Powys: A Day in the Life

1891

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The Bulwark, Brecon
The Bulwark, Brecon
Powys County Archives

Transport

Horse-drawn Transport in Brecon

Horses were still essential for transport of goods and people, although by the end of the nineteenth century this tended to be for shorter distances than before the advent of the railways. Kelly's Directory of 1895 noted that:

"An omnibus from The Castle Hotel meets the up and down trains and conveys passengers to any part of the town."


Advert from Kelly's Directory
Advert from Kelly's Directory
Powys County Archives

A widow and her son ran a local livery stables, where horse drawn vehicles were available for hire.

1891 Census
3 Bulwark
Name Position in
household
Marital
status
Age Occupation Place of Birth English/Welsh
speaker
Jane Medcalfe Head Wid 66 Livery Stable Proprietor Breconshire Brecon English
David John Medcalfe Son S 32 Manager Livery Stables Breconshire Brecon English
Miriam Medcalfe Dau S 24 Housekeeper Breconshire Brecon English
Jane J Medcalfe Dau S 22 Assisting in House Breconshire Brecon English

Kelly's lists a John Medcalfe as a fly proprietor at 3 The Bulwark 4 years later - a fly being a type of horse drawn vehicle. This advertisement was taken from Bennett's Directory of the same year:
"J J MEDCALFE
LIVERY STABLES, BRECON.

Licensed to let Post Horses, Flys, Dog Carts &c. Wedding Carriages on the shortest notice. Hearses & Mourning Coaches. Established 1857."

Advert for J J Medcalfe
Powys County Archives

They may have relied on the services of Edward Dennison, a horsebreaker who trained horses for riding or pulling vehicles. His stepson was employed in another branch of the transport industry as a railway fireman:

1891 Census
Cerrigcochion Old Toll House, Brecon
Name Position in
household
Marital
status
Age Occupation Place of Birth English/Welsh
speaker
Edward Dennison Head M 27 Horsebreaker Breconshire Brecon English
Mary Dennison Wife M 44   Montgomeryshire Newtown English
David J Morris Stepson S 21 Railway Fireman Glamorgan Merthyr Tydfil English
Edward Morris Stepson S 13 Newspaper deliverer Glamorgan Merthyr Tydfil English

Delivery cart from the Emporium, Llandrindod Wells
Delivery cart for The Emporium, Llandrindod Wells, c1910.
Radnorshire Museum



A coach driver, or coachman might have worked privately for one employer such as a local landowner, or be available for general hire. William Williams also had a saddler in his household, another man dependant on the horse industry. Even his son was a grocer's haulier although this may have been a handcart rather than horse drawn transport.


1891 Census
3 George Street, Brecon
Name Position in
household
Marital
status
Age Occupation Place of Birth English/Welsh
speaker
William Williams Head M 48 Coachman Carmarthenshire Caio Both
Ann Williams Wife M 46 Dressmaker Carmarthenshire Talley Both
William Williams Son S 21 Grocer's haulier Carmarthenshire Llandingat Both
Jane Williams Dau S 19 Domestic servant Carmarthenshire Llandingat Both
Daniel Williams Son S 17 General labourer Carmarthenshire Llandingat Both
John L Williams Son S 16 Tailor's apprentice Carmarthenshire Llandingat Both
Ann E Jones Lodger S 15 Scholar Carmarthenshire Mothvey Both
William W Vaughan Lodger S 19 Saddler Breconshire Talgarth English

Horses were also dependant on blacksmiths who were still in great demand in 1891.

1891 Census
13 Maendu Street, Brecon
Name Position in
household
Marital
status
Age Occupation Place of Birth English/Welsh
speaker
Edwin Hill Head M 54 Sawyer Hay Brecon English
Margaret Hill Wife M 53 Laundress Brecon Both
David Hill Son S 27 Blacksmith Brecon English
William Hill Son S 18 Grocer's labourer Brecon English
Emily G Hill Dau   4   Brecon English
Edwin J Hill Grandson   9   Brecon English

Blacksmith in Radnorshire
Stansbatch Smithy, Radnorshire, 1930
Radnorshire Museum

Many people were also involved in the provision of coaches.


Workers on Trains in Brecon
Horse Drawn Transport

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