People

This page is specifically about the stories and photographs of people that live or have lived in Treharris. Some will be old and some new but it will all relate to the Treharris town

  1. Some boys club photographs
  2. Mari Kelso family history in Treharris area
  3. Variety of photographs featuring Treharris people
  4. Media and Entertainment in Treharris district
  5. Surgeon on the run…Dr Harrison at Treharris
  6. Andrew Wilson JP
  7. Gresham place and its people.
  8. Fred Jones (Freddie Pies)
  9. The clubs and pubs and the characters that used them
  10. Roger Vowles..the story of the pit hooter
  11. Jones of Treharris bus company
  12. Gordon Parsons a true character
  13. Meirion Williams MBE..Treharris boys club
  14. Some of the Marriages that took place Treharris 1863-1928
  15. Historical documents relating to Treharris houses

Some Treharris Boys club photographs

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Boys clubs of Wales under 16’s Runners up

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Mel Locke Manager, J Selway,A Powell, G.Roberts,C Evans, S Rees Secretary.

Middle

G Wilson, A Walker,W Townsend, E Sloggett, P Robson

Bottom

D Morgan, A Price (captain), G Davies, Dai O’Neill

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Boys club boys committee

Glyn Puddy Michael Gould Alan Robbins , Peter Howells, Keith Hughes Robert Rees Keith bill Jones

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Canteen girls at the Boys club

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Mel Lock Howell Williams Geof Barras Larry wells kelvin lock miss Bernard baker Ron Morgan Paul Rosser next two from Quacker’s yard Alan Edwards boy David Morgan John Veal Mike Walker Meirion Thomas

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Scouts and cubs at the club 1983

Mari Kelso and her family history in the Treharris area

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Mari Kelso has kindly sent me some information and photos of her family that goes back over one hundred years, she wrote the following “Hi, Just looking at your website and thought I’d email you as this week, 12th February, my Aunt celebrates her 100th birthday.(pictured above when we celebrated her 90th birthday in 2005 )  She, Janet Jones (now Simons) was brought up in The Huts along with her sister, Morfydd,who also lived to be 100 and brothers, Will, Ben and Tom ( who lived in Caiach Terrace, Trelewis). “ 

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Janet and Morfydd ,two Treharris girls who celebrated reaching 100 years old

Their grandfather was William Jones Check, a Councillor, deacon in Brynhyfryd Chapel and check weigher in the Deep Navigation, he died in 1928. Below we see an interesting photocopy of a poem and picture written in memory of one of his sons, William Hopkin, who died in 1919 in French Guinea of sunstroke. They lived in Thomas Street at the time.

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As you can see it is all in Welsh, it says,

In loving memory of my nephew William Hopkin Jones, aged 19 the eldest son of Councillor and Mrs William Jones, 29 Thomas Street, Treharris who died of sun stroke in Konackry, French Guinea, West Africa on November 30th 1919 and who was buried there the same day in the European Cemetery.

Then there follows an Englyn of 4 lines and then a long poem by his Uncle from Abertridwr who signs himself by his Bardic name, Berianfa, I have tried to find out who he was but haven’t managed it.

We haven’t got a photo of his father William Jones Check, but he came to Treharris in the 1880’s from Skewen .He was a Councillor at the time of Andrew Wilson who is on this website. He married Mary Davies in 1889 and they lived in Perrott Street with his wife’s parents Daniel and Mary Davies who had come from Conwil Elfed, Carmarthen. He married 3 times and Hopkin was one of the sons of his third marriage.

Mari writes “my grand mother, Mary Ann was born in 1891 and her mother died when she was 3 or so.

She was brought up by her maternal grandparents in The Huts.

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She married Charles Jones (seated above in Palestine outside the Garrison Bar! ) who had come from Pontypool with his sister and 2 brothers in the 1890s. He died in 1927.  ( His sister Bessie lived in Treharris all her life had a big family 6 girls and one boy I think. She lived into her 90s and was deaf and blind. I remember visiting her, she lived with her daughter Beatrice who had a son called Ieuan, not sure if he still lives in Treharris).

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Charlie Jones  when he was in the Military Police in the Reserves before World War 1 ( back row far right)

They had 5 children and lived in The Huts until the 1930s when they moved to Bargoed Terrace. She died in 1937, aged 45. She had been an invalid for years and my Aunt had looked after her for many years.”

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Mary Jones when a young woman daughter of Charlie and Mary, Mari’s great grand mother

Below we see a photo of Treharris Girls’ School in approx 1916 or 1917, its not very clear. Mari’s mother is second from the left in the back row but one.

Also a photo taken outside The Huts, possibly 1930 or 31, Mari’s Auntie Janet is at the back on the right and her Uncle Tom, who lived in Trelewis is in the next row, 3rd from the right with folded arms.

Janet left Treharris in the late 1940s and now lives in Sheffield with her daughter.

My mother, Morfydd was a district nurse in Bedlinog in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, during the time of Dr D’Souza. She worked all her life as a nurse and lived in Gloucestershire, Cardiff and lastly Anglesey where she died in 2009, aged 100.

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Names of the girls on the school photo.

Back row left to right:

Annie Watkins, Irene Durbin, Joyce Cowdell, Minnie King, Hilda Moris, Bessie Powell, May Lewis, Phyllis Durbin, Dinah Thomas, Joyce R?, Liz Davies

Next Row:

Kitty Munkley, Maud Burman, Betty Evans, Bessie Davies, Ann Davies, Joyce Walker, Violet Farmer, Gwyneth Williams, Bessie James, Morfydd Jones, Ann Parish

Next Row:

Miss Thomas (teacher), Ethel Williams, Edith Bishop, Doris Curtis, Kate Evans, Rose Griffiths, Rose Samuel, Maud Davies, Ann Watkins, Sadie Rees, Lynne Davies, Kitty Williams

Front Row:

Nancy Jones, Ellen Evans, Phyllis Arnold, Betty Davies, Mary Davies, Lilian Atherton, Joyce Lewis, Bronwen Davies, Roma Durbin, ?

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Variety of photographs featuring Treharris people

This section of the website will be a variety of photographs in no particular formation, of Treharris people.

