Empress Ballroom, Workmans Hall, Melba Jaynes Troupe
A Memory of Abercynon.
I was 3 years old when I was in Melba's Troupe. I was the smallest and Betty (Jones) Lane was the youngest, the only boy was Len Gair. I am still looking for photos of us. I was taken by my mother when I was 4/5 to the Empress, as my father was afternoons in the pit. My sister Phyllis was learning to dance by my mother (who could do any dance) so there was no baysitter for me, that's why I was there. I was brought crisps and pop by the other dances, one was Harry Hill and i think one was Lilla. My cousins, Margaret Jenkins and Eileen Caffell were there. The Empress was owned by Sid Davey and he had a nephew called Tony Knott. When I was 14/15 I went without my mother to the Empress, that's when I was friends with Sid's nephew Tony Knott, he came for holidays from Cornwall. The Empress had a sprung floor and was the finest in Wales, it was my father Will Jones, who polished the floor, he was also the cleaner there. My mother, Doris, cleaned the Hall Picture House for 10 years, my aunt Annie was also a cleaner in the hall for many years. I remember Annie Bateman and Mr Humphreys was the manager. Jack showed the films and Jack's wife was in the ticket box. Doreen Hopfins and Lil Legge sold ice-cream and Andrew Davies shone the torch for quiet. Again, wonderful memories for me as a child (before Tom Jones).