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Barry Clowes founded the Gwent Bridge Academy in September 1974 in premises in the High Street, Newport. He was a Northerner employed in a technical position with I.C.I., moving to South Wales with that company in the Sixties. When a proposed move back up north was suggested he decided to leave the company and devote all his energies to the game of bridge. He had been an inveterate card player since his youth and with his waspish sense of humour the new club rapidly flourished. His teaching classes were always well attended and the club grew in membership and reputation.
In1977 Barry suffered his first heart attack; members rallied round and ran the club until he was well enough later in the year to resume as before. All seemed to be going well until Barry had a second heartattack and he died in November 1980. The club moved to its own premises in 1991.
The main room accommodates 19 to 20 tables whilst subsidiary rooms can provide a further 10 tables. The kitchen has tea and coffee facilities as well as catering equipment. The club is renowned for the refreshments provided at special events.