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 George Hunter. Driver of St David 1848
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New Member

United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  17:23:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's my first post so thanks for letting me join.
I read on another thread

about the early locomotives built at Tredegar by Thomas Ellis. The driver of St David was George Falconer Hunter, my great-great-great grandfather. His sister was Anne, Thomas Ellis's wife and many more of the family were involved in the early days of the Tredegar Ironworks. This article below intrigued me. Does anybody have any idea why he blocked the line. Apparently he wasn't the only one to do it.

'The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian Glamorgan Monmouth and Brecon Gazette 13th May 1848 (News, page 3)
At the Magistrates’ Office, Newport, Saturday, March 6, 1848: – Present, the Rev. Chancellor Williams, Rev. James Coles, Rev. Thos. Pope and John Russell, Esq.
…………George Hunter, driver of the St. David’s engine from Tredegar ironworks, was fined 10s. And costs, 11s. 6d., for refusing to allow Mr Bebell, at the Courtybella machine, to weigh and gauge his iron; and Hunter was further fined 20s. And costs, 13s. and 6d., for obstructing the Canal Company’s road for one hour by leaving a quantity of iron lying across the rails of the road. Mr Roscoe, chief canal agent, appeared for the company .Hunter had made use of very abusive and indecent language…………'

George is an interesting character. He worked in Paris as an engineer/mechanic with his brother James under Rhys Davies. Davies and James Hunter then left for America and built the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia. George didn't join them and returned to Tredegar to drive St. David and later to become landlord of the Rock Inn in Bedwellty.
Has anyone got a photo of him?
I have more information on my family in Tredegar and will put it up in due course. If anyone can add something to George's life story I would be grateful.
Thank you.


Advanced Member

United Kingdom
385 Posts

Posted - 06/10/2020 :  21:49:10 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The railway from Tredegar joined another from the Western Valley at Courtybella, about a mile away from the start of the "Park Mile", on which Lord Tredegar was entitled to charge tolls. It would make sense to put a weighbridge (possibly the "Courtybella machine") there, to weigh and grade the iron goods and so calculate the toll to be levied.

It wouldn't surprise me if there were disputes between the engine drivers and the weighbridge manager over the tolls.

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Super Member

United Kingdom
1498 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2020 :  20:36:00 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a pic of St David but it is being driven by Ellis.
The 2nd person on the footplate (fireman?0 is not named nor can be clearly seen
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New Member

United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2020 :  17:06:52 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, thanks for replying. I know that picture and there is another on the Museum of Wales site of Jack Williams, the first driver on the Sirhowy line Item 2003.152/1
I am still trying to find out more about his life in Paris. He had three children born there to a supposedly French wife - Caroline.
At various times he described himself as an engineer or mechanic.
I would expect that drivers at the time had to have a good knowledge of the mechanics of the locomotive as breakdowns were not unknown.

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