Oral History collection: Alun Bannister (born 22 Jun 1924, Llanwrtyd Wells) interviewed by edited monologue about his childhood in Cwmtwrch and Ystradgynlais.

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 216 D/D SCS 17/6
  • Dates of Creation
      May 1988
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 audio recording on cassette; also digital copy in MP3 format

Scope and Content

Track 1. [00:00:01] Personal Details: Alan Bannister, b 22/6/24, north Brecon. [00:01:01] Personal Details: Father was Brecon policeman. [00:01:13] First World War: Horses commandeered by army in 1914 (hooves were stamped). [00:04:49] Health: Consumption prevalent in interwar period. [00:06:13] Health: Head lice, treated with paraffin. [00:06:40] Education: School methods. [00:09:39] Leisure: Children's games. [00:09:48] Transport: Horse power for most utilities. [00:10:57] Transport: First buses Swansea Ystradgynlais open-topped; clutch troubles. [00:11:08] Transport: Heavily used coal line Ynyscedwyn [00:?] to Swansea. [00:12:36] Mining: Three collieries in 1920s: Ynyscedwyn, Diamond, one other. [00:13:19] Mining: Evocation of early shifts on road in dark. [00:13:44] Domestic power: Most houses lit by paraffin lamps, coal heating & cooking, some houses electric in 1920s. [00:14:04] Domestic power: Ceramic materials for domestic electrics. [00:14:33] Domestic power: Electric power in 1920s - domestic only, first electric iron. [00:14 56] Retail utilities: Bakery had electric power. [00:15:12] Retail services: Bakers cooked meat, cakes etc for customers. [00:15:46] Retail deliveries: Horse-drawn deliveries in 1920s. [00:16:01] Electric Supplies: Power house near "teddybear bridge" over Tawe, on sight of new 1980s bridge. [00:17:12] Boxing: Ystradgynlais boxers. [00:19:16] Strikes: Absence of noise from collieries and railways. [00:19:57] Strikes: Tawe and streams cleaner in strikes. [00:21:39] Education: Ystradgynlais County School burned, late '31 or early '32. [00:22:07] Education: School replaced in 1934-35, first Comprehensive in Wales, 1951. [00:24:06] Poverty: Valleys poverty in 1930s. [00:24:50] Poverty Relief: Charitable activities. [00:26:10] Leisure: Chapels centre of social life. [00:27:10] Leisure: One cinema in 1920s, Page's, became Astoria. [00:28:04] Children's toys: Airship mania of 1920s-1930s. [00:28:38] Leisure: Western Electric Recording modernised Astoria in 1930s. [00:28:54] Leisure: Jolson's Jazz Singer shown in Capital, Ystalyfera. [00:29:14] Religion: 1932 collections for Calvinist Missions. [00:30:50] Empire: Subject's great grandfather was missionary and educator in Raj, early 19th century. [00:32:54] Police: Social unrest 1931 Cwmtwrch, strikes and lockouts. [00:34:06] Police: 1937: total Breconshire Constabulary 61 men. [00:34:40] Police: 1930s: Ystradgynlais & district police - 1 inspector, 1 sergeant, 6 constables, and single constables in Cwmtwrch and Abercrave. [00:36:55] Education: Teachers' qualities. [00:42:54] Education: Outside toilets at school.

Track 2. [00:00:25] Education: 10-11 year olds undertook a preliminary exam before Comprehensive. [00:00:30] Education: Preliminaries held in spring. [00:07:58] Education: Exams held in sports halls and canteens, not too dissimilar from today, but pupils had to take their shoes off to avoid damage to the floor. [00:12:10] Environment: 1933-1934, landslides onto roads. [00:12:25] Infrastructure: As a result of landslides, the road was widened with a large stone retaining wall constructed.