I wrote the story that goes with this photograph some months ago, it was my intention to post the photo and the story on the first day that it snowed. With December temperatures ranging between 11 and 14 degrees snow is highly unlikely so I thought Christmas Day is as good as any to present you with my wintry ramblings.
In 1955 our family moved from semi self-contained accommodation at my grandmother’s house to a semi-detached home at Priory Road, Bridgend, some half-mile away. Number eleven was the last house on the left (looking from Ewenny Road) in a small street of six pairs of semis and was on a corner plot bordering Heronston Lane so we had side access as well. I believe my parents sold the house in 1962 for £2,200 but have no idea how much they paid for it, current value of a house in the street is about £170,000.
This recently un-earthed photograph is interesting, firstly it’s on 127 film so was taken on my father’s Purma camera. I know he had stopped using that camera by 1957 when he bought a better one so that would suggest this photograph was in the winter of 1955-6. Taken from the upstairs front bedroom window of Nº 11 we can see opposite the houses Nºs 6, 4 and 2 from left to right, the detached house on the extreme right of the picture was actually in Priory Gardens although their side entrance was on Priory Road. On this side of the road we can see the front garden of Nº 9 next door where Mrs Jones, a widow, lived and next to that the open front gate is of Nº 7 where the Jenkins family lived with two grown-up daughters, although they looked grown up to me they were probably only in their late teens or early twenties.
Who are all the kids in the photo? The little boy on the pavement opposite our house on the left could have been my brother, he was three years old when we moved to that house so the child shown is about the right age, as for the others I can only make a guess. At Nº 6 lived a boy named Nicholas, he was my age and that’s probably him along with me squatting on the pavement opposite. At Nº 5 lived the Mitchells, they had two daughters Linda and Ruth, one my age and another a bit older, so they could be the two girls seen near Nicholas and myself. I’ve no idea of who the two older boys could be on the right wearing the ubiquitous gaberdine raincoats, school caps and wellington boots engaged in a snowball skirmish, I don’t recall any other boys living in our street, but of course they could have strayed from Ewenny Road or most probably Priory Gardens where there was a proliferation of families.
You will notice that there are no car tracks in the snow, that’s because there were hardly any cars. From my memory the only cars belonged to Nº 4 who owned a Sunbeam Talbot, Nº 5 with a model I don’t recall, and Nº 10 who owned a Jaguar, but all the rest were carless and those that did own a car never parked it on the road, always in the driveway or garage. The road was our playground, we could play there all day and hardly ever would a car pass by, nowadays this road is used as a shortcut for those that are in too much of a hurry and much too impatient to wait at the traffic lights on the Ewenny Road roundabout. We played “Longcutter”, “What’s the time Mr Wolf?”, “Please Jack may we cross the coloured water?” and all sorts of other long-lost street games, but the moment a ball became involved I’d absent myself and slip away to watch on the sidelines, usually perching on top of one of our gateposts; a ball and I were incompatible.
Other residents in the street at the time of this photograph were retired couple Mr and Mrs Wilson at Nº 12, Mr and Mrs Davidson and their older teenage son and daughter at Nº 10, Mr and Mrs Francis at Nº 8 and another Mr Francis at Nº 2. On our side of the road I’ve already mentioned some of them but the only other I can recall was a Miss something-or-other at Nº 3, I can see her face in my mind but can’t remember her surname. During the school holidays the nephew of Mr and Mr Francis at Nº 8 would come and stay, his name was Andrew Snow and he was roughly my age, maybe a bit older and we were always temporary best friends when he came to stay. If this was school holiday time he could also be in this photo; so many possibilities of which we’ll never know the answer.
Over the next seven years there were many goings and comings with houses changing owners. The Mitchell family at Nº 5 were replaced by the Kimber family, the Jenkins at Nº 7 were replaced by a succession of owners but can’t remember the names of any of them except the last family, they had a very young son named Stewart who we unkindly called “Stewpot” as he was a little on the chunky side. Mrs Jones our next-door neighbour passed away and eventually the house was sold to a family, again, can’t remember their name but after consultation with my mother we both think they were of Italian origin. Opposite, the family of the young boy Nicholas at Nº 6 moved away and the Keddie family replaced them, and Mr and Mrs Francis at Nº 8 emigrated to Australia along with her sister’s family, who were the parents of my temporary friend Andrew, and I never saw any of them again. In 1962 when I was thirteen my early life in the street also came to an end when our family moved to Merthyr Mawr Road.
I think this is a suitable time to thank all my readers for visiting my WordPress, flickr and other on-line sites, Happy Christmas everyone.