Geoffrey Hubert HOWARD was born on 1 May 1927.
He was living between 1958 and 1963.74
He died on 15 May 1963 in Northampton.
Geoffrey Hubert HOWARD and
Elizabeth Irene TYPE were married on 6 Jul 1946 in St Michaels, Cricklewood.75
Irene TYPE (daughter of ? ? and Doris TYPE) was living 1923 - ? in Model
Cottages, Garth Terrace, Pontmorlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.76 She was educated Infants & Junior school 1928 - ? in
Queens Road Infants & Junior School.76
She went to Queens Road Infants School at the back of Garth Terrace, thence
Queens road school for the over 12's. She was born on 11 May 1923 in Merthyr
Tydfil. Father was publican (or married to the publican) at the
Nelson Inn (or maybe Penydarren End Inn 01685 722530)
(The Nelson Inn no longer exists - 2001)
Although he should have paid maintenance he rarely did. Elizabeth remembers
going with her grandmother on several occasions to the local solicitor to check
for maintenance payments. His office was almost opposite the Nelson, up a narrow
flight of stairs.
Her father was rarely talked about in the family.
She went to Queens Road Infants School at the back of Garth Terrace, thence Queens
road school for the over 12's. She was living in 1923 in Model Cottages, Garth
Terrace, Pontmorlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.76
She was educated Infants & Junior school in 1928 in Queens Road Infants & Junior
School.76 She went to Queens
Road Infants School at the back of Garth Terrace, thence Queens road school for
the over 12's. The text files "Memories of Merthyr" were found on
a searc h of the Jones family history site n the internet (http://w ww.trevor.jones4.btinternet.co.uk/Index.html).
Elizabeth' s early memories closely mirror those of the author. Indee d he probably
lived in the immediate vicinity and share d a knowledge of many of the the sites
and people with Eliz abeth.
The following article is taken from a tape recording by M r Dai Harmon, who grew
up in Penyard, Merthyr Tydfil. He st ill lives in Merthyr, and has helped many
people search the ir family origins, working at the LDS family history centr
e in Merthyr.
I have lived most of my life , on and off in Penyard, Merth yr Tydfil. Talking
about Penyard, what a wonderful place t o live. It was for a child, an adventure
playground. I live d in the longest street, Darren View, it came up behind th
e Theatre Royal and also Trevethicks monument. You come u p the redhill and,
there's Darren View stretched out in fro nt of you at the top on the left hand
side. The backs of Da rren View open out where Trevethicks first steam engine
ran . It was at the back of Penyard where Trevethick ran his e ngine to win
a £500 bet for his iron master against Crawsha y. Up above Penyard, Incline
Top on the left hand side yo u had the Rockies, with a big stack there which
was about 2 5 feet high and about a yard square, which you could clim b up inside
to the top and look all around Merthyr Tydfil . The Rockies, well, what a place
to play. It had a nice st retch across it with rocks everywhere. Down below
we use d to build 'cloche tents' and we used to fight the boys fro m Penydarren
who used to come up, and we'd throw stones a t each other like some invading
armies. At the bottom of th e Rockies was a small pitch where we would play football
o r cricket. Up above the Rockies was the big white tip mad e from all the shale
that came from the Dowlais works. Abou t two thirds of the way up was a cave.
We used to play in t here and it was magic.
At the top of Incline Top was another place called the Aeri als, it was another
shale tip and, what a beautiful tip i t was. There were huge buckets which would
come along and d eposit the shale on the tips. As boys, we would climb in th
e buckets and go for a ride.
It was all very dangerous, and we'd often get many bruises , but
they were wonderful times
There were also many other tips where we used to slide dow n them on a piece
of tin, and many a pair of trousers wer e torn. That was the top of Penyard.
At the bottom of Incline Road there was a little mining pit . I always remember
getting on the horsedrawn carts that ca rried the coal and, on the side was a
sign 'clean hand pick ed coal'. I never really knew what it meant. Next to the
si de of the pit used to be the old brickworks where many wome n of Penyard found
employment. Very hard work it was too. C rossing the road there were trams pulled
by horses going in to the level behind Model Cottages, which was the top stree
t of Penyard. Up on the left hand side was a slag heap and , often you would
see people sorting through it, pick ing out the little bits of good
coal that may have been tip ped there. The Patches was above Penyard on the right
han d side as you left up the Pontfen Road and, in front of th e Aerials was
the Dandy, another tip. The Patches wa s a place where people would
sink little mines to get the c oal out for themselves, unemployed people including
my fath er. He used to have a bike, well, a boneshaker really and h e'd take
it to the Patches and collect a bag of coal and br ing it home. Up on the Dandy
I remember Jack Jones the pla yright, who was a Penyard boy, writing stories.
