A remarkable family reunion took place at Y Dolydd, Llanfyllin Workhouse, recently.
Descendants of the Workhouse’s first Master, William Jones, had a voyage of discovery when they visited the place where he lived and worked nearly 200 years ago.
William’s great-great-great-granddaughter, Tina Fisher-Silk, who lives in Derbyshire, had contacted the Workhouse History Centre to learn more about her family and especially about Thomas Aubrey Jones, who was master for 32 years from 1877 to 1909.
The family still has a letter he wrote in his retirement at Rhyl, fondly remembering ‘the old Workhouse’ and some of its inmates, and the parties at which he played his phonograph.
But Tina’s ancestors had an even longer connection with the Workhouse.
Thomas Aubrey’s father, William, had been appointed master in 1839 and later went on to serve as clerk to the guardians of the Llanfyllin Union until his retirement in 1870.
Aubrey’s son Heber tried to become master in his turn, but his application failed and he later became a highly respected journalist on the Derbyshire Times.
Tina and five other members of the family toured the building and the Master’s House where William and Thomas Aubrey lived with their families and which is currently the subject of an appeal by the Building Preservation Trust.
They were able to watch the film Ghosts of the Workhouse in which the ghost of their ancestor William Jones, played by Tom Morris, guides visitors around the building, before they had lunch with Dolydd History Group members at the Cain Valley Hotel where the guardians used to meet before their board room was built, and later searched out the family’s old home on Penybryn.
For most it was their first visit to Mid Wales: it’s unlikely to be their last.