The first set of photographs come courtesy of Christine Crosby, she wrote the following…

I was born at my Gran’s house at 8 Edward Street, Treharris and we visited most Sundays. I remember attending Edward Street’s Coronation Party (Aged 7) I also spent school holidays with my Aunt Gerty & Uncle Charlie Byrd at the Waterworks House Edwardsville. Alas none of the family are alive anymore.

Here are the lovely photographs she sent me, hopefully the faces will bring back some memories.

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Far right Christine s’ grand mother Mrs Mary Hill  and second from left her friend Mrs Hale, both from Edward Street.

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 Mr & Mrs Tom Hill and children (l/r) Florence, Frederick, Gerty & Jim (Edward Street)

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Uncles. Charlie Byrd, Fred Hill, ?, Fred Mandry.

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 Sisters Florence Hill, Gerty (Hill) Byrd and Baby Rosemary Byrd.

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Brothers Tom, Fred and Jim Hill of Edward Street

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Children of Cilhaul apprx 1930

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Can anyone tell me where this photos was taken.  I think it could be what was known as the Waterworks House in the background and it was taken from a back garden of a house in Nant Ddu, Cardiff Road. Does anyone know who the people are?

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Florence Hill (Edward Street) outside the Truant School where she worked until 1945.  She looked after The Superintendent’s children Edward and Christine Edwards. 

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Florence Hill and friend Eileen Breeze at The Truant School, Edwardsville.

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Betty Holland and Florence Hill at Camp in Tenby (organised for Staff and pupils at The Truant School)

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Photo taken from the Commercial hotel Treharris pre 1920

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1926 Rally of the Treharris people

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Treharris relief committee 1926

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William Phillips took this picture in 1965-66, he wrote the following

The photo I took at the rear of our house (when we use to live in Adelaide) 1965-66. The reason I thought it might be of use for the website is because of five families pictured four are originally from Treharris. 1: My Mother Lena, my wife Pat and two children Susan and Adam. 2: Delwyn Lloyd, his wife May and two children David and Lynda. 3: Malcolm Andrews, his wife Valerie (formerly Tanner, Quakers Yard) and two children Tracy and Neil. 4: Ken Bridges, his wife and two children. (I can’t remember their names.) All formerly Treharris residents,(Malcolm, Nelson)

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Oswald Ossie Davies (formerly of Cilhaul)

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Another photograph of Ozzie with his wife Gwyneth  approx 1982

They lived at 45 and then later, 52 Cilhaul with their three children Ossie, together with his father, used to have a vegetable round (horse & cart) and gave this up in the 1950’s,

Oswald worked at Deep Navigation for most of his working life, and was a member of the John Street Conservatives Club

Oswald and his wife followed their children to Australia in 1982.Their youngest sister (Trudy) emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1974 and their eldest Linda (Hart)  followed with her family in 1980.Their middle daughter (Rosanne) and her family arrived in 1982, together with Ossie and Gwyneth 

Sadly Ossie passed away in 1986 and Gwyneth in 2000, after enjoying time with their family  in Melbourne.

Their cousin Mairie is married to Bill Corkrey, (who is my grandfathers brother) ,in Adelaide, Australia.  Mairie’s mum (Joyce Morgan of Nelson) was Gwyneth’s sister.

(Thanks to Linda Hart (Australia) for the photograph and information)
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Mary Williams and Dai Llan (Williams)
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June and Mike Morgan with Deep Navigation power house in background
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Raising money for Treharris Boys club with Meirion Williams are 
Meg (Duggan) Ann Jones Mrs hill Chris Baber Shirley Drane Mrs Jones quality stores Mrs Robbins ??
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Peglers/Meadow Treharris Staff outing approx 1970
A night out with the staff of the meadow / Peglers.Treharris
Top row from left Margaret Isaac. Christine Watts nee O’leary  Lynne Thomas (kindly donated this photo) .Christine and Gareth Thomas
Bottom row Linda and Bill Evans
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PC Tom Day meeting Harry Secombe 1971 Treharris
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Mr and Mrs Picton of Cilhaul with Friends on a Blackpool trip 1956
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My father Jim Corkrey (Cilhaul)
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John Jones and Dai Picton
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Peter Jones, David Ashman and my uncle Alan Corkrey
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My great Uncle Haydn Corkrey
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Another one of Haydn with the park keeper
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My Gran, Louise Corkrey 76 Cilhaul
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My grandfather Edwin Corkrey, dad Jim, me, and my two sons Geraint and baby Peter 1985
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Sisters include Ruth,(1st left)Pheobe,35 Cilhaul(second left) and Miriam (2nd right)from 25 Cilhaul and Pritchard Street although Kate (4th from right) owned the Shoe box and passed it on to her daughter in law Lyn Pride

 

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Salvation Army at the Webster Street Church 1964 with
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Another from 1964 of the Salvation Army at Webster Street
back row Margaret Willetts, Marlene Rees,Ann Williams, Fredrick Beasley,Winifred Willetts,Peter Beasley,Christine Beasley, Yovnne, Iris Williams,
front row,Dennis Beasley, Linda Lloyd,Graham Willetts,Wendy Willetts,Ruth Simons,Stephen Beasley,Paul Willetts
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Mary Williams, Dai Llan and Treharris friends, Festival of Britain 1951
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Jazz band practice in middle Cilhaul, more photographs of Jazz bands can be found in the music and culture section of this site. Anyone know the year and the name of this particular Jazz band?
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My father Jim Corkrey and my sons Geraint and Peter
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photo by Janice Lane
Wayne Watkins, Flash, George Gardener and Jimmy Corkrey all feature in this 1991 photograph
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Dai Hoppy at Remploy
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Norman and Ray Lambert of Suzzanah Place 1958 (photograph courtesy of John Lambert)
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John Bounds 2008
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Another photo by Hank, Charlie Wiltshire, Jacko and friends
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The Palace share holders  1959 including
Delwyn (Bilko) Lloyd from Penn Street. He was a Bingo caller until we emigrated to Australia in 1965. He is front row, dark suit & glasses.
Top right dick Munkley from fell street and it’s jack Gethin his brother in law he was from fell street and Mr Warren
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More from the Palace Committee  third in on the left Richard Munkley and fourth in Jack Williams both from Fell street first on the right Mr.Clee he lived opposite Ress house Edwardsville
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Carrots, Badger and Leper, sadly both Carrots and Leper have passed away and are sadly missed by all their family and friends
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Some of the Treharris ladies dancing
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Some of the Treharris fire brigade,including Billy Lewis,Richard Jones and Hughie Williams who attended the tragic fire at the Arnold home in Railway street October 1977
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Edwardsville Allotments G. Kinsey & T. Journeaux 
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Clive and Lee Bishop
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Maxi Wiltshire
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The two Ronnies on Ron Vowles 80th birthday sat with Ron Williams
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Yanto in the Navi 2014
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John Cox Lee Arthur and Phil
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Above is a photograph of Treharris and Trelewis people on a trip( maybe Blackpool) it was taken approx 1983)

I can recognise Granville, Billy and Maureen Baird, Debbie Hake, Hadyn Jones, Brian Proctor, see if you can pick out some more.

