Was “Gibson Square” and “Gibson Steps” the same place?

Last week I received an email from Eric Deigon who has ancestors who lived at Gibson Steps. I append below his email enquiring about this matter. If any visitors know anything about the people mentioned please make a comment.

“I have recently come across your blog about Reminiscences of Old Pontypool, in my search for information about my great-grandmother and two half-great-uncles who lived in Pontypool, and I have a question for you about where they lived.  Do you know anything about an address of 2 Gibson’s Steps in Pontypool?  I know that this relates to information before your time, but perhaps you can still help.  Sorry for the long email about this.

I have been searching for years for information about this part of my family, and only recently got a breakthrough when a relative who was also researching the family history got a new clue.  I knew from my father that my great-grandmother (born Abigail Wakeman in London, and later named Abigail Schwartz and Abigail Gibbs by marriage) had married again after her second husband Joseph Gibbs had died, and that she had gone on to have two sons, one of whom had died in World War 1.  My father had thought that their surname had been King, but that has turned out to be wrong, and is where the story becomes complicated.

It turns out that Abigail was married to an Edward Evans, and their older son (also named Edward) was killed in WW1 in 1914 at age 17.  Edward Evans Sr., however, also went by another name, John Williams (or John William) under which name he enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1914 at age 39, giving an address of 2 Gibson Steps, Pontypool.

In a Google search, the only other reference I can find to Gibson Steps or Gibson’s Steps in Pontypool is this:

EVANS, EDWARD, Private, No. 1682,2nd Battn. Monmouthshire Regt. (T.F.),
elder s. of the late Edward Evans, by his wife, Abigail (2, Gibson’s Steps, High
Street, Pontypool); b. Cardiff, 2 7 Oct. 1897; educ. National School there;
enlisted early in 1912, and was killed in action in France, 30 Dec. 1914. Capt.
L. P. A. Rolls wrote : ” Your son had been my servant ever since the beginning
of Oct., when we were in Northampton, and had been with me till he met his
death. I cannot tell you what a good willing lad he was in all that he did for me.
He was killed like so many other—nobly doing his duty in the trenches.”

So this fits the connection with my family.  And then I came across notes on your blog about Gibson’s Square and Donkey Steps, so I wondered if there was some connection of Gibson’s Steps to this area. 

Thank you for any insights you can provide!”

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2 Responses to “Was “Gibson Square” and “Gibson Steps” the same place?”

  1. brian walker Says:

    Gibson Square was at the top of High St but there was a lane that also connected it to High St, this was also referred to as Gibson Lane, Gibson Steps or Donkey Steps. No 2 was probably the boarding house at the bottom. There was a Gibbs family living the area during the 1911 Census.

  2. clive barnby Says:

    I think Brian is right on this – my guess is that street addresses were probably more “flexible” or vague than they are today, & that Gibson Lane was also referred to as Gibson Steps. Virtually all the houses had gone by my day – all that was left were what we call the Donkey Steps & some evidence that there had been houses & other buildings.

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