Archive for the ‘important events’ Category

A Happy Christmas to all my visitors

December 12, 2016

CHRISTMAS 25th DECEMBER 2016

Below you will see the painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Frederico Barocci; this is his interpretation of the birth of Christ. It depicts Mary and an Ox looking down on baby Jesus who appears to be providing the light, illustrating his role as the light of the world.

 

nativity-frederico-barocci

I hope you all have a happy and blessed Christmas

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Christmas Greetings

December 20, 2015

small NativitySINCERE CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

TO ALL VISITORS TO MY BLOG

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:1-20New International Version (NIV)

Pontypool – then and now. And Christmas greetings to all visitors.

December 19, 2014

The very idea of this blog for over the past six years has been to think about old Pontypool. At this time of year, as we draw near to Christmas, I suppose many of us tend to think about past times and past Christmases more than at any other time.

Over the last year or two I’ve been talking to friends who used to live in Pontypool in the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties, and there seems to be unanimous agreement that, during those times, we lived in more family oriented times and that life was happier and more innocent. Few mothers went out to work but they worked very hard in the home, cleaning, cooking and acting as the sheet-anchor of the family. Families were often poor but they rarely split up with the children being shared between father and mother. Some people have even said “I’m glad I lived through my childhood then. I feel sorry for the children of today.”

It was during the sixties that things started to fall apart in this country with a massive lowering of moral values. It was the time of “The Profumo Affair” with Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies, whose death was announced today. I suppose today it would hardly raise an eyebrow.

Pontypool town was more cohesive; several people who still live there have told me that Pontypool has lost its soul. I cannot comment on this as I have not lived there since 1947.

So, if you still live in Pontypool or have lived there fairly recently, what is your opinion on these matters? If you have any opinion on the foregoing, please add a comment. Up to today there have been 537 comments placed on this blog; more will be welcome. For your information there has been over 180,000 hits on this blog so far and there are 139 followers who have asked to be informed whenever a new post is published.

Finally I would like to send to all visitors my sincere Christmas greetings with the following Christmas card:

Christmas cardMy best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

David Hughes

Photograph of original pre-war Folly Tower and visit by King Edward VII to Penygarn

August 12, 2014

Some younger visitors might not have seen a photograph of the original Folly Tower. Dot Jones sent in this shot of the tower with Dot and her friend Doreen standing just outside the doorway.

Dot&Doreen The Folly118

You can clearly see some serious cracks in the stonework above the door.

When the flower Show was held in Pontypool Market there were other competitions apart from the flowers. One was a drawing competition depicting the Folly. My brother, Garth, who was very good at art, entered a very good pencil drawing and won first prize in that section of the show.

*     *     *     *     *

Dot has also sent in a photograph of King Edward taken when he visited Pontypool in 1937. The lady waving her arms is Lyn’s mother and the man in the trilby is his father.

King Edward065

Elsewhere on this blog I have described the day when I was in Town School Infants and we all marched to the bottom of Penygarn Hill to wave our flags at the King.

“We will remember them”

June 6, 2014

I’m writing this on 6th June, the 70th anniversary of D-day. You will, doubtless, have seen on TV the great remembrance events organised on the French coast today. Visitors to this blog who are about my age will not have regarded the events as “history” because we lived through them and remember them so well.

In my memories of Pontypool from 1929 to 1947 I have dealt in some detail with things I remember about the war. I stated when I started this blog that I don’t want it to be my memories only but the memories also of visitors; if you have any memories about the war which you’d like to share please make a comment.

Once again today we heard the verse from Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen”:

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

The words are quoted every year at the Armistice Sunday remembrance services all over the country. What you might not know is that they are also quoted at every Toc H branch meeting during the ceremony of “Light”. I have been a member of Toc H for the last 66 years so I must have quoted them many hundreds of times.

But have you read the complete poem? If not you might like to do so now. I’m sure they will remind you of the remembrance events you might have witnessed on TV today.

“For the Fallen

By Laurence Binyon
 
WITH proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.”

