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People - 2009

remembered | 1997-2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 |

The "remembered" section of this site (see links above)lists people who are particularly remembered by the author or others who may contribute from time to time. When available, biographical information and photographs are added. Contributions are welcomed. The other sections reference the year when emails were sent to me (John Pugh) by people who once lived in or in the vicinity of Barmouth. They are organized by the year in which the email was received.

Name Date of e-mail Comments (linked)

Stuart Rushton July, 2009 I would like to add an entry about my Mum, Anne Edwards....
Peter Adamson May, 2009 My name is Peter Adamson. I was an evacuee in Barmouth between 1940 and 1945....
Marion Humphreys May, 2009 Eldst daughter of the late William David Griffith....
Katherine Packenham May, 2009 More on Fanny Talbot....
John Jones March, 2009 On looking at the Barmouth website I came across your picture and column....

Stuart Rushton (May/2009) - Peter speaks of fond memories of his mother...

I would like to add an entry about my Mum, Anne Edwards as was, who sadly passed away 17th July 2009. Anne was the daughter of Iorwerth and Laura (May) Edwards, brother of David: Initially bought up in the Clock House cottages and later at 7 Porkington Terrace. She attended Barmouth primary (next to the old library in town as it was then) and Ysgol Ardudwy, leaving the latter around 1960. My Mum planted one of the Coronation trees at Barmouth primary (the fat one next to the telegraph pole she told me!), I have some nice photos of the day in my collection. Following school my Mum trained as a nurse at Chester Royal Infirmary, returning to Barmouth to work at the Maternity unit. She met my Dad Bob Rushton in 1963, at the time he was Manager of the Woolworth store, in early 1964 my Dad was moved to Bridgnorth, he proposed and my Mum said yes. They were married on 2nd April 1964 after a very short romance, and were to stay together for 44 years until my Dad died 23rd September 2008.

For the next 11 years they moved around a lot as my Dad left Woolworth, joined Spar and finally Asda. They lived in Haxby nr York, Leeds, Abergele, Ilkley, Marford nr Wrexham before settling in the village of Goldsborough nr Harrogate in 1975.

My Mum never lost her ties with Barmouth, often returning to see her Mum and Dad. Myself I was lucky enough to spend every school holiday in Barmouth with my Nain and Taid, I remember at the age of 9, being put on the D94 at Wrexham by myself with my bag and fishing rod and settling down for the 3 hour journey - happy times.

Iorwerth passed away in 1984, at the time they Iorwerth and May were at 23 Llys Dedwydd together, my Nain remained there until she was 93 and moved into the old peoples home, she passed away in 2006 at the grand age of 94. Due to my Dad becoming ill shortly after my Mum never again had the opportunity to return to Barmouth. However Barmouth never left her heart, she still had some good friends there, how she would talk to regularly, and I know she enjoyed looking at this website to try and catch up on memories.

I feel this is a fitting remembrance to my Mum, a girl from Barmouth who is greatly missed.

Peter Adamson (May/2009) - Peter speaks of fond memories of Barmouth

My name is Peter Adamson. I was an evacuee in Barmouth between 1940 and 1945, arriving from London at the age of 4 years. Having spent such formative years there I have a particular identification with and affection for the place. Who was it who said: ‘Give me the child to the age of 7 and I will give you the man’? Certainly, I think the influence of Barmouth and the circumstances of being there made me largely what I am.

My affection for Barmouth is enhanced by the fact that my maternal ancestors came from there. My mother, Dorothy and her two sisters were brought up there; her younger sister, Marian, worked in Cadwallader Roberts ironmongers. Their mother, Ellen Williams and her parents were Barmouth Welsh through and through. Ellen, together with her sister-in-law, Eileen Pugh, ran the fish and chip shop opposite the primary school all through the war. As a venue it was one of the main attractions for the many servicemen and women stationed around Barmouth at the time. Prior to the war Ellen Williams ran a café on the Panorama Walk. Eileen Pugh’s husband, Hugh Gray Pugh, was very much a local character, turning his hand to many things to make a living. He was the universal jobber, a builder, a fisherman and the provider of rabbits for sale in the local greengrocers. He represented Wales as a marksman and designed and built his own house, ‘Gledhill’, even though he could neither read nor write! ‘Gledhill’ still overlooks the Catholic church, above Llanaber Road. Hugh had a particular skill in modeling utilitarian sculptures out of cement. His red Indian chief flowerboxes may still grace the gardens of the Min-y-Mor Hotel. Other relatives of mine, all now buried at Llanaber, worked at Borthwick’s Laundry.

