THE great-great grandson of the man who helped ensure the opening of Blaenavon’s Workmen’s Hall has shared the story of how work on the historic building was completed.

Chris Jones shared the story while donating a framed letter of thanks which had been sent to his great-great-grandfather – Charles Jordan – to the town council.

The letter of thanks was from the Blaenavon Workmen's Hall Committee, after Mr Jordan loaned them around £19,000 in the late 19th century to complete the work on the building.

“During the late 1800s, money had run out for either building refurbishment or general building work,” said Mr Jones.  “Had the loan not be forthcoming, the hall would not have opened.

“His name was Charles R Jordan, but my sister Siân Jordan-Jones and I think he went by his middle name Reg. This possibly was to avoid confusion with his father, also named Charles. 

“They were boot sellers/agents.

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“It’s said that Charles Jordan’s business was re-mortgaged to raise the necessary monies, believed to be around £19,000 - which was an incredible sum for 1890-1900s.”

According to the Bank of England, this loan would be worth just under £2.5 million in today’s money – adjusting for inflation.

The Workmen’s Hall was opened in January 1895.

Mr Jordan was presented with a ‘thank you’ letter from the Workmen’s Hall Committee following the completion of the works.

“The 108-word ‘thank you’ on behalf of the Workmen’s Hall Committee back in 1904 was for an interest-free loan so that work could continue on the building,” said Mr Jones.

“The debt was repaid by the Workmen’s Hall Committee, date unknown.”

This piece of Blaenavon’s history has now been donated to the town council – where it is now hanging on display in the council chamber.

Mr Jones said that he had wanted to hand it over to his life-long friend Cllr Alan Jones last year, when Cllr Jones was serving as Mayor of Blaenavon, however the coronavirus pandemic disrupted those plans.

Instead, it was stored at Blaenavon Heritage Centre until Mr Jones could meet with Cllr Jones and the new Mayor of Blaenavon Cllr Liam Cowles to arrange a handover.

But the timing couldn't have worked out better, with the current works renovating the Workmen's Hall now drawing to a close.