Mrs. Baddick interview: (Intro/Section 1/Section 2) 15th October 2013
Interviewed by Tudor and Janet Price. Transcription by Rachael Lovering and Sarah Daly.
This oral history was recorded by Mrs Doris Baddick of Bonymaen, Swansea on the 15th October 2013, and is part of the ‘Connected Communities’ Heritage Lottery funded project entitled:- ‘White Rock Digital Trails’. The interviewers are Tudor and Janet Price.
Interview Section 1:
Mrs B: …[My uncle] he was 27, he worked in the copper works and he was wheeling a barrow and he dropped dead…27!
T: hard work?
Mrs B: Very hard work, yes.
T: So where were you born?
Mrs B: I was born in Inkerman Street, down in St Thomas in 1924.
T: And was your father from this area?
Mrs B: My father was born in Gloucester, in Lydney.
But he lived in Pentreguinea Road, his mother and father moved from there to Pentreguinea Road
T: And did he work in the Copper works?
Mrs B: No, he worked on the railway.
T: And your mother, where was she from?
Mrs B: She was from, well she was from Foxhole, she was born at the side of the River Tawe. There was houses at the side of the River Tawe, and she was born in one of those, ..but lived on Kilvey Road then when they took those down see..
T: So what was your maiden name?
Mrs B: Weaver.
T: And were you one of lots of children?
Mrs B: Three……………girls we were.
T: Three girls, so you started life in Inkerman Street?
Mrs B: Yes.
T: So take me from there, how old were you when you left there?
Mrs B: I left there and went to Kilvey Terrace, and then my father was moved to Llandudno,
so we went to Llandudno to live for about a year, then we came back to the Quarry houses
Mrs B: or Samlet or whatever you call it, they were all called White Rock.
T: White Rock, so where exactly would the Quarry houses be?
Mrs B: Um…do you know where the…let me tell you now..the road goes down and then up
Down, then you come up now, you turned round, didn’t you, to come up here?
Well just by there [map shown, Samlet Row on Pentrechwyth Road opposite White Rock Works site)
Mrs J: There.
T: So is that Samlet Row?
Mrs B Samlet Row, yes.
T: So, how many houses were there lots of houses?
Mrs B: Only four, just four.
T: Can you describe the houses?
Mrs J: Well, you were just like, in a terrace, you know, well in a row, we called it then, and they were ordinary houses, you know, two bedrooms; two rooms downstairs, two rooms upstairs.
T: Bathroom? Toilet?
Mrs B: Oh nothing, nothing. Nothing at all.
T: No…so that was outside?
Mrs B: That was all, everything was outside then, water, everything,..
you had to go outside.
T: So as you looked out of the front door, you were on to the road?
Mrs B: Yes
T: And then across the road?
Mrs B: Then there was like, well naturally, there was a wall and behind that was part of the copper works.
T: So did you go down to play down there as a child?
Mrs B: No. We weren’t allowed, my mother and father wouldn’t, well I didn’t; my father died when he was 36..so it was only my mother keeping the three of us and she wouldn’t let us go outside to play.
T: Where did you go to school?
Mrs B: St. Thomas.
T: Yes, so that’s the big building?
Mrs B: The big building.. Yes, its flats now of course.
Flats…and they built a new school. And they said that wasn’t fit to live in!!
T: Did you go to chapel or church?
Mrs J: Yes, Kilvey. the parish church.
T : So were you Welsh speaking?
Mrs B: No.
T: No, because your father obviously, came from Gloucester?
Mrs J: Yes, yes
T: so can you just describe your life as a child, what was it like?
Mrs B: Well my mother worked, she had to work for us, you know? My father died when I was 11 and my other sister then nine and a sister seven ; my mother went to work.
T: What did she do?
Mrs B: Oh, well you know, washing and housework, you know.
T: So did she have a pension or an income?
Mrs B: Well, when my father died, she couldn’t get a pension, she couldn’t get… she was entitled to a pension, but she couldn’t get it for a couple of weeks, well, you know, we couldn’t live on nothing so she went to what they used to called then, ‘The Panel ‘ and she borrowed, well, borrowed the money because once she had that pension, then, she had to pay it back, so that’s how much she had; five shillings for me, and three shillings for each of my sisters and ten shillings for herself. And that’s how much she had to live on and then she went out to work then for practically nothing because they didn’t pay a lot.
