Newtown known in Welsh as 'Y Drenewydd' is the largest town in Powys (pop.13,000) and is situated on the banks of the River Severn. Founded as a market town at the end of the 13th century, Newtown boasts a rich industrial heritage and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Despite its 13th century origins, Newtown came to prominence in the 19th century when the Montgomeryshire Canal supplied the transport for the blossoming textile industry. 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.
Amongst Pryce-JOnes'customers were Queen Victoria and Florence Nightingale. It is believed that the parcel post in Britain was started as a result of a suggestion made by Pryce Jones to the Postmaster General. The town’s connection with the textile industry was revived in the 20th century when businesswoman Laura Ashley established her home furnishing and clothing company in the area.
Social reformer and industrial pioneer Robert Owen, was born in Newtown in 1771. Owen spread his ideas for a more equal society both in Britain and America where he argued that industry had a responsibility to its workers.Newtown is proudly remembered as the birth place of the co-operative movement.
Today Newtown benefits from a number of museums and galleries. 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 local sports facilities.
Newtown provides the ideal base to explore the surrounding countryside.Nearby there are nature reserves, Montgomery Canal paths, the Severn Way, Dolforgan Castle, and Gregynog Hall and Gardens, home to the Gregynog Music Festival.
Newtown has a railway station on the Cambrian line from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth.