Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Shopping At 90

In this article from the Llais Mrs Elizabeth Richards recalls aspects of her long life. Aged 90, she was assumed to be the eldest resident in the district in 1954.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, Friday 29th October 1954:-

Celebrating her 90th birthday on Monday was Mrs Elizabeth Richards, of Crown Cottages, near Cwmgiedd. She is probably the oldest inhabitant in the district.

She is still very active and does most of her own housework, as well as going as far as the grocer to fetch some goods for the house. She visited Neath quite recently.

Mrs Richards was born at Plasy-coed, Cwmgiedd, and moved to Crown Cottages after her marriage to John Richards who was a plasterer. She has lived now in the ame house for 50 years. Her husband died 26 years ago after an illness which kept him in hospital for years.

This grand old lady had two sons and one daughter. Her eldest son was the late Mr William Richards, who was a parish councillor for Cynlais ward for many years. The other son is Mr David Richards, M.E., Penrhos. Her daughter, Maggie, keeps the home for her mother.

Mrs Richards well remembers the canal as the only means of transport in the district and the children riding home from school on the barges as far as Ynisuchaf.

What little schooling she had was at the Temperance Hall, Oddfellows Street. She had to leave when 10 years old to go into service.

Mrs Richards told a 'Llais' reporter of the hard times in the district 75 years ago. "At that time many left for the Rhondda Valley," she said, "Those left behind eked out a bare living by digging the hillsides for iron ore and taking it to the Yniscedwyn Iron Works."

She thinks the lot of the old people is much better now. She related how the old people from Abercrave used to walk down to join the queue at Ystradgynlais to receive a small pittance from the relieving officer, having to wait until it was dark, while the officer enjoyed himself at the Star Inn.

She has worked very hard to bring up her small family, and still enjoys fairly good health.

While able, she went regularly to worship at Yorath Chapel and afterwards to Tabernacle, Ystradgynlais, where she is now a member.

Mrs Richards will soon be moving to the house next door, and she is not very happy about it. Who would be, after spending 50 years in the same house?

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