Archive for the ‘Schooldays’ Category

Pontypool people. Do you recognise any relatives?

May 10, 2015

I’ve recently received some emails from Julia Jones who is the daughter of my wartime schoolfriend, John Paine who is mentioned in some of my posts. Julia has been sorting through some family photographs and has sent some to me for this blog.

One school photo contains a photograph of her uncle Frank Paine when he was in school, probably in Town School, but possibly George Street School. Julia says:

“I have been looking through some old family photos and have come across the following which may be of interest to some of your followers. 
The photo of the school children is I think of George Street School sometime in the latter half of the 1930’s.I have tried to attach the names to some of the faces but the only ones I can be certain of is that of my uncle, Frank Paine, and Margaret Booth Frost.”

Julia says in a second email about the same photo:

“Frank’s date of birth was May 1925, this seems to date the photo more towards the early thirties. I think they started school about four or five years of age. The sign in front says Babes 2. I expect this was the infant class.”

School photo

This could be George St School or Town School.
The names might be too small to read, but from left to right they are:
Frank Paine, Les Haines, Malcolm Durham, Charlie Phillips,
Billy Jones, L.F.Vaisey, Ivor Morgan, Doug Smith, Harold Gardener.
Betty Griffiths, Thelma Haddock, Margaret Booth Frost, Edna Young.
Hazel Jones, Flossie Edwards. Holding sign “Babes 2”.

 Frank 1

Frank Paine as army despatch rider

Mr Pearson & 3 friends

Mr T.B.Pearson (in dark clothes) with three friends and car.
Mrs Paine was Mr Pearson’s housekeeper at “Trosnant” in School Lane.

If you recognise anyone in any of the photos please either email me or make a comment. A lot of visitors to this blog are researching their families so some useful information might arise.

Cwmffrwdoer Infant School – a commemorative plate with an illustration

March 25, 2015

Recently I’ve received an email from Stuart Baldwin regarding the Cwmffrwdoer Infant School. He says:

 “Following your recent blogs on Cwmffrwdoer Infant School and my clear confusion (even though I attended the school) as to it being located in Pontnewynydd, the picture I have sent confirms it in my mind, this plate I have walked under many time as it hung on my Nan’s wall but never really took in what was written on the plate, sadly now the plate is in my possession as my Nan sadly passed away recently, but thought it right to e-mail the pic of this commemorative plate which is linked to some of your recent blogs.”

I attach a copy of the plate below as some visitors have asked whether a picture of the school was available. The one on the plate is a stylised sketch but it will be of interest to those who knew it.

cwmffrwdoer plate

The plate

Cwmffrwdoer Infants School. Do you recognise anyone?

January 20, 2015

It’s always pleasing to receive emails from visitors to my blog especially when they write from other countries where they are now living. It’s amazing how far flung are some of the people who were born and brought up in Pontypool.

Just recently I’ve had some emails from Garry Taylor who lives in Portland USA. He says “Portland is a very beautiful place and in many ways the people often remind me of the Welsh- very kind, open, honest and willing to stop and pass the time of day with a conversation.”

Garry went to Cwmffrwdoer Infants and Junior School and also Twmpath. He has kindly sent me two photographs of some of the Infants children which I enclose below. Garry has also sent me the names of the children he can remember so it’s possible that some visitors might remember either themselves or a relative in one of the photographs.

If any visitors have any other photographs of Cwmffrwdoer Junior and Infants School please let me have copies in an email and I can add them in a later post. I know Garry would like to see them.

infants school

Cwmffrwdoer infants school about 1970 [ish]
Teachers, Mrs. Roper lady on right of image with white hair,, Mrs.
Cleaves sat directly behind her.
Christine Rappel, Linda Probert, Sally-Ann Price, Martin Leighton, Simon
Curzon,”Snakey” Kevin Price, Stephen Jones, Ian [or Neil] Foxwell, Sean
Edwards, Curt Hamer, Chris Williams, Lesa Jones [the daughter of the
Benny Jones who recently died], Sharon Young, Andrea Hill, Alison
Redman, Karen Osmond, Gareth Strange, Ann Rudick, Michelle Hurley, Alan
Hancock, Maxine Richards, Brenda Hanratty, Judith Read, Ian Watkins,
Andrew Gasconge, Paul Lamrick, Ian Francis, Michelle Hurley, Michele
Gittins,

infants school 2
The second image with paper flower
Ian Francis, Judith Read, Maxine Richards, Alison Redman, Dionne Nutt,
second row down, Clare Jones, Karen Osmond, Garry Taylor [me] Paul
Lamrick, and not sure,
front row, Steward Mathews, Linda Peacock, and

Anthony Taylor.

