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Visitors to the Site

These are some of the people I have had letters from. I am obviously behind in my postings but I promise to try and get caught up. I need to catch up on 1999, 2000 and beyond although Gordon inspired me to post his message today. Any communications to the people posting here can be attempted through me (johnpugh@barmouth.net) so as to protect privacy. In many cases I probably will not be able to re-establish contact with the individuals as time goes by and addresses change.

Gordon, 23rd May, 2004

The first time I went to Barmouth I well remember that the lifeboat was a sailing vessel but I think the next time it was a motor vessel named "The --- Gibb". Was it the James Gibb? I can't remember. I've found a snapshot of the Barmouth lifeboat taken by my father in 1925/6

I also found this picture below. I am the little boy in the dark jacket sitting on the wall with his mother. I believe this was taken in the year 1926 when we were staying at Mrs. Dempsey's and it shows the kind of transport available. We went there in my father’s ‘Bean’ car (Made in Tipton, Staffs).

I forgot to mention in my first instalment that my father had been warned not to take his car to Harlech because he would surely break a spring. So he went and it did. I expect this view was taken on that occasion.

When we returned to Barmouth, he sought out a blacksmith in Park road very close to a little church. The word 'Addoldy' seems to spring to mind, but I see 'Y Geiriadur Mawr' defines it as a 'Place of Worship', so I suppose it could be applied to a church of any denomination. This excellent craftsman made and fitted a replacement spring and my father was proud to tell everyone that it was still performing satisfactorily when he sold the car.

Although I was able to place the incidents described in my earlier communication fairly accurately in time, what follow are not distinctly dated in my mind. They are more random and not necessarily in chronological order.

Mrs. Jones (Marine Gardens) complained about the high rates which were imposed by the local council to help pay for the new promenade. They were £1 in the pound. The next time we visited Barmouth, the owner of Ty'r Craig had erected barbed wire fences at the limits of his property right down to the water's edge, and this aroused much indignation on the part of the townspeople, who obviously depended on the new promenade to enhance the attractiveness of the town. The result was that during the hours of darkness, the barbed wire was mysteriously cut through with wire cutters and folded away, only to be replaced during the hours of daylight. A notice was also displayed which said "No parade - No Ty'r Graig" Evidently the dispute was settled because the fencing disappeared.

The boating was another point of interest. I think that the pleasure boats at Barmouth were largely in the hands of two families. I commented to one of the boatmen that some of the rowing boats had white tipped oars, and was told that his father had had the idea of painting those of his boats in that manner so that he could recognise them from a distance.

I was so taken up by sailing in the estuary that I asked one of the boatmen to teach me to sail, and this he did in the off-peak period, which was usually when the visitors were at dinner. After a few days he said I knew enough, but did not recommend that I should go out that day as there was inadequate wind. But I was not to be deterred from practising my new skill so my wife (we were newly-weds back then) and I ventured out across the river to the Fairbourne side and back again.

I did this several times and then realised that I was getting nearer to the bridge on each return trip. And then, to my horror, saw the incoming tide piling the water up against the centre pillars of the bridge and realised that I was in the main stream and there was no time to sail out of the difficulty, so slipped the oars into the rowlocks and rowed away from the bridge as hard as I could, but that was not enough, the boat was gradually being driven on to bridge supports. By directing the boat slightly toward the Fairbourne side, I was then able to get the boat out of the main stream and make satisfactory headway to prevent a mishap. By then I was mentally and physically exhausted, and came back into harbour. "You haven't had your hour" said the proprietor. "No! No!" I said, but I'm sure he knew why.

Another boating incident came when I joined a party to go on a trip in the bay. One dear old lady in the boat said "Is it very deep here?" "Oh about 30 feet" he said (I forget the exact figure quoted.) "Can you swim?", "No" came the reply. "What would you do if we sank?" "Take a deep breath and run along the bottom".
She didn't ask any more questions after that.

As an aside I was told that the boatmen used to work aboard seagoing merchant vessels during the winter months and only return home for the 'Visitor Trade'

My father, who had been going to Barmouth since well before the 1914/18 war remembered the "S.S. Dora" which came from Liverpool with provisions for Barmouth on a regular basis. He also remembered the bridge before it was converted to a swing bridge. The 'Dora' was sunk, I believe during that war.

