Newtown is the largest town in Powys and is situated on the River Severn. Almost exactly at the centre of the county, Newtown is a classic example of a market town built on the back of the textiles industry and the Industrial Revolution.
Despite its 13th century origins, Newtown came to prominence in the 19th century when the Montgomeryshire Canal supplied the transportation methods for the blossoming textile industry. Through Robert Owen, who was born on Broad Street in 1771, Newtown is proudly remembered as the birth place of the co-operative movement. Owen was one of the most important social reformers in the world, spreading his ideas for a more equal society both in Britain and America where he argued that industry had a responsibility to its workers. Later in the 19th century Newtown would also give birth to the world's first mail-order store, the Pryce-Jones building, still the tallest in the town.
Newtown benefits from a number of museums and educational resources. The Robert Owen Museum, the Textile Museum, the WH Smith Museum and the Oriel Davis Gallery are all situated in the centre of town. On the outskirts of the town is Theatr Hafren and Coleg Powys, and nearby Gregynog Hall and Gardens which is home to the Gregynog Music Festival. Glansevern Hall, another stately home not far away, plays host to the rapidly growing Welsh Food Festival.
Other local highlights include the Andrew Logan Museum (the celebrated performance artist/sculptor and originator of the Alternative Miss World, has a museum in nearby Berriew), the annual Santa Run and the UK Championship Down-Hill Mountain Bike track at Caersws.
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