History of Aberystwyth


July 1: Ball Room

In order to provide suitable amusements for visiting gentry a 'Ball Room' was built - later it was know as The Assembly Rooms. The ball room was used mainly at night so during the day it converted into a reading room, card room, billiard room & bar. It was designed by the London architect George Repton and built on land donated by W.E. Powell of Nanteos.

Ball Room Rules include:
A Ball will take place every Tuesday evening during the Season
the first dance to be called at nine o'clock precisely
Country Dances and Quadrilles alternately;
and a dance not to be called after one o'clock
That no Servants be admitted
That no Gentlemen (Military excepted,) be admitted in boots.
The Promenades commence the first Wednesday in July at one o'clock, and continue twice a week during the season. On Wednesday the Welsh Harper attends, and on Fridays, a small Military Band and the Welsh Harp alternately.

Card Room Rules include:
No game of Hazard to be allowed[15]

(Currently the building is used by the university for Music & Education.)

1820 OS Map of Aberystwyth
1820 OS Map of Aberystwyth
by Robert Dawson



Last public whipping through streets of Aberystwyth


Work started on Promenade in front of Marine Terrace - completed in 1874[19]


March: New Religion

Welsh Calvinistic Methodists formed in 32/34 Great Darkgate St (later Co-op now Supersave)

Welsh Coast Near Aberystwith
(Published 1823)

Aberystwith And Cardigan Bay
(Published 1823)

1823 OS Map of Aberystwyth
1823 OS Map of Aberystwyth
Surveyor Thomas Budgen Jr.


Trade Unions

The repeal of the Combination Act in effect legalised Trade Unions. In 1825 new acts were passed to restrict trade union action.

Comments on Apathy, Mining and Rent

The New Aberystwyth Guide - TJL Pritchard, 1824,[15]

Severe reflections have been made, both by strangers and natives, on the lack of ingenuity and spirit of enterprise discoverable in the people of this county, whose apathy continues them poor, although possessing a rich country: while they have the mortification to see strangers bear away their treasures, as well as the palm of industry and science [15]

Mr Evans, in his tour, observes,
"yet, though this country is so prolific in mineral substance, still, from the neglect of centuries, and the indolence, ignorance, and poverty of the present inhabitants, it may be said of its subterraneous treasures, 'Terrae perdunter opes;' and although modern discoveries in chemistry have furnished much better means of separating the metal from the heterogeneous substances combined with it in the ore, both in the humid and empyreumatic way, diminishing labour, and increasing the produce, yet metallurgy seems to have made no advance. It is far from what it ought to be - a science" [15]


" These exactions, are Most pestilent to the hearing."--SHAKSPEARE.

A bitter and justly severe chapter might be written under this head, but certainly not in reference to Aberystwyth, to any great extent; although it is not to be denied that some individuals have injured the growing prosperity and reputation of the town by this most hateful and ruinous system. For ruinous it is, in every sense, both to the good name of the public in this part of the world, and will ultimately prove so to the rapacious and selfish wretches, who disgrace their country and themselves. Would examples avail as warnings of celebrated marine bathing-towns that have out-lived their day of attraction, and sunk into comparative insignificance, they are to be found, contiguously situate, and emphatically destitute of the admiring strangers, that once gave consequence and fashion to those favoured spots ; and the greedy beings who brought on themselves this deserved and unprofitable loneliness, now, vainly mourn and murmur in the shadow of their desolation. What place was so much resorted to as Swansea, till lately? but her attraction has ceased with the growth of extortion, and the bright days of Tenby are no more. The town is comparatively deserted by the visiting public; and the people there, with singular frankness, confess the justice of their doom, and own that their shameful and insatiable spirit of avarice has disgusted and driven them away, perhaps, forever. It will be confessed by them that when their town leaped into unexpected popularity, they became bewildered with their sudden fortune, and were ignorant what to ask for their houses, consequently required thrice as much as they ought; and beyond what the most greedy votaries of exaction would have claimed, either at Brighton, Bath, or Cheltenham. We have heard of two guineas per week being asked at Tenby, for a very ordinary back parlour and bedroom, obscurely situate; and on the infamous terms being acceded to, the wretched proprietor, in the true spirit of unslakeable selfishness has lamented that he did not extort an additional guinea ! Let Aberystwyth, in the youth of her prosperity, think of this, and by shunning the faults, avoid the fates of those towns; and be assured

" I have spoken
Most bitter truths, but without bitterness ;
Nor deem my zeal nor factious, nor mistimed."

