Posts Tagged ‘Tin Town’

Parts of Old Pontypool that have vanished

February 7, 2011

It’s only natural for any town to evolve. Buildings get old, outdated and no longer of use and are then demolished. This has happened in Pontypool. I looked on a street map of the town recently to find Moreton Street and discovered it had vanished and now has another name.

From time to time I receive emails that ask about old Pontypool and some of its residents in an effort to find out what happened to them. These emails are not usually put on this blog, but I do what I can to help the senders.

Just a few days ago I received an email from Jan Davey about things that happened some time before I was bornl, so, initially I was unable to help.  Below I quote Jan’s email:

Dear David, just been reading some of your articles and messages regarding yours and others memories of Pontypool and wondered if you could help me in my quest for information. My mother Violet Taylor was born in Pontypool in 1920 at 9 Gibsons Square. She attended Town School between 1925 -1934 with her bother and sisters. Her father was a war Veteran and fought at the Battle of Rorkes Drift and was wounded as a result. Due to his injuries ( a spear hole through his leg) and ill health he was unable to work in the latter years of his life and so himself and his family had to survive on the small disability pension he received from the army. At some point between 1922 and 1935 (when he died) they moved to 8 Fairfield, Pontypool.  David I have been trying to find out exactly where these places were situated but havent been very sucessful to date. Obviously they no longer exist but I wonder if anyone could provide any information regarding either or both of the addresses?  My mother rarely talked about her home life and and am starting to wonder if she may have been embarrased about their living conditions. The reason behind my thinking mainly comes from information I have recently gained from a long lost Aunt. The last property they lived in at 8 Fairfields she described as being down by the park, and near to the river. i think she also said it was behind where the old Labour Exchange and Post Office were? She described the house as having a rounded roof similar to that of a Nissan hut?  Where could these houses have come from because I cannot find any info relating to them other than from what my aunt described – damp and run down! When making enquiries locally an elderly lady said that she remembered some properties down by the area I described as being called Tin Town.  Could they have been ex-army accommodation been left over from the WW1?

Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.   Many Thanks in anticipation.   Jan Davey

Fortunately my friend, Eric Smith, who has lived in the Pontypool area all his life, was able to help. Apparently Fairfield is that area to the left after crossing the river bridge just past the Park Cinema. When I lived in Pontypool it was generally referred to as “The Fairground”. It was just past the Labour Exchange and was a quite large flat area covered in a mixture of earth and ashes. I think there are some new houses built there now. The roads are Park Road and Church Wood Road.

I remembered the name “Tin Town” which I heard my father use. I assume it was a nickname. Eric informed me that it was a row of houses built specifically for workers at the Town Forge Tinplate Works. I don’t know whether this was the reason for the “Tin” name or whether it was because some of the buildings had “tin”, that is corrugated iron, roofs. If you are standing with your back to the Park Cinema you can walk across the road and into a lane which leads to the Town Forge. It’s a dead end but I seem to remember some steel steps near the Forge which led up onto Osborne Road. The name of the present road is Forge Lane.

Eric told me that he didn’t know the whereabouts of Gibson’s Square, but today he phoned again to say that a neighbour of his in New Inn, who had been in the same class at Park Terrace School, had just told him that it was at Trevethin somewhere between the church and the Italian Gardens. The square was demolished  before the new estate was built at Trevethin. When I was in the Cubs we met in a room above the arch where the Pontypool Museum now is, but, on one occasion we were taken up to the Italian Gardens and sat around our camp fire. I remember seeing several red squirrels in the trees.

If any visitor to my blog has any information about Violet Taylor, please get in touch ( email: ) and I shall pass on the information to Jan. Also if anyone has any photographs of any of the places mentioned above I’m sure she’d like to see a copy of them. They can be included in an email as a jpeg file.