Abergarw Estate (The Hostels)

A Memory of Abergarw

My name is Gareth Davis, brother of Yvonne Davis, and son of Harry & Gwen Davis, originally of 35, Heol yr Ynis, Abergarw Estate, commonly known as "The Hostels". I remember my big sister Yvonne walking me over this bridge every morning to go to Brynmenyn primary school which was quite a long way for children to go, passing the old pub over the railway line where my grandad (also Harry Davis - with one arm lost in WW 1 ) who used to get plastered whenever he could much to my dads anger having to drag him home. I now live in Australia having travelled the world with the army, (now 64 and retired) have settled on the other side of the world. I have many many fond memories and was able to visit the area in 2008. I was born in 11 Meadow Rise at the top of the hostels in an old wooden house that was black with creosote, and then we later moved down to the (posh) brick houses in the middle of the estate, (Heol Yr Ynis). I remember travelling on the Brynmenyn bus from Bridgend and people asking for bus tickets to "the ostels", everybody knew where they were. We used to play in the old air raid shelters in the middle of the greens, and go paddling and swimming down in the Ogmore river which was at the back of the hostels. The funny things we remember, particularly the infant school where they used to make us have a sleep in the afternoon on old army camp beds ! very difficult if you are a boisterous infant...I remember the old shop which I think was built from an old air raid shelter, and it was called by the name of the owner....something beginning with "C" - can't remember the name at the moment. My father had a great friend at the estate, his name was Emelyn Hatch - the local Mr fixit. he did everything from haircutting to fixing radios to putting up sheds, I remember him cutting my hair with old manual hair clippers. My sister eventually got a job at Bowater Scott, the carton factory just around the corner across the bridge in the photograph. When I visited in 2008, of course everything was gone, and there was an industrial estate there, however I was able to stand on the spot where I was born, and later lived, which is now the yard of a factory, I was also able to find what was the old lane from the top of the estate that leads off the Bryncethin - Blackmill Rd. Fond memories indeed, there was no danger in those days, kids could play out for hours without worry. I would love to hear from anyone who is from "the hostels" , or should I say "Abergarw Estate". If you have a mind to contact me: tgvdavis@gmail.com I would love to hear from you.

A memory shared by Gareth Davis , on Mar 20th, 2012.

Comments & feedback

Mon May 25th 2015, at 4:23 pm

amossphoto commented:

It made me smile when reading about someone else's memories of 'the hostels'.My family lived there, and I remember it well,we lived quite close to the river Ogmore,and I can remember playing on its'banks with my brothers Gareth, Tony, and Stephen (My name was Gillian Howell). The days always seemed to be sunny, and long. I also went to the nursery, and then to Brynmenyn Primary school. I will always remember the words written on the bridge 'god died for our sins' those words have only fairly recently been painted over, they must have been there for at least 50 years (the things you remember).I never realised that the correct name for 'the hostels' was "Abergarw Estate". I went back there in 2007, to see if I could find the spot where I lived, but no joy. I thought the name of the shop was 'Priggles' or something like that. There was also a general store ,I think that was called Fords (I could be wrong).It would be good to hear from other people who could share their memories of 'the hostels' I don't think there are many of us left.

Wed Dec 21st 2016, at 2:38 pm

joel676 commented:

what a memorable piece of history.
our family moved into the hostels in 1950,but moved out to "top sarn" in 1958/9. my memories of the hostels are fun/love/community spirit.
the shop was owned by criddles.we moved from the wooden huts to 32 heol yr ynys in 1953.
my earliest memories is of the parents damming the river for the kids and others to learn to swim in.
am hoping to glean other info,in the near future.
most of the detail coming from my mum [89] who remembers lots of names and characters.ie."mary anne fourpence" the hatch family,
i recall standing on the bridge as the photo when the factory caught fire and burned for a few days.
anyway...more to follow in the future.

Mon Mar 20th 2017, at 5:36 pm

David John Davies commented:

I also lived in Brynmenin born (1946 left 1955 )in the row of houses opposite on the main road my name is John Davies and together with my sister Ann lived in the house next to Pop Woolie's chip shop on the end of the row.The hostels shop was Harold Pridldle's and across from the shop was the nursery and as was said all pre school tots were made to have an afternoon nap on army cot beds further along was Glasson's fruit and veg later to be Mrs Ford's.In November we all helped build a huge bonfire on the green for Guy Fawkes night. We were all kept in check by the local bobbies sgts. Barrel and Swain and if they caught you doing something you should'nt, you got taken home for dad to sort you out!Summer was spent in the pond at new mill where the Ogmore river was dammed by older kids and you could swim for free all Summer.There was also the old derelict brewery full of ww2 wooden ammo boxes and lots to explore there.
On the way to school kids would wave to the engine drivers from the railway bridge or drop stones into the cow pats in Bill Pritchard's farm yard and splash the white walls with cow muck. Brynmenin was a great place to grow up.I still have a copy of my old school photograph and can still remember nearly all the names. there were Christmas plays in school hall where I payed a wise man and next year a collier.I remember Mr.Cardew Davies the headmaster herding us out to the yard to watch an eclipse through pieces of smoked glass and again on the coronation to be given mugs and an orange.All my mates were in the same school it was great.There was a time when my mate Stuart Harris and me found a box of anti aircraft shells but that's another story for another time.

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