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Royal boys and Billys birthday 

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Dog and Rabbit lads

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Treharris Carnival outside the Royal Hotel

Media and Entertainment in Treharris district

Treharris district…our connections with the world of media and entertainment

The following article will try to recall people from our district who achieved fame in the world of media and entertainment. We will also recall films or television programmes that were filmed in our community. Please contact me if you can remember anything that could be added to this item.Please also read our music and culture section of the website

We will start with a chap called Eynon Evans who was born in Nelson. He was born on the 18th May, 1904 and passed away in 1989. He was a playwright as well as an actor and he is credited with writing works such as “Welsh Rarebit” (1952) for television, “The happiness of three women “ a play written in 1954, a novel called “Room in the house” (1955) and a 1964 television mini series called “Ring out an alibi”

Eynon appeared as an actor in a variety television and films and of course his own plays.

His film credits include “Tiger Bay”, I’m alright Jack “and “Friends and neighbours” during 1959.. he also appeared in “Two way stretch”(1960) and the “Battle of the river Plate”(1956) but was uncredited.

He worked on many television shows including 8 episodes of “How green was my valley” in 1960, “Armchair theatre” (1961), “The Jokers” (1962), “Ring out an alibi”, the mini series in which he played the role of Detective Inspector Enoch Probert(1964), “Danger man” in 1965,”Dixon of Dock green “(1961 and 1965), his final television appearance was in “Softly Softly” in 1967 in the role of Dr Roberts. Eynon Evans was a very talented and accomplished playwright and actor and he was born in our district.

The world famous Victor Spinetti often visited his family in Treharris but he was actually born in Cwm, near Ebbw Vale.

Ron Jones, who was brought up in Taff Merthyr Garden Village, Trelewis spent many years as a radio journalist, mainly concentrating on football commentary for the BBC.

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Ron Jones

Ron Jones began working for the BBC in 1979. His broadcasting career began when he was living and working as a sports coach in Jamaica when was asked to work on local programmes.

When he returned to the UK, Ron lectured at the University of Wales before moving to London in 1984 to focus on sports commentating, primarily football, on BBC Radio working alongside fellow Welshman Peter Jones as well as Bryon Butler and Alan Green.

An all rounder he has covered Football, Rugby Union, Golf, and Athletics, and gave some memorable broadcasts at the Seoul Olympics.

Ron has worked on five FIFA World Cup Tournaments and still lives in Wales with his family and currently is heard covering English Premier League games for Irish network Today FM.

Thomas Fredrick Willetts

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On the 10th March 1930 Thomas Fredrick Willetts was born to Alfred Emlyn (a minor in the town) and Amy Willetts at 14 Susannah Place, Treharris and was commonly known in the community as Fred. Fred and Alfred are pictured here together. His passion for music grew from his church, the Willetts family having been part of it since it arrived in the town in 1895. His formative years were inspired by many musicians including Mrs Jenkins from Fox Street, the town’s music teacher. On the 27th March 1946 at the age of 16, Fred was appointed deputy music director of his church to William Davies, another family with strong links to the town.

On the 10th March 1930 Thomas Fredrick Willetts was born to Alfred Emlyn (a minor in the town) and Amy Willetts at 14 Susannah Place, Treharris and was commonly known in the community as Fred. Fred and Alfred are pictured here together. His passion for music grew from his church, the Willetts family having been part of it since it arrived in the town in 1895. His formative years were inspired by many musicians including Mrs Jenkins from Fox Street, the town’s music teacher. On the 27th March 1946 at the age of 16, Fred was appointed deputy music director of his church to William Davies, another family with strong links to the town.

In 1948 Fred went into military service as a conscript and gunner within the Royal Artillery, where he served in Tripoli. On his return to Treharris in 1950 Fred continued his service within his church and on 9th February 1952 was appointed as music director.

He loved Treharris and the people who made up the community. He would often be seen playing his accordion on the street corners of the town, proclaiming the gospel message.

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Over the years his leadership and example has inspired many musicians and his creative outreach saw the church ensemble being one of the first to become members of the Welsh Amateur Arts Federation. His work was not only centred on music; his passion for his community was evident when on 21 October 1966 he was one of the first on the first on the scene, assisting in counselling family members from the Aberfan Disaster. Musicians from the church played under his direction at the funeral of those who perished in the disaster attended by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1973 Fred created the Aberfan Festival in memory of those who had passed away and who had suffered the tragic events of 1966. Fred sadly passed away in 2007.

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Our district was very industrialised during the last century but the cameras have appeared on a few occasions over the years and on August 9 1980, Filming took place at Deep Navigation colliery for the television show “The Two Ronnies” starring Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, some locals appeared as extras and the Treorchi male voice choir also took part.

Another television programme that featured filming in Treharris and Trelewis was  “A Christmas story”  It was a dramatisation of a story written by the actor, Richard Burton, in 1964. It is set in his childhood surroundings, the South Wales Mining Village, Pont Rhydyfen. The film itself was set in nearby Treharris. The film was made by HTV Wales and distributed during April 1990. It starred an actor called Dewi Thomas.

“A mind to kill” was a television series made between 1994-2002; it starred Philip Madoc, one episode in series one was filmed mainly in the village of Bedlinog.

The film that featured Trelewis at the very beginning and starred Harry Secombe was called “Sunstruck” …Secombe played the role of Stanley Evans, a Welsh teacher who heads to Australia after an unsuccessful romance.