Once we stayed at Bryn Hyfryd on the sharp bend above Porkington Terrace and the hill down to Aberamffra. Almost opposite there was a house which looked as though it would fall into the estuary the next time the wind blew. Is it still there? It would have made a good setting for E.A.Poe's tale of the "House of Usher"

There used to be a memorial stone in Llanaber which was written using the Coelbren y Beirdd. The fancy lettering invented, I think, by Iolo Morgannwg - (Edward Williams) A sort of romantically esoteric way of writing common capital letters.

We used to listen to the male voice choir when they gave their weekly performance. It was conducted by the organist at St John's church in Barmouth, I think his name was Williams. The accompanist was a young lady whose name I cannot recall. For many years I had a group photograph of them. Alas, I can no longer find it. One wet night we went to a concert which was given in a hall, which, according to an old map I have, may have been the cinema. We heard the most wonderful tenor voice I have ever heard (Pavarotti et al. included), singing 'Macushla' and other songs. He was known as the 'Singing Shepherd.' I believe he later went to live in England somewhere.

There used to be two competitive coach companies. One had green coaches and a white garage, and the other had white coaches and a green garage. You can imagine the confusion which that caused. You never knew who you had booked a coach tour with.

I remember Aspinall's A shop near the level crossing where it seemed you could buy almost anything, and many of the wares were displayed outside. (Webmaster's note - I worked there in the summer with Maureen Ellis when Jackie Ellis ran the place - boy what a hard working guy that man was. People were always amazed at how he kept up with the stock taking. I also remember old Mr. Aspinall).

On one occasion I cut my ankle on a jagged tin lid which had been partly buried on the sands above the high tide mark, and my father took me to a chemist which I think was roughly opposite Park Road. The chemist would have none of it and told my father to take me to the Doctor who had a surgery up the inclined road at the back of the shops (called 'The Arches') opposite the school in town, up which you eventually came to St.John's Church. (Webmaster note: My parents took me here also. The waiting room had a very tall ceiling and a friend of mine from school times lived in the same row of houses - Anita Horsefall - saw Anita a couple of years ago at the school reunion).

Between Jubilee Road and the promenade, there used to be 'Dodgem' boats just on the L.H. side as you came out of Beach Road. As a teenager I thought these were huge fun.

In the early ‘50’s we holidayed at Llandanwg with a Mrs. Wyn. Shaw at Gelli, down the road to St. Tanwg’s. Her sister Ruby Lloyd lived in the village and had three children, Ellis, Margaret & Lewis. When we knew them, Ellis had already left home but Margaret and Lewis attended Barmouth Secondary school and had to catch the train to Barmouth every day. I cannot now remember how I came to know, but they had missed the train this particular day, so I took them to school. Over the years Wyn Shaw told how well Lewis was getting on at school, at university, called to the bar, gone to Australia, and then I discovered that he was the celebrated Dr. Lloyd, a tutor at Coleg Harlech. He gave his aunt Wyn a copy of a book he had written, ‘The Book of Harlech’ and she gave it to me. I called to see him once at his home in Llandanwg but sadly the last time we were at Llandanwg, I learned that he had died.

Gordon, 18th May, 2004

My first recollections of Barmouth come from somewhere around the years 1925 or 1926 when I would have been about 7 years old. I remember that there was a system of looking after visiting guests whereby visitors provided their own food, and the landlady prepared, cooked and served the meals. My recollection is that our family (I was an only child) stayed at Kenilworth in Marine Road. We were accompanied by my mother’s brother’s small family. The lady of the house was a Miss Williams, but the householder was a Mr. Roberts. Mr. Roberts had a tale about a buried forest somewhere on the coast nearby and told my father where to look for the remains. My father went in search of the forest and came back with a tangled mass of brown fibres - needless to say, my mother was not impressed.

I remember that at that point in time, Min y Mor was the last building to the north of the town. It was protected from the sea by a short length of sea wall which was inclining at an alarming angle.

In those days, Ynys y Brawd really was an island, but my father and uncle realised that at low tide it would be possible to wade out to it. There was a window of opportunity of about one hour. So half an hour before the next convenient low tide we (father, uncle, cousin and I) waded out, the water just about reached an inch or so below my crutch, but my younger cousin had to be carried at the deepest part of the crossing. The next day, my father was amused to find that several people must have seen us and done the same, but had not selected the correct timing for the return journey and there was much waving and shouting for them to be rescued as they found themselves marooned on a "desert island". Of course we went to Fairbourne and travelled on the miniature railway. The engine was replica of a G.W.R. loco. I recall that the driver was a young man with red hair.

