I received the following story via email from Cenys Watkins and wrote back to ask if she was happy for me to publish it and to ask if she had any photos she could send. I think this is a rare glimpse into the way Abergele was in the years around World War II and I'm grateful to Cenys for sending all this. (Gareth Morlais April 2006)
"Until I was seven (1937) we lived in Dundonald Avenue, and I remember sitting in the front bedroom window with my mother, watching the horses coming from the station for the market on the days when there was a horse fair. They were a wonderful sight with their manes plaited with coloured ribbons and their tails tied up with more ribbons. On cattle market days the cattle were brought from the station and everyone had to remember to close their gates--I recall the day we forgot, what a mess!
"Also on market day we had the stondins, and the man who sold crockery had an upturned tea chest with some plates on it, and then he would wallop the chest very hard with a stick and make all the plates rattle. Sometimes he threw a plate up in the air, we all held our breath, but of course he always managed to catch it. We moved to Alexandra road in 1937, which put an end to the interesting happenings from the bedroom window, but they would have come to an end anyway with outbreak of the war. We saw Liverpool burning when it was bombed and the night sky turned red with the flames. One day when I went down to the beach the shore line was covered with oranges and broken orange boxes, it upset me to think about the sailors.
"Other changes at the County School-- Rhiannon,Heulwen ,Myfanwy etc. were now in the company of exotic (to us) names like Judy, Hilary and Monica. I remember Harold Mantel telling the class about his family's escape from Holland which sounded terrifying.
"Sometimes I bought some Woodbine cigarettes from Brian Jones's father's shop, we used to go down to the bottom of the school field and smoke them leaning on the little bridge over the river, I was a naughty girl to be doing that.
My mother died in 1942, and in 1945 I went away to school in Oswestry, then College in Manchester,and lost touch with everyone. I wonder what happened to Mair Evans, Megan Jones and Olwen Hughes?"
Cenys Watkins aged 76 (formerly Cenys Roberts)
"This is Dundonald Ave. in about 1924, the houses on the right had only just been completed. At that time there was no Pentre Ave., and the land behind our house was just fields until about 1933-34."
(c) Gareth Morlais 1996-2007
- by Gareth Morlais
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