Garw Row, Croesyceiliog

South Wales Argus: THEN THEN

Last week we visited Garw Row, Croesyceiliog, and received the following replies:

Dr Gareth D John, Cwmbran: "As a resident of Cwmbran, I recognise both of last week's photographs. They are of Garw Row in Croesyceiliog. The 'Then' photograph shows the row as it was before modernisation.

The cottages date from the 1880s and were built to house workers in the nearby tin-plate works. The Row had the unusual nickname of 'Bull Panch'. Why? These cottages had flagstone floors and a small water-pump serving all the residents.

Toilet facilities, as elsewhere throughout the valley, were outside and raw sewage went directly into a nearby stream and straight down the hill into the Afon Llwyd.

"Although remnants of a former industrial era, the semi-detached dwellings were modernised by imaginatively and cleverly interlocked kitchen extensions with bedrooms above. In 1978 Cwmbran Development Corporation was awarded a Welsh Office Design in Housing medal. But for which house?

"Professional photographs of the rejuvenated Garw Row remain with Cwmbran Urban District Council. A piece of Cwmbran's social history preserved for posterity."

Kay Shephard, Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran: "This week's Now and Then picture is Garw Row in Croesyceiliog. My grandmother lived at number 5, the second house from the left of your picture, until she died in 1957.

My father and some of his brothers and sisters grew up there. I attended The Highway Infants and Junior schools, and I would run across the field and get over the wall to visit granny Hopkins on my way home from school.

My father, Ivor Hopkins was well known for riding his unicycle along Garw Row, and was a well known character in the area.

My father's eldest sister and my cousins lived a few doors up from Granny. My one cousin, who sadly died earlier this month aged 93, was asking me about Garw Row when I last visited her a few weeks before she died.

She would have loved to have seen your pictures this week, as she had never forgotten where she grew up. I promised her I would take her to see what it looks like now, but she wasn't well enough.

I also lived at Garw Row at No.27 with my parents, and my brother was born there in 1948.

We lived at the back of the house, and the front was a general store run by a family called Carthew. In more recent years it was a fish and chip shop, but is now a private residence."

The picture was kindly submitted by Mr Maurice Payne of Griffithstown.

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