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REES in Morriston

Background is -- My dad is Peter Lemuel Williams - sadly he passed away in 1997. Anyway -- we emigrated to Australia in 1963 when I was 11 and prior to that, we lived in Portmead. I now live in NZ.

dad's mum was Sarah [Sally] nee Jones and his dad was William Lemuel Williams. 'Lem' appears to have spent the later part of his life living in Llanelli and died in 1965. 'Lem' as he was generally known, worked on the GWR railways and was also a part-time musician - apparently played at the Empire Theatre amongst other places but I have no idea what instrument he favoured or played.

I only ever met my great aunts once or twice as a child as we left Wales for Australia in 1963 and by then, my dad had lost touch with his aunts - his father Lem [their brother] had remarried and the new wife didn't want anything to do with his sons from his 1st marriage so everyone drifted apart.

Lem had two sisters - Bronwyn Ann WILLIAMS and Elizabeth Gwendolyn WILLIAMS and I'm trying to discover if I have any living relatives or if not, something more about my family.

Bronwyn married Victor REES [1907-1997] in 1934 and they appear to have had one daughter - Betty Violet REES [1937-] .

Victor and Bronwyn were living at "Brynawel" Chemical Road, Morriston, from at least 1957 to 1962, then moved to 192 Vicarage Road, Morriston between 1962 and at least 1984.

At some point after 1984, they moved to Stoke on Trent -- Victor passed away there in 1997, aged 90 and Bronwyn died in 2004, aged 95. Sadly, I only discovered this information very recently which is most disappointing.

Victor was a coal merchant for most of his working life so perhaps this will ring a bell with anyone who is familiar with Morriston and hopefully, this REES family.

My understanding is that the other sister Elizabeth, known as 'Gwen' married but I don't know who - my mother [in her 8o's] thinks that she and her husband ran a news agency in Morriston but as I live in NZ, trying to discover more about Gwen seems like an insurmountable task. Unfortunately, I have no idea of the period involved either but can only guess it was between 1920 [when she was old enough to have married] and 1963 when we left for Aussie.

Anyway -- fingers crossed that perhaps someone knows something -- hope to hear from anyone.

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi,I remember Victor Rees,he was our coal merchant during the fifties when I lived in Ynysforgan,he had a daughter Gillian and they lived in Chemical road just opposite the post office alongside the old great western railway line where he had a large yard where he kept coal and his vehicles,I believe the front of the house was turned into a small shop as I remember my mother used to order and pay for coal there some times, not sure but I think they sold other items besides coal, [there is a bungalow now built on the yard] I remember him filling sacks from the railway waggons on the Morriston branch line coal sidings where the Morriston fire station stands today,Gillian who I believe was adopted[not 100% about that] was in Cwmrhydyceirw junior school in the same class as myself,they moved into a house at the top of Vicarage Road hill between Maes y Gelynen Avenue and Pentrepoeth Road,the house and yard were sold and became Dawsons shop and is today a mini supermarket, Gillian was a very nice girl and a very good artist I remember her winning a competition on the television programme Blue Peter in about 1957/8,or thereabout,I do not know what happened to her after leaving C.R.C junior school but ther are quite a few ex pupils still around who hailed from C.R.C/ Ynysforgan areas and I will try to find out,hope this helps all the best Dursley.

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Re: REES in Morriston

I remember Vic Rees , he was our coalman and he delivered coal into our house (it was kept under the stairs) until what was left of our Anderson Shelter was converted into a coalhouse in the early 1950's.
I found a cutting of an article written about him by Bernard Lloyd in the South Wales Evening Post in some papers that my mother had kept.
She had known him for years, living as she did on Chemical Road. Indeed the photograph accompanying the article was taken outside our house No. 43 then, 77 now and shows his horse and cart which suggests it must have been taken in early 1940s.