More questions about Pontypool

February 16, 2014

A recent post gave a long list of questions about Pontypool which I received in an email from C.J.Welsh. To avoid publishing an overlong  post I divided the email into two parts. I was able to answer a number of the queries myself and several visitors very kindly posted answers to some of the other questions.

Below I now post the rest of the email containing a good many questions. I’m sure some visitors will be able to supply answers.

 

” Merchant’s Hill, Pontnewynydd

What existed at the bottom of Merchant’s Hill (where the “new” houses are now)? I remember the houses being built, but can’t remember what was there before them. I also believe there was a pub there at one time – was the pub situated in the house perched on the edge of the bridge? I remember the old bridge (where the cycle path is now); did the two lines run parallel? 

 Italian Gardens

I always remember these being lush and beautiful; on a recent visit to Pontypool, I was dismayed to see them looking like an absolute mess. Does anyone have any old photos of it in its glory days? 

 On a side note, does anyone remember the Argus hut just above it opposite St. James’s Church? 

 American Gardens

All I remember of these from my youth was a mass of overgrown trees – a shame, since I always expected it to be something exotic/glamorous. I noted on a recent visit that it hasn’t changed much. What did it look like? 

 Clarence Bus Station

As well as the Town Hall, there was a large purpose-built bus station on the site of the current Tesco garage. The bus station was in operation until the mid-1980s. If I remember correctly, buses from there would operate to Usk, Abergavenny, Hereford and the next valley (Crumlin, Blackwood, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, etc.). Does anyone have any memories/photos of this? There doesn’t appear to be anything online, apart from ANCIENT photos of charabancs parked outside the old Free Press offices! 

Crane Street Baptist Church

A few questions! 

1) Why was it built of Bath stone? It looks very out-of-place for Pontypool! 

2) What is the church’s connection with Dame Gwyneth Jones? I know she is from Pontnewynydd, but that’s pretty much it.

3) What is Laura Ashley’s connection with the church? I know that her company/foundation used to provide the church with financial donations, as well as fabrics for various projects. 

 Riverside

What existed here before the flats (now replaced by houses) were built? I remember them (and the road) being built, and a relative of mine was apparently one of the first people to purchase a maisonette there! 

 I’m guessing it was old forges at one point, but they closed LONG before the flats were built.  

 The Pavvy Hill, Pontnewynydd – and the industrial estate

I recently found out that the Pavvy Hill isn’t the original! It used to run immediately to the left of the Horseshoe pub, with another pub at the top on the right – the name of which escapes me). Does anyone have any photos of this? My grandfather used to sell newspapers outside The Pavvy cinema when he was a boy, and would get extra money from waiting crowds by walking up The Pavvy Hill and back on his hands! 

Regarding Pontnewynydd industrial estate, what used to exist there? Something to do with mining I guess, since there are evidence of mine workings behind St. John’s Crescent, and I know the “top line” used to run there. What was there before the industrial estate leading up to Waunddu? 

 Pits

I have ancestors that worked in Blaenserchan, Tirpentwys and Llanerch pits; does anyone have any maps/pictures, since I know nothing of these, other than the general areas (NO idea about Tirpentwys!). I have one ancestor who was involved in Tirpentwys’s famous pit collapse, and several others who were killed in the famous Llanerch pit explosion. 

 Celebrities

Other than Dame Gwyneth Jones, there doesn’t seem to be anyone of particular note from the area! I know that Edwin Stevens (inventor of the hearing aid), Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton attended West Mon for a time, but they weren’t born-and-bred. Do we have anyone else, of whom we can be justly proud? Yes, I’ve checked wikipedia, but there’s no one particularly interesting featured! 

 Lower George Street Sweet Shop

I remember my grandmother telling me that the last building on what currently remains of Lower George Street (just after the vet, where the little path goes down to Osbourne Road) was a sweet shop. I’m guessing it was something to do with Truman’s sweets in the town market (any association with the Pontnewynydd minibus firm?), but I have a memory of her telling me it was something to do with Welch’s Toffees – of which Geordie actress Denise Welch is the heiress. Can anyone shed any light on this? 

