Ivor's Insights Part 4 and Part 5

Part Four
     After suitable accommodation in nearby Bettws Cedewain was found Dad returned to London to make the necessary arrangements for the whole family to leave the smoke of London and move to this completely new world, a world not polluted by the smell and sight of smoke but one of clean air amid the green hills of the Welsh
countryside. This was the Brigadoon type world into which my brother David and I were born in 1930 and 1931 respectively.
    My four older siblings, in later life, would often recount their memories of Bettws and then register their surprise, amazement and yes, even mock indignation because I couldn’t remember or share their memories. I would be ‘dismissed’ for being ‘too young’ to remember.  It’s quite true because I have to admit that my only memory of living in Bettws is of the small stream at the back of our house. In my defence I was only four and half years old when we left Bettws! Oh well!  I suppose that’s what becomes of being the youngest of five.
   The Gregynog Press was world famous for its fine art printing, employing only the very best artists, engravers, book binders of the day. Dad’s printing expertise found its zenith enhancing this amalgamation of such talented creative people throughout the years 1927-1936, so much so that he was held in such high esteem as ‘one of the finest printers of the twentieth century’
     I think it’s no exaggeration to say that Dad and Mum’s decision to move to Wales turned out to be, after the First World War and the Lawrence of Arabia experience,  the third history making pivotal period of their, and consequently the family’s,  life.
     In addition to his magnificent printing skills Dad was also a musician, playing the piano and mandolin banjo, not at the same time of course. This talent led him to form a dance band which they called ‘The Venetian Dance Band’. They were very successful and in great demand playing at dances, weddings and parties in Bettws and the surrounding villages.
     The saying ‘all good things must end’ came true for us all in 1936 when Dad and Mum realised that with a growing family and the lack of suitable work opportunities for them around the Bettws area, apart from agricultural employment, it was time to leave this idyllic setting and move back to the London area. 
---End of Part Four---
Part Five
     During my father’s time at the Gregynog Press he had built up such a happy
working relationship with Robert Maynard, the Controller of the Press and the man who had employed Dad in the first place, that Maynard told Dad that if ever he decided to leave the Press and move back to London seeking a job, to contact him.
So, when in 1930, Maynard announced that he was resigning his post and leaving the Press to set up his own business, The Raven Press in Harrow Weald, Middlesex, Dad remembered Maynard’s words so when in 1936 he and Mum also left Gregynog and Bettws and moved the family to Pinner which is near Harrow he went to work for Robert Maynard. As is the case with my cloudy memories of Bettws it is the same regarding Pinner. What little I know about it has been gained from family conservations and my Dad’s memoirs. Suffice to say that we moved to 65 Pinner Hill Road into a modern semi-detached council three-bedroom house which had two rooms, a kitchen, cloakroom downstairs and three bedrooms and bathroom upstairs.
      For the first time we had a bathroom –instead of bathing in a tin bath filled with kettles of hot water - and electric lighting and power. Naturally, my brothers and I felt it necessary to check out this new fangled lighting device by frequently switching the lights on and off much to the annoyance of our parents.
     We also had a one of the new electric-powered radiograms which was housed within a beautifully-finished wooden console model that was such a piece of furniture in itself that it was afforded pride of place in the room. It was also the period when cinemas were spreading like mushrooms throughout the country. Pinner had the Langham and in nearby Northwood Hills they was the Odeon and the Essoldo in Northwood. A weekly visit to the ‘pictures’ was a way of life for millions throughout Britain. The children were well catered for by having suitable films shown every Saturday morning.  There would be cartoons, crime busting heroes like Flash Gordon and Superman. But probably the most popular films were the Westerns. These followed two patterns, sometimes it would be cowboys such as Buck Rogers, Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy chasing bank robbers or saving a town from unscrupulous greedy land barons or others, which were watched by young impressible eyes in animated excitement, were when the  prairies would echo to the sound of thundering hoofs of cowboys horses as they chased, or were being chased, by hordes of Apache, Arapaho or Comanche Indians riding bareback, uttering blood curdling whooping cries and yielding their tomahawks.  Another familiar scene was a wagon train being surrounded by marauding Indians, usually led by Geronimo, and when all seemed lost the air would suddenly echo to the sound of a bugle as the U.S. Seventh Cavalry came galloping to the rescue. This would bring cheers and screams from the children.
     One scenario which annoyed me was when the Sheriff with his posse arrived at the bandits hideout he would immediately say to one member of his posse ‘You stay here and the rest of you come with me’ Now, this I always felt was a little unfair. I can imagine the man told to stay behind saying to himself ‘Why is it always me who has to stay behind and miss all the fun?’     
--End of Part Five---

Add a comment

* Comments must be approved before being displayed.