Abergarw Hostels

A Memory of Abergarw

I was was born at Abergarw hostels in 1947. I have lovely memories of my childhood living there. Lived in Ogmore Gardens right by the river. Every summer we would build a dam across the river to make a pool where we would spend our days learning to swim, I think all us hostel children learned to swim in Ogmore River. Also there was a community hall where pantomimes were held with the cast made up of hostel residents. My father belonged to the magic circle and often performed his tricks there, neither myself or brothers and sisters knew how they were done. Dances were also held in the hall and many a good night was had by all. In 1953 a jazz band was formed, they were very popular then, we practiced twice a week, and on Saturdays in the summer we would go off to competitions, in fact we became quite successful, winning many cups and trophies. I remained in the band until I was seventeen. Also there was a nursery where you went before primary school, my memories of nursery are of having to go to sleep on a camp bed in the afternoons and been given orange juice and cod liver oil. There were two shops, Priddles the grocers and Fords the green grocers, later there was a fish and chip shop too. The hostels were made up of some brick houses and some wooden, in 1960 they began to demolish the houses the wooden ones first, it was sad to see them coming down - they had already been there longer than planned. A lot of families were rehoused on a new site in nearby Sarn. My family moved in October 1960. There has been a few hostel reunions when we all recall our memories of a great childhood when we made our own fun. I would love for my own children to have such a carefree time. My sisters and myself did take our children once, when they were younger, down to the river for a picnic. We were having a great time paddling and playing games when a farmer came and said we were trespassing. It made us sad to think that where we spent so many happy times was now out of bounds. One thing that will not change is our memories, and even now most weeks we still talk about our time living in the hostels.

A memory shared by Joan Lake , on Jul 7th, 2012.

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