Do you remember Alfred William Hart or his Pontypool friends?

July 24, 2015

I’ve just received an email from Kate Tressider who also provided me with a photograph of six young men, one of whom is her Great Uncle Alf. Below I reproduce her email and also a copy of the photograph. If you recognise anyone on it please either make a comment or email me and I will pass on the information.

 

Dear David,

I came across your wonderful website and thought I would send you an email. I have a very long line of ancestors from Pontypool and the surrounding areas, dating way back to the 1800s. I have recently been researching my family history, and have found, among many other things, the attached photograph. 

The photograph is of my Great Uncle (Alfred William Hart – pictured on the top right hand corner, turned slightly inwards, with the striped hat on) He was born in 1922, so I would estimate that this photograph was taken between 1934-1940…  I would love to know if there is anybody who recognises the other people in the photograph, or if they have surviving ancestors. My Great Uncle was known as Alf to his friends; sadly he died in the Second World War on 8th June 1944; he volunteered to join the Royal Navy in 1943. He had an older sister, Irene, who was born in 1920. They lived at 19 Crumlin Street (Pontypool) with their grandparents.

I would be very grateful if this could be added to your website perhaps? Let me know if there is any other information that you think would be helpful – and apologies that I can’t provide much more at the moment.

Thanking you very much in advance,

Best wishes,
Kate

Alfie and friends

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Newspaper article about Pontypool synagogue

July 18, 2015

I’ve recently been sent a link to a newspaper article about the Pontypool synagogue. If you have the facilities you can view the article using this link:

http://newspapers.library.wales/view/3402626/3402634/49/Jewish%20Pontypool

However, if you do not have such facilities, here is a photograph of the newspaper article:

Newspaper article

Do you remember a synagogue in Pontypool?

July 3, 2015

Do you remember a synagogue in Pontypool?

I recently received an email from C.J.Welsh who is researching his family history. He’s found some interesting sites about Jewish families in Wales. Here is a quote from one of the sites (JCR-UK) in question:

‘On page 46 of the book edited by Ursula R.Q. Henriques, The Jews of South Wales, Historical Studies (1993) there is a map of Jewish settlements. Those places which had a synagogue are underlined. It appears to be complete but  for short periods at any rate two other places had synagogues; these were at Pontypool and at Neath. I was alerted to these two by letters printed in the Jewish Chronicle, in 1867 and 1868. They were written by Henry D. Marks, of Cardiff, and were based on his visits to various places in South Wales.  In the first letter, referring to Pontypool, printed in the JC on 1 March 1867, p. 6, he noted that  the congregation was very small ‘consisting, in fact, of three families only, with sufficient males to form a “minyan” .’  He went on: ‘I am proud to say they consecrated a place of worship for themselves last week, and have engaged the services of Rev. D. Rosenthal, who acts as Hazan [in Hebrew] and Shochet [in Hebrew], and Teacher to their children’. The consecration took place on 10 February  1867. The writer, Henry Marks, noted that the opening of the synagogue was due to the efforts of  Rev. Nathan Jacobs of Cardiff who also gave ‘a most thrilling and appropriate sermon on the occasion’, which was reported in a copy of  ‘a local periodical’ which he had included with his letter to the editor. This was the Pontypool Free Press of 16 February – a copy of which I obtained through the good offices of the Archivist of the  Gwent Record Office. It contained a very full report of the consecration, amounting to several thousand words. The building was one which had been occupied by Mr Philip Hambleton, a builder and farmer, who appears in the 1851 Census as living in Wain House. The newspaper report stated that the two upper rooms had been ‘thrown into one’  and in the centre was a reading desk, opposite which was the Ark containing a Sepher Torah. ‘A portion of the room is railed off for the accommodation of the female members’.


C.J.Welsh also says:

“The Census records of Jewish families in Pontypool at that time throw up the surnames Solomon (pawnbroker), Bloom (pawnbroker), Jacobs (jewellery pedlar), and Crawcour.”


If any visitors have any of these surnames or can remember anything about the Pontypool synagogue, please make a comment or email me. I just wonder whether Wain House might have been in the Wainfelin area.

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

Do you know anything about Joan Baldwin living in a miner’s cottage in Garndiffaith 1920s – 30s

March 14, 2015

I have just received the following email from Stephen Burnham.
If you can help please leave a comment as time is now short.

I have just been browsing your excellent site Reminiscences. …and I was wondering if you could help me with my enquiry.
My wife and I are travelling from Norwich to Garndiffaith on the 23rd March and will be staying in Usk for two nights.
We are looking for the place where her late mother Joan Baldwin b.1926 grew up.
We know she lived in a miner’s cottage in Garndiffaith.
We have since been informed by a surviving relative that the cottages have been demolished.Apparently there is now a new Co-op and housing estate where the cottages once stood.
Her cousin has mentioned a name that sounds like Aberystruth.
We don’t want to waste petrol travelling round half of Monmouthshire.
Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy email.
I would appreciate any help you may have.
Good luck with your site.
Many thanks
Stephen Burnham

100-year-old photo of Cwmffrwdoer Infants School

March 1, 2015

I have just received a photograph (printed below) from Leslie Chisholm of Toronto. She has sent me a photograph of Class 1A at Cwmffrwdoer Infant School taken in or about 1910. Her mother is in the photograph. I estimate that there must be at least 33 children in the class, possibly more. I wonder how many infants teachers today would like to teach a class of that size. The little girl in the front row proudly holding up her slate board has the name of the class written on it.

I found the photograph wonderfully evocative; it is, of course, over 100 years old but some of the items I remember from my own school days in the 1930s, such items as the tortoiseshell stove and the wooden black “slates” both of which I’ve referred to elsewhere in this blog.

Leslie is planning a visit to the area in April and wants to take some photographs. I understand that a new school has been built on the site. If anyone has any information, especially names, of anyone in this photograph or has any information or photographs of the old or new school, please either email me or make a comment on this blog. Any information I receive by email I shall pass on to Leslie.

Infant School

Cwmffrwdoer Infants School class 1A

 

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.