His brothe r Ike Jones was a bookmaker. At the bottom of Darren View , you had
the old Thomastown park and the new Thomastown pa rk. Opposite there was Queens
Road school. Also in Penyar d you had Queens Road infant school, and this was
at the ba ck of Garth Terrace. The Queens Road school was where you w ent if
you didn't pass your test for the grammer school. I t was known as the Queens
Road school for the over 12s. An yway, there were these parks, Thomastown parks.
Oh what bea utiful places. At the top used to be a circle where man y a fight
was had. It was just like a boxing ring, althoug h it was only a circle about
20 feet across. I remember fig hting Dai Bedford, Georgie Hammond and a few others.
There was a dingle where we would play 'pop-op'. There wer e bushes either side,
and we'd be in gangs hiding in the un dergrowth. As soon as you saw one of the
other gang you'd p oint at them and go 'pop-op'-'pop-op' and they would be ou
t of the game. It would last until there was only one membe r of each gang left
to 'pop-op' each other.
A little football field was there and further down you ha d the tennis courts
and the bowling green. The bowling gree n was a very important place, as Thomastown
bowling club wa s one of the oldest in Merthyr Tydfil. Past the bowling gre en
was a statue erected in memory of the people of Merthy r Tydfil who were killed
in the first world war. As you lef t the old park, you went straight into the
new park, an d a lovely park it was too. You could play football, cricke t or
Behind the other side of Darren View between Mountain Air a nd Queens Road was
the Legion. Oh boy the Legion, the footb all pitch. Above that, made out of tips
of rubbish, now th e site of Edwards Close and Vernon Close a housing estate
, was another football field, so we had two football fields . They were known
as the bottom Legion and the top Legion . The bottom Legion was where the Jones
boys of Penyard pla yed. Not only them, but everyone loved the legion. We'd sta
rt playing football about nine in the morning and finish wh en it went dark.
Football all day!
I remember Cliffie Jones coming up from Swansea, and he wa s such a little tut,
but he would play on the wing and he w as brilliant. Bryn Jones learnt his 25-30
yard passes on t he legion. Mind, it wasn't a flat ground by any means, it w
as up and down like a yo-yo, but it was the Legion and ever ybody loved it. We'd
go to the club there on a Sunday as th ere were no pubs open after 2.00 clock,
and the older men w ould challenge the younger men to a football match at hal
f a crown a man. It was a lot of money in those days. Ther e would be a proper
referee and very often it would be a ve ry tidy match.
Down at the bottom of the Legion ground there was a club bu ilt by the unemployed,
a wooden shack, but nice. Big enoug h to hold a stage, and we had a few concerts
too. It house d a snooker table and people would be playing all day Satur day
and Sunday. I learnt to play solo whist there with Ik e Jones the bookmaker and
his brother Dickie Jones. That cl ub became the social centre of Penyard, and
everybody got t o go there at one time or other. The whole of Penyard wa s a
great adventure playground. You'd have to pay hundred s of pounds today to go
to an adventure playground like tha t!
Let's talk now about some of the surrounding areas and som e of the people that
lived there. Shops, as you came up t o Darren View there was a paper shop, 'Owens'
the paper sho p.
Wyn Owen and his son were lovely singers, and Wyn used to s ing with the best
dance bands in Merthyr Tydfil. Owens use d to deliver the papers to all over
Penyard. Opposite wa s a shop called 'Coffees'. When they had money they used
t o open, but if they were skint they would close. On the cor ner of Penyard
there was a little wall and a lampost, and t he singsongs that used to be there
every Saturday night, be autiful singing every Saturday night.; They just used
to co ngregate there. The Dees. Amos Dees, a good footballer mind , and he could
have gone places, he used to have his Hawaii n guitar and we used to have lovely
sing songs with it. Com ing up into Darren View was Butlers shop and Jack Nash
th e butchers. Turning round into Penyard, up by Garth Terrac e you'd have Pugh's
the shop. Now Mrs Pugh was a character . She used to wear a wig. A little gate
led up to her shop , and as you went through the gate the bell would go ting-a
-ling-a-ling. She always had meat and faggots in the window , with potato sacks
outside. If you wanted potatoes she wou ld go and weigh them with her hands,
and then if you wante d a cake, she would put the cake in with the potatoes usin
g the same dirty hands. There were always flies gathering i n the window. We
would sing a little song, behind Mrs Pugh' s back and we called her 'scruffy'.