The most recent filming done in Treharris centred on the young singer Lloyd Daniels of Williams Terrace who competed in the television series the X factor, finishing a very creditable fifth out of the tens of thousands who entered the competition

No doubt there are other examples but the above were the ones I could find… for the moment anyway.

Surgeon on the run…Dr Harrison at Treharris

The mysterious surgeon on the run,Dr Harrison at Treharris

The following story was sent to the website by Mr Ronald Jack, a documentary film maker from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Ronald found my site during Christmas 2009, probably whilst doing research into the story you are about to read.

Ronald is currently working on producing a documentary and he wrote the following…

My hope is that someone may help with locating photographs of Olwen Bowen and her family which I can use in a documentary film. I know not what became of her parents, whom I believe must have lived out their lives in Treharris.  I once attempted to search for them through an internet genealogy group and was warned that the Bowen’s would not want to be found, if my goal was to remind them of a painful past. I hope that is not the case.

 

Please read the fascinating story of a rogue who visited our District between the two great wars and if you can help Ron with any information he would be extremely grateful.

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Doctor Harrison

At first meeting Doctor T.L. Harrison did not invite me into his sordid life. It was 1982 and I was researching a dozen Canadians officers who had served in the Chinese Labour Corps, the largest British auxiliary unit of the Great War. The pace was frenetic and costly in those pre-Internet years. One was forced to travel to archives or rely on the mail. The last thing I wanted to encounter was a Gordian knot in biographical form, which is what the Harrison dossier became

Michael Summerskill, a London based marine insurance expert, had just printed a small book entitled “China on the waterfront”, and he sent me a copy by international air post. Capt. T.L. Harrison, R.A.M.C., earned a single mention in the book; during the winter of 1917-18 the coolie camps in France were swept by epidemics of eye diseases such as trachoma. Harrison was involved in a large scale preventive treatment program and wrote a detailed report.  I assumed he was a Brit and did not investigate his military service.

It was six years before I bumped into Capt. Harrison again and the encounter was the equivalent of an elevator ride into a coal mine.  (The metaphor is well considered and appropriate.) I became so engrossed in following the folded seam into the black corners of his strange life that my obsession began to disturb my family. From 1988 until 2008 I invested countless hours and thousands of dollars researching his wanderings through twenty countries. Very early on I understood that I was tracking a serial bigamist and career criminal. He was not the “soldier of fortune” he always claimed to be, nor even the “flawed hero” that a few mischievous mythmakers have postulated.  Even the writing of his biography was an exhausting experience, although I believe it reads quite easily. The next step will be a documentary film about the man and his many wives. I still need to find photographs of his fourth wife, a Treharris girl.

Dr. Harrison practiced medicine on five continents. As a rule he preferred to “locate” in small towns but few as extraordinary as Treharris. By the time he reached Wales in 1923 he was just reaching his stride as a wanderer, having worked in China, Turkey and a dozen countries in between. In order to give the town the weight it deserves in his story I had to immerse myself in the local history and culture. What follows is a brief summary of my findings.

In 1922 Harrison was serving in the medical corps of the Irish Free State as a junior officer. In order to join up he falsified his record, even claiming to be Catholic when in fact he was a Presbyterian.  He gave the Irish less than a year of effort and planned to desert, which he had twice before from other armies. He always claimed that he fled Ireland in fear because he had participated in an ambush near Ballyhaunis and had a price on his head. In fact he was embezzling from official funds, just as he had committed fraud as an R.A.M.C. officer during WW1. He planned to bolt before discovery led to prosecution, and he responded to many advertisements in THE LANCET in the hope of finding a civilian medical position in England. In his large correspondence he also begged favours from R.A.M.C. officers he had known in France and Egypt. Among them I suspect, was Major H.V. Leigh of Treharris.

In order to work in the U.K. Dr. Harrison needed a valid license issued by the General Medical Council in London. As he was in violation of a deportation order by British authorities, and had slipped into Ireland illegally, he had to be clever. He knew that Passport Control might get lucky. A G.M.C. certificate was finally issued to him in late January 1923 whereupon he purchased a steamship ticket to Cardiff using a false name.  After debarkation came a two hour climb up the valley on a 3rd class rail ticket. He never recorded his first impression of Treharris, but whatever he perceived the advantages in Wales; he made do with the reality of what he found. Dr. Harrison came from money, was a staunch social conservative and he hated organized labour. South Wales in 1923 was in steep economic decline, the miners were militant and the colliery owners in an equally foul mood.  An experienced con man, he would certainly need all of his acting skills to simply get along with the locals.  As long as he avoided trouble and stayed out of the papers, he might hide out among the miners for a few years.

It is highly probable that Major Leigh was his initial host, although he may have taken lodgings. The Leigh family had a very old and thriving practice in Treharris, established by their patriarch in 1842.  During the Great War Dr. William Watkin Leigh could count on steady income from several official appointments; the more important posts included – senior surgeon to the Colliery, medical officer to the local Board of Education and the Post Office, and Justice of the Peace. One of his sons was killed in France but another,Hubert Vere Leigh, returned to Treharris a Major, having campaigned primarily in the Middle East.  The elder Leigh retired in 1919 and Major Leigh assumed the practice. It is entirely possible, but not proven, that Captain Harrison and Major Leigh were acquainted in the R.A.M.C. during the war, and that the Canadian drew upon this contact when he needed a town to hide in. They would not have been “friends” but Harrison was adept at taking advantage of fraternal ties, situational friendships or small favours.

Dr. Leigh was “on list” with Ocean Colliery which, in 1923, employed 2,328 men and boys. The mine managers typically kept 3-4 practitioners on their books and casual work as a physician’s assistant was not a lucrative opportunity.  A sick or injured miner could present his card to any doctor he liked, and there was no advantage to choosing the Canadian newcomer.  Harrison did his best to befriend men from the Deep Navigation pit and he peppered them with wartime anecdotes and descriptions of exotic lands he knew very well. He needed the work to open doors in their community. As he was specially trained in obstetrics and gynaecology, what he really wanted to attract was female patients their wives and daughters.

