LAST week we featured a picture of Commercial Street, Pontnewydd.

The Now and Then pictures are of Commercial Street, Pontnewydd. The former is I think the late 1950s or early 1960s.

I grew up there in the 1940/50’s and have many fond memories of the shops spread out along three sides of the one way system that is still the way in and out of Commercial Street on the right of the pictures, whilst the turning on the left (Chapel Street) led to Old Cwmbran.

On the right, next to the Pontnewydd Hotel, the little single storey building is Gazzi’s café. According to my father Mr Gazzi was from Italy and I remember being treated to one of his ice creams. On the first junction on the right was F B Chalmer’s the Chemists and beyond this Carmarthen Stores, the general grocers where my family placed a weekly order which was delivered by van, when the order for the next week was placed.

Much like today’s online supermarket shopping, but with far less choice.

Beyond the second junction on the right was the gas showroom with a bank on the opposite corner. The hill beyond leads to Upper Cwmbran and West Pontnewydd. The road beyond the Chemist is New Street and along here could also be found the Post Office and Meek’s fish and chip shop.

I remember cod and chips being one shilling (5p) and hake and chips one and thruppence (just over 6p). On the left of the picture would have been Fred Williams the barber, who lived just up the road from us and then on the far side of the one way system was our neighbour’s shoe shop (Pritchards).

I remember him telling me off for taking off my shoes without having undone the laces. Another shop I remember was Poulton’s the butchers as well as an ironmongers, a paper shop and fruit and vegetable store, not forgetting the chapel at the beginning of Chapel Street (although the one I went to was in Richmond Road).

The pictures are both taken from the bridge which in the then photograph led down, by the side of the Hotel, to Pontnewydd railway station. Nowadays it is a road bridge with the A4051 Cwmbran Drive having replaced the railway lines many years ago (Oh Dr Beeching!).

John Cook, Caerleon