Newport is the third largest city in Wales, with a city population of 145,736. The charming city can be found in south east Wales on the River Usk, around 12 miles northeast of the welsh capital, Cardiff. Granted city status in 2002, Newport hosted the Ryder Cup in 2010 and will be the venue of the 2014 NATO summit. A variety of major regeneration projects have been carried out on the city since 2004.
Newport was created after the Normans conquered Gwent in 1093. In the early 12th century they built a castle by a ford in the River Usk. The town outgrew the earlier Roman town of Caerleon, gaining its first charter in 1314. It grew considerably in the 19th century, when its port became the centre of coal exports from the eastern valleys of south Wales. Until the rise of Cardiff from the 1850s, Newport was Wales’ largest coal-exporting port.
During the 20th century, the docks declined in importance, but Newport remained an important manufacturing and engineering centre for Wales. Newport suffered severely in the depression of the 1930s and unemployment was at a high, but its industries began to boom again when World War II began. Newport suffered a number of air raids during the Second World War. However after 1945 the town continued to flourish. In 1949 St Woolos Church was made a cathedral.
A number of famous faces have originated from, or are connected to, Newport. Just a few are listed below.
Tony Pulis (born 16 January 1958) – Welsh football manager and former footballer, who was most recently manager of Crystal Palace.
Sir Terence Hedley Matthews KBE, FREng, FIEE (born 6 June 1943) – Welsh-Canadian business magnate, serial high tech entrepreneur and the first billionaire to be born in Wales.
Michael Sheen OBE (born 5 February 1969) – Welsh actor
Desmond Llewelyn (12 September 1914 – 19 December 1999) – Was a Welsh actor. He played Q in 17 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1999.
Not much remains of Newport’s pre-industrial past apart from the cathedral and the ruins of Newport Castle, squeezed between traffic-clogged Kings Way and the river. The castle was part destroyed by Owain Glynd?r in 1402 and was never properly refurbished. Only the section facing the river is still standing and sadly it’s not possible to enter the site.
St Woolos Cathedral/Newport Cathedral
Newport’s ancient cathedral provides a fascinating walk through history. The cathedral is the Diocese of Monmouth, in the Church in Wales, and seat of the Bishop of Monmouth. The name “Woolos” comes from Gwynllyw, the 5th-century Welsh saint who first founded a religious establishment on the site. When visiting the city, this is always a must-see for tourists.
The spindly towers of the 1906 Transporter Bridge rise over the river, about a mile south of the city centre. A extraordinary piece of Edwardian engineering, it can carry up to six cars across the river in a gondola suspended beneath the high-level track, while still allowing ships to pass beneath. It’s also the largest of eight such bridges remaining in the world.