The small town of Usk has several blue plaques placed by the civic society but I hadn’t spotted this one before. Which is strange, as I am in this street at least twice a year when we go wandering in Monmouthshire.
This post is, I have to admit, a catchup. I promised in December that I would show you Bridge Street in Usk, just around the corner from the red River Usk in full flow… so here it is.
In case you can’t read it in the picture, the blue plaque, put up in 2005, says this building was the house of correction or “Old Bridewell” between about 1642 and 1842. It was Usk’s third gaol/jail before Usk Prison took over.
The earlier two lock-ups were the Garrison Tower in the nearby castle and then another further along Bridge Street, in what is now called Gordon House, which I haven’t yet found.
These little local police cells were called bridewells after a palace at Bridewell (St Bride’s Well), near Fleet Street in London. The palace was originally a residence for Henry VIII, then a poorhouse and from 1556 a prison. It was demolished in 1863-1864.
I suspect many of my poor ancestors spent time in this sort of place. Because they were poor and feckless, not particularly villainous.
Then there’s the rest of Bridge Street…
At the end on the left is the Three Salmons Hotel, which does a lovely lunch!
And just off Bridge Street, through an arch to the car park and public toilets, is the entrance to an excellent little Spar store. It is only small but seems to pack in a lot of groceries and fresh fare. It is the only place where I have seen a sack of rough “horse” carrots for sale! I so wish I had taken a picture of that, but I had my purse in my hand at the time, not my camera…