In October 1927 Lord Tredegar leased 70 acres of Tredegar Park to the Newport Corporation to develop for public recreation.
The Town Clerk reported to the Parks Committee that he had written to express the Council's thanks for "the gift of Viscount Tredegar and the Hon. Evan Morgan of a portion of the Deer Park at Tredegar Park for playing fields and open spaces for their lives upon the terms set out in a letter from the agent of the Tredegar Estate dated 10th October 1927". The Committee considered how this land should be laid out and the Borough Engineer submitted a plan showing cricket and football pitches, tennis courts, and bowling greens, the approximate cost of which, including gates and fencing, would be £7,100. He stated that it would be advantageous if an area of about 30 acres of the ground were raised, and this would cost another £10,000. The Committee agreed to discuss this suggestion with the Tredegar Estate Agent and to seek consent to take soil from another part of the park for the purpose.
The ambitious plans being considered by the Parks Committee depended on receiving permission to borrow the necessary sums of money, but in February 1928 the Committee learned that the Ministry of Health would not be prepared to approve the borrowing of money for the work proposed, owing to the special circumstances under which the land would be held by the Corporation (meaning the leasing of the land for the lifetime of Lord Tredegar and his heir). At the same meeting the Committee agreed that the land be fenced, and that two rugby football pitches and two association football pitches be provided; also that facilities for cricket and other games be provided without the expense of preparing pitches. Later in February a tender was approved from Messrs W. A. Baker & Co. for the supply and installation of fencing. At the end of April it was reported that the fencing of the Tredegar Park land would be ready by the end of May.
In May 1928 Committee agreed that the section of the Ebbw River running through the land forming the Tredegar Park Recreation Ground (about 695 yards) should be fenced off from the remainder of the park. Later in the month the Committee agreed to accept a quotation from W. A. Baker & Co., the contractor for the boundary fencing, to supply and erect iron fencing alongside the river at a price of £309-17s-9d.
Tredegar Park Recreation Ground was officially opened by the Mayor of Newport on the afternoon of the 28th September 1928, though at this stage very few facilities existed. In May 1929 the Parks Committee agreed that 24 seats be provided in the Recreation Ground, twelve with and twelve without backs. The levelling of the land was reported to be in progress in August 1930. In September 1930 the Committee agreed that main entrance gates be constructed, as well as a Park Ranger's cottage, a bowls pavilion and a lavatory building. It was also agreed to accept a tender from S. G. Taverner & Co. to build a concrete wall along the bank of the River Ebbw at a cost of £699. A tender from Mr J. W. Rabbitt for £2,347-5s-8d was accepted in October for construction of the entrance gates and buildings. In January 1931 the lodge was in the course of construction and a decision as to whether to fit gas or electric lighting was left to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Parks Committee. The concrete wall along the bank of the River Ebbw was reported to be under construction in April 1931.
It was agreed by the Committee in March 1931 that a tablet commemorating the opening of Tredegar Park Recreation Ground be placed at the entrance, and on 18th June 1931 the Mayor formally opened the new gates and games facilities. At its meeting the following day the Parks Committee accepted the tender of Messrs Richards & Son to supply refreshments in the Recreation Ground for the remainder of that year and to erect a building for the purpose in a position approved by the Borough Architect and Parks Superintendent.
In April 1934 the Parks Committee and the Electricity and Tramways Committee jointly agreed that a turning circle for buses be constructed at the entrance to the Recreation Ground and that Corporation buses would run there during summer time from 10:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night. A tender to carry out this work was awarded to Mr G. F. Leadbeter, in July, the cost being £504-13s-2d. He was asked to complete sufficient work to enable the turning place to be used on the August bank holiday. In October 1934 the turning place was completed.
The official Guide & Handbook to Newport Mon., 1938, described the park thus: This is a beautiful natural park, presented to the town in 1927 by the late Viscount Tredegar. It is a very favourite spot, and can be reached by a circular walk over Stow Hill to Bassaleg, by train the Bassaleg Station, or by bus from town and return via Cardiff Road, or Bassaleg Road, or vice versa. Various games, sports, etc., are provided.
A tender was accepted in December 1938 from Mr J. W. Rabbitt to build new changing rooms and a shelter to include male and female lavatories, at a cost of £1,035. At the same meeting it was reported that flooding had occurred at the Recreation Ground several times in the previous month owing to the rapid rise of the River Ebbw. The river bank had been washed away for approximately eight to ten feet, and a number of Willow trees had been carried away. The Parks Committee agreed to expenditure of approximately £200 to drive a row of piles along the old line of the river bank and back fill this with a quantity of quarry tipping. The Committee was informed in July 1939 that the condition of the river had not yet permitted this work to be carried out.
The 1939-45 world war had a number of impacts on the park, as described on a separate page.
Catering rights in the park for the period May 1949 to March 1950, and again for the 1951 season, were awarded to Mrs B. Morgan. For the 1952 season the catering rights were won by Castle Creameries, but in June of that year it was reported that complaints had been received about the catering and Mrs M.G.Murray, who already held the catering rights at Beechwood Park, had taken over the service. For the 1954 season a tender was accepted from Mrs P.Taylor to provide a catering service. By the late 1960s arrangements for catering services in the parks were changing and it had been agreed that the Council Baths Manager would be responsible for this, though the specific parks were not named.
Tredegar Park seems not to have been a venue for musical entertainments, but from the 1950s onwards children's entertainments were provided during Whit Week and August.
The Recreation Ground was still leased to the Council by the Tredegar Estate in the 1950s, but in May 1959 it was reported that negotiations to acquire the freehold of the land were in progress. In the event agreement was reached for renewal of the lease for a further 99 years at a rent of £225 per year. In 1967 the Council accepted an offer of an additional 6.18 acres to be included in the 99 year lease. The location of this land was not specified.
In 1960 planning for a "Northern bypass" for Newport was in progress and it was expected that Tredegar Park would be affected, a section being separated from the main area. Subsequently in October 1962 the Parks Committee agreed that approximately seven acres of the park, which would be cut off by the new bypass, be surrendered in exchange for a 3.9 acre plot from Tredegar Park Golf Club. (The club was looking for more land to compensate for the loss of up to four holes of their existing course.) The Amenity and Leisure Services Committee later agreed that work to lay out 3.12 acres at the Forge Lane end of the park be carried out, this being the land acquired in the exchange with the Tredegar Park Golf Club.
Tredegar Park was officially designated an emergency helicopter landing site in July 1974.
In the mid 1970s the Newport Council acquired Tredegar House and Country Park and it was agreed that in future the Recreation Ground be known as Tredegar Park Sports Ground. New facilities provided during the 1970s included a paddling pool which was under construction in the summer of 1974, and a skateboard rink approved by the Leisure Services Committee in February 1978. This followed trial use of hard surfaces for skateboarding in several parks during the preceding Christmas holidays. It was reported that more than 1,600 tickets had been issued to children using the temporary facilities, and this demand indicated a need for skateboard rinks on a permanent basis.
Sources of Information