Well she went washing on a Monday to Percy Morris, you know, the councillor and she was having one and six [1s/6d] for that day.
T: You went to Sunday School?
Mrs B: Yes.
T:…..was there any sort of amusement for you as children?
Mrs B: Well we used to go to what we used to call the Band of Hope, that was down in Foxhole, see, down by…um…did you know where the old church was down by there, Canaan?.
Well the Band of Hope was not far from there. [Caanan Congregational Chapel and School room Pentreguinea Road opened in 1839.]
T: So how long were you in school in St. Thomas?
Mrs B: Till I was 15……and then I went to work in the printers down in Wind Street, you know, at the side of the old Post Office? Green Dragon Lane.
T: So how did you travel to work?
Mrs B: In the bus . Mostly walking, but, you know, when I could afford it, in the bus.
T: So how long were you in Samlet Row?
Mrs B: Until I got married. I was 22 when I got married and I lived there till then.
T: How many children did you have, have you got?
Mrs B: Two, just David and my daughter.
T: So you went to work on the bus or walked, did you ever have to cross the river, other than on the bus?
Mrs B: Yes, well we had to cross the bridge down at the Midland. [New Cut Bridge]
T: There was a ferry?
Mrs B: Oh we used to use the ferry. That was when we used to go to the Hafod. But that was, by us by the Quarry Houses, that was just down by there, that was. But you only used that if you needed to go to the Hafod, see.
T: Did lots of people use the ferry?
Mrs B: Well, used to be, years ago of course, you know, because there wasn’t many buses around then, see.
T: So you would come out from your house and cross the road?
Mrs B: Just down a little road and over to the ferry, well that was at the side of the Copper Works, the ferry was see?
T: Can you remember going on the ferry?
Mrs B: Oh yes, yes.
T: What was that like?
Mrs B: Alright, a penny it used to cost us to go over the ferry.
T: That would take you across to the Hafod?
Mrs B: Yes, yes. Well if you wanted to go to town that way, you could go that way, see. It was a long way round otherwise.
T: Do you remember the people running the ferry?
Mrs B: Yes, uh Clarkes, their name was, Mr Clarke, I forget his other name now.
T: We’ve been looking at the ferry, all the photographs seem to suggest that people stood up, can you remember that?
Mrs B: No…
T: What do you remember about the Works itself, and the river?
Mrs JB I, well, nothing much, you know, because we weren’t associated with the Works at all, we just …let them carry on, I had an Auntie , a cook down there, that’s all I know (laughing) and uh..
She was a cook down there.
T: In White Rock?
Mrs B: In the White Rock.
T: can you remember what the atmosphere was like, was it smoky, smelly, was it..?
Mrs B: Not really
T: Because a lot of the work would have finished then, I think?
Mrs B: Well, by the, our houses. A painting , if I can find it now, it may be in there, I’ll have a look. Um, our houses, there was a arch, now where the roads divided, to come up here like, and down into where Addis was, um, there was an arch and that arch, they used to take the rubbish from the Works over, up to the top of the hill, right over the top of the arch over the hill. [Mrs. J produced a painting of Samlet Row in the 1920’s.]
And they used to call them drams.
T: Right. So that was that horse-drawn or..?
Mrs B: No, no, I don’t know, no I don’t think they were horse-drawn, well the men used to take it, I don’t know. They took the arch down then, when the Copper Works finished..
T: In terms of, cleanliness, or, dirt and everything else, people say the atmosphere was poor?
Mrs B: The atmosphere was, yeah, well…
T: But everything was I suppose?
Mrs B: I was young and I didn’t take notice, but I didn’t hear anybody grumbling.
J: It was the same for everybody.
Mrs B: Yes
T: Were there shops close by at Samlet Row?
Mrs B: No! No, no shops at all, no.
T: So if you wanted anything?
