'Interesting Settlement in Wales'
grants of land for a term of three generations on condition that;
Initially only three tenants accepted the offer of an eighth on an acre plot and in the spring of 1820 three cottages were built and the gardens planted with leeks and onions. Seeing the value of home-grown fruit and vegetables and additional income that could be had from letting an upperstorey 'lodging room' out to single colliers, forty plots were taken up in the next 2 years and by 1828 there were 260 houses and 1550 inhabitants in The Black Wood. As the settlement grew medical services, shops, workshops for craftsmen and small tradesmen, a school and market house - which also doubled as chapel - were all provided.
Cottages in Hall St. Blackwood built as part of John Moggridges scheme
So successful was the scheme that a few miles down the valley the village of Ynysddu was born in the same way with more than thirty houses being built there. Over the hill from Blackwood at Trelyn a further fifty houses were built and in 1829 the total population of the three villages totalled 2000. The scheme obviously brought advantages to the ordinary people of the area, but the greatest beneficiary was Moggridge himself. The total rents from his estate increased significantly, as did its saleable value. A consequence of the social experiment was that a core of the most talented and industrious workmen became tied to the area providing the skills vital to the continued expansion of coal mining in the valley. Folk who had built their own cottages were most unlikely to leave them.
scheme is perhaps closer to the idea of the 'Villages of Co-operation'
than any of the other communities set up by Owen and his followers, although
it did not have the grand architecture of the other schemes, nor the ardent
radicalism of the community members. However it proved to be more resilient
than any other Owenite scheme and was to be the foundation of the small
town of Blackwood.