Pillgwenlly (Welsh: Pilgwenlli), usually known as Pill, is an electoral district (ward) and coterminous community parish in the city of Newport, South Wales. The area is governed by the Newport City Council.

  • Pilgwenlli
Waterloo Hotel, Pillgwenlly - geograph.org.uk - 666381.jpg
The Waterloo Hotel
Pillgwenlly is located in Newport
Location within Newport
Population7,318 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceST315875
Principal area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNEWPORT
Postcode districtNP20 2
Dialling code01633
Savoy exchange
FireSouth Wales
UK Parliament
List of places
51°34′56″N 2°59′24″W / 51.58218°N 2.99001°W / 51.58218; -2.99001Coordinates: 51°34′56″N 2°59′24″W / 51.58218°N 2.99001°W / 51.58218; -2.99001


The name is an elision of "Pîl Gwynllyw" (or "Gwynllyw's Pîl" in English). 'Pîl' is a localised topographical element (found across the coast of South Wales, from Pembrokeshire and into Somerset) indicating a tidal inlet from the sea, suitable as a harbour.[2] In local tradition, it is said that this name derives from the early part of Gwynllyw's life when he was an active pirate. The tradition states that Gwynllyw maintained his ships at Pillgwenlly.[3] Gwynllyw's reputation amongst sailors saw him adopted as the patron saint of choice for Welsh pirates and smugglers including Sir Henry Morgan.


The ward is bounded by the River Usk to the east and southeast, the Ebbw River to the southwest, the Great Western Main Line to the west and Cardiff Road to the north.

Heart of NewportEdit

Courtybella Terrace, a typical Pill mixture of small terraces and exuberantly decorated Victorian commercial properties

It is an inner-city district to the south of the city centre and the built-up area is commonly shortened to "Pill". It contains the Newport Docks and the western ends of the Newport Transporter Bridge,[4] City Bridge and George Street Bridge.

Pill hosts the annual Pill Carnival, on the last weekend of August. The Old Town Dock area is currently undergoing a huge mixed-use regeneration to bring the derelict dock lands back into use. A lively market takes place on a Saturday morning at the Newport Auctions site.

Portland Street in Pill was the birthplace, in 1871, of the famous "Tramp Poet" W. H. Davies; the nearby Church House Inn, where Davies was brought up by his grandparents, has a commemorative blue plaque.

The opening line 'Libraries gave us power' of the 1996 song A Design for Life, by Blackwood band Manic Street Preachers, was inspired by the legend above the entrance to the former Carnegie Library. In 2012 the TV drama series Being Human featured internal and external cafe scenes filmed in Fanny's Cafe Pill near the Transporter Bridge.

Sporting traditionsEdit

View over Pill, from the Royal Gwent Hospital

Pill Harriers RFC is a successful rugby union team affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union, whose membership was historically made up from the local dock workers. In its past it supplied many players to both Newport RFC and the Wales national rugby union team. The football manager Tony Pulis was born in Pill.[5] The Pearce brothers, six of whom were professional boxers, hailed from Pill, including David 'Bomber' Pearce, Walter 'Bimbo' Pearce and Gary Pearce. Newport County A.F.C. manager Mike Flynn grew up in Pill, on Baldwin Street.[6]


In 2016 women in the Pillgwenlly ward had the fifth lowest life expectancy at birth, 74.4 years, of any ward in England and Wales.[7]

Plan for designated area for prostitutionEdit

In July 2015, Gwent Police proposed a plan to develop a designated area for prostitution within the boundaries of Pill. The proposal follows a similar pilot scheme in the north of England, and a police spokeswoman said enforcement alone was "not an effective solution". Officers stated that no decision would be made until they had looked at evidence from other initiatives and consulted with residents, businesses and the council. Officers commented that similar schemes had increased the reporting of offences against prostitutes, and allowed other agencies to work with women to help them leave the sex industry.[8] Monmouth MP David Davies, who has debated prostitution on the Council of Europe, was cautious about the proposed area, and said that it "should not become like Amsterdam."[9]


  1. ^ "Newport ward 2011". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  2. ^ Owen, William (1803). A Dictionary of the Welsh Language (Vol II ed.). London.
  3. ^ Robin Gwyndaf, Welsh Folk Tales (National Museum of Wales, 1989), p. 96
  4. ^ "Geograph:: Newport: floodlit bridge (C) Chris Downer". www.geograph.org.uk.
  5. ^ "Pulis still a Pill boy at heart". South Wales Argus.
  6. ^ James, Stuart (25 January 2019). "Middlesbrough v Newport: uniting two managers from one tough district". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  7. ^ Bennett, James; et al. (22 November 2018). "Contributions of diseases and injuries to widening life expectancy inequalities in England from 2001 to 2016: a population-based analysis of vital registration data". Lancet public health. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Plans to set up area for prostitutes". 26 July 2015 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  9. ^ "Concern over prostitute area plans". 27 July 2015 – via www.bbc.co.uk.