In 1881 the central block of the old Cardigan Gaol was converted into a police station to designs by James Szlumper. In 1884 William Williams was the superintendent of the Police Station. According to one source John Price, convicted of murdering his wife, was the last person to be hanged in Cardigan at the old Cardigan Gaol site, which was both Police Station and Lock-up in 1885. In 1887 there were 8 cells. It is marked as “Police Station” on the 1887 O. S. map. In 1891 the following persons lived at the Police Station: Police Sgt. Evan Davies, 48; Rachel Davies, 38, his wife; Rees Evan Davies, 16, their son, mercantile clerk; Rachel Louise Davies, 11, daughter; and Thomas Jones, 31, lodger, Police Constable. On 12th May 1893 it was decided to build a new lock-up in the town. In September 1893 Sgt. Williams was the officer here. The sale of the building on 30th June 1894 was called off due to lack of interest. The prison inspectors’ report for that year noted that:
“…In the County of Cardigan, the Police Stations are clean and in good order except at Cardigan where the lock-up is in an insanitary condition…”
In July 1894 the building was sold to Thomas Watkins of Rocklands, together with the Shire Hall, for £600. On 14th October 1898 demolition of parts of the building was under way to make way for Highbury and Brooklands. On 13th October 1899 the new buildings were almost completed. In 1901 the following persons lived here: Highbury: John Davies, 67, Congregational Minister (b. Llansamlet, bilingual); Mary Davies, 65, his wife (b. Montgomeryshire); and Hannah Kelly, 35, widow, domestic servant (b. Shrewsbury, English-speaking). Brooklands: David Davies, 47, solicitor (b. Cardigan); and Marion Isaac, 20, housekeeper (b. Llanelli). Both were bilingual. In 1901-06 Mrs. Mary Davies lived here. On 20th February 1906 Mary Davies was buried at St. Mary’s Church having died aged 81 on 16th February 1906. She was the widow if the late Thomas Davies, J. P., of Glantivy and Parkypratt, St. Dogmaels. In 1910-20 Jonathan Evans lived here. In 1914 Rev. Richard Bowen Jenkins lived at Brooklands. In 1918-24 retired draper Humphrey Morgan lived at Brooklands with his wife, Ellen Mercy Morgan. On 5th June 1922 Thomas Griffiths of Letterston married Winifred Mary Morgan, youngest daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Morgan of Brooklands. On 13th September 1922 Jemima Morgan, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Humphrey Morgan of Brooklands, married John Watkin Hughes of Gorseinon. In March 1924 Humphrey Morgan lived here on an annual tenancy. In November 1924 Mrs. Davies of Cardiff purchased Brooklands. In January 1926 Brooklands was advertised for sale and was sold to Arthur Clougher by 12th February 1926. In 1926 Henry Morgan lived here. In 1926 Humphrey Morgan lived at Brooklands. Mr. & Mrs. David Lloyd Jones lived at Highbury in 1927-38. On 29th December 1931 Arthur Clougher of Brooklands died aged 68. In 1927-68 Mrs. A. Clougher lived at Brooklands.
In January 1937 the Lloyd-Jones’ were seeking a general maid/cook. On 15th November 1938 David Lloyd-Jones, former manager of the Midland Bank, died. In 1938-54 Sarah Gladys Lloyd-Jones lived at Highbury. In 1940 Miss Irene Stoneham lived at Brooklands and Miss Mary Lloyd Jones lived at Highbury. In November 1941 the Highbury was a residential hostel. In November 1942 Mary Elizabeth Jones lived at Highbury. In November 1947 tenders were sought for redecorating the Highbury Hostel. In 1949 Highbury was a children’s home. In February 1950 it was announced that Highbury would shortly be released from requisitioning. In October 1950 and October 1951 Highbury was advertised for sale – a 6-bedroom house. In June 1954 Mrs. Gwladys Lloyd Jones of Highbury, widow of David Lloyd Jones – former manager of the Midland Bank at Cardigan, died. She had been a daughter of the late Mr. & Mrs. David Davies of Stanley House.
From 9th November 1956 the Highbury was advertised for sale – a 6-bedroom property. In January 1959 Highbury was sold. On 6th March 1960 Miss Annie L. Webb-Potter of Highbury died. On 22nd February 1963 Mrs. Marguerite Louise Potter-Jones of Highbury died. On 3rd December 1965 David Webb Evans Potter of Highbury died aged 90. In May 1967 Emily Elizabeth Webb-Potter of Highbury died. In September 1967 the property was advertised for sale. Mrs. Elizabeth Sybil Clougher died on February 25th 1968. On 23rd April 1972 the property was advertised for sale. The 12-room house was advertised for sale again on 20th July 1979.
By the 1980’s the Highbury was a guest-house. In 1990, then the property of David Poole, the frontage was altered with the addition of a large conservatory. The old underground cells were reportedly filled in at this time. The building was ‘listed’ in 1992. In August 2000 new owners took over and Mrs. Hillary Richmond became the manager. This was still ‘Highbury Guest House’ in 2003. L. Thomas was living here at that time. It was still a guest house in 2005-13. Part of the original Cardigan Gaol wall to the rear was demolished in 2008 to improve parking. In 2012 the wall and railings to the front were removed to create additional parking.
The property was described by CADW in 1992:
“…1898 pair of villas built in the shell of the central block of the former Cardigan Gaol of 1793-7 by John Nash. In 1881 the gaol was converted into a police station by J Szlumper. The old gaol had a projecting pedimented frontispiece which seems to have been cut back to the main block, of which the hipped slate roof survives and a new double-gabled front put on for two villas, named Highbury and Broadlands. Three-storey and attic, with bargeboard gables, late C20 conservatory to ground floors and altered big first floor oriels with flower balconies under large second floor windows, also with late C20 glazing. Gothic attic lights.
Building is included for historic interest of remaining parts of the C18 gaol, of which the stonework is clearly visible on the north wall. The chamfered angles accord with old views of the gaol, though the fenestration is c1898 but there are traces of blocked windows. The lower rear range with hipped roof is also part of the original gaol, with blocked openings visible…”
ADDITIONAL (2001) – Old photographs show that centre block of Nash’s Gaol had gabled façade – two storey and attic, pitched slate roof, wall in coursed cut stone. All openings were arched headed – 3-window range, with bars to all windows. Single small attic light with gable band below. Ground floor centre had lunette overlight above timber door.
Parish Registers of St. Mary’s, Cardigan
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1884; 1914; 1920; 1926
O. S. Map 1887 etc.
Census Returns 1891; 1901
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1893-94; 1898-99; 1905-06; 1913; 1922; 1924; 1926-27; 1932-35
1937-38; 1941-42; 1947; 1949-51; 1954; 1956; 1959-60; 1963; 1965; 1967; 1979; 1990; 1997; 2000; 2006
A Guide to Cardigan & District, William Edward Yerward James 1899
List of Voters – Cardigan, 25/07/1910
Register of Electors – Cardigan 1912; 1955
Statement of Account – St Mary’s Church 31/12/1938
The Gateway to Wales, W J Lewis 1990
Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Cardigan, CADW 1992
The Phone Book 2003.
© Glen K Johnson 14/06/2013