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi,all just a little update on my previous message unfortunately have not had any further messages about Rees to report,but have rcently got a full list of photographs [Twelve in all]of the Morriston branch line G.W.R,from Felin Fran Station down to Landore Low Level,showing Pentrfelin Halt and three of the coalyard showing trucks and lorries which have been loaded [possibly Vic Rees]a very rare lovely shot of the footbridge over from Tirpenry Street down to Rees and Kirbys works[Matalan today]and looking towards the old railway booking office and Temple Terrace,also showing the catholic hall before the fire,also three of Morriston West station and the view looking south inc,Swan Metals and the double canal bridges at lower Morfydd Street,a lovely shot of Globe Street bridge and two views of Copper Pit Halt both directions,also the crossing gates at Plasmarl along with the platform,four pictures from both sides of Landore low level and a very good one right under the railway viaduct which is today the dual carriageway just up from the Liberty Stadium,I have [last Week]shown them to a railway modeller John Alford who is doing a part model in N gauge of a section of this line and he was astounded,I will quote his words "The best photos he has ever seen of the Morriston Branch" also have three of the Midland Morriston line all taken at the station one with a Pannier tank in steam,and two others showing the bridge very near todays asda and one outside Swansea foundry which was right alongside the M.R,been promised more from the same source.

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi this is a very interesting “update on Vic Rees”

I remember the bridges you mention.

The one near Tirpenry St was a metal one accessible via an alleyway between the houses.

I can still see the one at Globe St particularly at the time 50 years ago when the canal was frozen solid for months and the ice was so thick it was very safe to walk on.

But it is the double bridge under Morfydd St(?) which makes this post more interesting. Near all the railway siding adjacent to the station there was an old Malthouse and my great, great grandfather worked there as a “malster” , his name was William Alford!!

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi,you have got the correct bridge it was between the houses three quarter way up Tirpenry street,just about opposite the old Tirpenry Arms public house,my grandmother lived in the very last terraced house on the left before the Ted Morris houses at the bottom and my aunt [my mothers sister]lived in Temple Terrace,virtually on the site of todays Mcdonalds,it was my uncle who called the fire brigade when the catholic hall caught fire,I wish I had a pound for every time I crossed that bridge I remember on more than one occasion being engufed in steam from a loco as it speed past,its amazing that John Alford shared the same surname as the brewer,he was telling me about a blacksmith who had a workshop near to where you describe,I do not know if you know him he lives I think in C.R.C/Ynysforgan,very knowledgeable and helpful,do you know the reason why there are two bridges at lower Morfydd St.,?and that they have a Cadw order on them,give me a ring and I will get you a copy of the bridge at Tirpenry,all the best Dursley[01792 310693]

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hello

Why did kids in those days always want to be on a bridge when a steam train passed and you got covered in the steam etc! We did the same at the bridge near where the Rugby Club is today.

I am not sure about the bridge design but could it have been for the towing horses to cross over the canal from one towing path to the other?

Heading towards Swansea the towing path was on the left hand side as it passed Rees & Kirby but it was on the right hand side after the bridge.

I will certainly give you a call for copies of the photos I spent a lot of time walking in that area as a youth it was often my preferred route to get from Chemical Road to Morris St.

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hello,I knew that bridge as "The Tin bridge"it lead onto the lane that went up onto Heol Tir Du,I think they called the Rightaway,it goes over the G.W.R.Swansea District Line,[opened 1912]which runs from Briton Ferry to Llandeilo junction near Trostre,just over sixteen miles long,and the most expensive railway line ever constucted in Wales,there are 3 road bridges in Cwmrhydyceirw,and there were plans for a fourth,between Heol Tir Du[where the old council yard stood,houses now]and up into Heol Fedw,coming out at the roundabout today opposite Winchesters shop,thats why at the top end of Heol Fedw there were no council houses built on that strip of land,where the council yard was if you look you will see the two houses either side are facing sideways on, the bridge was to go across there onto Maes Collen and link up onto the road going to the Rugby club and Pompas,this was in the late twenties when the C.R.C. estate was being built,there were a lot of issues about cost and the G.W.R.would not fund it so they built the footbridge instead,I have a very rare photo of the constuction of Llangyefelach tunnel C.R.C.end,taken in 1908/9 showing a steam crane on a constuction line and men working in and on the sides and floor of the cutting,Llangyfelach tunnel was cut through Pennant stone took three years or more to construct and is the longest railway tunnel in Wales today,there is a very good story about why that line was built but thats for another day,bye Dursley[Lee Hanford]

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi Dursley
You have a remarkable knowledge of the planning and development of Morriston at the beginning of the 20th century!

