IN the nineteenth century, situated on the banks of the canal at Pontnewydd was the very popular Cwmbran Gardens Hotel.

The name came from the ornamental gardens attached to the hotel – including a Japanese style garden (most unusual then for any other than a stately home).

It was a regular haunt of the young and well-to-do from Cardiff – a relaxing and idyllic spot but only an hour’s journey from the city.

The Free Press reported that on one day in the summer of 1877, more than 1,500 people had passed through Pontnewydd and Pontrhydyrun stations on their way to visit the hotel and gardens.

In 1909, there was held a marathon from Cardiff to the Cwmbran Gardens Hotel and the winner, from Roath Harriers running club, finished in two hours.

The Hotel continued as a popular tourist and day tourist destination with outings, dancing, dining and picnics in the garden until structural damage to the property caused closure in the early 1950s.

The hotel was deemed unsafe and later demolished (although remnants of the property can still be seen).

Nostalgia is provided by Torfaen Museum.