17 July, 2019
A US-based descendant of a central figure in one of the most notorious events in Blaenavon’s history has visited the town to view an information board recounting the details.
Alicia Morris Groos is the great great granddaughter of John Morris, former landlord of the Lion Hotel, where a riot broke out in1868 after a Conservative MP was returned in the General Election - when most Blaenavon people supported the Liberals, but did not have the right to vote.
Soon after the incident, which ended with the Riot Act being read and troops called in to restore order, John Morris emigrated to America - and Alicia grew up hearing tales of his eventful previous life.
On the 150th anniversary of the riot later last November, Blaenavon Town Council unveiled the information board on the wall of the hotel, today a recently refurbished multi-award winning establishment.
Alicia, who works as a lawyer in Austin, Texas, first visited Blaenavon three years ago and kept in touch with the community via Facebook. When she read about the information board, she decided to come and see it on her next trip to the UK.
She and her family stayed at the Lion for two nights and had dinner there with Mayor Cllr Jac Denley-Jones.
Cllr Denley-Jones said: 'It's great that we still have this present link with Blaenavon's past. Alicia grew up not really knowing if the story was true - but now she's seen the official evidence! It was lovely to welcome the whole family to Blaenavon and we're hoping that there will be many more future visits from them."