My first impression of Barmouth as a tiny new evacuee was the reception accommodation for myself and two older brothers at ‘Tan-y-gellau’ (spelling?), a cottage near the New White Cinema. We slept on a boarded floor in the loft and I had my first taste of porage for breakfast. The sense of loneliness that first night in a strange place was overwhelming.

Eventually we were split up; the eldest of we three and myself going to Dr. and Mrs Williams at a splendid house high above the northern end of the town and middle brother, David, going to our grandmother at a flat near St. John’s Church. He, David, proved to be so unruly that he was eventually returned to our parents in South London. My sense that this was unfair remained with me during the whole of our evacuation. Many a time I stood near the railway level crossing, looking wistfully down the railway line which I knew terminated at Paddington Station and home.

Our time with the good doctor was not a happy one. The Williams had a live-in practice nurse and housekeeper, named Nelly I believe, who was very strict with us. My constant bed-wetting was a source of continuing frustration and the last straw came when Mrs Williams foolishly left me unattended in her Wolseley car in the High Street with the engine still running. I released the hand break and motored gently along the road before some concerned citizen raced after the car and stopped it. We were duly shipped out and birthed in, for me, a much improved billet. Again, we were to live with a family named ‘Williams’ but this time the local butcher Robert Williams at their imposing home ‘Cilmynach’ one of the last houses on the Llanaber Road north of the town.

Again, we were allocated a room in the attic but this time a cosy room. Nevertheless the nights there terrified me. The house had no electricity which, combined with the compulsory blackout shutters on the windows and the remoteness from the living quarters gave rise to a soundless, inky blackness full of scary imagined creatures. The Williams family had a live-in maid called Amy who looked after us. She was kind, perhaps because she herself had been an orphaned child and could relate to our loneliness. That said I was generally happy at ‘Cilmynach’ even though I had few toys. They were not allowed in the house and in time those I had mysteriously disappeared. I suspected they found their way to the toy box of the Williams’ nephew. Such were my suspicions that I found a secret cache for them away from the house in the stone retaining wall along the road, near a post box. My treasures may still be there!

Being the local butchers, the Williams family escaped the privations of wartime rationing. I daresay a good deal of bartering went on with other retailers and farmers. In particular I remember the milk delivered from the local farm. It was ladled out from churns in those days, transported on a converted pedal cycle. The cream on the milk was so thick it stuck your lips together. Another treat, on Saturday evenings was a packet of boiled sweets each. Eirlys, the daughter of the house, was an excellent cook who, I believe, had studied domestic science at university. Even her humble faggots were food for the gods. She catered for the ‘Paying guests’ during the summer months. Eirlys was exceptionally pretty but never married. Indeed I only remember seeing her in town on one social occasion, other than church attendance. What a wife she would have made someone!

On a Sunday evening during the summer the Williams used to dress me up as a clergyman and shunt me into the guests lounge to entertain them with songs and readings. No television in those days. I must have been quite good because I was entered for the local eisteddfod and won second prize; four old pennies! It would not have done for an English evacuee to have won first prize. My love of showing off in public has never left me!

My mother told me long after I was back home in London that the Williams had wanted to adopt me. Had they been allowed to do so how different my life would have been. The local butcher perhaps? The shop was at the far end of Barmouth, not far from the Quay.

