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, also called the Newport Rising.[1] It is located at the bottom of Stow Hill.


Original Hotel: 1800-1883[edit]

The attack of the Chartists on the Westgate Hotel, 4 November 1839

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] Holes in the pillars at the entrance to the hotel are assumed, by some, to be bullet holes from the insurrection. This belief was reflected in the Manic Street Preachers' song "The View from Stow Hill."[3] However, this is unlikely as the building was rebuilt in 1884.[4]

Present building: 1884-present[edit]

Union, Prudence, Energy - the sculpture outside The Westgate Hotel commemorating the Chartist Movement and Newport Rising 1839.

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,[5] and included the provision of an ornate ballroom.[6] 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.[7] In recent years the building was converted into an entertainment complex. In May 2017 the property was offered for auction with a guide price of between £1.5m and £1.75m; it was sold in October 2017, but the buyer and the sale price were not disclosed.[8]

In 1991 three statues, 'Union, Prudence, Energy' by Christopher Kelly, commemorating the 1839 Chartist uprising were installed on Commercial Street at the front of the Westgate Hotel.[2] The hotel also featured in the Chartist Mural which was removed during redevelopment work to Newport city centre.


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.[9]

In 2012 Newport Unlimited announced an initiative to bring the hotel back into use[10]


  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. ^ Notes from the Band
  4. ^ "Town Guides: Newport". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  5. ^ "The New Westgate Hotel Newport Mon". The Building News. 9 April 1886. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Ball Room, Westgate Hotel Newport Mon". The Building News. 23 April 1886. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "1886- Westgate Hotel, Newport, Wales". The Building News/Archiseek. 9 April 1886. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Register of Buildings at Risk (PDF) (Report). Newport City Council. June 2009. p. 54. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Westgate Hotel investigation

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