I don’t have any images from Junior School- I think the annual photo
must have been lost along with my many travels.

Photo of West Mon visit to Houses of Parliament in the nineteen fifties

January 13, 2015

I have just received from Geoff Nicolle a photograph of West Mon boys, of Six and Seven Arts, when they visited the Houses of Parliament in the nineteen fifties. I enclose it below together with some notes of the names of most of the boys in it. If anyone has any further details please make a comment.

West-Mon-6th.

On the picture are (left to right) John Rogers, Tony (Sam) St. Dalmas, Dick Cleverley, Keith Vann, J.D.Jones, Bill Jordan, John Clark, ‘Nobby’ Clark (History) – (John’s father), B.D.Jones, Roger Wood (behind Granville West (MP)), ’Oggy’ Mason, Ron Bente, Geoff Nicolle, Alan Brown, Arthur Westren, Tom Morgan, Terry Harper, Neville Cule, A.G.Davies, John Watkins, Deri Lloyd,I have forgotten the names of the one who seems to have a spot on his nose and the third on the far right, Bill Hillier, Jack Haig (Geography)

We had an interesting tour led by Granville Wes. Some boys from the Pontypool constituency went in to watch a debate. We were told they had seen and heard both Winston Churchill and Nye Bevan speak.
Afterwards Nobby took some boys to see a Shakespeare play. Our lot went with Jack to see the musical ‘Call Me Madam’.
I would be interested to see if anyone else in the picture can add more information . Sadly some of my best friends like Terry Harper, John Watkins and Arthur Westren died many years ago. I think John Rogers became a vicar. Deri Lloyd played for Pontypool R.F.C. when he was in 7Arts.

 

Old photographs of New Inn, The Grotto and West Mon School

January 11, 2015

Once again I am indebted to Craig Smith for supplying  the three photographs below. If you have any information about them please either email me or make a comment.

grotto

This is a very early photograph of the Grotto
before it was vandalised and railings
were put around it.

highway new inn

Judging by the style of the cars parked in the road
this photograph must have been taken in the 1920s.

I’m puzzled by the title: “The Highway Pontypool Road”. 
I always thought “Pontypool Road” referred to the
railway station.
Was there a road in New Inn by that name?

west mon

For visitors unacquainted with West Mon, perhaps
I should explain that, when I went there in the early
1940s, the left hand building housed
the lower aged boys; the quad is behind it and on
the far side were the boarders’ quarters.
The central building with the storm roof, housed
the swimming baths in the lower storey and the
gym on the top storey. Behind it was a large shelter
where we often assembled during break time
if it was raining. Part of the roof is just visible.
The building on the right was known as “The New
Building” and housed the laboratories and the
older boys.

The West Mon Annual School Quiz

December 21, 2014

While I was at West Mon from 1942 to 1947, every year on the last day of the school year we had the school quiz. Everyone had exactly the same questions no matter what the ages of the boys concerned, so it was possible for any pupil to win the prize.

All the teaching staff would take charge of a class each and the questions were called out. I can’t remember how many questions we had to answer but it took about an hour to complete the quiz. I can’t remember how the papers were marked, whether we exchanged papers and marked them that way or whether the staff did the marking. The former would have been quicker and would have enabled the winner to be announced the same day. Otherwise it would have meant that the winner would not have been known until the following term.

I have an idea that there was some sort of a prize but I can’t remember what it was. I imagine that someone must have made some sort of endowment to provide the prize but I cannot be at all sure of that.

Does any visitor remember the quiz? Did they participate and is it still happening? If anyone has any memories of this event please either email me or append a comment. Do we have a visitor who actually won the prize?

