WDYTYA? location guide: Fearne Cotton

By Rosemary Collins, 24 August 2017 - 2:02pm

In her 2017 episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, Fearne Cotton found ancestors in unexpected places, from the coal mines of Wales to the decks of SS Great Britain. Find out more about the locations she visited with this handy guide


SS Great Britain. Credit: Olaf Protre/ Light Rocket via Getty Images

Llanhilleth Miners’ Institute

Fearne began tracing her Welsh great grandfather, Evan Meredith, by visiting Llanhilleth Miners’ Institute with mining historian Ben Curtis. Restored as it was when it was built in 1906, the Grade II listed building now caters for conferences, weddings and live entertainment, as well as hosting local community groups.
 

Brecon Barracks

Evan Meredith was taken to Brecon Barracks after being arrested for being a conscientious objector. There has been a military presence in Brecon since an armaments store opened in 1805, and there is still an active barracks today, although the Ministry of Defence announced last year that the site will close in 2027. The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh is located next to the barracks.
 


Fearne at the museum at Brecon Barracks

Garvagh Museum

Garvagh Museum is a folk museum in the Northern Irish village of Garvagh, where Fearne’s 4x great grandfather William Gilmour was born. It is located in the historic Garvagh House and holds a collection of almost 2000 artifacts, telling the story of the Bann Valley from 3000 BC to the 20th century.

SS Great Britain

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Britain was the largest vessel afloat when she launched in 1843, unique for her iron hull, screw propeller and 1000 horsepower steam engine. She served as a luxury liner before being used to carry emigrants to Australia and being chartered by the government during the Crimean War, in which time Fearne’s 4x great grandfather, William Gilmour, acted as an onboard doctor. SS Great Britain was scuttled in 1937 in the Falkland Islands but was taken home to Bristol in 1970. Now restored and stored on dry dock, she serves as a museum ship and one of Bristol’s most popular tourist attractions.
 

Ongar Union Workhouse

The workhouse in Ongar, Essex was built in 1830, one of the last founded before the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act introduced the workhouse system used throughout the 19th century. It could house over 200 inmates and was in operation until 1920. The atmospheric building is currently abandoned.

 

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WDYTYA? episode summary: Fearne Cotton
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WDYTYA? key documents: Fearne Cotton's episode
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WDYTYA? episode summary: Fearne Cotton
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