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One of Dr. Harrison’s first private patients was Eva Olwen Bowen, daughter of a local carpenter and builder. Before long doctor and patient were in an amorous relationship and he was invited into the family home.  Olwen’s parents lived in a cluster of houses at Black brook, a hamlet named for the stream which splashed by their house and fell to the valley floor.  Their house bore the lovely name “Nythfa”, which is Welsh for “nesting place” and the natural surroundings were idyllic. The burbling brook animated a pathway which lead up to “The Park” near the summit, a clearing where strolling couples were entertained by a brass tunes performed on the gazebo bandstand.  It cost him nothing to walk the girl for hours, to fill her ears with promises of money and travel.

 

Nythfa 2010, nestled below Blackbrook

Seducing Olwen Bowen was a simple matter for a ruthless man who had made sexual conquests in a dozen countries.  Had the Bowen’s known they were entertaining a serial bigamist, a man in his 40s with three wives on the string; they could have protected their girl.  Instead they fell for his lies and trusted him for what he appeared to be, a professional man and war veteran, who sought a good woman to make his life complete. The parents watched his progress for a few months and observed that he was not making much of an income. Emboldened by his success with Olwen, who had truly fallen in love, Dr. Harrison coldly dangled the threat of his impending departure.  What could she do but agree to elope?

The couple took the train to Cardiff to be married by “Special Licence”.  The bare bones wedding must have meant a great deal to Olwen, but for Harrison the promise of “I do” was merely a formality.  He was already anticipating his next jump, and his searching turned up a position in the oil fields of Venezuela.  Olwen did in fact love him, and strangely enough he kept her much longer than any of his wives.  For ten years she travelled with him through much of Latin America and the Caribbean, before finally calling a halt to a marriage that was never intended to last.

The Harrison’s returned briefly to Treharris in 1934 and the Bowen’s took them in. It must have been very hard for her parents to look at him. Dr. Harrison found a little work with a doctor at the Waunllwyd Colliery near Ebbw Vale, pulled another of his stunts, and then was gone for good.

 Andrew Wilson JP freeman of the borough

Andrew Wilson Born 1874, died 1953

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Alderman Andrew Wilson

In 1908, Andrew Wilson, of 4 Brynteg Place Treharris, became the youngest and only collier mayor of a county Borough. Andrew Wilson was in fact the first mayor of the newly created county borough of Merthyr Tydfil.

Andrew was born in Llangstone cottages; Llangarron, Herefordshire in 1874, and Mr Wilson attended school there and later worked at the Woodfield nurseries. At the age of 16, he moved to south Wales, and with the exception of two years spent at Abertillery, he spent his entire life residing in Treharris where he soon became involved in politics.

Politics

He became secretary of the local branch of the Independent labour party, in the days when Ramsey MacDonald, Keir Hardy, Snowdon and Glasier were pioneers of the movement. He also served upon the management committee of the Co Operative society in the early days and helped to form the miners Federation after the great strike in 1898 and served upon the Taff Cynon district of miners for many years. He later became president of the district.

Compensation act

He became a hero to his fellow mineworkers when he fought against The Ocean Coal Company at Treharris who were anxious to opt out of the new Compensation act which came about following the 1989 strike. The Ocean Company wanted the miners to contribute towards a fund with the employers, out of which compensation would be paid.

The miners Federation were against this and Alderman Wilson became plaintiff in an action against the company to prevent them from deducting money from the miners to fund this scheme.

The case went to the High court and the decision went against the company who then had to repay to the miners the money that had been deducted against their wishes, this also brought an end to companies contracting out of the compensation Act across all of south Wales.

Education for Treharris and the Borough

Mr Wilson was elected a member of the education committee when the school boards went out of office in 1904 and he opened Webster Street School in 1905, he also supported the conversion of Cyfarthfa castle into a free secondary school.

For several years he was chairman of the Higher education committee and he represented Merthyr on several boards including the University court of Wales, Central Welsh board, Mining board of south Wales, the University College in Cardiff, and he had also been a member of the South Wales Industrial School in Quakers Yard and of St Cynon’s National School.

Mr Wilson was very popular in the town and it was no surprise when he was returned as a member of the Urban district council of Merthyr in April 1903, when Treharris and Merthyr Vale were one ward. He supported the incorporation of the whole parish in the new borough during the great struggle for incorporation, and was elected as a member of the first borough council in 1905.

He was made an Alderman at the first meeting and became mayor of the borough in 1908, the same year that Merthyr became a county borough and he was the last person to be appointed High constable of Caerphilly higher.

During his year in office Mr Wilson achieved many things and he was proud to open Cyfarthfa castle to the public but closer to home he was delighted to open the new Library in his home town of Treharris in 1909.

War Pensions

During the First World War 1914-18 Andrew Wilson became very involved in war pension work and he became secretary of the local war pensions committee for the Treharris ward. Until two whole years after the armistice the men of Treharris colliery contributed through the colliery office 3d a week, this raised over£6,000 for the dependants of those serving in the war. Everyone in the district gave their services for free and many benefited from the fund, Andrew was a member of the North East Glamorgan War pensions committee for 31 years.

First Chairman of the Water board

Before the First World War Andrew became interested in the question of water supplies in south Wales and supported the Merthyr parliamentary bill for the construction of the Taff fechan reservoir near Merthyr.

The Taf fechan water supply board was formed and at its first meeting in April 1922 Mr Wilson was made the first chairman of the board; at the end of his first year of office he was appointed chairman of the finance committee, a position he held ever since.

He also had the honour of laying the last granite set of the overflow shaft on behalf of the board during its construction. In view of the valuable work that he did since its inception it was decided that a portrait of the first chairman be placed in the board room.

 Justice of the peace and proud miner

Andrew Wilson was made a Justice of the Peace in 1918; he was also the chairman of the Labour party for many years. Apart from serving on many committees Andrew worked at the Deep Navigation Colliery for 55 years, of which 37 years were underground and 18 years on the surface as a checkweighers. He finally retired in 1946. Andrew also completed 50 years service as a member of the Merthyr Tydfil council and to mark that achievement he received a cheque from the Borough trades council and the labour party.

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The Treharris and District Central relief committee, Andrew Wilson is in this photograph taken during 1926

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Three more Treharris men from the 1926 Strike relief fund organisation…one is said to have lived in a shop at Quakers Yard…does anyone recognise any of these men?