Pontypool expressions, humorous and otherwise

September 22, 2014

There were all sorts of expressions we used when I was a young boy in Pontypool. Some were the remainders of words from the Welsh language; others sound rather humorous now but we used them frequently years ago. Of course they might not have been used exclusively in Pontypool but in a wider area. I publish a few I remember below. Do any visitors remember such expressions?

Tamping    When we bounced balls up and down on the ground this was often referred to as “tamping the ball”. There was another expression tamping mad which meant that someone was extremely annoyed.

Whipper-in    This was a term applied to the man known as “the attendance officer”. If someone was thought to be away from school without any reason, the head teacher would ask the whipper-in to call at the house and if the pupil seemed to be in good health he or she would be grabbed by the whipper-in and marched to school.

Tapped    This was used when we had shoes repaired. When pupils were absent when the teacher called the resister a fellow pupil might explain “He’s getting his shoes tapped”. Another use of the expression was “He or she’s a bit tapped” meaning they were a bit crazy.

Ych-a-fi    This was an expression of utter disgust when something, or someone, was in a particularly filthy condition.

Mingy    This meant “mean”; any of our friends who bought a packet of sweets and didn’t share them was called “mingy”.

Taw    A good quality glass marble was referred to as a “taw”. We often played “following taws” down the gutter trying to hit an opponent’s marble. The one who did this kept the marble.

Right-o    This was an expression of agreement. There was a certain woman who lived in Bridge Street who was known as “Mrs Right-o”. The story went that, when she was getting married and the clergyman asked her “Do you take this man . . . etc.?” instead of saying “I do.” she replied “Right-o”.

A rather peculiar expression which I often used to hear used in Pontypool market when enquiring the price of an item was something like: “What do the cabbages run to today?”

One expression I have tried many years to find the source of and have so far failed is a word which was used by my mother. I can’t remember anyone else using it. Can any visitor enlighten me? The word was fakie. I’m not sure of the spelling but that is what it sounded like. If she knew of an implement which did a special job but couldn’t recall the name of it, she would say “Where’s that fakie for getting nails out of wood?” etc. Can anyone help with this one?

Of course, many of these expression might still be used in Pontypool. Visitors who still live there will know.

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.

Possible solution to the West Mon sports mystery

July 28, 2014

Thanks to those who have commented on my previous post about the mystery of how the sports teams were selected. I realise that there were first teams and colts. That was also the position when I attended West Mon and it offered a natural progression of talent. My query was about the selection procedure for ANY team; there didn’t seem to be one. In my five years at the school there was not a single announcement about any trials which were to be held and I certainly saw no printed notice to this effect either.

Because of your comments I now think it must have been due to wartime conditions. By the time I arrived at the school the war was well underway and all the younger staff had been called up into the forces. These were replaced by mistresses who would have had no interest in boys’ rugby or cricket teams. The demobilisation of the masters would have started some time towards the end of 1945 and continued through 1946. I remember the return of both Whitty and Mosely who were keen cricketers, both of whom played for the Trevethin Cricket Team.

According to your comments it would have been in the later forties and early fifties that trials for sports teams were held, probably reverting to the process in being in pre-war years.

A West Mon mystery: how were the sports teams chosen?

July 24, 2014

I was recently talking with my friend Eric Smith about the sports teams at West Mon and neither of us could remember how the sports teams were chosen. When we attended the school in the forties there were only two first sports teams, rugby and cricket. In most schools they organise trials for anyone who wishes to be considered for any of the teams but this did not seem to be the case at West Mon. From 1942 to 1947 I never once heard about any trial matches being organised.

I wonder therefore how these teams “emerged”. Regarding the cricket team, I do remember that, in the cricket team at least, there were a large number of boys who took Latin. Could there have been any connection between this and the fact that the master in charge of the cricket team was a Latin teacher?

I suppose this “arrangement” might have altered over time. Can any ex-Westmonians who visit this blog remember a more logical way of selecting the sports teams? If so please leave a comment.

When I transferred to Howard Gardens High School in Cardiff I was asked whether I played cricket. When I told them I did they put my name down for a trial and as a result I was chosen to play for the first XI.