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William Remembers Part 1.
William Jones 1911 - 1990

William Jones 1911 - 1990

The "William Remembers" sections of the web site are dedicated to the memory of: William Jones who passed away on March 23rd 1990.

First published by the Bangor-on-Dee Local History Society 1987.

Being the personal remembrances of William Jones, retired Farmer of Highgate Cottage, Whitchurch Road, Bangor on Dee.

I was born on the seventh of April in the year nineteen hundred and eleven at Tallarn Green Post Office.
Mother, Florence, daughter of William and Martha Bennion of Fields Farm, Willington, was one of eight children.  Father, Wilfred Jones, only child of William and Elizabeth Jones, also came of farming stock and spent his early life on Three Fingers Farm, Willington.  My maternal grand parents retired to a cottage at Tallarn Green; I never knew my father’s parents since they died before I was born.  Sister May came on the scene some years later and this was the last change in the composition of my family.

My earliest recollection of life is of a dog and kennel at the Post Office, and later, at four years of age, having to go to Liverpool for an operation to remove a lump from my groin.  In the spring of 1914 the family removed by Chester’s horse drawn wagon to the Horns Farm, later renamed The Orchards, Whitchurch Road, Bangor.

At six years I was in trouble again when I lost the third finger of my left hand.  It seems that I was helping a young girl to cut up slabs of linseed cake for the cattle using a hand operated machine.  As I put in a slab my companion turned the handle taking my hand into the cogs.  Someone went for the doctor at Bangor but found that he was out.  Mr. Foster of the Royal Oak, who owned a Model T Ford, then took over but cursed the car left, right and centre when it refused to start.  After labouring hard and long with the starting handle the engine eventually fired and he arrived at our farm and took me to Bangor.  Here I was transferred to another car conveyed to the doctor’s surgery in Wrexham.  In the meantime a fourth person had contacted the doctor who had started out for Bangor as I was being taken into Wrexham; apparently we passed each other on the way. Eventually I arrived at the old infirmary at the corner of Bradley Road where I remained receiving treatment for five weeks and two days.  When I got home I found myself the proud possessor of a newly purchased three wheeled cycle with solid tyres.  Cars were few and far between in those days, with the result that if one approached I would either sit petrified on the cycle in the road and howl, or jump off into the ditch and again howl because the cycle was in the way.

School was the next milestone and I joined the daily cavalcade to school which was then at the back of High Street where School Mews now stands.  We started from home at about twenty past eight in the morning to link up on the way with children from Halghton Mill, Billy Griffith from the Pandy, Hetty Large, Fred and Reg Betteley, Gladys Suckley and Lucy, Emma John and Amy Woolley; at Hollybush Harry, Gwen, Ted and Jessie Huxley.  We were then joined by Emily and Jim Betteley and Maud Davies from Raggs Hill.  Our number continued to increase as George, Elsie, Harold and May Done came from the farm followed by William and May Spoor at Highgate and Jack, Annie, Alice, Chrissie, Gertrude and Frances Taylor followed again by Tom, May, Jack, Ted, Wilfred and Harold Blake from the Cloy, together with Vera, Louie, Maggie and Linda Lewis.  All in all a motley collection of youngsters making our way noisily along the road in all weathers.

In my early schooldays we used slate, scratchy slate pencil and duster to be replaced in time by paper, steel pen, ink and pencil.  The curriculum provided for tuition in reading, writing and arithmetic, plus woodwork for the boys and cookery for the girls in the Old School now the Village Hall.  Pupils numbered around one hundred and twenty.  Memory recalls Mr. Moss as Headmaster (nicknamed Johnie); Miss. Roberts who cycled in from Wrexham and Miss. Lawrence and Miss. Twiss.  As we got older we spent part of school time working on allotments situated on Overton Road: just before the position of the new bridge.  Here were public allotments of which the school used ten or twelve strips.  The Village Hall, known as the Old School, was used by the boys for fortnightly woodwork lessons, the teacher coming from outside our area.  At a different time the girls attended for cookery lessons when loose tops were clamped on to the woodwork benches for their use.  On these occasions our numbers were augmented by children from Overton, Penley, Worthenbury and Hanmer.

In those far off days the school could boast no water taps or any sort of washing facility.  Similarly the toilets consisted of an outside building divide two, girls on one side boys on the other, with a door in the middle the man who cleared out the sewage which was removed by horse and cart out of school hours.

When I first went to school I had my midday meal at Mrs. Barlow’s opposite the old Lion public house on Whitchurch Road, later a betting shop.  I then moved to Mrs. Roberts opposite the Post Office, until when older a packed lunch became customary although frequently not eaten until afternoon playtime as we would be too busy playing football at lunchtime.

On one occasion Don Owen and I came out of school early and having acquired some chalk, drew a picture on the porch door of a man urinating with the caption "Johnie" This caused an uproar.  We were apprehended on the evidence of two small children who said they had seen us perpetrating this foul deed.  We denied responsibility but were kept standing in line for an hour or more until our accusers seemingly became frightened and confused and the evidence collapsed.  The staff never did establish who had carried out this dastardly crime.  Later I was in trouble again with the Woodwork Master for sharpening my pencil with a chisel on the desk.  Asked whether I would sharpen my pencil on the furniture at home I replied; “No”, whereupon I was asked to hold my hand out to receive some stinging raps with a planed piece of wood specially kept for the purpose.  The cane was similarly used for punishment purposes throughout my Schooldays.

Selective examinations took place when we reached eleven years of age, those successful going on to Grove Park Grammar School in Wrexham.  I was not bright enough to take the exam and so remained at Bangor School until fourteen when I left to take up work on our farm.  My recollection was of going to Mr. Jones, the tailor, at School House, to be measured for a pair of breeches which cost two pounds.

I can recall receiving only one school prize and that for being adjudged to be the most manly boy in the school. On one occasion when not very old I went with father by train to the March Fair at Wrexham.  Coconut shies offered four balls for six old pence.  Apparently my tally was four coconuts won with four balls.  We then missed the train home and began to walk; fortunately Philip and George Humphreys had started a taxi service and we were lucky to have a lift from Kings Mills.

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