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WHITSUN

What does it mean to you – the reader? What is its relevance today – another holiday perhaps, or bringing people together, through support or friendship? Maybe strengthening the family community or pretending to enjoy an early summer picnic consuming an egg sandwich in post war limp grey bread?

If one was unlucky we would have two sandwiches and a cake.

This is my experience: From the age of 12 I was sent away to my second boarding school which was completely different from the first – which could have been the 1945 version of Dotheboys Hall, life was so harsh. In comparison life at this second school was heaven. It was also co–ed. Whitsun at this second school was for the benefit of others far less fortunate, offering them the opportunities which we took for granted in the main I suppose.

Prior to Whit Monday we pupils would forego the Bank Holiday preparing for “The Visitors”. As a public school we had established a mission with St Anne’s Church in Limehouse, a greatly deprived area in what was left of the London Docks after all the bombing. This Mission had been established many years previously before the war and was part of our life whether we liked it or not, despatching parcels of clothes throughout the year, with toys at Christmas. However on Whit Monday – this was the big day.

A special train was hired from the LMS Railway to depart from St Pancras station to arrive at Harpenden station at 9.30am before being parked up for the day in the sidings awaiting the return journey usually about 8 o’clock in the evening.

We would watch the arrival of our guests, at least four hundred and fifty grandparents, mothers and fathers and children aplenty marching up from the station. The children always seemed faster than the parents who were faster than the grandparents.

Tea and orange juice would be provided with the option of bread and dripping or cake to sustain them until lunch. We were not allowed any of this – it was for the guests. Thereafter we had to escort small groups around the school and entertain them until lunch time; Parents with motor cars would congregate on the gravel and offer car trips around the countryside to see the cows and horses. Sheep which were rather thin on the ground in this part of Hertfordshire were special, particularly lambs getting a lot of attention.

A lot of the children liked hanging out of the trees and climbing, which we were never permitted to do so that irritated us a bit. After a good lunch the sports started. Cricket, rounders, tennis and, for the brave, swimming against a background of many sorts of races besides the fun ones like egg and spoon, sack and three legged ones etc, until all were worn out by the time it was time for ‘High Tea’. Following this we had a service in our chapel for all denominations who wished to attend, conducted by the vicar of St Anne’s together with our chaplain and the chapel would be full to the brim, standing room only in fact.

After the service, which usually lasted an hour, weather permitting there would be some presentation between the Visitors and us; votes of thanks and of course lots of cheering and clapping. It all ended up much nicer than we had anticipated before they arrived, friendships had been created or renewed and strengthened.

This was Whitson 1946 style and beyond until the year I left.

At a given signal everyone started to migrate to the railway station accompanied by many of us already thinking about the next year’s visit. If not then it was the thought of the huge litter pick facing us the following morning and replacing the collapsible chairs (which used to pinch our fingers) back in the shed for another year.

That was Whitsun meant to us, sharing with others what we were fortunate to have. On reflection I think that we all had a good time and without our girl pupils it could never have been so family orientated. A coeducational boarding school equated to a very happy and contented school.

Stuart Wilson

Memories of the Old School, Pencader

This message has been received in the ‘comments’ at the bottom of the Letters to the Editor page. To reply please use the form at the bottom of that page, or if you would like the sender’s email address, please request it from webmaster@pencader.org.uk.

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I was bemoaning the fact the other day, how there is nothing on television that is of any interest to me when I happened on something that was of interest. It was “The Restoration Man” Visiting Pencader and showing how two people bought the old school, restored it and made something really marvellous of it. Why was I interested? That was the school I attended from the age of seven until twelve, when I went on to the Grammar school in Llandyssul.

 I have lived on the Gold Coast in Australia for a long time now, I have no one to speak Welsh to, yet I surprise myself how, much I remember, how “homesick” I feel whenever anything Welsh appears on TV. Halfway through the “Restoration Man” I was crying, there was the headmaster’s home, that’s where kitchen used to be, the boys playground was so dirty, we all (girls and boys), had to assemble there in the morning and after the lunch break, before marching into classes. The School was originally built on the site of an old castle–all these old memories came flooding back.It was good to see that something has been done to maintain the history of Pencader.

