The 1950s saw fundamental changes in people’s lives, with electricity and television becoming available for the first time.
In 1951 electricity came to the village and it was after this that Mr and Mrs Way (Suey and Ernie) in Chapel House purchased a television set, it was black and white and had a 9 inch screen which was enlarged by means of a plastic attachment over the front of the screen. Mrs Way arranged the front room like a mini cinema and some of the village children would go there after school to watch the children’s programmes. Many of the adults would also be entertained by their favourite programmes at Mr and Mrs Way’s in the evenings.
A Village Wedding
Gwyneth Lee and Cyril Jones married in 1952. The wedding took place in St Mary Hill Church and the reception in Saron Chapel Vestry. Some of the guests arrived from the Church in pony and trap. The Vestry is quite small and there had to be several sittings for all the guests to be fed. Food was still rationed, but the reception meal was proclaimed a feast, the best meal anyone had had in many years. There was a leg of ham, an earthenware bowl full of fruit salad that had been gifted, tomatoes bought from Fferm Goch, butter and cheese made by Doll Lee. The Ham was cooked by Doug James, and the meal was served by Olive Jones and Val Thomas’s mother, Hilda Gwiliam, with assistance from Gwyneth Jones and Val Thomas.
Coronation and New Houses
In 1953 Elizabeth II is crowned Queen in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 2nd June, there were street parties everywhere and the whole nation celebrated. The first major change to the village also began in 1953 with the erection of 16 council houses at Nant Canna, these were intended to house the local community in more superior accommodation, later, grants would be made available by the Council to upgrade the existing housing stock that did not need to be demolished. Whilst it was beneficial to the occupants of the new and modern houses, it was regretted by many of the villagers that some of the Thatched Cottages were sacrificed. Mr and Mrs David moved from Treoes Moor, Mr and Mrs Ruck and family moved from the wooden building in the grounds of the present day Ty-Yn-Y- Garn, and Mr and Mrs Flint, also from Treoes. There were now about 40 dwellings in the village.
Gwen David with her family moved into Number 1, where she lives to this day at the grand old age of 95. Gwen moved from the family’s wooden bungalow in the grounds of Moor Mill on Treoes Moor, which they rented for 10 shillings a week. Gwen recalls:
“Living in Nant Canna, with hot and cold running water, an indoor toilet and a bathroom was a luxury compared to how we had previously lived. I had a tap and a small white sink, in which I did my washing, and a big hand operated wringer to help get my washing dry. Life was a daily struggle with 6 of us living in 2 rooms, the outside toilet had to be emptied manually and there was a constant threat of flooding from the Ewenny. I used to stand at the window with two of my babies in my arms and watch the flood water rising. A council lorry would be parked on the bridge, watching in case we needed to be taken out. Luckily, although it had flooded several times in the past, whilst we lived there, it had come as far as the front door and then receded. Despite the struggle, it was a lovely place to live, the neighbours were friendly, helpful and caring. It was an easy walk into Coychurch just up the lane or Treoes just down the lane and the local bus going to Bridgend would stop outside if the driver saw me waiting. Treoes was also a lovely place to live, although we did have some flooding problems in the early years. There was not much traffic and the children had freedom to play outside on the road, the young mothers with their babies in their prams would stroll around the village and would usually end up sitting on the seats opposite the Star chatting with the other Mothers and Grandmothers, all known to the children as “Aunties”. I would go to the Star on a Saturday night, what good nights they were, there was always a pianist and the locals would sing the old songs with some such as Betty Llewellyn and Margaret Way singing a few solos.”
The carnivals at this time were held jointly with Coychurch, they were held in the chapel field, Gwen David attended and dressed up and Gwyneth Lee was on a float that was a genuine Romany Caravan Cyril Jenkins’ mother Emma made the clothes, she and Suey Llewellyn dressed up as Gypsy mothers, each with a clay pipe, and the children ran around the caravan in the carnival procession.
At the end of where Glan-y-Nant now is, there was an old well (which can still be seen) surrounded by wetlands which sometimes became quite deep. It was a usual sight to see the cows being pulled out of it by the farmhands, once two young children got stuck in it – they were sinking into the sodden ground and would have soon drowned. They had the presence of mind to shout loudly “help, we’re sinking.” Bill Blake heard them and waded in to pull them out.
There were other wells in the village – one was in the front garden of the Malthouse, and another called Schwill was located at the bottom end of Parc Newydd. It was in the proximity of Schwill that a small lake used to form when the weather was wet and when it iced over in the winter the younger villagers would enjoy skating on it.