The song would go lik e this:
As I walked into Scruffy's shop, the stink was enough to bl ind me, the faggots
said, God strike me dead, and the pea s walked out behind me. Oh my cat is dead,
it died in Scruf fy's shop.
We always sang it as kids, but never in front of her mind . At new year she always
gave the children a little gift. F urther up the street was bakers. Mr Baker
used to cook ever ybodys turkey if they had turkey, although most people in P
enyard at that time could only afford chicken. He used to b ake bread as Mr Baker
was the baker. Coming down Corporati on Street, you had Jenkins the shop. Mad
Mr Jenkins and hi s father before him, always kept that shop, and funnily eno
ugh when he died he left it to Aidan Williams. It was a gro cers shop, and that
was where most people of Penyard woul d go. My brother Raymond, published a
book of poetry, an d there's a lot of good poetry about Merthyr Tydfil. Well
, he went to Jenkins shop for some cheese, and he brought i t home and my mother
asked him if she could have a look a t the cheese. Well, there in the cheese
were some lovely te eth marks!
She asked, "Ray, have you been eating this cheese?". "No Ma m"
said Raymond, and he continued, " Mr Jenkins said the ch eese was overweight
so he bit a piece off to make it the ri ght weight". Well, to this day Raymond
still claims he wa s innocent. After the incident he was given the nickname 'M
ickey Mouse', which has stuck with him all of his life.
Now then, let's talk about schooling. Once the children wer e about 4 or 5 years
old they used to go to Queens Road inf ant school. A lovely school,
right there in Penyard i tself, at the back of Garth Terrace. It was a good school
a nd the schooling was great. My teacher was Mr Hopkins, I'l l never forget
him. He was a lovely teacher and bred me a l ove of mathematics, which I still
So all the children used to go there, and then on to Queen s Road senior school,
which was down a little further. The y would go there until they were 11 years,
and take their 1 1 plus, and if they passed the test they would go to eithe r
the grammer school, and oh it would be published in the M erthyr Express, all
the people who have passed for the gram mer school. I'll never forget my sister,
who was living opp osite. Her husbandworked in the Merthyr Express and she fet
ched the paper over early, for me before it reached the sho ps. I had passed
4th in the borough. Of all the childre n I had passed
There's excitement. I loved it, I'll never forget it. It di dn't do me any good
mind. I left grammer school afte r 2 years and worked for Tommy Bought
the butcher, pushin g the little bike about and giving meat out for 14 shilling
s per week. Now there were 2 grammer schools in Merthyr Ty dfil. One was called
the County grammer school and that wa s opposite Penyard, and there were some
wonderful teacher s there. The other grammer schoolwas very well known. The C
yfartha grammer school. One wasn't better than the other, a nd probably County
was slightly better, but there wasn't mu ch between either of them. Schooling
in that time was reall y fabulous, no question about that. If you didn't make
it t o the grammer schools, you'd go to Queens Road school or yo u'd go down
Quakers Yard technical school where you were ta ught such things as engineering
Now, the mining industry, where they went down the mines s o young
or worked at the pithead with their fathers , before my time they were going
down the mines there at ag e 8 or 10 year old. In my time they had to be 14.
That's wh ere they would go a lot of the people, down the mines. But , in Merthyr,
industry, Kayser Bondor. Now Kayser Bondor w as a stocking factory and that's
where I went after workin g in the butchers shop. I made stockings for Queen
Mary . I remember she was size 8 ½.
In the 1930's, at one of the lowest points in the economi c history of the area,
with high unemployment and boarded u p shops, a fashionable hosiery and underwear
manufacturin g company, Kayser Bondor Ltd, was the first new company t o start
operations in the borough. The factory was built a t Dowlais, and men
with a tradition of heavy industr y had to quickly adapt themselves to operating
high- precis ion machines, but the success of this venture was dem
onstrated in the opening of a new lingerie factory at Pentr ebach in 1945, and
other similar enterprises like Berlei, a nd more recently Forma and Morris Cohen,
have opened in th e borough.
