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 My Life In Tredegar by Horace "Taffy" Davies - Pt1
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aussiewelshman
Retired Webteam Member

New SOUTH WALES
23652 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2008 :  11:29:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Horace "Taffy" Davies, now lives in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
He has been a member of the Newcastle & Hunter Valley Welsh Society for many years.
It is an honour and privilige for www.Tredegar.co.uk to present the following.




















Terry
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
202 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2008 :  17:17:09 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brad
I know what you mean when you say "an honour and privilidge"
It is truly a wonderful reference to days gone by,
Thank you Horace.

love a whiskey but must be BELLS,
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morgan.m
Super Member

1184 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2008 :  23:31:37 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brad
Thanks for the memories.

morgan
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llanover
Super Member

Australia
1094 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2008 :  00:53:04 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That surely stirred up the old memory cells. I remember my Nan's house very well. It had the pantry with the "stone." Flagstone floors, acummulators,( if I remember correctly, there had to be two, a blue one and a pink one????) no electricity until the 60's, water from the spring. Real candles on the Christmas tree. Tar all over my new shoes after the Whit walk, it always seemed to be hot for that.
This has actually spurred me into action. I've been "meaning to" do a family tree book. I'll definitely get on with it now. Also I'm going to do a special one just for Dad. I'll sit him down with a shandy and get him to tell me as much as he can.
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aussiewelshman
Retired Webteam Member

New SOUTH WALES
23652 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2008 :  07:04:59 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Horace sends his regards and thanks to you all.
He is only too pleased to share his memories, and hopes you enjoy part 2.
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aussiewelshman
Retired Webteam Member

New SOUTH WALES
23652 Posts

Posted - 13/10/2008 :  09:37:53 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks to forum regular "Emrys" for the following:-