Roads may be cut, houses built, piers erected, hills levelled, and hollows filled, and every species of improvement perfected, that taste can suggest, or liberality complete-in vain-absolutely in vain! if the base and grinding spirit of Extortion is once suffered to get root. It will gain ground and undermine the noblest foundations public spirit can lay, and crumble to dust the fairest piles of human ingenuity.
The vampire-spirit of Extortion is the foulest fiend of Lucre, and feeds on its victim's blood securely; unimpeded by the legal bars that bound the progress of other atrocities. Theft has its gallows, murder its gibbet, and suicide its nameless grave amid the cross roads, but Extortion is a chartered villain; and although allied to meanness, cowardice, and robbery, the blood-sucker assumes the name of Thrift, and is sheltered from their disgrace by the intervention of dishonest wealth. But the disguised felon shall not escape; while public indignation has a brand to wield, it shall hiss with fire on his shameless front, and deeply indent the blazing characters of his infamy.


September 27: Railway

Opening of 1st Public Railway (Stockton to Darlington)

Welsh Coast Near Aberystwith
(Published 1825)



After many years investigating photosensitive materials, French inventor Nicéphore Niépce takes the worlds 1st photograph



Cholera pandemic in Europe. It will reach London by 1832 where it will kill over 3000 people


Ruins of Aberystwyth Castle
Aberystwyth Castle Ruins
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau)

Plas Crug near Aberystwith
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau)

Llanbadarn Vawr
(Illustrated by Henry Gastineau)


Castle House - Aberystwyth
From the Castle Hill South Wales

Curiosities of Great Britain
England & Wales delineated
Historical, Entertaining & Commercial
by Thomas Dugdale, Assisted by William Burnett, 1830

ABERYSTWITH, a market town and seaport in the hundred of Glenaur Glynn, and also a township in the parish of Llanbadarn Vawr. It is situated at the confluence or the rivers Ystwith and Rhyddol, at which the former falls into the sea in the bay of Cardigan. The building of a castle, of which some vestiges remain, is attributed to Edward I. It stands on a craggy eminence projecting into the sea at the west of the town, and affords a magnificent view of the whole line of Welsh coast within the bay of Cardigan. The streets are steep and uneven. The houses, which are principally formed of dark slate, present a very singular appearance. For some years past its celebrity, as a summer retreat and bathing-place, has been annually increasing, which is greatly contributed to by the beauty of the neighbourhood, and the commanding prospects around. The roads to it have been made excellent, and the customary amusements of plays and assemblies during the season add to the attractions for summer visitants. There was formerly a herring fishery, and the practice of fishing is still carried on with considerable advantage by the natives. About seven miles north of Aberystwith, on the sea coast, a considerable extent of land, has, by drainage, been recovered; twelve miles of embankment have been formed; and two navigable cuts, with a road of three miles and a stone bridge completed

Mail arrives 7 A.M. departs 5 P.M. —Fairs, 1st Monday in May and November, chiefly for hiring servants.— Bankers, W. Davis and Co., draw on Esdaile and Co.—Inns, Gogerddon Arms, Old Lion, and Talbot.—Markets, Monday and Saturday.



Theatre built at the corner of North Parade and Thespian St


Town's Population 4128 including about 500 seamen. 712 houses

Trail of Tears

America starts a policy of internal Ethnic Cleansing that will last over a decade.



1st Foundry built between harbour and South Rd

Map of Aberystwyth from 1834
Map of Aberystwyth from 1834
Most buildings within the circular old town walls. but some
new buildings now appear to the east and over the bridge

  • Monday before Easter Sunday
  • Whitsun Monday
  • 14th May
  • 24th June
  • 16th September
  • 1st Monday after 11th November
  • Monday before Chirsmas Day

Fairs Aberystwyth in 1834



Municipal Corporations Act brought to an end the Town Corporation and an elected Town Council was formed.