A family man

It is very obvious that Andrew Wilson was a great man and a wonderful servant of the people who kept voting him into office. He was so well respected and often chaired the organisations he was involved with but he was also a family man and he and his wife Maria were parents to nine children, one son and eight daughters, one of which was my grandmother Gladys Wilson. They were married for 57 years and lived a full and happy life.

Both Andrew and Maria were members of the Trinity Forward movement church in Perrott Street (now demolished) Mr Wilson was an elder there for over 40 years. In April 1953 the borough was shocked to hear of the death of Andrew Wilson at the age of 78, hundreds of tributes poured into the family home from some very important people of the time that would have been a comfort to the family in Treharris. Further sadness followed just two days later though when his wife Maria also passed away at the family home in Brynteg Place, they were both buried in a huge funeral at Beechgrove cemetery, Edwardsville, right behind the graveyard church. I have paid a couple of visits to the cemetery to pay my own respects to a remarkable man of Treharris

We have fortunately found two of Andrew Wilsons’ Campaign documents, when he was up for election, one dating from 1905 and the other from 1946. They outline his ambitions and his Labour party manifesto. They are of Historical interest and are quite fascinating, factual reminders of past times in our district.

Firstly his 1905 Election papers

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Now in 1946 Andrew Wilson is again on the Election trail

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Gresham Place

Gresham Place, along with the people in the nearby streets had great community spirit and this was evident in the early 1950.s when they really went to town decorating their street for the anniversary of the original 1851 Great Exhibition in 1951 and then two years later for the coronation of our Queen Elizabeth the second in June 1953.

Below we will see a collection of photographs mainly from the Tony Evans (Quakers Yard) collection. His father Non Evans was the creator of most if not all the major decorations, including an amazing copy of the Skylon…a main creation in London for the Exhibition which was erected on the South bank of the Thames…Non Evans and his mates erected their version at the bottom of Gresham Place in the field behind Susannah Place.

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Back Row: Eric Parry, Brian Samuel, Eirwen Samuel, Pam Hale, Dai Breck (Davies), Marlene Jones, Myra Davies,

Front Row: Ron Lowe, Betty Jones, ?, Mick (Alfie) Smith.

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A young girl (Gaynor) standing by the replica model of the royal coach and horses of the queens coronation which was built Mr. Non Evans

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The same photo but with numbers

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Names of the people sitting with Dr Robinson, In the list Tony Evans is Number 62 and the next few numbers are his family

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Great effort made by everyone

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The whole street involved

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The Gresham band

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Another photo of the band this time with the names

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Above is Roger Vowles third from left, he is a little girl in this one.) dressed up in a picture taken on the Treharris Athletic football field during 1951

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The famous London Skylon on the south Bank of the river Thames.

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And above the much better Treharris version in Gresham..

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Bill Phillips sent me this photograph from 1956,he wrote…Hi Paul This photo was taken in the back garden of 34, Gresham. From left to right; My Father, Sister-in-law (Enid Phillips nee Pugh), my wife Pat, my Mother and my Mother-in-law. I think it was taken around 1952. I should imaging the back-ground would look different today.

The majority of the men living in Gresham and Susanna Place worked in the Colliery, and had their coal allowance tipped outside the house and before carrying it through the house to the coal-house, they used to riddle it and take the small coal to an empty block at the bottom of the street. When there was a fair stack there it was sold to the Electric Power Station, and the money went towards a free coach trip to Barry Island or Porthcawl. The photograph below was taken before one of those trips.Date approx 1948

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Below are some pictures I took on the 6th August 2009, they are of Gresham and Susannah Place especially for Bill Phillips who lives in Australia. Bill was a Gresham resident a long time ago, I hope you enjoy these Bill.

looking down the street towards the main road

Looking up the street

The very top of Gresham Place

Entrance to Gresham Place

Susannah Place looking towards the old railway bridge

Looking down Susannah towards the now closed Perrott Inn

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Fred Jones (Pies)

What a character, he originally came from the Tynte near Abercynon. His parents owned a fish and chip shop there, that’s why he was called ‘Pies’.

His amiable nature, his love of music and his humour made him a very likeable character. No one ever said a bad word about Fred. He was a regular face seen at the Danygraig club and the “Dog and Rabbit”

With his friend Terry Davies they were the best double act in town and will be sadly missed by all who knew them..Below we have a few pictures of Freddie and Terry courtesy of their good mate Roger Vowles..he said that they may be gone but they are not forgotten.

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The clubs and Pubs and characters that used them

The Pubs and clubs of Treharris have always provided some characters over the years…it is such a shame that these establishments are slowly declining. Below are a section of photographs of some of the faces that you might meet on a night out.Most of these photographs are courtesy of Roger Vowles. The first three are courtesy of Alison Davies and I added them on 3rd December 2010

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I recognise my old workmate Johnny Scotty on the bottom right, need help naming the other Danygraig men

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This is an old photograph probably of the committee…can anyone help identify the men

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Eric Bristow visits the Danygraig, some of the people in the photo are Beefy and Louise Hopkins,Julie Frances,Marilyn Shortys wife next to Eric Bristow,Julie Andrews, Neil Thomas, Dean Williams, Jeff Marshall

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Above we see the Dog and Rabbit boys including Doug Williams, Andrew Price, Yanto, Benny Munkly,Carrots and Bronko

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Some more Danygraig members enjoying a drink, again I need help to identify them

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Danygraig card School (courtesy of Roger Vowles)

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A packed Danygraig club 1960, Mr Bridges and friends

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New Years night 2006 (courtesy of Roger Vowles)

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Danygraig club Blackpool trip not sure about the date

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Friday night in 2006 at the Danygraig club

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The Ramblers protest group

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Old Danygraig club members 1960’s

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Shorty and his mates on a day out at Butlins

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New club boys win a cup, I can recognize Tommy Cush and my father Jimmy Corkrey in the back row, plenty of familiar faces there

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John Street Committee when the club was extended they include

The back row is Hughie Roberts Jack Reynolds Stanley Sam Robin Arnold, Mr Rowe, Bernard Price, Ossie Davies (went to Australia) Dai Nick, Len Gould ,Mr Jones (CilHaul) Front row is (can’t remember the first two) Ninian Cox and Mr Thomas (Edwardsville)

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Reecy (Roger) Williams and Alfie (foot) Williams, Treharris darts doubles winners 1969, proudly showing off their prizes (Barometers) unsure who the man on the right is? This photograph was taken at the now demolished Commercial Hotel in Treharris.(photo courtesy of Iris Coxe)

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D Cunnick and Dai Lewis

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Adam Cunnick

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A game of cards at the club

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Celebrating Brian Lewis’s retirement, Neil and Ross Lewis Debbie Hardwicke

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Colin having a quiet night

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Earnie Galsworthy on a fundraising night 

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The Treharris festival committee

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Gareth and Robert Cunnick in the snooker room at the Danygraig

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Kevin Smith & Friend Games Room 

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The Council workers from the Treharris district enjoying a night out in the Danygraig. 

