No 81: Latest "Gwreiddiau Gwynedd" (1)
The latest issue of "Gwreiddiau Gwynedd" ("Gwynedd Roots"), the six monthly journal of the Gwynedd Family History Society, has arrived and again its 64 pages are packed with interesting articles and items of information. As usual there is a spotlight on a particular area of Gwynedd and this time there are 10 articles concerning Porthmadog and district.
I used to know this area well during my early teens when I lived in Llanfrothen and used to cycle everywhere, in particular to Penrhyndeudraeth, about 2 miles away, and Porthmadog, about 4 miles. There was a nightly cinema at the Penrhyndeudraeth Memorial hall with occasional concerts and live shows featuring memorable artists such as Al Roberts. In Porthmadog there was the 1931 built Coliseum cinema which featured films changing ever two nights Monday to Saturday together with a Saturday matinée featuring the memorable cowboy heroes such as Hopalong Cassidy. While single cinemas have closing everywhere over the past couple of decades this cinema was remarkably kept open by a local trust until last August. This action spurred the creation of a "Friends of the Coliseum" group who are working hard to get it reopened. One of the happy memories of those days is that you could leave your cycle round the back of the cinema unlocked and unchained and it would always be there for you at the end of the performance. It's a sad reflection of life today that nobody would dream of doing such a thing today.
The other aspects of Porthmadog and Penrhyndeudraeth during my younger days that stay in the memories were the shops and interestingly two of the articles refer two of these shops. One was Pierce Ironmongers which was a fascinating shop which sold a much wider range of goods than the conventional ironmongery. I have a feeling that my first drop handles three-speed cycle there which served me well from the age of about 11 and through my student days when I lived in Ffestiniog. At the start of term in September/October I used to go with my case on the bus to Penrhyndeudraeth to catch the train to Aberystwyth. On the first Friday afternoon I would hitch-hike home and on the Saturday I used to cycle the 60 up several steep hills form Ffestiniog to Aberystywyth so that I could have it to use during the college year.
The other shop was Siop Paul, a lively newsagent and associated goods. There is an article by my friend Gwenda Paul about the family of her husband, Brian Paul. It was Brian's father who kept the shop in my childhood but the article is about the ancestors going further back. It's uncertain where the original John Paul came from but he is recorded as marrying Margaret Owen in 1808. He probably came to the area, along with many others for the building of the Cob and other developments instigated by William Alexander Maddocks which totally transformed Porthmadog and the whole area. This is an interesting article about the family.
One of interesting shops in Porthmadog with an unusual name was "Siop Pike" and there is an interesting article about the Pike family. The original William Pike was born in Keyworth in Nottinghamshire in 1871, worked in a woollen factory and became a professional cricketer. He came to Porthmadog in 1902 to take up employment at the Porthmadog Cricket Club. It seems incredible that the Porthmadog Cricket Club was employing professionals in those days. He opened a shop as a newsagent and sports equipment in 1902 and there is a family history story with interesting photographs of the development of the shop which is still run today by the article's author, William's great grand-daughter and her husband.
The photo on the cover shows the embankment in the early years with a horse drawn train with a load of slates destined for the harbour in Porthmadog.
To enlarge an image, double left click on the image.
Gwynedd Family History Society, www.gwynedd.fhs.org.uk Meetings will restart in September and will follow the following pattern:
Caernarfon, (In Welsh, last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Library, Lôn Pafiliwn:
Bangor, (In English, first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street:
Conwy, (In English, second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn:
Pwllheli, (In Welsh, third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod:
Dolgellau, (In Welsh, second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel:
Llangefni, (In English, third Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa:
Clwyd Family History Society, www.clwydfhs.org.uk
The meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month (except August) at 2.00 pm at locations that rotate within the former county of Clwyd.
Saturday 9 June: 2.00 pm at the The Awelon Centre, RUTHIN, LL15 1BN.
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