We have received a very interesting article from Bryan
Rendell on the condition of the Cholera Cemetery up by the main Cefn Gola
Cemetery. Brian has written to the council on the matter, and the below article
is going to appear this week in the Argus. Brian was born in Tredegar, and
attended the local Grammar School until I did National Service in the RAF.
many of your readers can place where this picture was taken?
countless people who have lived in Tredegar, Mon for many years the same
question, and mostly the answer is they don’t know.
This run down isolated, small cemetery is behind the main cemetery at Cefn
the first outbreaks ( King of Terrors)
happened in the years 1831/33, and
the residents buried their dead in ground as far away from the town as
possible, hoping that out of sight might mean out of mind.
epidemic taught the need for great sanitary reforms. The housing conditions
were awful, without ventilation or drainage. The intervals between the houses
were unpaved, often following the lines of the streams serving a conduit for
families were often crowded into single dwellings, and innumerable lodgers,
many of them Irish immigrants, added to the congestion.
one house 35 men were playing cards with influence of heaps of human ordure
and other filthy accumulations present. The stench was unbearable.
valley towns of
and Tredegar seemed to suffer most. The stage was set for outbreaks of
infectious diseases like Asiatic Cholera.
experienced it’s worse cholera outbreak. In Merthyr Tydil
one thousand six hundred and eighty two died – one in 50 of the
Tredegar the death from this disease was 203.
long hot Summer of 1849 scarcely a street in the town was not affected. The
authorities began cleansing operations and lime and disinfectants were given
out. The local doctors began searching frantically for a cure, trying all
known remedies, but without success. Many people turned to religion as a
saviour and the local chapels and churches were packed during the outbreak.
was the stigma attached to the disease that hardly enough people could be
found to bury the dead. Whole families who were healthy one day were dead the
next. Many educated people soon came to realize that the disease wasn’t
caused by the ragged Irish immigrants, but by the dirty and squalid conditions
that were the chief source of the disease.
the approx. 250 victims buried at Tredegar Cholera’s cemetery most of the
deaths occurred in 1849. Many more victims were buried in gardens and on the
mountainside around Tredegar, because such was the stigma.
cholera cemetery is now a forgotten place. Stones have been broken by the
elements and sheep and horses wander freely over the twenty six remaining
gravestones. Some of the inscriptions are still legible in Welsh and English,
and the bulk bear the date 1849.
is a scheduled ancient
importance and is protected by law.
and protected by Law, what are the Council doing to preserve and protect it
one time there was a railings around the site. You can still see the remains
of this rotting away. This site needs some T.L.C, because in another ten or
more years it will start to disappear for ever and someone will then say –“if
only we had known and done something
Have your say on this subject in the forum, Here.