 Lower George Street

I remember there being several shops here between the existing jewellers and physio clinic; there was a Chinese, a hairdressers, and possibly a clothes shop and a record shop. I think Davis Wallpapers was further down? There were apparently flats above these shops; on the opposite side of these buildings was the northbound Osbourne Road bus stop, where I spent many freezing hours in my youth waiting for a “top road” bus to Abersychan! 

 Osbourne Road – large old building?

The fairly grand stone building next door to the White Hart – what was it? It’s been closed for as long as I remember. My grandmother seems to think it was the old Conservative Club (before its present site more or less opposite).  

 Trevor Powell

Who remembers this fruit and veg wholesaler opposite Johnny Gould’s? It always smelled of fresh cabbage leaves outside! 

 Clarence Hotel

Does anyone have any photos of the interior in its hayday? My mother was married there, but all her photos were taken outside! 

 Griffithstown and St. Luke’s Road – other hospitals? 

I distinctly remember as a child driving along the “top road” of Griffithstown and seeing a gate and a sign on the right (southbound) to a hospital of somekind; can anyone shed any light on this? New-ish houses currently stand there. 

 I also remember a similar sign on the left of St. Luke’s Road (northbound) just before that enchanting gateway to the private house. 

 I have the name “Glengariff” in a picture in my brain – what has this got to do with it? 

 Tesco/Boots/Kwik Save

What existed on this site previous to these opening? Any photos? 

 Italian Influence – let’s have a quick coffee before I close!

As we all know, South Wales at one time had the best Italian restaurants, cafes and gelateries outside of Italy! In Pontypool I remember: – 

  1. Cafe Commerciale, Commercial Street (always smelled of strong coffee)
  2. Mario’s, George Street (always smelled of old chip fat, had sweet jars in the window, and billowing clouds of cigarette smoke every time the door opened)
  3. ???, Osbourne Road (always smelled of fresh tobacco)
  4. Sidoli’s, Crane Street (the ONLY place to go for F&CH! They used to give my dog a sausage every Friday!)
  5. Ferrari’s Bakers, Crane Street (sadly gone)

 Are there any I’ve forgotten about? 

 Maps – a final suggestion? 

I would LOVE to be able to draw! Unfortunately, the best I can manage is a woman with a perm, and I have to be on the phone to draw it properly… 

 It would be lovely if someone was able to create/draw/superimpose/photoshop a map for each decade in Pontypool, with clickable icons on notable landmarks (pits, forges, old roads, pubs, shops) to see how things have changed in Pontypool over the past century or two. Maybe even create a 3D Pontypool tour for each decade? I should copyright this idea and sell it to the museum!  

 Any questions? I’m happy to help if I can! If you need any information on Talywain, my grandmother is an AUTHORITY on the area, and probably personally knows every person that’s lived there since the dawn of Time! 

 Many thanks, 

 C. J. WELSH”

WordPress report for 2013 on my Pontypool blog

December 31, 2013

AT THE END OF EVERY YEAR THE WORDPRESS SEND ME A REPORT ON ALL THE ACTIVITY ON THIS BLOG DURING THE YEAR. I’VE EDITED IT SLIGHTLY  BELOW BUT HAVE QUOTED ALL THE ITEMS I THINK YOU’LL BE INTERESTED IN.

“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 47,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

In 2013 there were 25 new posts growing the total archive of this blog to 160 posts. There were 38 pictures uploaded, that’s about 3 pictures a month.

The busiest day of the year was March 16th with 1,831 views.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2013:
1. Pontypool’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.   1 comment
2. Tragedy at West Mon (Revised account).   87 comments
3. Murder most foul in Pontypool.   6 comments
4. Parts of old Pontypool that have vanished.   22 comments
5. Old photographs of Pontypool.   4 comments

Visitors came from 127 different countries. Most visitors came from the United Kingdom but the United States and Australia were not far behind.

The most commented on post in 2013 was “The Crown Garage in George Street and the Fynn family.”

