for our magnificent Bridge. Some come because they have seen it on Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys or Fiona Bruce’s Antiques Road Show, which are shown worldwide.
The Visitors’ Centre will remain open seven days a week 10 to 4 until the end of November, despite the Bridge itself being closed until Easter.
Following the success of this year’s calendar, the Friends have produced a 2017 edition. Last Christmas, it was sent all over the world. It shows our splendid bridge in all its moods with stunning photographs.
The calendar is available at the Visitor Centre, Maindee Library Plus and by ringing the contact number below.
Our Chartist Heritage
“Newport - City of Democracy” asserts the unique identity of the city, affirming its involvement with the Chartist and Suffragette movements.
This marque, which is just as important to the city’s future as to its past, will allow Newport to develop sustainable assets that reinforce its heritage, raise its profile and market the city for tourism, education and investment purposes.
Our Chartist Heritage aspires to create assets to raise the profile of Newport's Chartist heritage, making the area become more widely known nationally and internationally as the location of the Newport Rising - one of the most significant events in the shaping of British democracy.
By providing a better appreciation of its central role in the ultimate achievement of Votes for All, many opportunities will be created for the city to hold fun-filled festivals and special events celebrating “Newport - City of Democracy”.
Fourteen Locks & the Mon Brec & Abergavenny Canals Trust
The guiding principle of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust is 'Progress Through Partnerships' and, through managing the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, it is backing the future of our local heritage in partnership with Newport City Council.
Although only small, the Canal Centre has excellent facilities, including a wonderful cafe and is well placed off Junction 27 of the M4.
Vitally for Newport, the Centre attracts around forty-five thousand people each year; it is also an important hub for the community. Heritage Lottery Funding has played a crucial role in the restoration of the top section of the Lock Flight and in developing a volunteer programme.
One of the most recent developments has been to establish a Canal and Countryside Volunteer group with Newport Council. This is an exciting project which can only help maintain this wonderful location for the benefit of all. Fourteen Locks is most definitely backing Newport.
Newport Cathedral: “A Norman Jewel Set in a Medieval Casket!”
This is how Newport Cathedral has been described, standing on a site which has been practicing Christianity for over 1500 years.
Today, the Cathedral stands in all its glory, surrounded by an island of trees at the top of Stow Hill, here, in the city of Newport, beckoning visitors to come and “Walk Through Time” and explore this ancient historic building.
Steeped in history, the Cathedral also has connections with the Chartist Movement and an inscribed plaque reminds us of the story of over twenty people who died in 1839 when troops fired into a crowd of Chartist supporters demonstrating outside the Westgate Hotel.
Ten of the Chartist martyrs were buried in unmarked graves within the Cathedral churchyard.
Whether you have known the Cathedral before or have never been inside, do come along and visit Newport’s very historic Cathedral and oldest and most beautiful interior public space. You can be assured that a warm welcome awaits you on your visit.
In "Backing Newport" the Cathedral recognises the importance of inter-relationship with other Heritage Sites and referral of tourists to other attractions, encouraging them to learn more about Newport's rich history.
All these visitor attractions are staffed by volunteers. Anyone who is interested in volunteering and has the time is asked to contact the attraction direct:
Friends of Newport Ship: 07411 149678, newportship.org
Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge: 07802 487042, fontb.org.uk
Fourteen Locks: 01633 892167, fourteenlocks.mbact.org.uk
Friends of Newport Cathedral: 07933 627 594, newportcathedral.org.uk
Our Chartist Heritage: www.our-chartist-heritage.co.uk
Support your local heritage – support the many local projects that bring people into Newport, to stay in our hotels, guest houses and B&Bs, eat in our restaurants and spend money in our shops.
Newport’s heritage sites are all backing Newport – are you?