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William Lewis

A Memory of Bassaleg

I started my apprenticeship as an agricultural engineer at the garage of William Lewis on the corner of Forge Lane and Newport Road. Then there was not much traffic and so like all the boys we used to drive the tractors up and down the main road. It was there that I met and remembered my late wife Tegwen there. She was attending the Bassaleg Secondary School which was behind our our unloading yard. We used to play rugby on the gravel patch. The children from the school would walk past the garage and like all lads we would chat them up and get dates. The garage lasted several years after we transfered to Newport Road on Rumney Common in Cardiff.The garage had been a forge and a lot of work was carried out for the Tredegar House Estate at the other end of Forge Lane originally before being taken over by William Lewis. The lane had been developed into a dual carriage way during the Second World War. Now of course it is different. We had a foreman named Les James and the manager's name was Bill Sudaway. Both were very kind but firm and most keen that we should learn our trade properly. Les's father had been the previous owner and so Les knew his job very well. Our General Manager was also the owner of a shop in Castle Street opposite the the Castle. Every Friday he would come to Bassaleg to deliver the wages and interview us apprentices. He had a funny way of talking because after anything he said he would also end with a "Humph". I am sure that all who worked there will remember Paddy Walsh. I ended up with affection for him because when we were called up for National Service he would have us in his office for a time, make sure we had enough money to go with and insisted that we went to see him when on leave and if we wished he would give us some work to earn some cash. Bassaleg brings back so many memories and has formed the basis of my life. When passing through on my journies I am transported back instantly. There is so much of interest in Bassaleg and anyone who has lived or worked there will say the same thing.

A memory shared by Byron Evans , on Oct 25th, 2009.

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