Semtex Factory c1965, Brynmawr
Memories of Semtex Factory c1965, Brynmawr
I worked in the factory for six months in 1962 as part of a management training programme with Dunlop. The work was mainly the production of vinyl asbestos tiles but there was a unit for making rubber underlay. This was a hell hole where ammonia fumes were rife. For a while there was an attempt at diversification in producing fibre glass rod blanks, suitable for fishing rods. It was a friendly place and I had lodgings with Alf and Doris Sillman, a lovely couple.
Geoff Brickell was the Export Manager, with a hobby of wood turning. I still have a bowl he made. The factory had a very good male voice choir. I don't think any of them could read music but they had the Welsh innate sense of harmony. There were two top tenors in particular with that special quality you find in the valleys. I was also able to join the Abergavenny Bach Choir, which was of a very... Read more
My father (Howard Case) worked on the Vinyl section and was a union rep. His boss was Tom Bailey and the clerks were Betty Powell and Sue. I worked in the Post Room for approx 18 months with Maisie Jones and then transferred to the Shipping Department. My boss was Geoff Bickell until he sadly passed away in his car, in the car park one lunch time. I remained in the Shipping Department until the very sad day when Semtex closed down. They were very happy days. A lot of friendships were made and still remain.
Brynmawr & local memories
Read and share memories of Brynmawr and Gwent inspired by Frith photos.
Brynmawr. Although I've lived away from here for nigh on 40 years, I still regard this place as home. I was, and although thankfully grown up now, always regarded as a bit of a black sheep. Lived originally on the new houses, 5 Tudor Crescent, having moved from the Semtex estate, up by the Gurnos. We moved into the old synagogue, in the late 1960s, as my dad, David Bennett, God bless him, with his mate Alan Durban, renovated it into our new home, Westlyn, 46 Baily Street. Massive place, or so it seemed at the time. I remember the original stairwell, the large front room+window, and it seemed the quite regular pig invaders into our back garden from the slaughterhouse, fresh bread from directly opposite at the distribution depot. We left in 1970, moved to Brum, me personally kicking + screaming, dragged from the pond fishing, Warwick Road, by my dad. I'm the only one left there now. I was always sporting minded, playing cricket, footie, for the town. Good+ bad memories,... Read more
It's not an actual memory, but my grandad, Tom Gurney, used to fetch me from the nursery, put me on his shoulders and take back to the house up at Heol Isaf. I have many fond memories from home, I was a bit of a rat bag when younger, but my parents of Neil and Audrey, my uncles and Aunts did a great job. I actually miss home and it was a go-slow place nestled up in the valleys. One day i want the Welsh to beat the All Blacks in rugby, maybe this weekend 19-June-2010.
'Up The Baths'
I remember being 'taught to swim' here, by the teachers at the board school. We were stood at the poolside, only up to the black line, then summarily being to "Jump!". If that failed, we were helped in by the boot of 'Danny' Davis or 'Joe' Robbins, then expected to 'swim' back to shallow water. The lifeguard was called Gerald. My mother, Minnie Evans, was the cashier at the baths for two summers. It was a great time, she opened a shop and sold crisps and pop, I was sent down to Saxons on a regular basis for extra supplies. I had great times in those summers.
Once the time had come for blackberry picking and whimberry picking, my lovely Uncle Fred took us down the valley roads, to get picking, ready for those lovely pies my grandmother would make. We would climb up beside these waterfalls, drink the pure water from them, lovely. Uncle Fred would walk for what seemed to me miles, me eating most of my pickings as I went. This was the early 50s, a lovely day out, lovely scenery, lovely memories. With thanks to my Uncle Fred Bedford, a lovely, loving man.
Brynmawr is a quiet little town on the edge of the valley roads. These photos bring back memories of all the hills I climbed, picnics on the mountain, paddling in the pond across from our house in Warwick Road. Snow 6ft deep in Winter. I remember the old steam train passing our house, I would wave to the driver and he would wave back to me standing on a low wooden fence. Everything was at a slow pace in the 50's. We would go to the local cinema and see mainly westerns in those days. Then come out and get a bag of chips and wander back home, just simple easygoing things.
I was born in Brynmawr and lived there until I got married. I can rember Deakin fair very well, it always was outside the Buffs club on Station Road which lead to Brynmawr railway station. The fair was very busy ever week it come to Brynmawr, Tuesday night was busy, all the young people would go to the dance in Churchhouse, then down to the fair to finish off the night.
Brynmawr, my home town, although I haven't lived there for nigh on 40 years, it's still home. I have good and bad memories of Brynmawr. I was always regarded as a blacksheep, rebel, so the bad memories are of my own making. But thankfully, I've matured. Anyway, the synagogue in Bailey Street was renovated by my dad and his mate, Alan Durban, in the late 1960s. We'd moved from the New Houses estate, 5 Tudor Crescent, being the original occupants there. I always remember the original stairwell in the synagogue, which Dad was obliged to keep, and the massive front room window, although everything must have looked big in those days. The occasional pig visitor in our back garden from the slaughterhouse just up the road. The freah bread we'd get from the distribution depot across the road. I loved that house, though probably never appreciated it at the time. I was very much, still am, a sports orientated person. Played cricket/football for the town. Thats where a lot of the good... Read more
I think overall I enjoyed my time at the comp. It had its bad times, Billy Raybould, Welsh master, I hated him, he was a mental and at times a physical bully. And him a Welsh International to. Ended up wagging his lessons for ages, he was told I'd already gone to Brum. It had to end, and I was collared, got what I presumed he thought I deserved, via head, Mr James. By far the best teacher there was Sinclair Ramsey Atkins, history. Very much old school, but what a man. He loved his cricket, but eh, he was not very good, but always encouraged me, even when I didn't deserve it. The rugby matches, Christ, we used to get hammered at times, Twmpeth, Pontypool for starters, but eh ho! I can remember the cross country runs, ha ha, we used to curtail those buggers, especially when they were filming the Dr Who series, John Percival, about the big maggots, remember them, at the CD factory just of the Havard. Academically, not great,... Read more
A Deakin & Sons.
I'd love to hear anyone's memories of the Deakin fairground family based at Alma Street at Brynmawr. I am currently researching for a forthcoming book on the history of the family. Any information/memories/stories/photos would be appreciated. Even more so, the EXACT date when Margaret Deakin (Deakin-Studt) passed away. We know she was buried in St. Mary's Church graveyard on November 5th, 1970, and supposedly died in Brynmawr. Help!