These were the 5 most active  commenters:
1. Clive Barnby with 19 comments.
2. Audrey Ross with 13 comments.
3. Dennis Williams with 6 comments.
4. Laurie Oliver with 6 comments.
5. David Powell with 6 comments.”

It only remains for me to wish all my visitors a very happy New Year. Please visit again in 2014.

Christmas greetings to all visitors

December 18, 2013

Christmas card for blog

New antiques show coming to Pontypool. Can you help?

October 23, 2013

THE GREAT ANTIQUES MAP OF BRITAIN

Yesterday I heard from Heather Absalom of the BBC who is organising “The Great Antiques Map of Britain”. The show will be visiting Pontypool. The three queries she raises are self explanatory so I print them below together with the second email she sent me. If any visitor is able to help with these queries please contact Heather direct. Her address, telephone number and email are at the bottom of her letter.

               Dear David,

 I wonder if you could help me?

 I am contacting from a brand new BBC series called The Great Antiques Map of Britain, in which our presenter Tim Wonnacott, will be travelling all over the UK discovering the people, the places, the antiquities and the collectables that tell the story of Great Britain.

 We are coming to the Pontypool to talk about the Allgood Family and Pontypool Japanware and I wondered if you might be able to help me with the below queries?

 1)    Have you had ever been contacted by anyone that may be a descendant of the Allgood family, or had ancestors that worked in the Pontypool Japanware industry? If so, might you be able to pass my details onto them to see if they would like to get in touch with me?

2)    Is there anywhere in Pontypool still connected to the industry, the old factory for example? In one article I read it mentioned that: Japanware was made below the Cross in Pontypool and soon afterwards in West Place, Crane Street, in what became known as Old Japan. Do these places still exist? Is there anything to commemorate the industry?

3)    I know it’s extremely rare, but we’re also looking for someone that may have a piece of Pontypool Japanware or perhaps something that they think might be Pontypool Japanware, that they would like to find out more about. We are in touch with the museum, but also looking for a private collector that could bring the piece to show our presenter.

 If you could help with any of the above, I would be very grateful.

 I look forward to hearing from you,  

 Many Thanks,

 Heather

 Heather Absalom

AP – The Great Antiques Map
Room 0.08, 25 WLR, BBC Bristol, Whiteladies Road, BS8 2LR
01179 747 878 Ext (01) 47878
heather.absalom@bbc.co.uk

 *     *     *     *     *

Second email:

 Dear David,

 Apologies, me again, I knew that I would forget something! I had a fourth query, in each place we visit we will be pulling up with our mobile ‘valuation station’ in which our presenter will be looking at and valuing items that people bring along to him. We’re looking for a village green, or square to base this and I wondered if you or any readers of your blog could suggest anywhere in Pontypool for this?

 Thanks,

 Heather

 

Further news about the snowfall of 1947

July 28, 2013

Regular visitors to this blog might remember an early posting:  https://oldpontypool.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/pontypools-great-snow-of-1947/

Recently I received another email from Geoff Lloyd who has memories of this occasion. He also sent me three photographs, all of  which I share with you below.

Many thanks Geoff.

I well remember the 1947 Snows, living on Varteg Lane, Varteg. The snow drifts in some places were up to the first floor windows and people had to dig a tunnel out. We schoolboys were quite happy as it meant no school for about 3 weeks.

The local coal miners were of course unable to get to the pits and together with all the other residents had to dig out the road to Garndiffaith so that supplies of bread and milk could be delivered.

Searching through my photographs I have found 2 of the road being dug out – the car belonged to my father, Herbert Lloyd, and he was waiting for it to be clear so that he could drive down to Garn & Varteg Co-op Chemist’s Shop at Garndiffaith, where he was the pharmacist in charge. There is also a photograph taken about 1936 of him outside the Chemists, some of your very old contacts may remember the shop.”

Varteg2_1947

Herbert Lloyd’s car
Varteg1_1947

Digging out the road at Varteg

Garn-co-op

Herbert Lloyd standing outside his chemist’s shop