The History of Panteg House...
Mr John Walters, The croft, Griffithstown, who has been admitted to membership of the Order of the British Empire, is administrator of Baldwins Auxiliary Hospital, Griffithstown, in which capacity he had rendered great service in brightening the lot of wounded soldiers. He has been a member of the Panteg Council for many years, and one of the original members of the Eastern Valleys Sewerage Board, Panteg Food Control Committee, War Pensions Committee, and Pontypool Local Advisory Committee (employers’ side). He is also chairman of the Panteg Area Comforts Fund, and a senior deacon at Crane Street Baptist Church, Pontypool.
Panteg House, originally Belvedere, was built in the 19th Century as a residence for the manager of Panteg Steelworks, in 1873 Isaac Butler and his family moved in when he was brought in as an engineer from Swansea, one of three who implemented a reorganisation if the works. In 1920 the house was given for the benefit of the Panteg Employees’ Club and Recreational Institute.
During WW1 it was taken over as a military hospital, and in WW2 it was again requisitioned by the military. After WW2 it was left in a poor state. The assembly room was used by the team of draughtsmen responsible for the designs of the planned British Nylon Spinners that was built at Mamhilad. Panteg house has outlived both BNS and Panteg Steelworks. Today it houses a variety of local clubs and organisations.
"Griffithstown - The Story of its origin and the development of its Social Organisations with the expansion of the Railway and the Steel Industry." (by Arthur J. Pritchard)
For many years past, the proprietors of Panteg Works have believed in the policy of what may be described as “Sociability,” indeed it may truthfully be said that the late Sir J. C. Davies was one of the pioneers of this policy in the country. The development of this policy by subsequent management has resulted in the provision of a most efficient Welfare section at the Works and an excellent “Social club” at Panteg House where all grades of management and workmen may beet in complete and mutual freedom. The house, long the residence of the Managing-Director of Panteg Works, has been transformed and now contains reading rooms, games rooms, a lounge with bar and a large room for concerts, dinners and social meetings of all kinds with modern kitchen and equipment. Based on “the house” are all kinds of sport and games, including football, cricket, lawn tennis and bowls, billiards, table-tennis and other table games in season, with provision for music and the Drama. Nearer the Works Canteen has been designed so that it can be used for a variety of purposes and contains a piano and wireless set for music and dancing and a stage for concerts and plays. The Works has its own medical service with a well equipped surgery and a doctor who is available for consultation by any employee in whatever department he or she may work. The St. John Ambulance movement has always been very strong at Panteg and classes and lectures are regularly held under the direction of enthusiastic members, some of whom are veterans and hold orders in the Association.
That this policy of ‘sociability’ pays dividends may be said to be proved by the fact that Panteg has been such a happy and contented Works for so long. During the last thirty years, when industry has so frequently been upset by industrial disputes, Panteg has remained serene. Arguments between employer and employed there have been and always will be, but here these differences have not been allowed to develop but have been brought promptly to the conference table and hammered out in a spirit of mutual understanding and confidence due in no small measure to contacts made on friendly occasions in sport or other recreation. Long may Panteg continue in this spirit and in industrial serenity!
During negotiations with the Local Council over the sale of the Kemys Fawr Estate, Major Butler made a reservation that four acres should be reserved for development as a public park, which he generously presented to the council in memory of his father. Mr Isaac Butler, for so many years Managing Director of Panteg Steel Works. Major Butler, also, undertook to erect an ornamental fountain in the centre and to bear the cost of laying out the paths and providing seats to the total of approximately £2,500. To complete this generous gift, the Council later bought a further four acres at the Cwrdy Road end to provide tennis courts and a spacious Bowling green, all of which which in due course laid out and completed ready for opening which took place on 21st June 1924. The ceremony, attended by a large number of people was presided over by the Chairman of the Urban District COuncil, Mr. W. Court, supported by the Chairman of the Board of Guardians, Mrs. H. Harding, the Clerk, Mr. T. P. Holmes Watkins, the Medical officer, Dr. T. McAllen; the Surveyor, Mr. Rosser-Davies and the Inspector. Mr W. H. Orlidge; and Messrs. Evan Davies, Panteg Works; J. O. Tyler, Park Estate Agent; and Messrs. Hoe Fisher, John Lowe, and other members of the Council. Major Butler, who was High Sheriff of the County at the time formally presented the Park to the Council as representing the inhabitants of Panteg, as a place of rest, relaxation, and pleasure in memory of his father, who, he said, had always wished to see such an amenity provided just in that spot, and he expressed the hope that the Park would provide for all time and the pleasure which his father wished it to do particularly to elderly folk. After further speeches expressing thanks for the generous gift, members of the Council and invited guests adjourned to Panteg House where tea was partaken on the lawns and a pleasant social hour was spent.