- PWLL IN THE PAST By Kay Pascoe (nee Rogers) Quite recently I had the pleasure of discussing “Pwll in the Olden Day” with my mother, Mrs Edwina Barney of Bassett Terrace, and her friend Mrs Edna Rees (nee Davies), a native of Pwll, whose sister is Mrs Avril Lodwick of Stepney Road. Mrs Rees left the village on her marriage and is now living in Aberaeron where I too live. They are not contemporaries and indeed the three of us represent different decades of growing up in Pwll from World War I to the 1950’s. There was a lot of laughter, several dim memories, but enough sharp recollections to entice others perhaps to submit their childhood memories. Early Days Edna lived in Bassett Terrace and remembers Florrie and Jack Davies whose sweet shop was also a billiard hall. “There was little traffic” she said, “so we played on the road”. Among the games was Whip and Top and ‘Ticker’ (Hopscotch). The proximity of Stradey Woods meant a large play area to explore. The journey to the brand new school meant a ramble through ‘The Graig’ where there was a cottage whose elderly resident gave the children tart. Edna comments that her mother was not too happy with the standard of hygiene in this home cooking! For Edwina, the first school was next to her home – The ‘Institute’. She remembers forays to the top of ‘Tyle Blue’ to a small shop near the church, kept by the Irons family, selling sweets: half a penny for ‘cockle shells’, liquorice and sherbet. Both remember playing in the shelter (just as I do) which was above where the Church Hall is now – near ‘Tom y cobblwr’s’ shop. Teachers’ name and idiosyncrasies were remembered: Mr Edwards, Miss McVicar, Mrs Evans (mother of Gethin Evans, Pwll Road) and Miss Griffiths. (Is this the same Miss Griffiths who taught me in the 40’s?). Another childhood memory both ladies remembered was the custom of inviting them, en route from school or playing, to view the corpses of therecent dead whether they knew the deceased or not! Adolescent Years Edwina’s secondary education took place in West End, in a building on the main road. She’s not sure whether there was an entrance exam or not but remembers a fair deal of walking in all weathers. She has always spoken with a great deal of affection, of Mr Rolfe as the teacher who most encouraged her, especially her acting talents. Edna attended Stradey Central School as it was then called. “There was a bus stop outside Salem,” she recalls. (Salem was Bethlehem’s little vestry building, which stood where the car lot near the Chinese Takeaway is now. More on this story later!) Teachers, Misses Mattie and May Powell lived near “The Travellers” – now ‘The Sospan’ – and travelled with them to ensure that the pupils boarded and alighted the buses safely and behaved themselves en route. Both agreed that Stradey Woods was no longer “a large play area to explore” but an ideal venue for courting! Some things never change! When we touched on transport during the discussion we got on to trolleys and trams. For me in the 50’s they were always ‘the trolley buses’ and came as far as the aforementioned shelter at Erw Fach and had overhead rails. This might be a fruitful area to explore, e.g. when did the trolleys stop? I remember talk of the very last night journey when mementoes from the bus were given to those who took the last trip. This must have been in the late 50’s. Shops I was amazed how many shops Pwll boasted in the 20’s and 30’s. Here are the ones Edwina and Edna told me about: Siop Fach: I remember this; it’s now the site of a brand new house. Siop in Thomas Terrace: once kept by ‘mam a tad Betty Harries’ it later became a branch of the Co-op. Millinery Shop: This was at the bottom of Tyle Catherine, kept by two sisters who sold ‘beautiful hats and Easter bonnets’. Siop Thomas: Grocery shop kept by Mrs Thomas, mother of Naughton Thomas of Pwll Road. Fish and Fruit: Next to ‘Tom y Cobblwr’ by the shelter. Siop Watt: Now the Pet shop. This was a general store but also a barbers and unisex hair cutter. Manchester House: Drapers Butcher: We all remembered ‘Pricey the butcher’ very well. Billiard and Sweet Shop: Mentioned above. Two Shops: Kept by the Evans family (one later became Mr & Mrs Edwards’ grocer shop). The other, of course was the famous Chip shop where we, as young people in 50’s used to congregate. Edna and