As mentioned in my last blog I started school in Groes Infants, age 4/5 years. The school had three classes. Class 1 was taught by Miss Thomas, Cass 2 was taught by Miss Smith and Class 3 by the Headmaster, Mr Vaughan.
The two much prized pupil posts were Ink Monitor ,who was responsible for the filling of the ink wells in each desk from a large earthenware bottle. But the most desired job was Milk Monitor, who each morning had to collect from the school gates the crates of the class milk bottles then distribute them with straws to his fellow pupils.
Playtime was always exciting, being adjacent to the woods. Next to the play yard was an old large Elderberry tree, very suitable for climbing and performing acrobatics on. Boys would hang by their legs from the branches, no trouble with short trousers. Whilst the girls would do the same with their skirts tucked into their knickers
All three classes would assemble together many times during the week to practice their times tables,supervised by the Headmaster, Mr Vaughan. When we would chant in harmony the 2 times up to the 12 times table. We learnt our tables parrot fashion and no pupil left that school not knowing the alphabet or his times tables.
Mr Vaughan, the Headmaster always carried a cane, this was age of corporal punishment measured by the severity of pain. The school was thus well disciplined and good behaviour was practiced by most of the pupils.
And this is where I was schooled up to the age of 8 years when I moved up to the Eastern School in Taibach.
Meanwhile it is said that ” a wise man can see more in the bottom of a well than a fool can see from the top of a mountain”
To satisfy family feeling, tradition and of course Acts of Parliament, I started school, aged. 4/5 years. There was no selection or choice of school, just turning up at your nearest local primary school . My nearest school was in the village of Groes.
This week I am talking about this village only and will my schooling next week.
The village of Groes no longer exists. Sadly and criminally knocked down for thr the construction of the the M4 motorway, planners at that time said there was no other route. Although recently an alternative roadway has been built from Margam bypassing Port Talbot to the Souh of the town. All to late to save Groes from the bulldozers.
The village housed the Margam Estate workers. The centre of the village was a conglomerate of allotments with terraced houses on its sides. They were stone built with hard earth floors. Houses and allotment gardens were proudly cared for.
In addition to the school there was the well known Round Chapel, which with the lane that led to the Brombil along side it forming the boundary to the village. The whole not just being feudal but an admired architectural site
It has been difficult putting into words th loveliness of this village and next week we will remember my schooling, meanwhile, ” I get annoyed when I think about how we we are depleting our planet. Nature is so giving we must learn not to take so much or at least to give something back.”
I was born 1931 in Margam Road, Borr, Borough of Port Talbot. The joungest of four children of Jack and Sara Jones.Our neighbours were the Williams family . They had a singular passion for motorcycles. Years later their eldest so became World Speedway Champion. On the other side of the road was a thatch cottage called ‘Twll yen y wal'( transl. Hole in the wall) From the high window in the gable end, years ago coach men could reach e refreshing pint at this stopping point. It has since been taken down piece by piece and rebuilt at St Fagens Folk Museum. Behind where we lived were the wetlands and sand dunes,this was long before the building of the Abbey Steelworks.
Tel you more next week,meanwhile “Live simply that others might simply live”