Gwesty Porth Gorllewin
Westgate Hotel from Westgate Square
|Architectural style||Regency and French Renaissance|
|Classification||Grade II listed|
|Location||Commercial Street, Newport|
|Address||Westgate Buildings, Commercial Street|
|Town or city||Newport|
|Design and construction|
The Westgate Hotel, Commercial Street, Newport, Wales is a hotel building dating from the 19th century. On 4 November 1839 the hotel saw the major scenes of the Newport Rising, when 3,000 Chartists led by John Frost marched on Newport to attempt to secure the release of five of their number who were being held at the Westgate Hotel. The subsequent battle between the Chartists and about 100 soldiers saw 22 of the Chartists killed and upwards of 50 wounded. The hotel is a Grade II listed building.
History [ edit ]
After the demolition of the original West city gate of the city of Newport, the site was reclaimed and a hotel constructed in 1779 on the site of a 15th century house.
The Westgate Hotel was the location of the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in Great Britain. 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 22 people and wounding 50 more. Holes in the pillars at the entrance to the hotel are assumed, by some, to be bullet holes from the insurrection. The hotel was rebuilt in 1884 but the original pillars were retained. The story was reflected in the Manic Street Preachers' 2014 song "The View from Stow Hill."
In 1884, the original hotel was demolished, and the present structure constructed in French Renaissance style. 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, and included the provision of an ornate ballroom. 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.
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. The hotel also featured in the 1978 Chartist Mural which was demolished during the development of Friars Walk in Newport city centre. In 2009 the building was placed 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.
In 2012 Newport Unlimited announced an initiative to bring the hotel back into use. In May 2017 the property was offered for auction with a guide price of between £1.5m and £1.75m. The building was purchased in October 2017 by Rugby Property Assets Limited of Warwickshire.
In July 2019, Our Chartist Heritage announced they would re-open part of the Westgate Buildings for a temporary display. The charity worked with the consortium who own the building, and a local Newport graphic artist named Josh Cranton, to bring the building up to a viable state and present it to the public ahead of the anniversary of the Chartist Rising. The interior was repainted due to the rapidly deteriorating condition of the building, and a free display was organised to pay tribute to the events of the Newport Rising. The hotel is a Grade II listed building.
Gallery [ edit ]
The attack of the Chartists on the Westgate Hotel, 4 November 1839
References [ edit ]
- John Frost: Leader of the Chartist Rebellion, BBC Wales southeast, last update August 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- Westgate Hotel pillars
- Westgate Hotel in the Chartist Rising
- Notes from the Band
- "Newport rebellion, 1839 - the battle for the Westgate Hotel". Chartist Ancestors. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- "The New Westgate Hotel Newport Mon". The Building News. 9 April 1886. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- "The Ball Room, Westgate Hotel Newport Mon". The Building News. 23 April 1886. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- "1886- Westgate Hotel, Newport, Wales". The Building News/Archiseek. 9 April 1886. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- Register of Buildings at Risk(PDF) (Report). Newport City Council. June 2009. p. 54. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
- Westgate Hotel investigation
- "Newport's Westgate Hotel sold". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
- "Hotel at the centre of Chartist uprising to open its doors for first time in more than a decade for graphic novel launch". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 2019-07-15.
- Cadw. "Westgate Hotel (Grade II) (3015)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 2 April 2020.