I wondered why the road down from Pompas went nowhere, but used the footbridge as a short cut to walk over to Ynysforgan (firstly by following the footpath alongside the Nant!)

Are you saying that the unbuilt road bridge would have headed to the junction of Hedw Fawr and Tir Du ,and not head across the area which eventually had the “prefabs” built on, to Llanllienwen Road, which would have been helpful?

Many myths were talked about the Llangyfelach Tunnel, about its length, whether it was “possible to walk through it!” and had anybody done it!! Where did all the pennant sandstone cut out of the tunnel end up, in buildings around Morriston?

When you get the chance I will be interested in why the tunnel was needed; and if you know, did the nearby quarry blasting affect it in anyway?
Len

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi,Len have not been on here for a while due to computer problems have a new laptop now so getting back to looking at this site,just a little update for your request about Llangyefelach tunnel,it was opened in 1912,having taken three or four years to construct,its 1952 yards long the longest in Wales I believe that's still in use,I have been through it by train on a number of occasions,it was cut through Pennant stone and most of the spoil was used to form the embankment running just below the Rugby club and continued over to Felin Fran,the large boulders are clearly visible today both at Ynysforgan and lower Ynystawe,there is just below the Rugby club a series of a stepped water coarse,this watercourse runs underground from the tunnel and exits down these steps into Llanlienwen brook that runs under the railway at the back of the housing estate that was built after the prefabs were demolished there is a tunnel [to take the brook under the railway] the entrance on llanlienwen side has been culverted which was open, as children we used to ride on a thin tin type sheet and enjoy riding down the slope to come out on the Midland Terrace side, I lived in Heol Maes Y Gelenen for a number of years and can remember the blasting from the C.R.C. quarry almost on a daily basis, I am sure the tunnel must have shuddered with the blasting,did you know that there is an aquaduct on the velindre side of the tunnel,it can clearly be seen from the overbridge just behind the old garden centre near Bryntywood,it carries the Afon Llan,there were also two tunnel ventilating shafts one near the golf club and one on the left hand side field just as you exit the overbridge of the M4,on the Llangyefelach to Morriston hospital road,there are quite a few articles on the Swansea District Line and its tunnels on Wikepedia if you want more information,all the best Dursley Hanford.

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Re: REES in Morriston

Thanks Dursley I will look out for those features when next in the area.

I have read the Wikipedia site, it was help knowing it was the Swansea District Line, as I did not know!

It was interesting to see that there are some passenger trains going that way still, it would be a great experience to travel across the valley and into the tunnel.

Presumably the logistics of getting to the nearest stop before Morriston and the return journey would be quite difficult!

Earlier in this thread you mentioned John Alford. We have been in contact and we do indeed share the same GGGrandfather!

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Re: REES in Morriston

Hi Anyone wanting to experience a trip on the Swansea District Line can do so I believe there are three or four passenger journeys a day over the line, the train can be caught either at Llanelli or Port Talbot,and you would have to get to either of those stations to go on the journey,its sad to think that up until the early sixties there was a connection from the line at the llandarcy end of the Lonlas tunnel that went through a cutting [not to far from opposite the Bowens Arms public house]it was about half a mile long and connected the District line to the main Swansea to Paddington line,so you could have got on at Skewen [alongside the Ritz cinema]I think it went via Beechings cuts,how handy that would have been today,only yesterday I was visiting a former G.W.R. fireman Dennis Murphy[his son and daughter in law own Murphys hairdressers opposite Morriston Post office]he has built a lovely bungalow at Trebanos and its on the site of the old mond branch from Felin Fran via Clydach,the line was formed as far as Rhyd Y Fro,and there is a tunnel on the western side of Pontardawe which is complete and has never had a train through it,the line went as far as the Daren colliery just past Dennis bungalow,and came as far as Abernant the other way the link was never completed,Dennis tells me he worked that line on some occasions up to twice a day,bringing the coal down to Felin Fran,lots of the railway trackbed and the abutments of various bridges one with fantastic stonework still exist,

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