Some repairs are made to castle ruins
It is made illegal to remove stone from the castle ruins (typically used for house building)


St Mike's #1

Chapel of St Michael pulled down

Castle House - Aberystwyth
Chapel of St Michael shown on 1834 Map
It's the building to the south of the large cross shaped building


May 5: Poor

Aberystwyth Poor Law Union / Workhouse


Opening of new Water Works - small reservoir in the dingle under Constitution Hill between Cliff Terrace and Brynymor Road. (In 1883 the main water supply switched to a pipe from Plynlimon)

BrynYmor reservoir - Aberystwyth
BrynYmor Reservoir


Foundation stone of the harbour pier laid
Harbour ranked as the 3rd most important in Wales

REPORT upon the Proposed Municipal Boundary of the Borough of Aberystwith,
House of Commons papers 1837, Volume 26

THE Ancient Limits of the Borough of Aberystwith extend two miles from North to South, and average three quarters of a mile in breadth

The Borough is co-extensive with the Chapelry of Aberystwith, which forms, part of the extensive Parish of Llanbaden-fawr.

Four Rates are raised in the year for the poor, and other purposes each Rate is 1s. in the pound, on two-thirds of the Rack-rent.

The sum raised is about 960l., of which it appears that only 12l. 12s. is annually paid for County Rates.

The amount of Rates in the rural District of the Chapelry is about 100l., principally on land; the inhabitants of the District generally occupying cottages exempt from any Rates whatever.

The Town of Aberystwith is situated on the Western Coast of South Wales, 207 miles from London, and 39 from Cardigan. Within the last few years it has grown into considerable reputation as a Watering Plate, and is The resort of numerous families and occasional visitors, during the season, from all parts of England. It is calculated that in the months of August, September and October upwards of 1,500 persons come to reside in the Town, and that the casual visitors during that period amount tof several thousands.

The Commerce of the Port is principally in Lead Ore, Pig Lead, Oak-bark; Corn and Butter, Coal and Culm are imported from the North and South of Wales; Groceries, Shop-goods and American Timber (direct); and as there is no Market Town within 18 miles, it supplies an extensive rural District.

There is at present no lighting or watching in the Town, nor is it regularly pitched or paved, but an Act for these purposes was obtained during the last Session of Parliament, and a Rate not exceeding 2s. 6d. in the pound on the Rack-rent authorized to be raised on all houses of a 10l. rental, and upwards. Some of the streets are broad, and contain respectable houses and shops, and will probably be much improved under the operation of the new Act. The Marine Terrace consists of a broad Parade facing the sea, with many very excellent houses for private residence, lodging and boarding, and the rents during the season would appear to be as high as in the best frequented watering places elsewhere. A Square has been recently much improved, with handsome buildings both public and private; and there is a confident expectation prevailing throughout the Town and neighbouring rural district, that extensive building speculations now entertained by the noblemen and gentlemen, proprietors of the land, will be carried into effect. The appearance of the Town, with the exception of the parts alluded to, is not particularly distinguished for superior neatness and respectability; the observation applies more especially to the little village or rather suburb of Trefechan.

An addition to the Old Borough was made by the Parliamentary Commissioners, on the North East of the Ancient Limits, to include land that was then and is still very generally considered as liable to be built over, as soon as the tenure by which it is at present held will admit;

The existing Limits are greater than what, by our Instructions, we are called on to propose for the future, but it is difficult to recommend any mode of abridging these Limits with reference to the future increase of the Town. The proposed buildings will probably extend along the whole line of the Hereford Road within the present Boundary, and ultimately unite the little village of Pen-y-dyna with the Town. There is also a disposition to build over the land on the Western side near the Harbour; but the land to the East of the Hereford Road, being subject to be flooded, is not likely to be occupied with buildings.


January 5: Infirmary

Opening of the Aberystwyth Infirmary and Cardigan General Hospital on Upper Portland Street. This was funded by charitable contributions.



Tea for Opium

The British love of tea leads to a huge trade deficit with China. Even though prohibited, Britain started selling opium into China to balance the trade. Alarmed at the damage opium was doing to it's people China became more strict in enforcing the ban on Opium. Britain's response was to send battle ships to what is now known as The First Opium War


Aberystwyth is one of the 1st towns in Britain to get Gas Street Lighting (Electric street lighting arrives in 1894)