Another favourite for many visitors was Panorama Walk which we went up. I remember my father and uncle watching for the puff of steam as the whistle blew on the steam train on the other side of the estuary, and waiting for the sound, to try to estimate the distance, but I can’t remember whether the sound ever came or not. It had quite a distance to travel just there.

The following year we went with another of my mother’s brothers, and because Miss Williams could not have us at that time, we stayed with Mrs. Dempsey at Llys Madoc on the North side of Epworth Garden (is it still there?). She had only recently been widowed. Mr Dempsey had been a plumber, and travelling back from a job in Dolgellau in the back of a pickup truck, he fell off on a bend (of which there were very many more in those days) and was killed. Mrs Dempsey employed a little girl whose home was in Gilfach Goch I think her name was Gwyneth. I remember thinking how sad it was that this little girl - she could not have been more than 14, had had to leave her native area because of the unemployment situation in SouthWales.

Mrs. Dempsey was fully booked up next time my parents wanted to go to Barmouth and we went to stay with Mrs. Jones, of No 6, Marine Gardens. Mr. Jones was a Crosville bus driver, and recounted to me (I was a teenager by then) how he nearly smashed a little Bond Minicar on the sharp bend in Aberamffra because it was lower than the wall, and he did not know where the wall was in relation to the car. He was a keen fisherman and used to go to Llynau Ybi, Hywel and Perfeddau et al. I think the family name was really Pryce-Jones.

The Jones’ had a daughter and a son. I think the daughter was Ann and the son was certainly Meirion, who, I believe, subsequently owned a newsagency shop in the main street not far from Park Road. Ann, if that was her name, subsequently married a man from across the estuary - Arthog or Fairbourne.

Wendy Salveson, 25th July, 2001

I don't know if you can help me or not - but I came across your site and thought I'd give it a go! My family have visited Barmouth for their holidays since I was 8 years old (I'm now 30!). Unfortunately they stopped coming down about 5 years ago when it became difficult for my father to travel - he is disabled. We now want to bring them down in August but cannot find anywhere suitable for him to stay. I realise that it is really late in the day but I just thought you might know of somewhere that isn't advertised here in London. It has to be on ground level as he is in a wheelchair, although he can walk a little once inside. He also has a dog, which I know makes it more difficult but any help would be appreciated.

We have stayed in Pembroke House before and know that the ground floor would be suitable but we cannot get hold of the phone number. We need a place big enough to take 5 adults and two children - a bit of a tall order I know!

We have tried the tourist board and loads of other numbers and are now running out of ideas - I especially would like to be able to get down as I now have children of my own and would like to show them the places I went to on my holidays as Barmouth is a very special place in our family.

Thanks for help in advance. Wendy Salveson

After Response: Dear John, Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and thank-you for trying. If you do hear of anything over the next couple of weeks I'd be grateful if you'd let me know. I'm glad I found your site, it was nice to read about the people of Barmouth past and present. I'll keep looking at it every now and then to see if anyone I know should pop up. I fell in love with Barmouth when I was a child and this is the longest I've gone without visiting. We used to come down every year. I have strong memories of The Last Inn and the family room (I know that's no longer there). I think in those days it was run by a man called Brian - do you remember him? That was in the days when pubs used to shut on Sundays in Wales! Anyway thanks for help - I'll keep my eye on your site.

Jon Fennell, Rugby, 20th July, 2001

Hi John, great pages for a wonderful little town, we can't stay away from. Perhaps you may be able to help, we holiday in Barmouth every year, and the dogs come as well. This year we want to go to Dublin for the day but need to find kennels for the dogs for a couple of days, have you got any ideas.

We are due in Barmouth 4th August, and I can't wait to get the beach rods out. Thanks, Jon Fennell 

Ron Abbotts, 4th July, 2001

Hello - I hope you won't mind my using your email address for a purpose not perhaps intended but can you help with info on the following,please?

