Countess who turned the taps on

18 February 2020
  • Lady Dunraven is introduced to the Mayor by Julian Golunski of Cooke & Arkwright in Bridgend
  • Lady Dunraven unveils Blue Plaque in Bridgend
  • Lady Dunraven unveils Blue Plaque in Bridgend

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The market town of Bridgend received its first piped drinking water in 1857, thanks to the philanthropy of the Dowager Countess of Dunraven, Caroline Wyndham. The Countess paid for a pipeline to be laid from Sarn to a water trough with a tap on the corner of Court Road and Derwyn Road. The water was clean, free and available for everyone to use. In response from a grateful community, Eastgate Street was renamed Caroline Street in her honour.

On Thursday 13th February 2020, Lady Dunraven, the last Countess Dunraven, accompanied by her daughter Lady Ana Johnson, unveiled a blue plaque celebrating the Countess’s contribution to Bridgend. The ceremony was attended by The Mayor of Bridgend Town Council, Bridgend Civic Trust, Bridgend Historical Society, Councillor Alan Wathan and distinguished guests including Julian Golunski, Consultant with Cooke & Arkwright’s Land Agency which has been providing Estate Management services to Dunraven Estate since 1955.

The plaque unveiled by Lady Dunraven was at the Randall Memorial Drinking Fountain, which the Countess paid for three years after the pipeline was installed. It was erected in 1860 in memory of John Randall who managed her estates for 33 years. The memorial is now Grade II listed.

Lady Dunraven said, “I am delighted to be at the first blue plaque unveiling, to honour the First Countess, and the long association between The Dunraven Estate and Bridgend town.”

Julian Golunski said, “It was a privilege to attend the ceremony with Lady Dunraven. The blue plaque is a fitting tribute to the kind and generous contribution made by the Countess and one for which I’m sure Bridgend was extremely grateful. We may take it for granted, but in those days it was rare to have clean drinking water on tap. One of the guests informed us that Bridgend had a free piped water supply before Soho in London!”

The Blue Plaque Scheme is a new initiative introduced and financed by Bridgend Town Council in order to recognise significant contributions made to the area and commemorate notable people, places and events within the wards of Morfa, Oldcastle and Newcastle.

A second plaque was unveiled nearby by Professor Deryn Watson in honour of her father, Sir Morien Bedford Morgan, better known as the ‘Welsh Father of Concorde’ or ‘Morgan the Supersonic’. Sir Morgan, originally from Caroline Street, was an aeronautical engineer and became chairman of the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee, which planned the build of Britain’s first supersonic passenger aircraft.

Photo 1 l to r: Lady Ana Johnson, Lady Dunraven, Julian Golunski and the Mayor of Bridgend Town Council

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