Mrs B: You had to go down as far as Pentreguinea Road, that was further…there was the little sweet shops, there was one down in Foxhole Road and there were shops for groceries and things, you had to go down to Coopers, used to be, at the bottom of Windmill Terrace, and Joys and then Steven’s the butchers and the Post Office, used to be down by there, see?
T: And were people, poor, would you describe? Did you think you were poor?
Mrs B: Well, I, I couldn’t go anywhere with the school, because my mother couldn’t afford it, but she kept us well, we never wanted for any food, and we were always dressed tidy.
T: So did you think that there were children around you who were poor?
Mrs B: Oh yes, very poor, very poor.
T: What does very poor mean?
Mrs B: Well you didn’t have any shoes, you know, and they used to go barefooted, going to school and things…you know..
T: So…how did those people manage?
Mrs B: Well they, well, as I said, they had to go to, what they used to call then, the Parish, see it was the Panel, but the Parish they used to call it, see?
T: If you or your sisters were ill, what would happen, could you call a doctor?
Mrs B: Yes, you could call a doctor and our doctor was at the top of High Street by the Station. That’s where our doctor was, Dr Gayleigh, our doctor was.
T: And did your mother have to pay for that?
Mrs B: Yesss! We had to pay for the doctor then, they used to come around the door, you had to pay.
T: What, you had to pay weekly, or monthly or?
Mrs B: Well whenever they came, you know?
T: Do you remember your mother paying rent for the house?
Mrs B: Yes. Eight shillings a week.
T: Eight shillings a week, that was quite a lot?
Mrs B: Then. Yes.
T: When you compare it with the Panel money she was getting, that was quite a lot?
Do you know who the landlords were?
Mrs B: Um, oh gosh, I can’t remember the name of them now. .. They had a shop down in Port Tennant Road, down there somewhere, I forget what her name was now. My memory’s going…(laughter).
J: You’re doing very well!
T: So I’m looking now at your painting: I can see four houses in Samlet Row can you tell me about the people who lived alongside you?
Mrs B: Mrs Hancock used to live next door to me, then next door to her was Mrs Needan, and the other side was Mrs Davies.
T: And did they have big families?
Mrs B: Well…..Mrs Hancock had four children, Mrs Needen had three, and I don’t know how many the other one had? Five I think? All rented.
J: Did they work in the Copper Works?
Mrs B: No. No,um, I never remember Mr Hancock, I, never remember him, but Mrs Hancock used to work; she used to work down the Docks, somewhere, she did, I forget what the name of the place I used to know the place, and Mr Needen, where was he? Perhaps he was working in the Copper Works, I’m not sure.
T: Were you conscious that there was unemployment?
Mrs B: Yeah, you know, you wasn’t very sure of your job then, see.
T: So, as children, where would you play?
Mrs B: Well…where would we play? in the front of the house there was a little space that we could play on. You know, but my mother wouldn’t allow us to go off..
T: When you look at the old maps, near Samlet Row, there’s a urinal
Do you remember that?
Mrs B: That was up the same side of the house, just up the road, going up to Bonymaen.
T: So, presumably that was for men coming from…
Mrs J: From the Works..
T: So as you grew up as a teenager, was there entertainment?
Mrs B: No, not really..We used to go to the cinema, the Pictorial down, down by the Midland . You know where the Midland Station used to be, by there, then it went as the Scarla cinema, it changed its name then, that’s where we used to go, on a Wednesday night and a Saturday night. It used to be tuppence to go, but my mother couldn’t afford to give us tuppence, because I mean the money wasn’t enough see for three and four of us.
T: Your father died when he was young? Was that an accident?
Mrs B: Well, he was gassed during the War and of course he was never really fit, you know.
And, um, he was always ill, you know, but he went to work, nearly dying sometimes, you know.
T: Were you conscious of lots of family around you or not?
Mrs J: Yes, we had a lot of family, my mother’s family. My father’s family, we used to, you know, associate with, but my mother’s family was our family, like.
T: What was her maiden name?
Mrs B: Maiden name? Lewis..
T: Were they Swansea people?
Mrs B: No, they were from Pembroke; Amroth.