I've been reading some nostalgia involving Barmouth in a society magazine to which I subscribe. Buses in service around the area during 1945 were mentioned. I visited Barmouth as a schoolboy a number of times during the war years. I seem to remember that the 1930s built vehicles  then operated by Crosville had red livery as opposed to the green which came into use after the war. Are you able to confirm that for me, please? Incidentally I enjoyed reading your mention of the Shelvoke & Drewry "toastracks". There were lots of "Toastracks" around Britain in those days but I never saw Crosville's


Just one more piece of trivia,if you don't mind. The writer in the article referred to above thought he might have seen Western Welsh buses around Barmouth. Did they,in fact,ever get that far north on a regular basis? Would be grateful to hear from you. Ron Abbotts.

Karen Vincent, 2nd July, 2001

Sorry to trouble you but I wonder if you can help me at all.  I am trying to trace someone whose family originated from Barmouth and I believe he has now returned there.  I was thinking about contacting the local papers to place an appeal but I have no idea what local papers there are in Barmouth. 

I would be very grateful if you could help me on this - with any names and if possible, telephone numbers.  I know it is a long shot but the person I am trying to trace would now be aged approx. 59/60.  Their name is John Erddyn Griffith and they lived around the Deptford/New Cross area of London (S.E London) in the 1940's and 1950's.  His father definitely came from Barmouth and did move back there.  John Erddyn Griffith (Jeg) went to school with my Dad at Haberdasher Aske's and was his best man.  I am trying to find him as a surprise for my dad's 60th birthday this year.  If you can help in any way I would be more than grateful. Yours sincerely, Karen Vincent.

Phil Stanway, 18th June, 2001

Just looked at your website, very good I might add, but where can I find a list of the local caravan sites with caravans to let. I remember there being a couple on the Barmouth/Llanbedr road going towards shell island but can find no reference to them. please can you help? Phil Stanway

Mark Taylor, 9th April, 2001

Thanks for a good website on Barmouth, I love Barmouth it seems untouched and the people there seem to me as they would like to keep it that way and to me while you have people like that Barmouth will remain Barmouth in the way that I think is best. One day I will become a local I hope? My Question is there any course fishing available like fishing pools carp etc.,? Many Thanks, Mark

Phillip duPre, 13th December, 2000

Here's wishing you a very merry Christmas, and a pleasant journey to Barmouth. My trip there in May was magic. It should be even better since you are a native going home. If you run into Ray Chamberlain, please ask him to contact me. Best wishes for the holiday season with your family. Phillip A. duPre

St Ethelbert's Primary School, Slough, 22nd June, 2000

Dear John, Just to let you know that our Year 6 pupils have really enjoyed looking at the web site. We are visiting Fairbourne later in July and your pages have stimulated the children to discover more.

Phillip DuPre, 18th June, 2000

Cousin Sheila works at the wine store across the street from the old maternity hospital. When I mentioned that I correspond with someone from Barmouth on the internet she said "Not John Pugh" When I told her yes indeed, she said that you are cousins. I discovered that I like the Welsh. The folks of Barmouth treated me like one of their own. Oh, I climbed the Garn...twice! One of the people I met there was a Mr. Ray Chamberlain, and of course his wife, Angie. He is an electrician, she is a hairdresser. Would you know how I could get in touch with them?

Thijs van Menen, 17th July 1998

Hi there, I was surfing down the internet and passed by your site in search of some information about camping sites close to Barmouth. It's hard to find which camping site is the nearest to Barmouth. The problem is that me and my girlfriend from holland are travelling by train and will arrive at 22:00 at barmouth station in Friday the 24th July. So I thought maybe you can help us at with our problem because we don't want to walk for an hour to get to the campsite after our long journey from Holland.

Jackie & Trevor Marsh, 1st Nov 1997

I have spent holidays at Barmouth from the age of 7 to 14 camping at Rowen Farm, Talybont and more recently with my husband have stayed at Trawsdir Caravan Site until the death of Mr Jones. Have only recently gained access to the Internet and as we plan to visit the Hendre Mynach Caravan site in November was delighted to find your Web page on the subject of Barmouth.

Ralph Connor, 26th August 1997

I am a retired broadcaster-station owner, born September 1, 1930 in the northwestern Ontario town of Kenora on the Lake of the Woods. All I knew about my father was that he and his younger brother came from Wales and that my father's name was Mervyn Foster Hughes.

