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Exhibition captures Sport and Leisure in Newtown between 1875-1914

A FASCINATING summer exhibition capturing ‘Sport and Leisure in Newtown: 1875-1914’ opens in the town next week.

A new exhibition, which opens at Newtown Textile Museum on Tuesday, May 21 and runs until September 28, includes the annual Royal Welsh Warehouse Sports Day, Newtown Carnival, Newtown Football Club and the town’s football teams of yesteryear.

“Newtown was one of the first towns in Wales to have a football club and a lot of teams were then formed, many of them linked to the Pryce Jones company and the Royal Welsh Warehouse,” explained Janet Lewis, Newtown Textile Museum chairman.

“It seems that teams were encouraged by employers as football was a healthy activity and kept men out of the pubs! There were no clubs or sports for women at that time. 

“An annual Royal Welsh Warehouse Sports Day became a key event in the town. There are a lot of photos and newspaper cuttings in the exhibition, including of the huge crowds of people who attended the sports day, many of whom came by train. 

“The carnival is another form of leisure which is also shown and has been happening in the town for more than 130 years.”

The museum, at 5-7 Commercial Street, is open from 12 noon to 4pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until the end of September. For more information about the museum, visit here.

In addition to the exhibition, visitors will be able to see all the usual permanent exhibits in the volunteer-run museum, which is housed in an original handloom weaving factory, built in the 1830s.

The museum aims to bring to life Newtown’s industrial heritage, showing how people lived and worked in the building and the processes involved in turning fleece into flannel.

In addition, industries linked to wool – tanning, clog making and drapers’ shops, including the Pryce Jones family who pioneered mail order – are also featured.

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Newtown was the centre for handloom weaving in the 1830s and the museum is the last of 82 such buildings remaining in anything like its original condition.

The museum is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.

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