Edwina recalled the spotless eating room with marble topped tables and the ‘takeaway’ area to which residents of the village carried their own basins, duly warmed by Christmas Evans, owner, to be filled by golden chips and quickly taken home. These were main road shops, but there were also places off the beaten track: the previously mentioned Siop Irons by the church, ‘Siop Billy Janie’ top road, Stepney Road sweet shop (No 27?), a Stepney Road butter shop kept by Mrs Peregrine, and ‘Peter the Papers’ opposite the old Police houses next to Coleg Sir Gar. There was nearly no need to catch a trolley bus to town in ‘the old days’. Chapels Edna attended Bethlehem. Chapel life was so important in her youth that Salem vestry catered for the children of Erw  Fach, as Bethlehem itself was a fair walk to attend Sunday school. She remembers her teachers there: Davie Sammy Lewis, Davies the Draper, and the formidable Watt Hoskins, owner of the aforementioned shop. Salem was also used for the weekly Babies Clinic and both Edna and Edwina remember ‘the posh prams outside’, ‘the tea and Marie biscuits’, ‘a lovely nurse’ and Dr Reggie. Edna’s   Auntie Katie sold the Cow & Gate milk. Edwina’s family were Libanus members. It was always well attended, she recalled, and full of characters: Mrs Lizzie-Jane Treharne, Mr Stan Bonnell, ‘Arweinydd y Gân’ and the kindly Mrs Cunningham, who in my youth at Christmas time, presented every child with a little hand made bag with coins inside. Both chapels encouraged the young to perform, with participation in ‘Ysgol Gwarter’, Cwrdd y Plant, Cantata and oratorios being regular occurrences. Both mentioned the Reverend Gwyn Bowen of Bethlehem with affection, and the succession of Reverend Jones’ with which Libanus was blessed: Thomas, Trevor and Elfyn being among them. Pubs The pubs, of course, played their part in the social life of the village but, unlike the chapels, these were ‘men only’ domains. They believe that all four were there in their youth and Edna recalled that Sid and Gertie who kept the ‘Travellers’ also sold paraffin. My husband who often went for a pint with Hugh, my stepfather, to the Travellers in the 60’s recalls a group of World War I veterans who regaled other locals with their tales of ‘Wipers’ (Ypres in Belgium) and had special chairs, which accommodated their injuries sustained in that horrific war which they were so lucky to survive. World War II Both women were extremely interesting about the arrival of the evacuees. Edna says one woman arrived with her child and promptly left because she took a dislike to Pwll! Imagine! Mrs Gwen Beynon of Bassett Terrace took in a little orphan girl who stayed a long time and Edna, then a teenager, recalls going with Mrs Beynon to collect her from the school. She was the last one to be chosen. Edwina, with a baby of her own (me), was obliged to take in evacuees herself. Two little girls from Swansea arrived to live with us and were visited by their mothers every Sunday. My mother recalls having to give them rations of butter etc for their tea. “ They were Catholics” she recalls “and walked to the services in Llanelli (or Llanelly as it was then). No Libanus or Bethlehem for them! Both Edna and Edwina could have gone on much longer, there were so many areas left untouched. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them and hope their memories will inspire others to add to the recollections of ‘Gwyr y Bônau’. Article submitted by Kay Pascoe (nee Rogers) All photos and articles copyrighted © by their respective owners Please do not take any content from this website without permission or approval. All original site content is copyrighted (2011) to Pwll Action Committee (The Bônau Cabbage Patch) unless stated otherwise. All images, text or items are copyright to their rightful owner(s). If there are any issues or concern with material on this site, please email/contact us directly to be provided credit or have the item(s) removed. We do not claim ownership to anything found on this site unless stated otherwise. The Pwll Action Committee (The Bônau Cabbage Patch) does not knowingly intend or attempt to offend or violate any copyright or intellectual property rights of any entity. No copyright infringement is intended. (This article was originally published in The Bônau Cabbage Patch No 13)