The village would frequently flood mainly down the lane and across the fields where Brookside now is, which was then a Pig Farm, all the village men would wade into the flooded field to rescue the pigs and piglets.
Fruit and Vegetables
There were fruit trees in many of the gardens and in particular The Croft had a few plum trees that produced really juicy plums which could often be found being offered for sale by the youngsters of the village, looking to supplement their pocket money. Every cottage had its vegetable garden and flower beds and the villagers were often amongst the prize winners in local agricultural shows. The village children would often be caught, but more often not be caught, “scrumping “apples and plums. The children were inventive in their methods of avoiding detection as Janet Olloson (now Janet Day) described when on seeing Mrs Richards approaching, she was “put to sit” in her pushchair to cover the plums hidden there that she and her sisters had “scrumped” from Great House Orchard.
Floods and Turkeys
Despite the floods everyday work had to go on, as Natalie recalls:
“ I would go to work on my bike – pedalling furiously to gain enough speed to be able to stop pedalling and maintain enough speed to get me through the deepest parts, with my legs raised above water level ! I would have had to spend all day in my soaking wet shoes and stockings if I had not.”
Some families bred Chickens and Turkeys for sale at Christmas time, Natalie recalls helping, with her mother, to pluck the Christmas birds at the Paynters in Clifton House. There was lots of fun and laughter as they worked at the kitchen table, taking great care not to sneeze so as to avoid the feathers flying everywhere.
Many hands helped in the plucking of the Treoes Farm Turkeys. Nothing was wasted at Treoes Farm and Joan Ollosson recalls being asked by an anxious Mrs Thomas, for help. Mrs Thomas had broken the needle of her sewing machine and she thought that Joan might have one to give her. Joan not only replaced the broken needle but stayed to help Mrs Thomas as she stuffed the feathers plucked from the birds into pillows, and bolsters and stitched them up to be sold.
On your bike
The young ladies of the village would go everywhere on their bikes, to dances and concerts in St. Mary Hill where there was a very nice hall with a stage, and also to Colwinston. Not everyone had the regulatory lights on their bikes and they would ensure that whoever rode in front had a light on the front and whoever rode at the back had a dynamo on their back wheel.
After the war years of rationing of clothes when skirts were shorter due to the need to conserve materials, clothes were now full and feminine and the young ladies would wear circular skirts, and dresses with full skirts and net petticoats. For the first time young people had a disposable income, there was plenty of well-paid work around Treoes, and as everywhere else a youth culture was developing. One night some of the local girls working for a factory on the Industrial Estate were attending the company’s annual dance being held for all employees in the Esplanade at Porthcawl. The bus was leaving from the Embassy. All they had to do was get to the Embassy. They ordered a taxi by phoning from the telephone kiosk, and then waited, and waited until they realised that the Taxi wasn’t going to come. It later came to light that the Taxi drivers were refusing to come to Treoes, because some of the young men had been hiring taxis from Bridgend and jumping out and running off without paying.
An Unusual Taxi
None of the parents had cars so they couldn’t ask to be taken into Bridgend .There wasn’t much time to spare to get to the Embassy in time to catch the bus, so when a neighbour came past driving a “dung lorry” they could only see it as their salvation and were most grateful when the driver agreed to take them into Bridgend. They stood up at the back of the lorry, dressed in their ballerina slippers and their full skirted dresses with layers of net underskirt and off the shoulder tops in various pastel shades, like Barbie Dolls. As the saying was then “thinking they were the bees knees”. Not wanting their workmates to see how they had arrived, they asked the driver to stop before reaching the Embassy and they all got off the lorry and walked. They smelled “somewhat rural”, but no-one seemed to notice and they had a wonderful night.
Off to Australia
Owen Jones, Grandson of Maggie Malt House, recalls a story of the young men of Treoes (who shall be nameless) accompanying one of their number to Bridgend to see him off at the Railway Station as he was emmigrating to Australia. A week later they all returned to Treoes, having spent all the money the young man saved to give him a start in Australia – a good time had been had by all. Owen didn’t know where they had slept. The young man eventually reached his destination having had to work and save again for his stake money.
New development and residents
In the 1960’s we see some small developments as small plots of land are sold by the villagers. There was a house built on stilts, which could have been Murray House, demolished and Tyn-y-Garn built in its place, followed by Greenmeadow, Rothwell and Bodafan, then the bungalows on the site of The Croft and Corner Cottage, which were thatched cottages followed by Greenways and Tamar. This is the beginning of a sea-change in our village, as the new inhabitants were not locals being re-housed or descendants of the villagers of 60 years ago. They were generally white or blue collar workers employed in the nearby Bridgend Industrial Estate and Police Headquarters.