Many years ago I took my then young wife to Barmouth to show her one of my favourite places on this earth. I thought it prudent to ring ‘Cilmynach’ before we arrived. This I did at Dolgellau. They would surely be so excited at the return of the prodigal son. Amy answered the phone with less enthusiasm than I would have expected. “You want Miss Williams?” she queried. Eirlys would surely rush to the phone. After an interval Amy returned to the phone; “Miss Williams says what do you want?” Egos are thus so quickly crushed!

The first day at school must be especially daunting to any young child. How much more so then for a London evacuee at a reception class full of children with strange accents and a foreign language. The symbol of authority here was a huge curly cane hanging over the fireplace. We evacuees did not easily integrate with the local children. St.David’s Day was the occasion for the annual battle with the English at one end of the playground and the Welsh the other end. A charge was accompanied by a fusillade of water bombs made out of paper.

I returned again to Barmouth some 20 years ago on a sentimental journey, this time traveling in style in my posh Jaguar car. By this time the primary school had become a community centre and the playground a car park for the Royal Hotel. The Royal was the place to be for officers during the war and I had now stayed there! How far I had come I mused, with a little false pride, as I parked my Jaguar in what had been my playground some 47 years or so before. As I returned to the car from the shops a voice behind me hailed me by name. Turning, I saw a smiling, portly man of about my age approaching. “You don’t remember me?” he queried in a local accent. “We went to school together here” said he, jerking his thumb towards the redundant school. How he recognized me after so many years I will never know. How different our lives had been. I am fortunate enough to have traveled extensively around the world. He had never been out of Barmouth. If he ever reads this, or indeed any of my contemporaries from there still around (I am now 72 years old), my best wishes to you all.

So many places in Barmouth still resonate with me. The railway level crossing as a highway to Home. The adjacent pedestrian bridge over the railway. We used to race to the top of this bridge to be engulfed by the sooty, gritty grey smoke as the steam locomotive pulled away from the station. The pedestrian bridge further north was an even better location for this sport. The little kiosk under the station bridge steps which sold tobacco and sweets. I once found a 6d (old money) and gorged myself on sweeties bought with this treasure trove. The place on the railway track where we could place copper coins on the rail. Once they were

flattened by the train they could be fashioned into model Spitfires etc. Aspinall’s the toy shop where all the goods were displayed on low counters within easy reach of nimble, larcenous, fingers (not mine of course!). I dread to think how much stock they lost to shoplifters.

The New White Cinema has particular memories for me as I saw my first ever film there. I think it was a war film starring Tyrone Power. We gained admission at matinees, either by redeeming the deposits on glass bottles and jars or by bunking in at the exit fire escape. I genuinely though then that the actors were actually hidden behind the screen, their images cleverly projected onto the screen. The New White was not as posh as the Pavilion Cinema on the front and it had had one major defect: if it rained heavily one could not hear the soundtrack because of the drumming of the rain on the corrugated tin roof. If there was a particularly good film showing people augmented the seating by bringing their own chairs and placing them in the aisles. Any Fire Office these days would have a fit!

I wonder if anyone still remembers the RAF bomber which crashed into the Caider mountain range during the war? We small boys scampered across the estuary bridge and up the mountain like Gibraltar apes to salvage perspex and parachute cord from the plane which subsequently turned into all manner of artifacts. The crashed bomber was one of the few reminders we had as boys that there was a war on, other than the noise of gunfire from the practice range at Towyn and the absence of bananas at the greengrocers!

The rail bridge across the Mawddach Estuary was, of course, a major draw for small boys. In those far off days the first section of the pedestrian walkway was decked with heavy timber planks. Through shrinkage the joints between planks had opened up, revealing the angry green tide swirling around the stanchions below. I always ran across this timber decking, fearful the joints would open up and send me screaming to the waters below. I believe the estuary has now silted up quite a bit at low tide compared to those days? Along the bridge pedestrian walkway friendly shelters were placed at regular intervals for the benefit of walkers to rest, take their ease and drink in the glorious views of Caider Idris and the estuary, surely as glorious as any view in the whole of the British Isles and beyond. I have a picture of this view both in my study and on my bedroom wall. I look at it every day. The shelters were all gone the last time I visited Barmouth: victims no doubt to vandals and cost saving.