Thank you for a copy of Horace's recollections. I can identify and share many of his memories. He is older than me but we share much in common.
I was born in America of Welsh parents and we re-settled in Tredegar in 1933 where my father had a furniture store in the Market Place, (long since demolished) on Commercial Street and also conducted furniture removals. My father was in business for many years and it is possible that he may have sold furniture to Horace's family or moved their furniture. In any event I am sure that Horace will remember the Market Place if not my father or my family. One of my fathers letter heads from the 1930's is attached.
By that time A.J. Cronin had left the town and gas had been in installed in most of the town. Electricity was also installed in much of the town but we did without gas and electricity until 1936 and prior to that we too managed with paraffin lamps and candles. I recall Mr Jones on Whitworth Terrace and his circular saw operated from a motor car and my father and I going to his place several times. It was easily the most dangerous operation I had ever seen with an enormous belt connected between the car and the saw with no safety guards. I believe that on occassion Mr Jones detached the belt, re-installed the wheel and drove it on the road.
Yes funerals were very solemn occasions in the past. I don't recall horse drawn hearses being used in Tredegar ( I have seen them elsewhere and in North Wales a single horse harnessed to the hearse) but have seen photographs of those used by D.G. Vaughan who for many years operated as a funeral undertaker. Looking back it seemed that every house had blinds but they were only closed when funerals were taking place and then in all the homes near the deceased blinds would be closed in mourning. In the early days there were no funeral parlours and, as Horace relates, the deceased would lie in the front parlour for several days prior to the funeral. Funerals usually attracted many male mourners, all wearing black ties, and either a black armband or a square of black cloth sewn into a sleeve, usually the left. Traditionally the mourners, always (it seemed) male would walk ahead of the hearse right to the cemetery ,usually to Cefn Golau with one car following behind the hearse to accomodate the family members. Female mourners (it seemed to me) usually would stay at the house and prepare a meal for the returning funeral participants. In the 1930's a lot of first war veterans would have a full military funeral, that is a Union Jack would be draped over the coffin and a number of terrotorial soldiers wearing first war uniforms complete with puttees and rifles etc,would participate, marching smartly in step at the head of the funeral procession. After the coffin was lowered into the grave the soldiers,(Terriers) would line up either side of the grave and fire a volley of shots into the air as a last salute. My friends and I would follow veteran funeral processions to Cefn Golau and when the soldiers fired thir rifles into the air we would scramble at their feet to retrieve the brass cartridge cases, at the same time being sworn at by the soldiers and admonished by the mourners. I can't recall if a bugle played The Last Post but given the occassion it probably was. Once on a particularly wet and muddy day I almost slipped into the grave but but was saved by a soldier. Reprehensible behaviour on our part but to be fair and in our defence we were very young and didn't sense the solemn nature of the event. Marbles, a bit of string and a pocket knife were usually found in every boys pocket and to add a brass cartridge case, that had actually been fired added to ones treasures. I can confirm that it was customary when a funeral procession was passing , always at walking pace, to turn to face the hearse and for men to doff their caps.
Horace mentioned two cinemas in town but with a little prodding I'm sure he will recall a third, the Queens Cinema on Queen Street where it met Commercial Street (top of town). It closed in the early thirties and then was used as a boxing venue and later a roller skating rink. It was then idle for some years but during the war became the home of the LDV and later the Home Guard depot. After the war it was unused for a while then converted to the Queens Ballroom which was very popular for several years.
Before we were married my wife worked as a nurse at Ty Bryn and my daughter was born there although it was officially renamed St James hospital by that time. Still known to all as "The Spike"
People nicknames were taken for granted and never questioned because given so many common surnames it made perfect sense to identify one from another. Not all were complimentary and I think of "Dai Rubber Guts" a teacher who was constantly talking,"Lizzie Four Warts" another unpopular teacher who, logically had four warts on her face. Publicans too were often identified by the pub they owned or managed, "Fleety the Globe" comes to mind as does "Jack the Gold' keeper of the Golden Lion .At one time he was accused of adding water to the beer and thereafter was known as Jack the WATERMAN. I never knew our milkman's name but he was always known as Dai The Milk.Then there was Billy Jones better known as Billy Coffin because he worked for an undertaker. Dai Two Pints was so called because two pints was his limit and I never did learn the real name of Tom The Boy. He was well into his eighties when I met him but he had been known as Tom The Boy from the time he started in the coal mines at a very early age.
I doubt that I would have known Horace in his youth as he lived on the east side of town and I on the west side. His playground ( I never cease to look back at the freedom we enjoyed in those days) would likely have been above Ty Bryn and mine at the Red Ground and the "patches' although we made frequent forays to Trefil, Number Nine pit, the Forge Pond and of course Ty Tryst and the coke ovens.We may well have met in later years and I hope he recalls the Market Place and my family name as being part of that enterprise.
Horace was a fairly popular christian name in those days and I knew several bearing that name. Incidentally my great grandson is a Davis without the "E". Here in Canada, Davies with the "e' is pronounced Day-vees
Again thank you Brad for passing on Horace's memoirs. Clearly he and I have a lot in common and and as I have stated on the Forum at different times Tredegar was a good place for a boy to grow up. At times I recall feeling a little sorry that girls couldn't share our freedom but I guess they in turn probably felt a little sorry for us. That is until we reached our teen years when, suddenly girls (and life itself ) took on a new meaning.
All the very best and please pass on my good wishes to Horace and my thanks for sharing his memories.

Emrys.

P.S. Have also attached old letterheads/advertising that Horace or others may recall.







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Terry
Advanced Member

United Kingdom
202 Posts

Posted - 13/10/2008 :  11:47:06 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Crosswoods, now that rings a few memories, I do remember them in the circle but then they moved to commercial street, just where the pound shop is now [Edwards], I remember my grandfather Tom Baldridge had the fresh eggs contract with them, he lived at the time in Prince Town and every saturday morning he would get on the bus to deliver his eggs to Crosswoods, he and my grandmother lived at No21, in a little house with flag stone floors, crumbling walls, mold, damp etc, but you should have seen his chicken house, it was better than many houses in the area, the one thing i remember about Crosswoods was thier cakes, the were realy good..

love a whiskey but must be BELLS,
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pierre
Webmaster

United Kingdom
13890 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2010 :  12:11:44 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have received the very sad news that Hilda the wife of Horace "Taffy" Davies passed away last Saturday...

Taffy is going well considering, and is surrounded by family and friends.

All our thought are with Taffy during this time.

Pierre

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News & Information on Tredegar since 1991
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pierre
Webmaster

United Kingdom
13890 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2010 :  19:29:20 Link directly to this reply  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Please see below for part 2.

http://www.tredegar.co.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2969&

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News & Information on Tredegar since 1991
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