Came to Swansea for work most probably.
Now my Grandfather was working at the start of the ICI. He used to work the other side of the river. [ ICI took over the Hafod and Morfa Copper Works (formerly Vivian’s and Foster Williams) from British Copper Manufacturers in 1928]
He lived down Kilvey Road
J: Did he use the ferry then?
Mrs B: Oh yes, well they’d have to see..
T: So….when were you married?
Mrs B: 1946
T: So you were you were in Samlet Row during the War years?
Mrs B: Yes, yes.
T: What can you tell us about that?
Mrs J: Oh the War…yes, terrible, it was, we used to, my grandmother was living on Talfan Road, up by here, and on a Sunday, we always used to come up to my grandmother’s, you know, and … I was courting then; my husband, and we used to go for a walk after church, go to church, then we’d go for a walk over to Tir John, over that way and then one night, we went there and there was a raid. Oh, never forget it, never ever in my life forget it. The bombs was falling all around us, but luckily we managed to get home and then we were they were all, taken out of their houses because of the bombing and come to live with us, down on the Quarry Houses.
T: Quite a squeeze?
Mrs B: Yeah, terrible it was, as I say, the children today knows nothing. They wouldn’t act like they do, if they did..(laughing)
T: You were aware of air raids and?
Mrs B: Yes, yes, very aware, aware of the air raids.
T: Are you younger than your sisters or older?
Mrs B: No, I was the eldest of us…
My two sisters are dead.
T: As far as the wartime is concerned, did life in Samlet Row just went on or?
Mrs B: Yeah, it just went on, you know, you had to, put up with it, couldn’t dodge it at all, could you?
T, Ok, we’ll take a break there .
Mrs B: Let me go and see if I can…
END section 1
Mrs Baddick interview (Intro/Section 1/Section 2) 15th October 2013
J: Yes. [Mrs. B was called up for war work in WW2, and leaving home would have left her mother to look after her younger sisters on her own]
Mrs B: So I think I was entitled to give her something back, so instead of going to the Army then, they put me in Cwmfelin, [Richard Thomas & Co. Cwmfelin Steel Works] welding, I was a welder (laughter).
T: Was that Jerry..?
Mrs B: Jerry Cans
T: So what sort of shift did you work?
Mrs B: We worked day shift, always day shift, yeah.
T: How did you get to Cwmfelin?
Mrs B: Over the boat.
That was the boat, see?
Well the only other way was right around, you know, well I mean you couldn’t afford the bus fare then, see, so, well.
T: So was it mostly women in Cwmfelin then or..?
Mrs B: Yes, mostly women, yes.
T: Do you remember what you were paid?
Mrs B : Well when I when I left there, I was Supervisor, so I was paid £3.10s 0d a week and God Help, my mother saved that, so when I got married I had a bank book with £100 on it.
T: So how did you meet your husband?
Mrs B: Oh, well my grandmother was living over there and we used to go up there and he was living here, because this was his grandfather’s. He had built this house, so it have always been in the family. And I had a friend living up here, and we used to come around by the Jersey and we used to meet a crowd of boys, you know, and that’s how we met!
T: So what was your husband’s job?
Mrs B: Well, first of all he was in, in the Mannesmann? [Tube Works, Landore] Then he went to the Army, then he went down the South Wales Transport, then he went back to the Mannesmann , then he went over Tir John [Power station], then he went to Addis [Plastics, Upper Bank], and then he went to, the steelworks in Velindre [Tinplate Works] and that’s where he was, he was there for 12 years, so you know, and he was with the contractors a lot, building contractors; well they couldn’t get jobs, see, you know, you had to go where you could, I mean, he was never out of work though, never ever.
T: When you moved from Samlet Row, where did you go?
Mrs B: Up here, this here, well I got married down there when I was living there, like and I came here, I been living here now 67 years.
T: This is a photograph. [Photograph of Mr. George Clarke]
Does that ring any bells?
Mrs B: No
T: No? But you mentioned Mr Clarke; the ferryman, that’s George Clarke?
Mrs B: Well George Clarke, that’s right, that was his name; George Clarke.
