Westgate Hotel

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Westgate Square, showing The Westgate Hotel and Stow Hill

The Westgate Hotel is a Grade II listed hotel in Newport city centre, whose name and site is famous as the scene of the 1839 Chartist riot, the so-called Newport Rising.[1] It is located at the bottom of Stow Hill.

History[edit]

Original Hotel: 1800-1883[edit]

The attack of the Chartists on the Westgate Hotel, 4 November 1839
Main article: Newport Rising

After the demolition of the original West city gate of the city of Newport, the site was reclaimed and a hotel constructed.

On 4 November 1839 local politician and activist John Frost led a march of 3000 Chartists into the centre of Newport. Here he discovered several Chartists had been arrested and were held in the Westgate hotel. British Army troops protecting the hotel opened fire on the marchers, killing over 20 people and wounding 50 more.[2] Bullet holes from the insurrection can still be seen in pillars in the frame of the main door.[3]

Present building: 1884-present[edit]

In 1884, the original hotel was demolished, and the present structure constructed. Designed by local architect E.A. Lansdowne, it incorporated six shops at ground floor level to increase the sites rental income, and placed a new five storey hotel on top, which was twice the floor size of the hotel it replaced,[4] and included the provision of an ornate ballroom.[5] Built by local builder John Linton, it was leased from its opening in 1886 to Samuel Dean of the Castle Hotel for twenty one years.[6] In recent times the building has been converted into an entertainment complex.

In 1991 three statues 'Union, Prudence, Energy' commemorating the 1839 Chartist uprising were installed on Commercial Street at the front of the Westgate Hotel.[2] The hotel also featured in the now-destroyed Chartist Mural.

Present[edit]

The building is currently on the Buildings at Risk Register as substantially unoccupied and beginning to cause concern. The main staircase and richly decorated public rooms are amongst the best surviving examples of their period.[7]

In 2012 Newport Unlimited announced an initiative to bring the hotel back into use[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Newport rebellion, 1839 - the battle for the Westgate Hotel". Chartist Ancestors. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  2. ^ a b John Frost: Leader of the Chartist Rebellion, BBC Wales southeast, last update August 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  3. ^ "Town Guides: Newport". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  4. ^ "The New Westgate Hotel Newport Mon". The Building News. 9 April 1886. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Ball Room, Westgate Hotel Newport Mon". The Building News. 23 April 1886. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "1886- Westgate Hotel, Newport, Wales". The Building News/Archiseek. 9 April 1886. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Register of Buildings at Risk (Report). Newport City Council. June 2009. p. 54. http://www.newport.gov.uk/stellent/groups/public/documents/report/cont033562.pdf. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  8. ^ Westgate Hotel investigation

Coordinates: 51°35′15″N 2°59′48″W / 51.5876°N 2.9966°W / 51.5876; -2.9966