Front left: Derek Morris,Kevin Coxe,Michael Lewton,Peter James,Lemmie Lewis,Mathew Hughes,Steve Jackson,John Bounds,Sid Noble,Philip Davis, Forgot name Lyn Jones,John Williams,Les Bounds, Lyndsie Williams, MIke Evans, Phillip Phillips,Mike Casey,Dai Lewis
 

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Roger Edmunds and Barbara

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Jamie, Jasper and Ryan

New year 2006/2007 at the Danygraig

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Bar staff

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New year 2006-2007 stewardess and family

Roger Vowles,the story of the pit hooter

Roger Vowles

Roger was a true local celebrity and we were lucky to have someone like him in our area. His enthusiasm was infectious and it is obvious why he was such a popular chap…Since retiring from the Colliery Roger had taken computer classes and been on committees in Treharris to help the local residents. He was very much part of the Treharris regeneration committee and also played an active part in the Treharris festival.

Roger has had a small book published containing his very humourous poems and he is rightly proud of that.

Below is a short Story about Treharris Hooter, and the part he played in saving it for future generations

Roger sadly passed away in 2011 and will be sadly missed by his wife, family and all who knew him.May he rest in peace.

The Treharris “Hooter” 

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The Treharris “Hooter” was a device used to alert the workforce that their shift was about to start. It would be let off a few days during the day. It is thought that a whistle was used at one stage but it was not loud enough so the hooter was brought to the pit.

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Where the hooter was at Deep Navigation for over 100 years it was the Fan attendance who had the job of blowing, Thanks to Richard Edwards for the news clip and photo of the old position of the Hooter

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It was rescued for the people of Treharris by Roger Vowles, who paid just £1 for it, he has the legal documentation to verify the sale; He kept it in his garage for many years after the colliery closed but it was always brought out and used to welcome in the New Year and to celebrate the start of the Treharris festival.

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The Hooter on the Boys club wall

Jones Brothers (Treharris) Ltd.
1919-1958

After the end of the First World War, John Jones was provided with a motorcar by his father, which he hired out as a means of livelihood. One of three brothers, he had been gassed in the War, and sadly died a few years later, however, not before the idea of providing charabancs in the district had taken hold. The brothers each purchased a new chassis on which they put second-hand bodies, the first vehicle taking to the road in 1919. By the end of the following year they had three vehicles and the business gradually developed.

In August 1921 a service from Treharris to Pontypridd was commenced, with another route to Nelson in 1925. At this time the brothers were trading as the Commercial Bus Service from premises at the Commercial Hotel, Treharris.

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We think the driver was Howell Perrin from Gresham place not sure who the conductor was? (pic courtesy of W Phillips and Tony Evans)

To cope with the extra services two Thornycroft A1’s with Norman 20-seat bodywork were purchased during 1925.

By 1928 an additional route to Bedlinog had opened and more vehicles acquired, including two Thornycroft SB’s with Hall-Lewis B26D bodywork and two Leyland A13’s with Leyland 26-seat bodywork.

In March 1930 Jones Brothers introduced a short-lived service between Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypridd, which ceased shortly afterwards because of opposition from Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council. From August 1930 the company was incorporated as Jones Brothers (Treharris) Ltd. By 1931, however, other operators, including Imperial Motor Services of Abercynon, Aberdare Motor Services and Gelligaer UDC, were running along parts of Jones Brothers routes.

Under the 1930’s Road Traffic Acts Jones Brothers were granted operating licences for the following routes;

Nelson – Trelewis – Treharris – Pontypridd, and
Bedlinog – Hollybush – Nelson – Pontypridd.

Other routes were also applied for, including one to Tredegar, but were unsuccessful, however, in November 1932 another route from Blackwood to Pontypridd serving Treharris, Nelson, Ystrad Mynach and Pontllanfraith was granted, although the licence contained clauses protecting existing operators.

For some time Jones Brothers had been operating a joint service with Evans and Williams, originally a competitor, but their application to take over the route was denied and it passed to Imperial Motor Services.

By the onset of World War II the fleet had grown and had included examples of AJS, Dennis, Leyland, Lancia, Vulcan and Thornycroft vehicles. (It was reported that Jones Brothers had acquired an ex-London General Omnibus Company B-type open-top double-decker in the early years of the company, but that the vehicle was disliked and returned to LGOC. Whether it actually operated in service is unknown, but if so it would have been the only double-decker operated). During the War the inevitable Bedford utility vehicles made an appearance, including several OWB models. An interesting purchase in 1942 was an AEC Q, originally new to Corona Coaches of London in 1935, which gave several years of service with Jones Brothers before being withdrawn.
The Company operated in a livery of maroon and brown with cream lining.
On 1st November 1945, the stage carriage business was sold jointly to Caerphilly UDC, Gelligaer UDC, Pontypridd UDC and the West Monmouthshire Omnibus Board, with ten vehicles passing to these four operators, who ran the ex-Jones Brothers routes jointly.

A single vehicle, Dennis Lancet II (No.4; HB5236) now with Francis (of Swansea) C32C bodywork was retained by Jones Brothers who continued to operate the coaching side of the business until 1958, when it finally ceased.

Gordon Parsons

People often talk about Characters in the village or towns where they live, but in the Treharris area we had a real Character, Gordon Parsons…Gordon was a good friend of my father Jimmy Corkrey and everytime I saw Gordon he would give me a horse racing tip to give to my father, usually for three months in the future.

Gordon would disappear for months, especially during the warmer months, he would be off to Hereford or up that direction working off the land and he would always come back with plenty of tips from trainers he had met on his travels.

