Powys Digital History Project

Elan Village 2
Guarding the bridge

The location of
the Elan Valley dams
and reservoirs
is shown on the
sketch map.  
The Doss House
People were attracted to the Elan Valley in large numbers as the massive construction project got under way, drawn by the prospect of employment which could last for several years.
New arrivals who were seeking work at the construction site were not allowed to enter the village without first spending a week in the rather spartan "Doss House" on the other side of the river. They had to take a bath, have their clothes and possessions disinfected, and undergo a medical examination.

The original
bridge to
Elan Village

Photographs by
kind permission of
Radnorshire Museum,
Llandrindod Wells

These precautions were very necessary in order to keep the large community in the village free of the infectious diseases which were very common at that time. Advice on the running of the Doss House was provided by Branwell Booth of the Salvation Army, which had experience of providing basic dormitories for vagrants in London. Access to the village was over the suspension bridge shown in the top photograph. The navvies village can be seen on the far side of the river to the left, and the accident hospital is to the right of the bridge. The road on this side of the river leads to Rhayader to the left and Elan Valley to the right. 
The bridge was guarded round the clock by a bridge keeper. He carefully examined the contents of every cart making deliveries (right) and ensured that only employees and family members could enter the village.
Two watchmen continually patrolled the village at night to guard against crime or the risk of fire among the closely packed wooden buildings.

 Suspension bridge
to Elan Village
pictured in 1999

There is still a suspension bridge on the same spot (left), but it is not the original one in the old photograph above.
It has been replaced twice since then, and even the latest of the suspension bridges is no longer safe, and modern traffic entering Elan Village now crosses the river by a rather more functional bridge alongside.
The Elan Valley Visitor Centre, housed in original workshop buildings used during the construction of the dams, is near the suspension bridge below Caban Coch dam.
  There are 7 pages on Elan Village. Use the box links below to view the other pages.  
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