The Strand Hotel, corner of North Road and The Strand, Newport 1964

    By Mark Macdonald

    It’s hard to imagine a Victorian-era pub standing here, but The Strand Hotel, known as the ‘house of call for Anglers’, opened in this spot in 1894, serving sea-weary travellers and fisherfolk. 

    Around 1914 the original Newport Power Station, now Newport Park, began construction and brought a huge influx of workers. These men sought a well-deserved drink and a place to rest after their gruelling jobs. The nearby Strand Hotel was the perfect place to get on the grog. Business boomed, with the hotel hiring three full-time barmaids to cope with the crowds. But as the power station brought thirsty patrons, it also brought clouds of pollution. In 1946, the weight of soot and grit caused the hotel’s balcony ceiling to collapse. It took two men two weeks to remove the 3 tonnes of it.

    Toward the end of the hotel’s life it hosted the ‘Happy Half Hour’ every Friday from 5.30pm to 6.00pm, when all beers were free of charge. Today, where once upon a time riotous crowds of labourers, sailors and dock workers plonked down to hoist their ales in rambunctious camaraderie, the lively Strand Hotel has been swept away, replaced by quiet suburban housing. 

    THEN & NOW
    THEN & NOW
    Column by Mark McDonald. If you like historical Then and Now photos of the west, follow

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