5 years ago after my mother's death, I began a search for my father and my roots. Just back from Wales, including Barmouth. My father was born in the village of Fleur de Lys, Gwent. My grandfather was Griffith Hughes who was born in 1879 in Barmouth at 4 Cambrian Way. My grandfather was Hugh Hughes (Anne Griffiths) also born near Barmouth. I was hosted by new found 2nd cousins (Miss Kit Foster in Cardiff).

In Barmouth we stayed at a hotel on the beach called SUNRAY GUEST HOUSE operated by Danny and Roe Brooks. Excellent and very modern. Off season with 16 pounds per room including full breakfast. We dined one evening at the GEORGE THIRD hotel on the way to Dolgellau. The registry office in Dolgellau has been tremendously helpful supplying me with all kinds of documentation like birth and marriage certificates.

a "great" uncle (brother of Anne Griffiths, my great grandmother) was EDWARD "Ned" GRIFFITHS, captain of several CP Ships including The Empresses of Britain, France and Australia. He hosted then Prince of Wales, Edward on his trip to Canada in 1923 and have pictures of them aboard ship. Griffiths was buried in 1936 in Penrhyndeudraeth where he may have been born.

So, if there's anything to "the six degrees of separation" we are related!

Patricia Day, 24th August 1997

Dear Mr.Pugh I read with interest your web page on the Internet. I am in the process of moving to Wales, northern part mostly likely. I would very much like to receive some information about the area. The cost of housing that type of thing. If possible, could you please have the local Chamber of Commerce submit to me information in that regard.

Another John Pugh, 10th August, 1997

Dear John Pugh - As you may have guessed my name is John Pugh and I found your web page after searching for my name. The most amazing thing though is that my family on my father's side originated from Barmouth and the place has a permanent home in my heart. My father was Thomas Griffith Pugh younger brother to Arthur and Madee. My grandparents (who are both buried in Barmouth) ran a guest house called MinFor (this may not be the proper spelling I know but I never learnt welsh). It turned into a doctor's surgery. My grandfather Bob Pugh was Barmouth's watchmaker and jeweler, when I don't know. My father Dr. T.G. Pugh emigrated to Brisbane Australia in 1964 where we have spent the majority of our lives. He died back in 1990 and I honoured his memory by casting some daffodils off the Barmouth bridge into the harbour. I met a Willy Mayes or Hayes I can't remember at the boat club and was chuffed to find out he wears one of my grandfather's rings. When a connection between me and Barmouth was established the hospitality was overwhelming and something I'll never forget. I have a small ambition in my life and that is to once more have MinFor owned by my family. I'd never seen it before going to Barmouth but as soon as I saw it I knew it was part of me. I hope this gives you some memories of Barmouth just like seeing your web page did for me.

Frank T. Jones, 17th March 1997

I am using the Internet to do a search for any information regarding a piece of property in Wales called "Ty Gwyn" and I came across your web site. My interest in "Ty Gwyn" is strictly from a genealogical perspective. I am doing research into my Welsh ancestry and I am referencing an oral history. The following description was given about a farmhouse near the town of Caernarfon. "I found the old farmhouse "Ty Gwyn"a lovely white cottage, over the door of which is carved in the slate and still very plain: H R.. E. TU GWUN 1799 This is, I presume, the old spelling". A family named Roberts lived there in 1919. Ellen Thomas sold a farm called "Ty Gwyn" around 1845. It was apparently on about ten acres of land. In the oral History it mentions that not far from "Ty Gwyn" is the ancient castle of Caernarfon, where the first prince of Wales was born.

Glyn Plevin, 5th January 1997

Dear John, I was surfing the Internet looking up pages relating to Crosville, because I work for Crosville (or should I say First Bus PLC who now own it), England, in Rock Ferry. Crosville Wales is a different company owned by a British Bus. I enjoyed reading your web pages, especially relating to the Barmouth area and particularly about your father and grandfather. I may have information in books about the Toast rack buses. If there is anything in particular you would like me to look up for you I would be glad to help. Meanwhile, I will browse through them and see if I can find anything relating to Barmouth's Toast racks.

Ann Scannell, 15th December 1996

Hi John, I had a great time in the U.K., spent four weeks there, but as usual, it was not long enough. I spent a week in Shrewsbury, two days in Barmouth and two days in London and got to visit all the family in the North. Ann and I had a friend, also a friend of my mother - Terry Griffiths, who was from Liverpool and ran a guest house - 'Endeavour House' in Marine Parade. Dick Griffiths, Terry's husband, also helped to run the guest house.


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