Do you know anything about “Tin Town” Pontypool?

Information and photographs wanted

 I once came across a business card, belonging to a car repair firm, with the slogan “We only meet by accident”. I suppose I could adopt the same slogan for this blog. I’ve had numerous emails from people all over the world who have said that they only came across my blog by accident.

It happened again a few days ago when I received an email from Roy Davies of Cwmbran. He said some interesting things and gave a few names which I thought might be of interest to visitors to this blog. Here are some quotes from Roy’s emails:


“I was born and brought up in Pontypool, went to Park Terrace school (and the baptist chapel) and West Mon. I have just been reading about Gibson’s Square with interest as my paternal g.g/parents lived there for some time. I used the “donkey steps” every day as I traipsed to school and back to King street.

I have just discovered your site and have only read a small part of it but I was wondering if you have any photos of Town Forge Row? This was a row of 8-10 cottages situated on the banks of the Afon LLwyd and the only access was actually through the town forge itself ! As a young lad of 7 yrs of age, it was quite an experience. My dad worked there and my maternal grandmother lived at No. 1 Town Forge Row. I have been trying to find some photos for years but so far to no avail.

When I was at Park Terrace school (1945-1953) we had to walk to Trosnant for our school meals, as did the kids in Town school. Park Terrace bulldogs and Town School water rats, or vice versa!! Happy days!”


In my reply to this email I directed Roy to my post about “Tin Town” which I wrote on 7th February 2011. You can see it by clicking here:   I thought that perhaps the cottages he referred to were in fact the “Tin Town” cottages.” I was speaking to a friend earlier today about this matter. He lives in Pontnewynydd and he said he remembers seeing American tanks parked on the “Tin Town” site during the war.

In his second email Roy had this to say:


“While I never heard of the expression “Tin Town”, I can well believe it may have been called that. The cottages, from what I remember of Gran’s, were 2 up, 2 down. But I cannot remember going upstairs ever.

If you went in via the front door, you stepped directly into the small living room and the stairs were in the far left corner. The kitchen was also small and lit with 2 oil lamps and the coal fire. No electricity, and I can remember Gran ironing on the table using one flat iron while another was in the grate, warming up. Then she’d swop them over. Outside the rear door was a small “bailey” and the toilet on the other side. That consisted of a wooden seat with a hole in it! The flushing system may well have been a bucket of water, I can’t remember! The contents flowed directly into the river! As kids we played a lot by the river, which was as black as could be with the silt like small coal in which nothing lived!

 My Gran moved to Trevethin in the early 50’s and just after I believe the cottages were demolished. I do recall that the partly demolished ceilings were lath and plaster. Gran was Esther Margretta Bradbury, nee Adams,who was widowed on 1st July 1930 when William, her husband, died in a road accident near Usk. Gran lived to be 100yrs old.

The description of old houses with rounded roofs like nissan huts may have been on the Fairground which was the opposite bank of the river to Town Forge Row. I will have a chat to my elder sister to see if she can remember more.”


The reference to Town Forge reminded me of the times I went there with my friend, John Payne. He had a relative who was the night watchman. We sometimes went to the forge in the evening when all the workmen had gone home, and played on the empty drams which ran along rails in the forge. We used to push each other around until it was time to go home.

If anyone has any information about the cottages referred to by Roy (and possibly they are “Tin Town”) and especially if there are any photographs available, please get in touch and I can arrange for them to be published here.



2 Responses to “Do you know anything about “Tin Town” Pontypool?”

  1. robert pearce Says:

    When I was a boy a small village of Pre Fabs was erected on ground near Pontypool Road station and behind Ruth Road people of referred to this as “Tin Town” and this may be a reference to this

  2. jan davey Says:

    Dear Roy, did you ask your sister about the houses with rounded roofs in Fair fields after? I would be really interested if she could remember anything about them as this was the last place my family lived in before they were demolished (sometime in the 50s) as far as I know.

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