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MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Among the other discussion threads a number of old Morristonians have been mentioned.

"Old Bridge" led to discussion about Dai Sannau and his chip shop."Rees" a discussion about Vic Rees the coalman.

Does anyone remember Bill the Barber ?

He had a barber's shop at the top of Chemical Road.

My memory of him was whatever style of cut you wanted; you still came out as if you had just joined the army.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

I remember him well my dad used to take me there [we lived in Ynysforgan at the time 1957/8] when I was a young lad if my memory is correct he was a few doors down from Pompas café[Alf Pompa]I believe the shop is still a hairdressers today,as you say it was allways a short back and sides,I am pretty sure he was deaf,and I think when he retired he took a part time/ volunteer job in Morriston Hospital ,I saw him there once wheeling someone in a wheelchair,as my grandmother lived in Tirpenry St., when it was my mothers turn to get my haircut we would go to Les the barbers shop which at that time was on a small embankment just before the Gem cinema[ Gem auto centre today] and it was virtually on the site of the telephone exchange which I think opened in 1958/9,he was a bit gentler on the hair,as I mentioned the Gem do you know where Gem road is[its fairly new]bye.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

While on the character subject,here are a few more Harry Mafakin,[heard about his exploits but did not know him][Mr Morriston/Mayor of Morriston]Willy Benge ,[William Benjamin Davies, Cec the milk, Freddy Sticks,Tommy Coe,[Ghandi in Morriston carnival[he was more like Ghandi than the man himself]also old man Steptoe]and not forgetting Mr Leonard[ Sticky] Hicks,I remember him getting four people out of a blazing car which had hit Pompas cafe on the cross[late fifties??] I think it was Austin A30,job to get four people in one and he deserved the award he got for saving their lives,he also partnered Tommy Coe as Steptoe and son in the carnival,I here he is not to well at the moment wish him a speedy recovery, and who can forget Benny Morgans[with his camel haired coat and brown trilby] parading up and down Woodfield Street,must be a few more to add,any suggestions or stories on the above nentioned bye.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Deaf you say that explains a lot! He once refused my request for a “crew cut” as he clearly thought that only backs and sides should be short!

I do not think I ever went to Les the Barber; was his shop on Woodfield St later on?

Do not recall Harry Mafakin– was he a Boer War veteran?

Did not know his name but you have brought back to mind the Ghandi character in the Carnival. He had an uncanny resemblance- there must be photo of him.

Benny Morgans sounds a character but I cannot say I recall him.

The Cross crash incident I was aware of (there were other incidents of vehicles with brake failure on Pentrepoeth hill usually lorries- one left the road and went into the trees in the grounds of Dr Mellor’s surgery; another I think involved two vehicles at the junction near the “OAP” Hut, a guy called Granville Edwards helped with the rescue in the latter.

Leonard Hicks was brave to do what he did.

My brother was in school with Len Hicks and believed he had a brother David. They lived in Maes y Glenyn. Last time he saw him was in the Midland Pub when they had closed the Red Lion Pub having been taken over by Wetherspoons!

During a chat about this with my brother he said also remembers Cec the milk and Les the barber.

But the place to go for a styled hair cut he believed was Doughy Allan in Plasmarl.

His lasting memory or the Gem cinema was to sit in the very front row [Only seats left] which cost six pence, having been to Whirlies (?) shop for a bag of sherbet and a liquorice stick for tuppence.

He remembered the metal discs given in the Regal Cinema which had different shapes for the seating arrangement in side. And on a Saturday matinee when you were left in suspense at the end of the film only to find on the following Saturday things had somehow changed.

Where exactly is Gem St and is there going to be a Regal Road?

Because the posters for the films were left on display long after the Gem and Regal were closed I seem to recall the last films shown were “Fabian of the Yard” and “Blue Hawaii” respectively

As a matter of interest my brother asked if anyone remembers whether Vic Rees had a brother, Moc [he thinks it was how he spelt it]. He was a cobbler.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Les the barber I think his surname was Thomas did move up to Woodfield Street,I can only tell you what I neard about Harry Mafakin/Mafekin,apparently he used to ride a horse about Morriston and not unheard of him taking it into the plough public house on a few occasions,re Ghandi as you say there must be a few photos of him in the carnival as he did dress up as him a good few times,your brother is right Leonard Hicks did live in Heol Maes Y Gelenen,I remember a Rossers lorry[Rossers of Ponlliw]who carried steel from Velindre to the later Dyffryn works when the brakes failed coming down the steep part of Pentrepoeth Hill,and ending up going through Dr Jones Pentrepoeth house and very nearly going into the back garden of father Morriseys residence,I know the driver was injured if you saw the lorry as I did believe me it was a miracle as the steel sheet he was carrying went through and over the cab,sadly the fate of a young lad who had jumped from the cab of another lorry when it collided with the wall of Bryn Davies House [Darrel Davies relative D coaches]right opposite the old age hut unfortunately he was killed,if I remember he was a van boy,if he had stayed on board he would have survived but the driver told him to jump,I think that was around about1961/2 very sad,I went on more than once to the GEM,and I also bought goodies in Wehrles,I think two ladies ran the shop,its now the indian takeaway next to the auto centre,had many a Saturday matinee in the Regal,and recall the plush double seats at the rear of downstairs,I remember a character from Plasmarl [Louie]he was a bit backward the staff were kind to him and let him in for free,he would stand up during a cowboy film and shout out look out if someone was creeping up on an unsuspecting cowboy,I often think what ever happened to Mercury who was made of spelter and sat at the top of the Regal for so long that he was a lovely shade of deep green,I saw him in the antique shop on the corner of Brynymor Road and St,Helens road, now long gone,[I was an office boy for Unifloc in Adelaide street at the time and was at the tobbaconist just below C.E.M,Days showroom on a daily basis getting specialist pipe tobacco for the draughtsmen] he was there quite a while but not heard of him since,Surprised you did not know of or see[the man they called Morristons Mayor, Willy Benge the real Mr Morriston,a short little stubby gent allways wore a flat cap and I never new him to be about without a camera[sometimes two] hanging over his shoulder,he must have taken thousands of photographs of the area,I have recently spoken to his relatives living in Lon Arian and they do not know what happened to his vast collection,I have a few photos[they always had a lovely curved edge ,he used to do a lot of his own developing] mainly of Ynysforgan ,we lived opposite him at one time,must end, very interesting thread,by the way Gem Road,is alongside the Chinese Takeway virtually opposite Lidl. [