There were other factories, and , just after the war Hoover , which was the biggest
factory in Merthyr Tydfil was opene d by a Penyard boy, Danny Bowen, coal miner
who lived on th e top of the hill in Darren View. His wife and his mother w ere
killed in a train crash going through a tunnel toward s London. Very sad. Danny
was a member of the Bowen famil y who were very prevelant in Penyard. Jackie
Bowen and  ; Frankie Bowen. Danny was a lovely singer who teamed up wi
th Wyn Owen. They called themselves Owen and Bowen, lovel y singers and were
always booked to clubs not only in Merth yr, but other parts of Wales too.
In Penyard there were many families, and there was the chap el. The Penyard Forward
Movement Chapel. There used to be s oup kitchens in there during the thirties
to help people be cause times were so hard. There were Sunday school trips t
o Pontsarn, lovely. Or down to Barry Island, oh what trips . But that was it,
that was your holiday once a year, the c hapel trip, of course there were no
other holidays in the t hirties. Come September there was hop picking in Hereford
a nd people, particularly the unemployed would go up to Heref ord on the backs
of lorries. Once there you would have a sm all tent of some kind and lay down
straw as a mattress. Yo u could make some money picking those hops. You'd fetch
mon ey home, also sacks of potatoes, sacks of apples and othe r vegetables that
would last you through the winter. Oh, i t was wonderful, it was great. I used
to love hop picking.
In the thirties, you'd never see a car in Darren View, exce pt once a week. There
was a person called 'Jiggy', Mrs Will iams, and she used to have a stall in the
market in Merthy r and in Pontypridd. Well a taxi would come up Darren Vie w
to pick her up, and we'd all have to stop playing footbal l. We'd pick up the
ball and run over to the taxi, as it wa s such a rare thing to see. We were
always playing footbal l in the street and there was only the odd horse and cart
t hat would pass us by. There was Sprawley's horse an d cart and the
rider would shout in an Italian accent, " ch ipsalot, steaming hot chips,
chipsalot, steaming hot..gerra way froma my horse, watta you doing with my horse?"
He'd al so come in the night selling his chips, with lanterns on th e cart. Mr
Harris would come on his horse and cart trying t o get salvage, a rag and bone
man. If you had any clothes y ou'd get a penny for them if you were lucky. You'd
have t o be very lucky with old man Harris, he was tighter than an ybody! But,
he had six girls to look after and wasn't worki ng, but there you are, it was
all horses and carts in thos e days. Don Cunnington who lived in Garth Terrace
at the ba ck, his father Mr Cunnington was a tram driver who used t o drive the
trams up Merthyr High Street. I remember the la st one coming up there.
I remember Lord Haw Haw in the second world war when we wer e digging up the
tram lines to make bullets. He said " Yo u people of Merthyr Tydfil, you're
digging up your tram lin es for bullets, well we'll send bombs over, and we'll
bom b them rails up for you." We used to listen to the wireles s during
the war, and I remember Mrs Smith up above hearin g Lord Haw Haw saying "You
don't know what bacon and eggs i s anymore, because it's all powder eggs in Merthyr"
and he r husband was working the night shift, so she got her fryin g pan and
was cooking bacon and eggs, and, turning to the w ireless she shouted at the
top of her voice, " smell this y ou stupid man! Of course we've got bacon
Good old Mrs Smith, I'll never forget her. Prior to worl d war II, because money
was so short , we'd see people comi ng from the Rhondda trying to make money.
They would star t at the bottom of our street singing, and work their way u p.
They put their caps on the floor and would get a coppe r here and another there,
and take it back to the Rhondda . They must have walked about 10 or 15 miles
to come and si ng. Then our boys would go over to the Rhondda and sing the re.
Now what else about Penyard? Well, Penyard was the Las Vega s of South Wales.
There used to be so much gambling going o n, well well, Las Vegas had nothing
on it. You could go rou nd the back of Garth Terrace any time of the day, you
coul d be playing Pontoons, you could be playing Farrel. Micky J ones used to
teach us. On the top he would put the Ace, Kin g, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7 and
all squares around them. Yo u'd put your money on say the Ace, and he would turn
a car d over, and if it was an ace he would take the money off. B ut, if the
Ace came up second he'd pay you out. So if you p ut threepence on it you'd take
sixpence off. But, if two Ac es or two Kings came up he'd win, so the bank always
ha d a little better odds. Then there was pitch and toss. You' d put your little
china mot down and then scratch a line t o throw from. You'd toss the pennies
to get them as close t o the little china pot. The one who got the closest would
p ick up the pennies and throw them in the air. All the one s that came down
'heads' he would keep, and all those tha t landed 'tails' the second closest
man would then toss the m in the air, and so on and so on. That was pitch and
toss . Then of course there was Purling. Purling was just two p ennies. You
would bet on if they would 'head' or 'tail.