Gordon always seemed to have a smile on his face, he was a mans man, a character and  great story teller and I, and many others miss seeing him around the place…may he rest in peace.

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Gordon Parsons enjoying a pint (looks like he was at the Bont)

Meirion Williams
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Meirion Williams , man of the people at Treharris Boys club

Aug 14 2008 by Samantha Mendez, Merthyr Express

A pillar of the community, well known and much loved. SAMANTHA MENDEZ spoke to Robert Williams who paid tribute to his father Meirion Williams MBE, who passed away on June 30, aged 93

With the demolition of the old Rahbers site in Treharris, The Express has received a number of letters from readers suggesting the new building be named after Meirion.

He was a man well known for his work with Treharris Boys’ and Girls’ Club and many other community-projects in the village.
Meirion was born in Bedlinog and lived there until he was 12, and he became leader of the Treharris Club for over 30 years.
His eldest son Robert said his father loved the Club, which stretched out over the whole community.

“It was quite a centre of community-life for all those years, and it still is,” he said. “My father had been a very fit man all his life. He was a Physical Training Instructor in the Royal Air Force during the war, where he spent the majority of his time in India and Singapore.”
Meirion enlisted with the RAF around 1940 when he was 25-years-old. But he was lucky to go.

At the time he was working as a miner in the Deep Navigation Colliery in Treharris. It was a reserved occupation so he didn’t have to go to war.
However, Meirion hated the pits and got in trouble on purpose. When he was finally called into the manager’s office for a telling off, he was rude to him and he got the sack.

Meirion was over the moon to be out of the pits, and he joined the RAF, where he remained for six years.
Retired head teacher Robert told The Express a bit more about his father’s fitness background.

“He was also a gymnast. He developed Parkinson’s Disease in later life, but he was very active until his last 18 months. He was fishing until his late 80s, and as a young man in his 30s, him and a few of his friends formed a group.
“They all had interests in bodybuilding and gymnastics, so they formed a group and would go around fetes and carnivals performing.”

After the war, Robert’s father went to Birmingham with his mother looking for work, and that’s where Robert, 59, was born.
He said: “While we were there, his mother-in-law posted an advert for the job in the Treharris Boys’ and Girls’ Club, which my father applied for and got. And that’s when we came back to Treharris and moved to the family home in Cilhaul.”

Meirion’s sister, Mair Roberts, still lives in the same house.
Once Meirion got started at the Club he became an avid supporter, as did his wife Myra.
Myra died 10 years ago, but Mr Williams said his parents were very close after his father retired.

“They spent 20 happy years in their caravan and my father would spend many days fishing around the Cowbridge area.
“When my mother passed away, though, he gave the caravan up, and was he quite lonely.” It was not long after Myra died that Meirion got involved with setting up People Together in Treharris. He was chairman of the organisation that helps the elderly and allows them to go on trips and other social events.

A mourner from People Together even spoke at Meirion’s funeral.
“My father was a born organiser; it was in him,” said Robert. “And my mother was also heavily involved with the club and a great supporter over the years. It took up a lot of my father’s time; it wasn’t just a nine to five job,” said Mr Williams.

And all Meirion’s hard work did not go unnoticed.
In the early 80s he was awarded an MBE for services to the community. And now many people in Treharris want to see a new development named after him.

Robert, who now lives in Pontypridd, thinks it would be a very fitting tribute.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” he said. “I am a bit biased, but I think it’s great. He did a lot for the community and it was reflected in the number of people who came to the funeral and the amount of letters and cards we received.

“Some of the messages were really quite touching and showed how influential he was. There was a really good crowd at the funeral, even though it rained heavily. But the Tabernacle was packed.
“There was a reception in the Boys’ and Girls’ Club and they put up a display of photos of my father over time and we collected donations for the Club at the funeral.”

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association took over the renovation of Rahbers a few months ago, and Karen Dusgate, the Association’s Chief Executive, said: “All of the feedback we have received is consistent with what The Express suggests. So it is highly likely the development will be named in memory of Mr Williams.
“It is certainly what we will be recommending to our Board.”
Two letters recently submitted to The Express office detailed people’s desire to have the old Rahbers site in Treharris named after the much-loved Mr Williams. Allan Jones, of Penn Street, Treharris suggested Meirion Williams Court or Meirion Court, to celebrate all the hard work he has done over the years for the youngsters of Treharris and Trelewis.
And Ron Baker, of Monmouth Drive, Castle Park, agreed with the suggestion.
He said: “Meirion, who passed away on June 30, dedicated his life to the Treharris Boys and Girls Club and also to the community in general.

“I first met him in the 1950s when I worked at Barclays Bank in Treharris. He was a true gentleman and certainly deserved the award of an MBE in a later life.”

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Meirion at the entrance to the mine

Some of the Marriages that took place Treharris early years

1863-1928

Thanks to Carolyn Jacobs at Merthyr library we have come across some public records of marriages that took place in the Treharris area in a sixty five year period between 1863 and 1928. Hopefully some readers will recognise some old relatives. These are the ones we found but there are many thousands more.

Saint Cynon church, Quakers Yard

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Saint Mathias Treharris and St Cynon, Fiddlers Elbow

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Saint Mathias church Treharris

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Saint Cynon Church and Treharris Tabernacle Chapel
Funerals were obviously also a big part of life in the area and Gaynor Samuels has sent me this story of her relative from all those years ago.
My great great grandfather Daniel Davies was the undertaker for Treharris area in the late eighteen hundreds to 1915 when he died after a short illness.Daniel was born in Llanybyther Cardiganshire in 1842.He was from a family of master carpenters in Llanybyther and moved to Treharris in the 1870’s. He lived firstly in Penn street and then moved to Bargoed Terrace Treharris. He married my great great grandmother Rachel Evans of Felinfach mill and farm Llanwnen and they had quite a large family with my great grandmother Sarah the eldest child.Daniel would have been known by most people in Treharris and the area due to his job and most residents would have required his services at some time of their lives and deaths.
 
My grandfather Daniel Samuel would tell us of helping out at his grandfather’s workshop in Cardiff Road as he made his own coffins.He was well respected in the area and many turned out for his funeral.
Historical documents relating to Treharris houses
The sale of the lease of 20 and 21 Perrott Street Treharris 1899
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An Envelope with the old red penny stamp 1903 Edward 7th 

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