News of Gibson Square

Since my last posting on this blog a week ago there has been quite a flurry of activity and I’ve received a number of emails containing some valuable information and photographs.

First of all I should like to thank Jeff Oates who supplied me with a 1917 map of Pontypool which quite clearly shows the whereabouts of Gibson’s Square. I print a copy of the map below. If you locate the top of Bridge Street and Franketti’s chip shop, the Donkey Steps are just on the other side of High Street (or The Bell Pitch as we referred to it). Just a short way up the steps on the right was a low wall and behind it were a few houses accessed by a gap in the wall. When walking up the steps it was possible to look over the wall and down into the houses below. As you will see on the map, that was Gibson’s Square.

I have coloured Gibson’s Square in red and Gibson’s Lane in green

Strangely enough, when I originally asked my friend Eric about this matter he made the suggestion that Gibson’s Square might have been in that very place; that was before his neighbour told him it was at Trevethin. I had no idea where it was. Perhaps Eric had been told the whereabouts many years ago and it suddenly surfaced in his mind. Our brains are strange things when it comes to memories of long ago.

A narrow lane leads from the bottom of the houses and runs alongside them up to where Broadway was eventually built.  It’s marked as Gibson’s Lane on the map above. According to the Google aerial map of that area it looks as though the lane is still there. It also seems as though all that area down to the bottom of the Bell Pitch is now a green area. Anyone living there might be able to confirm that.

In my last posting I published the email from Jan Davey asking the whereabouts of Fairfield, Tin Town and Gibson’s Square. Because of the help I’ve received she now knows all three.

But there is also a bonus !  Apart from the information about Gibson’s Square, Jeff Oates later sent me a photograph – taken in 1931 – of Town School folk dancers who had won trophies. You can see the photo below which was published in the Free Press. On the left is Mr Petty, about 10 years younger than when he taught me, and on the right is the headmaster Mr Lewis. I don’t know who the two women are but they were not on the staff when I attended the school, nor was there any folk dancing.

Town School folk dancers with their trophies. Photograph taken in 1931
Mr Petty on the left and Mr Lewis on the right. No other names known.

Jan told me in her email that her mother spoke about being in Mr Petty’s class. She also thinks that the girl in the front row second from the left bears a resemblance to her mother, so, taking both ideas into account the girl is probably Jan’s mother. She doesn’t have any photographs of her mother at that age.

Since receiving the above information I have been sent a huge collection of well over 300 photographs from Terry Stundon. Some are very old and some taken recently, but I was delighted to receive them and, subject to copyright, I shall be publishing some of them on this blog in the appropriate postings. Because of this I would urge visitors, once again, to retrace their steps through the blog as I am constantly adding information and illustrations. Also there are comments added, especially over the last few days.

If any visitors recognise anyone who is not named in any photographs on the blog I should be pleased to know their names and, where possible, hand on the information to relatives. Any relevant photographs would also be welcomed.

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7 Responses to “News of Gibson Square”

  1. levant29michael taylor Says:

    One of the last Familys to live in Gibson Square,was the DAY family
    George the late counciler for Pontypool and his sister Enid lived there for many years, Enid married Cyril Cooling a Post-man, they had 4 children, I think 2 were born there, Brian & Margaret, would be nice if you could get in touch whith them I am sure they could give you some history on the place,

  2. Clive Barnby Says:

    I remember George Day lived in North Road a few houses up (i.e. towards the High Street) from my grandparents. There were some Coolings, I think, in Town School with me in the 50s. I believe they lived on, or near, the Tranch. Dont know if they are the same family, the children of Cyril & Enid Cooling.

  3. levant29 Says:

    That will be the Coolings I wrote about, they moved up to the steel houses on the Tranch in 1948-9 and they did go to Town school

  4. Clive Barnby Says:

    Thanks, Michael. Thought they lived there, was in the same class as one of the boys, as I indicated, until Standard 3 in Town School. Can’t remember which of the brothers it was or, at least, his first name – might have been Brian. Had largely “forgotten” him/them until a few years ago was given a copy of an old class photo by Alan Law, who lived in Brynwern.

    Alan went to Park Terrace (I think) but he married Jackie Miles who was in the same class as me in Town School & she had the old photo. Clive

  5. levant29 Says:

    Do you know if a very old friend of mine is on the Photo his name was John Thomas, he lived on the Tranch also,
    I moved to France 24 years ago and have lost touch with many old friends

    • Clive Barnby Says:

      I dont recall John. Unfortunately, there were a lot of faces names of whom I couldnt recall, Michael. I remember a John Jones who lived in Brynwern near The Circle, a Graham Newman & Andrew Neate, who lived in Gwent Street area. There are other names I recall but those are the ones who lived in the Brynwern area.

      Tho’ I’ve remained in south Wales, I’ve lost touch with nearly everyone I knew in Town School. One of the few real exceptions is someone called Nigel Gordon. Originally from Brynwern, his parents moved to Pontnewynydd but he now lives in Sussex.


  6. Beryl kennedy Says:

    I’m trying to locate my aunt who lived in pontypool in the 60 when I last visited her home I remember she lived down a steep path with a wall around where there was a tap in the wall where I used to drink loads of water from as it tasted lovely her name was Barbara not sure of her married name but maiden name was Davies I remember here front garden or even back was very steep there was a hill by her house that had sheep roaming she had a daughter Stephanie and 2 more children I would love to know if she is still alive and where this is she loves as I’m longing to come there one day to see her hopefully and where she used to live grateful if any help u can give

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