I don’t visit Barmouth very often these days but when I do I still get a frisson of excitement on the approach from Dolgellau as the bridge first comes into view. I will return to Barmouth again this year, a very special place indeed.

Marion Humphreys (May/2009) - Eldst daughter of the late William David Griffith

Hello John, My name is Marion Humphreys, formerly Griffith, and I am the eldest daughter of the late William David Griffith (Will Cochyn) and my cousin was Eric Griffith. I was not actually born in Barmouth but until I married and 'defected' to Dolgellau nearly 55 years ago, I can't remember living anywhere else. As you appear to be much younger than me, you may possibly know my sisters, Esme and Norma. My reason for contacting you is due to the Barmouth Communities First 'Historic Pictures' gallery run by Hugh Roberts of Henddol Barmouth. Hugh gives occasional slide shows of some of his photograph collection and I am one of the regulars who attend these shows. The latest was yesterday, 11 May, and during the morning Hugh asked whether Richard Tutty was a Barmouth boy. Richard was at 'County School' with me, although maybe a year or two younger, and I seem to recall that his mother was either a member of a local Pugh family or had the name Pugh through a second marriage. I wonder whether this connection was with your family and if so whether you have any information that I can pass on to Hugh Henddol. Yours, Marion

Katherine Packenham (May/2009) - More on Fanny Talbot.....

I was checking up on a few details in one of the family histories that a distant relative compiled about the Talbots, and googled "franco prussian war" to get the exact dates, as the author mentioned that the father of both the wives of George Quartus Pine (Quarry) Talbot had been a refugee from this, settling in Barmouth. "What the heck, let's try his surname too" I thought, and your article came up top of the list. It quite confirms my faith in the Internet! What an interesting and inspiring man, and thank you for sharing this information. By the way, Quarry may have met Hannah in Paris as an art student (thank you also for this detail), but they married in Bridgwater reg. district in 1873, when he was still only 20. I'm not sure how much interest you have in Auguste's daughters, but if you weren't already aware: Hannah died in Mustapha Algiers, January 11th 1878 (commemorated on Quarry's tombstone in Finsthwaite, Lake Windermere). I don't when or where he married Madaleine, but it was probably not in the UK, as it would have been illegal to marry his wife's sister then.

John Jones (March/2009) - On looking at the Barmouth website I came across your picture and column..."

Hi John, my name is John Jones and I have been on the Barmouth website and came across your column. Being an ex Barmouth boy you seemed very familiar, bearing in mind I left Barmouth in 1963 to come to Coventry were I still reside. I used to live in Lismore next to the Balmoral cafe and then Hendre Villas and if my memory serves me correct we knew each other and possibly went to school together. My sister Millie still lives in the area on a farm in Duffryn but my cousin Malan still lives in Barmouth. Much water has passed under Barmouth bridge since my uncle John had his lobster boat the Mayflower there and the Berridges had pleasure boats. Names like Hughie Griffiths, Terry Hudson, Llew Morris, Bobby Jones, Kenny the crossing, Victor Biddle, John Webb, John Foxwell and the twins Colin and Christopher Speak to name but a few come to mind. I will be 60 in May so not sure of your age but pretty close I think. Anyway enough for now and I hope to hear from you.

The Pete Davies I knew was very clever and lived I think in a pub but it was a long time ago. I remember the band starting up at Foxys garage in Llanaber. He has a farm up around Dyffryn but it is a few years since I saw him. Many years ago I took my son to see Victor at The Wayside, I knew his wife as a girl and her Dad Ifan Davy was a big friend of my fathers Wilf Jones. He sadly is no longer with us as his brother John who had a lobster boat the" Mayflower." It is strange as I have just returned from Rome watching Wales and checked the Barmouth web cam scrolled and saw your picture. My picture shows my nickname as a kid Tubby has stuck and remembered when visiting Barmouth. Look forward to hearing more from you as and when you have the time.

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