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Les Thomas the Barber originally had his shop in an old shed just below the Gem Cinema on Sway Road. It was opposite the site of the present Police Station. This was in the late 1940s and early 50's before he moved to a shop in Cross Buildings. Then to his last shop in Woodfield Street opposite the Post Office. I used to have my hair cut by Les in the 1940's and 50s.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Was Les Thomas's shop in that "lean too" type building next to Barclays Bank and when he was across the road was his shop in the back room of a tobacconists? I recall going to a barbers in there.

I see what Dursley means by the house where the two vans collided ,it is actually below pavement level. Wasn't there also a big underground tank next door which the vans would have struck? I had forgotten the gruesome outcome so all the more credit to Granville for getting stuck in.

I remember the metal sheets distributed all around the Doctors' garden, you could get much closer to those scenes in those days. I seem to remember that the tree on the verge,that the lorry hit as it left the road, had a big scar on its trunk so it would have slowed it down a bit.The driver was lucky indeed.

Dr Jones was mentioned as being one of the doctors. Does anyone remember a Dr Mort (great name for a doctor) who had a surgery on Pentrpoeth Road nearer the Cross? I think we used call his partner Dr Van. As there are Morts listed on the Morriston Park memorial I guess Dr Mort was a local man.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Re Doctor Mort he had his surgery in Highbury which is just up from the Cross on Pentrepoeth Road,[opposite The Glessy Spoon]he was my grandmothers families doctor,and I think he must have been at another surgery before that as he was getting on a bit,he had a partner who was Dr,Van Klaveren and he and his family lived in Highbury for many years,my dad worked for him part time as a handyman/gardener for a few years ,I remember going there a few times with my dad and was always pleased to see the small garden railway that he had built for his son,he eventually returned to the London area taking up a post with British Railways,this was in the late 50s or early 60s??,I think Dr Vernon Jones became the resident Doctor after Dr Van[as he was known]the surgery transferred to the buidings on the other side of the cross in what today is a dry cleaners,and is now the surgery next to the fire station,New Cross Surgery,I remember Les the barber being virtually opposite the post office just up from the Albany furniture shop,but I do not remember him being in the back of another shop,but he must have been has others seem to remember him being there,the house that the lorry ran into opposite the old age hut forming the corner of Pentrepoeth Road,and Pentrepoeth school road,was a bus/coach and taxi depot run by Bryn Davies who lived in the house and operated the business at the rear[there is a lovely house built on the old premises today]Darrell Davies I think he was Bryn Davies relative went on to run the business it became "D"Coaches,and was one of the largest bus and coach operators in this area.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Whilst visiting the 1911 Census recently and looking at those living in Woodfield St I noticed there was a refreshment bar at No 106 run by Ferdinands Pompa with his wife Nascenza and children Domenico, Laura, Giacinda,and Antmetta.Ferdinands appears to be from Caserta which is just north of Naples.
So the Pompa connection to Morriston goes back over 100 years.

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Another adopted Morristonian I recall is Sister Alison Jones of Grove Place Presbyterian Church , she is mentioned on one of the stones at the front of the original entrance .I always thought she was from New Zealand but I found a reference to her recently in the 1911 census in Merthyr and found she was born in Australia.
She dressed like a nun and taught the youngest group of children at Sunday School in the room behind the "stage", where she dealt out butterscotch sweets to her pupils .

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

Another character from Morriston ,better known as Tea Cosy Pete, was Brian Buford . He lived on Glantawe Street opposite the employment exchange He went to Martin St school where he was known to me, he played rugby at half back . Went on to Dynevor Grammar one of the few to pass the 11+ in that year and was a promising student until a family tragedy led to a downward spiral to becoming known for surviving on the streets of Swansea

Re: MORRISTON CHARACTERS OF OLD

William Rowlands composed the hymn tune which is used throughout the world for " Love Divine All Loves Excelling" Rolland was a teacher at Pentrepoeth School and choir master at the Tabernacle . He died in 1937 and is buried in Morriston Cemetrery grave 11B.