Brynmawr and

District Museum

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THE JEWISH RIOTS

 

BRECON AND RADNOR EXPRESS -SATURDAY 26th AUGUST 1911

 

BRYNMAWR FEARS

 

PROMPT MEASURES BY BRECONSHIRE POLICE

 

APPEAL FOR SPECIAL CONSTABLES

 

HOW TO QUELL DISORDER

 

The unrest which prevailed at Tredegar, Ebbw Vale and Rhymney threatened Brynmawr on Tuesday. Superintendent Iland of the Breconshire Constabulary was informed of sinister rumours early in the day, and he communicated with Captain A.S. Williams, Chief Constable of Breconshire, who motored from Talgarth to Brynmawr during the afternoon and made arrangements for adequately policing of the town. In the early evening, the streets were crowded with people but there was no appearance of disorder.

Shortly after eight o'clock, a mob of about 100 strangers appeared at one of the entrances to the town near the Heathcote pond; along the Cymro Tramway. Their presence attracted from hundreds of townspeople from the Market Square, and one of the hooligans was heard to ask the Brynmawr people "Be you for the men or for the police?" Sergeant Price, Brynmawr who, with Police-constables Thomas, Jones and Kidd, was present, told the mob to get back to where they came from and as they did not respond, the sergeant and constables charged them with batons, with the result that the cowards turned on their heels and scattered in the direction of Ebbw Vale. The Brynmawr townspeople supported the police.

To prepare for eventualities, the Chief Constable appealed for volunteers as special constables, and there was a magnificent response, working men flocking to the police-station to be sworn in, the feeling amongst the townspeople being averse to any interference on the part of the rougher element from neighbouring centres to cast a slur on the fair name of "the city of the hills."

At 10 0'clock some strangers who assembled at Brynmawr broke the windows ofajeweller's shop kept by Mr. Cohen, but several civilians amongst the crowed interfered. Sergeant Price and several constables came up at the double, and amidst the cheers from the onlookers took two men into custody, the special police aiding the ordinary police magnificently.

About 1 1 0'clock, a detachment of the Devonshire Regiment from Newport, under the command of Captain Greening, arrived at Brynmawr, and marched through the main streets to the Drill Hall of the "B" Company (Brecknock) Territorial Battalion. Mr. J.G. Bishop (the magistrates' clerk) was in attendance at the police station to advice the magistrates in case of necessity.

At Brynmawr on Wednesday, a feeling of excitement prevailed owing to rumours having gained currency that rioters from Tredegar and Ebbw Vale were bent upon visiting Brynmawr. The special constables sworn in on Tuesday evening 'turned up to a man". A statement made in the afternoon that 70 mounted men were under orders to proceed from Newport to Brynmawr was erroneous as the police authorities considered that the arrangements made for keep order at Brynmawr were "quite adequate".

 

 

BRECON AND RADNOR EXPRESS - THURSDAY 31ST AUGUST 1911

 

HOW BRYNMAWR MET THE RIOTERS

 

TOWNSMEN'S SPLENDID ATTITUDE AND PUBLIC SPIRIT

 

A CREDIT TO BRECONSHIRE

 

(By "Our own Correspondent)

 

Whatever may be said of the disgraceful stone-throwing and looting tactics at Ebbw Vale and other places, Brynmawr can claim credit for its prompt suppression of outside hooliganism. The sharp reception of Tuesday's mob shewed the resentment of the inhabitants and the prompt manner in which the stone-thrower of Tuesday night was dealt with was a clear indication that the townsfolk were determined not to allow the fair name of the "City of the Hills" to be tarnished by a gang of youths and men, the majority of whom had never been near Brynmawr before. The Jew may be despised in some places, but in Brynmawr he is respected and his Gentile friends and neighbours were determined that his liberty should not be interfered with.

There had been persistent rumours of an attack on the Jewish fraternity and one or two of the local tradesmen it was said were singled out for attention. But the attack, outside one broken window, never came and it was well for the mob that it did not. The townspeople would certainly have shown them no mercy, and the local police and special constables were strong enough to deal with any mob from the Ebbw Vale or Tredegar districts. Rarely has such single ness of purpose been sown as during these remarkable, and to some parts of West Monmouthshire, disgraceful days. Men Of all trades volunteered to be enrolled as special constables, and one of the London dailies referred with admiration to "Brynmawr's civilian police."

In some parts of the county there was talk of panic in Brynmawr, and it was hinted that the residents lived in considerable fear. Let this be emphatically contradicted. We expected a visit from the rioters but panic there was none, and there was a feeling of confidence that Brynmawr would be, as events proved, well able to deal with outside interference. There were constables, it is true, from all parts of the county, and the Chief Constable, Mr. A.S. Williams, and some special constables came from Brecon, and all must have felt re-assured by their presence, but the temper of the crowd long before Tuesday night passed away shewed a determination to keep hooliganism out of our midst, and the ability ofthe police and public to deal with it. The military were brought in only to remain at the Drill Hall until the following afternoon. Yet the nature of the outrages elsewhere suggested the wisdom of the step. Probably Brynmawr people were not given credit for citizenship which stands out as the one bright incident in an epidemic of looting and window smashing. If their politics to some people are robust, their respect for law and order is above suspicion.

Tuesday night was fraught with danger. There was an ugly incident following the smashing of Mr. Cohen's window, the special constables quickly breaking up the small company on mischief bent, while Supt. Hand and Sergt. Price, whose conduct throughout is worthy of the highest praise and admiration, with their men chased them out of the precincts ofthe town... The chief offender — a Mountain Ash man be it noted — was rushed to the Police Station at remarkable speed, the hooting of the crowd being a significant feature. Subsequently all became quiet and although there were numerous outbreaks nothing further occurred. The attitude ofthe town was a warning to mischief makers to clear off.

The special constables were on duty each evening, and it is believed that there is not a single instance of one of them failing to report himself. The behaviour of the town, in short, is a credit to Breconshire, and future generations in Brynmawr can refer with pride to the manner in which their forbears acquitted themselves during a time of crisis.

 

The Jewish Community

To find out more about the Jewish Community in Brynmawr, please visit

the Brynmawr Historical Society website by clicking on the following link

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