Ken Frederickson

Mr. Ken Frederickson, b 1927, recorded 31/10/2013

Ken Frederickson helped to scull the White Rock Ferry boat which his uncle and grandfather worked between White Rock, Foxhole and the Lower Hafod on behalf of the White Rock Estate. The ferry was operated for the better part of 150 years by two families until 1942 and closed in 1945. The working of the ferry, its ferrymen and customers is described in detail within the context of life in general for children, residents and workers in White Rock, Foxhole, Pentrechwyth and Hafod.

Mrs. Frederickson discusses her family service history connection with the Vivian’s at Singleton Abbey.

Click to open the transcription in a new tab, then play the interview.


  • Grandparents were first residents at newly built Windmill Terrace, Grenfell Park Estate.
  • Grandfather Dai Clarke ferryman at White Rock having followed his half brother John Llewellyn.  All lived originally in Samlet Row, White Rock
  • Ferry started each day at 6 a.m.
  • 1d single (c1935); 11/2d return; 41/2d weekly fare.
  • Accompanied his grandfather weekly to the White Rock Estate Office to collect fares due for workers who had used the ferry that week.
  • Allowed to scull the boat only at low tide until he could swim.
  • At very low tide possible to walk across at White Rock.
  • Thrown into Weaver’s basin by his uncle as a swimming lesson!
  • His Uncle George worked the ferry after his Grandfather until 1942, assisted at times by his brother Davey.
  • Grandfather Clarke earned money as a boy soprano singing from pub to pub in Foxhole and Pentrechwyth in late 1880s.
  • Large families in Foxhole and with infant mortality children would move between relatives to balance out numbers.
  • Recalls young boys regularly jumping from Rifleman (Row) wall into empty coal wagons, riding to a curve and slower section of the track and switching to full wagons from the collieries, dropping off lumps of coal to cottagers along the line.
  • Still has scars from boyhood air rifle fights across the river!
  • St. Thomas and new housing in 1920’s viewed as well to do, but Danygraig school children often did not have shoes.
  • Sunday School at All Saints, Kilvey and outings by train to Glais from St. Thomas Station or from East Dock Station to Jersey Marine.
  • Conscripted on 18th birthday and joined Welsh Guards until 1945.
  • Remembers lead workers from White Rock who had lost their sight through lead poisoning.
  • Memories of WW1 veteran amputee carrying hose pipe and broom over his shoulder in his round cleaning urinals in Pentreguinea Road, Bonymaen and Llansamlet.
  • Recalls foul nature of the river and debris from the glue factory derived from cattle hooves!
  • Payment made weekly to friendly society.
  • A van called each Thursday at the home-6d payment for a fresh accumulator for the radio set!
  • Aware of illness and death from tuberculosis.
  • Grandfather and Uncles worked ferry on behalf of Vivian and Sons and their successors.
  • Mrs. Frederickson’s family were of farming stock, but worked for the Vivians also at Singleton Abbey as dairy maid, coachman and gardeners.
  • Remembers women workers at Hafod Isha Works, sitting on wooden ledge dangling their legs during their break. Large female working population using ferry.
  • Boathouse above ferry stage on east bank housed equipment and oars. Bricks kept to weight down sculling oars in water to straighten bent oars.
  • Ferryman had a refuge making tea. Well acquainted with passengers and their lives-source of information.
  • Spare boat anchored below boat house.
  • High Street the shopping centre………..made ferry a convenient and cheaper means of access.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me