T: George Clark died in 1980, but
Mrs B Yeah, that’s right, yeah.
But his father was before him, see?
T: And do you remember his father?
Mrs B: Yes, yeah, I remember him. Well, he lived in the Quarryhouses, see, they lived there…
Before, they were there before we went there..
Mrs B: I know the woman’s name that, Mrs Screech..
Tudor: Mrs Screech?!
Mrs B: That was the woman’s name who owned the cottages.
J: Mrs Screech!
Mrs B: And they had a newsagent’s shop down in Port Tennant, see?
Funny how things comes back, isn’t it?!
T: Have you ever heard of someone called Becky Pee? Rebecca Pee?
Mrs B: No.
T: There’s a tale about a lady living in Samlet Row who collected urine for the Copper Works. Have you ever heard that story? [Urine used to bring out the patina on Copper plate]
Mrs B: No.
J: In background: It must be too far back.
It’s older than your generation, perhaps?
Mrs B: Yes, it is.
T: Is this Mrs Clarke , Olive Clarke? [Photograph]
Mrs B: Olive Clark, yeah.
T: Do you remember Olive Clarke, yes?
Mrs B: Yes, Olive Clarke, yes, they lived in Grenfell Park.
Oh I knew them well, but of course they’re all, they’re all dead now.
T: And do you remember a lady called Mrs Rice?
Mrs B: Well, we had relations; Rices.
My mother’s side; my mother’s auntie was Mrs Dobson, and she, her daughter married a Mr Rice.
T: And before the Clarkes, there was a family called Owens and Leyshons, very much a White Rock family and there’s a Mrs Rice involved in that, so, maybe, we’ll have a look and see whether there’s a connection, you never know.
Can you remember any celebrations in the street or street parties…?
Mrs B: Oh yes, when the, you know, but that was up here, that was.
T: So when you came here, there would have been xxxxx Road, but there would have been no housing..?
Mrs B: No, not the fish shop, or the whatsaname, well there used to be a chemist’s, chemists.
But then when everything changed with the medical, course, they took that chemist down, which was a godsend to the people around here.
Mrs B: but they couldn’t do nothing about it.
T: So did you carry on working after you got married?
Mrs B: Yes.
T: When you were first married?
Mrs B: When I first married, was back in the printers then, see?
They had to keep it open for you by the time you [war service ended], so I went back to printers and then, of course, after I had David, then, I didn’t work then for a while.
T: And, in terms of life around here, in the late ‘40’s..?
Mrs B: Yes.
T: …was this a nice place to live? Was it a good place to live?
Mrs B: Good place to live, quiet, but not now.
T: But by the time of the end of the ‘40’s, the Copper Works was gone?
Mrs B: Oh everything had gone then, yes.
And there was a little fish shop across the road, there used to be and that went then, and they built the big one then, see?
And I said that big house over there, £12,000 it was, when it was built!
T: Yes! Do you remember how much you paid for this house?
Mrs B: I don’t know.
About £2,000, it was, when it was built.
Mrs B: But this house was frontaged and then when my mother-in-law’s sister got married, they built the back then and divided the house into two.
T: …so two families living here?
Mrs B: Yeah, there’s one next door.
T: Did you have a bathroom here when you moved in?
Mrs B: No.
No, they got, they had a bedroom divided then, because the biggest room, the bedrooms was as big as these rooms, you see, upstairs.
This is a bigger house than next door.
T: So, Dave would have gone to school locally here?
Mrs B: Cwm school, yeah.
T: In terms of the sorts of family life that people had in those days, that’s gone, has it?
Mrs B: Oh yeah…yeesss.
T: Why do you think that is?
Mrs B: Well they live their own lives now don’t they?
T: There are no chapels nor churches?
Mrs B: Yes, there’s the chapel, there’s St Margaret’s up in, um, up in Mansel Road, and down in Cwm, there’s Cwm Chapel.
Mrs B: I can’t offer you, you can have a cup of tea if you go and make it yourself! (laughter)
J: Would you like me to make you a cup of tea?
Mrs B: No thanks! I just had my breakfast before you come, thank you all the same.