Postcards from Tongwynlais – Part 11


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For this instalment of “Postcards from Tongwynlais”, I’ve selected a classic shot of St Michael’s Church with Castell Coch in the distance. If you’re a regular reader, you may have seen this image before but I thought it would be interesting to try and work out when it was taken.

Photo of St Michael's Church on an old postcard

It looks like whoever bought this postcard was planning to send it and then changed their mind! So despite having no postage date, the stamp gives us a clue to it’s age. The stamp features the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by experienced royal photographer Dorothy Wilding. The “Wilding” series of stamps were used from 1952 to 1967. That doesn’t narrow it down much.

Luckily, I have another postcard featuring this image. That one was posted in 1957, so the photo was taken earlier than this.

Back of an old postcard

Another clue is the car on the left of the photo. If you look closely at the number plate, you can see a few letters and numbers. The first two characters looked like “NY” so I did some digging and discovered that “NY” was the area code for Glamorganshire.

After some more research, it turns out that number plates using two letters and one to four numbers were issued to cars registered between 1903 and the mid 1930s. The plates were issued with numbers in sequence from 1 to 9999. It looks like there’s only 2 numbers so this vehicle may have been registered in the early 1900s.

One final clue is the road sign. If my investigations are correct, this style was introduced in 1934.

The postcard was produced by L. G. Railton Ltd. of Pontypridd, but I can’t find any information about the company to know when they were in business.

The major difference in the photo from today’s view is the lack of pavement. Does anyone in the village remember when Merthyr Road gained a pavement?



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3 thoughts on “Postcards from Tongwynlais – Part 11”

  1. I was brought up in Tongwynlais and can just about remember the church with that wall. It was taken down to create the footpath, I think it would be in the mid 1950s.

    • I think the pavement was put outside the church in the late fifties and the bus stop moved from its original place which was on the corner, outside Bennett’s garage, at the bottom of Mill Road. The new place for the bus stop was on the new pavement, a few yards up from Bennett’s.

      I can remember standing many times at the old bus stop as an very young girl, waiting in all weathers for the bus to take me to Whitchurch for my piano lesson. From the age of about seven I was allowed to travel alone on the bus to Taffs Well, Whitchurch and from the age of 11, to Cardiff.

      There were two main bus services that you could use, Western Welsh in their red livery and Rhondda Bus Company in their dark maroon liveryThere was also an irregular service to Pentyrch and Creigiau livery. The terminus for these buses were the Rhondda Valley
      Other services which would drop off passengers but not take on passengers were Caerphilly in their Green livery and the Red and White Bus services, which went as far as Aberdare and Neath.The bus services were possibly better then than now!
      Every Saturday, Western Welsh would provide a direct service to Cardiff at 2pm, called the two o’clock special.

      My first teaching post in Wales, having returned from my first teaching post in Redditch, and marrying in St Michael and all Angels Church in 1963., was in Penywaun, Aberdare. I didn’t have access to a car in those early days, but I felt lucky that there was a through bus service to this remote place.

      I would catch the bus at 7am, outside the toilets which were newly built,and embark on a convoluted journey through all the many villages between the Ton and Penywaun. This took an hour and a half, followed by a 10 minute walk to the school. This route was reversed at the end of the day and I arrived home at 6pm.

      Things are so different today!

  2. I think that L.G.Railton of Pontypridd, may have been the one and same, or connected to a Mr +Mrs Railton, newsagents and stationers, Park Street, Treforest (now a florists). They also had a sweet shop in the same street (now the Pink Shop). They lived in the Llantwit Road area of Treforest. Both premises were sold as going concerns towards the end of the 1970’s. I know that Mr Railton was rarely at either premises as he had another full time business. I cannot confirm until I can see certain people to ask I.e. when the pubs open. Kevin Power.


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