There was a big circle, and I've seen as many as 40 or 50 p eople in it. One
of them, Eddie Hunt, would say "C'mon hea ds for Eddie" when he threw
his pennies in the air. I've se en people winning £5 having only started
with say 5 shillin gs. That was Purling. Then, when the police came, someone
w ould shout "Police, Police" and everyone would scatter al l over
the place. Mr Dunford from the bottom of the hill th ere, he was the policeman
for the area and he'd come now an d then, just to keep the boys on their toes.
But, I don't t hink he ever caught anybody!
S.O.Davies was the M.P for Merthyr Tydfil in the twenties a nd thirties, Labour
of course. The first socialist M.P. i n Britain came from Merthyr. I remember
in the early days o ur house used to be turned into committee rooms for Will
Ow en to stand as the local councillor. These were the days o f the means test,
when they would come up to your house. I f you had items in the house, you'd
havr to sell them befor e they would give you any benefit money. In our house,
m y Grandmother was the head of the home, at 18 Darren View . My mother and father
were there too, but it was my Grandm other who was the head. Every morning you
would get up an d the fire would be lit by one of the women. They'd black l ead
the grate and clean the brasses around the fireplace. T here were no carpets,
just rag mats which my Grandmother us ed to make. On a Sunday morning we would
all help togethe r preparing vegetables for our Sunday dinner. After dinner ,
all the women would wash the dishes, and then the famil y would dress up in their
'Sunday best' clothes for the 6'o 'clock evening service at church. We'd have
tea before we w ent, usually fry up using any vegetables that were left fro m
dinner. Then it was off to church, Presbyterian at Penyar d Forward Movement
Church, and Watkin Williams the minister . He was a Military Cross Captain from
the army during th e 1914-18 war. He had a lot of friends in London from his
a rmy days, and when he visited them, he would cadge as man y things as possible
to bring back to the poor people of Pe nyard. He was one of the greatest men
I have ever known. H e lived for the people and died for the people. My brothe
r Raymond wrote a poem after Watkin Williams died. Monday s was always wash
day. Out would come the big old tub, it w as huge. Large buckets of water were
poured into the tub an d out would come the scrubbing board. Hard graft! If you
ha d miners in the family, well their clothes were dirty, real ly dirty. Perhaps
another of my brothers poems describe i t accurately. The washtubs gave people
a lot of arthr itis in their time without a doubt, her hands were cripple d before
she died. I remember well that her and my Grandmot her worked hard on the washtub.
Then came Tuesday, which w as ironing day of course. They dried all the clothes
on th e fender in front of the fire. Beside that of course, the y had to do all
the cooking and everything else, and the mo ney was tight, there's no doubt about
it. If possible she w ould try and find a bit of work and go cleaning down Mrs
Jo nes. Later in life she got work in the laundry. It's funn y those women, they
never stop, all their lives they worked . Their homes were like little palaces,
you could eat off t he floor, they were clean, they worked hard.
During the 1920's and 30's most of the work for women was i n service, there
was nothing else for them to do. So they w ould go and work for other women for
a penny or tuppence a n hour, doing the ironing, piles and piles of ironing fo
r a couple of coppers so that they could buy something fo r the children. When
I think of the work people had, and ve ry little money to get by. My father had
been in the 1914-1 8 war and came home with Asthma. He was given a little pens
ion. So, with his little pension, there would always be peo ple around trying
to borrow it. He'd have it on a Monday an d lend some of it out, and then go
out on Friday trying t o get it back off them. Very hard, very very hard. Yes,
dur ing the 20's and 30's in the valleys, times were very hard , and people used
to live in each others houses, there wer e no doors locked at night or in the
day. All of a sudden t he door would open, and we could be in the tub bathing!
Mr s Lucas who lived next door but one would come in and she' d be talking away
as we were bathing in front of her. Every body would come to our house, "...can
I borrow a cup of sug ar?", "...can I borrow a little tea?".
And, of course th e teapot was always there, with plenty of Welshcakes for an
yone that called. Then, the last thing at night, my fathe r would clean all the
childrens shoes, so that when we go t up for school in the morning we all had
clean shoes. Yes , times were hard then, but we also had a lot of fun as chi
As I said earlier, Penyard was a lovely place to live. I h ope you have enjoyed
these memories of Merthyr and Penyar d in particular. Thankyou. Geoffrey Hubert
HOWARD and Elizabeth Irene TYPE had the following children: