Hello Pontypool!

I started at West Mon Boys’ School in Pontypool during the war in 1942. During one of our music lessons, our music master, “Toot” Steven informed us that we were going to borrow the Harrow School Song for our own use. I remember the opening verse very well:

Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back, and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play,
Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you,
Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song –
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,
Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along.

I remember, at the time, feeling slightly nostalgic when I heard the words and thinking what a far-distant time we were singing about; although I did wonder how far flung we might all be and what we might be doing in forty years’ time.

Now I’m looking back, not over forty years, but well over seventy and I really do wonder what all those boys are doing and where they are. So I decided to start this blog. It’s possible that some of those old school friends might see it. I expect that there are old westmonians not only scattered all over the UK but all over the world. They might like to recall those “visions of boyhood” of yesteryear.

It’s not my intention to make this blog another “history of Pontypool” as there are plenty of those about already. This will be an intensely personal collection of recollections, almost at random as they occur to me; and I don’t want them necessarily to be only my recollections. If any visitors have any they’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them. This doesn’t mean only old westmonians of course, but everybody who’s ever lived in Pontypool and its surroundings.

Any visitor wishing to do this can either make a comment after any of the posts or they can email me at david.hughes43@ntlworld.com

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3 Responses to “Hello Pontypool!”

  1. Ken Clark Says:

    Enjoyed reading the three categories and I share the same era as you – just a couple of years apart. I remeber Town School up High Street way, and West Mon was attended by a number from Talywain where I lived. I went to Abersychan Grammar and remeber playing rugby against your lot – away games at Skew Fields. Have been to the school recently presenting our local history’s WW2 The Home Front presentation – the main topic they were studying was propaganda. The school is rather like Dr Who’s Tardis with all the add ons of recent years and has changed in that it is a comprehensive without the eleven plus standard of entry – though still a good school.

    Your drawing of the Folly is excellent and very impressive – you are obviously an artist of long standing. I also know School Lane where you lived – there was anissue there last year over the back entry road I think.

    Pontypool town is so different these days and it is sad to see the decline continuing despite all the efforts – sadly, the car era, new town and the subsidised Town Centre (before being sold off), shifting population, decline of traditional industries, etc., all contributed and it is not likely the former glory will return. Though given the fuel crisis anything could happen.



  2. Audrey Ross Says:

    My partner who was at West Mon in the 60’s told me that thay used to sing a song about the pirate Henry Morgan who would have been an ancestor of Lord Tredegar.

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