 Diolch yn fawr

 Cofion Cynnes,  Constance Glyde or as I was known in Pencader, Connie Davies.

Interest in Pencader Station

Emails with the Secretary from David Stewart

Dear Mrs Griffiths,

In the 1980s I ran a model railway club in my school, and the boys decided that they would like to model Pencader. As a result, we put a notice in the village Post Office asking for anyone with photographs of the station to contact us, visited the village and spoke to all those who had replied. A lady who lived on the castle side of the station site at the time was from the family who had had the refreshment room at the station and was most helpful. When a retired architect, Mr Peter Blair, asked for help for his model, we supplied all the information which we had, and later I became a friend and fellow modeller with him. He made a model of the station and village, and after his death his widow told me that she had contacted the authorities in the village and offered his model. She said that it was to be included in a museum of the village’s history which was to be put in the Old Chapel (Hen Chapel). Could you tell me if this ever actually took place? I am particularly interested since to help Peter I contributed a model building to his layout. As the building concerned was a model of the chapel, it was fascinating to think that my model was to be inside itself, so to speak. It has been such a lovely idea that I have never wanted to test it out, but as I am now starting a new model of Pencader and Henllan, the time has come to bite the bullet and ask what happened.

Yours,

David Stewart

Do the little thing
St David

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Hello David

You do not say where you are from or to which school you referred, but thank you anyway for getting in touch.

The model railway is housed in a room at Yr Hen Gapel. I have seen it and taken photos of it when I took a nonagenarian born in the village to see it. . It is said that the organisers are waiting for a Perspex cover to fit the layout before it can be put on permanent display. At the moment a volunteer lets people in by prior arrangement.and I have forwarded your email onto him.

Hope this helps

Jane Griffiths

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Thank you very much, Jane.

I live in Winsford in Cheshire, though my maternal grandfather was from Dihewid, my parents retired to Aberaeron, my aunt was Chief Nursing Officer for Carmarthen and Cardiganshire, and uncles retired to Penrhiwllan and Llandysul. I, therefore, know the whole of the area well, but have not been through Pencader since my father died in Glangwili six years ago. My school at the time was St Edward’s College in Liverpool. My mother translated our appeal for photographs into Welsh for the Post Office, but when we visited we were told that everyone read the English, as my mother’s Welsh was “proper Welsh” (she was trained as a teacher at Barry Training College). A nonagenarian from Swansea got in touch with us when we made our appeal and drew us a wonderful map-sketch of the station as he remembered it from playing on it before the Great War. I am delighted that the railway is still in being. If your volunteer gets in touch I shall ask if they want help in constructing a cover.

With best wishes,

David Stewart

Large Crowd at Pencader – Local News 1956

Some pages from editions of the Carmarthen Journal from 1956 have been found in an empty house in Pencader.

Here are some pieces from them that relate to the village

Carmarthen Journal 6th July 1956

Whitehall Pencader sold

Carmarthen Journal 21st September 1956

Here is another sport item from the newspaper.

Association Football –CarmarthenTown “Riot of Scoring”

Carmarthen Town -

Carmarthen Journal 21st September 1956

ADVERTISEMENTS

Evans Motors Ltd – Advertisement

Evans Motors advertisement

Carmarthen Journal 21st September 1956

Here are links to some more ADVERTISEMENTS.

Cheap Rail Trips – Advertisement

Western Motors – Advertisement

Tom Tweed – Advertisement

Chivers Malt Vinegar – Advertisements

Here is a link to an article (PDF download).

“Was There a ‘Becca’?” by J. F. JONES, B.Sc.

Memories

If you have any memories of life in our community and are willing to share, please send them to us for publication on this site.

Thank you