Have a good look at this bus shelter because it will soon disappear and be replaced with something much more modern and probably flimsier. Before it’s demolished, however, we should celebrate its beginnings and give thanks for the community spirit that inspired its builders. Ten men from Dinas worked as volunteers and lined up in front of the shelter for this photo when they had completed the job.
Of course, all the hard work was undertaken with the idea of offering travellers a refuge from the wind and the rain. However, even at that time, they appreciated its potential as a quiet place where teenagers could meet for some canoodling, away from the prying eyes of their ever-vigilant parents. The following poem, lauding the achievement, was written at the time by Bill Harries, Hillsbro (see photo), and published in the June 2014 edition of ‘Y Llien Gwyn’.
I’m very grateful to Morys Rhys for this literal translation.
Well this is the first shelter /Built within the Parish /Where the boys were working/ Really hard until late. /Everyone working diligently /Not one cross word, /Each one doing his best /To make the place a mansion. /Ezec Williams was the builder/Capt Mabe worked as his mate /And Norman was there learning /How to build a shed says he. /Glyn came down from the Mill /To help with the work /We should really thank him /For coming such a long way. /Ken Nicholas was also there /With his heart in the job /Not a minute had he to spare /To look at the clock. /There were four foremen/ Everyone with a white collar /Jim Mabe was the foremost /To keep the work going /Hoffi came along cheerfully /Never with a stern glance /Always with a story or tale /To make the work fun. /Oh craftsmen of Yet y Bontpren /How fair your work appears /Building now a refuge /For travellers on their journey. /There is here a cosy shelter /From the cold southern winds /All that is now required /Is a canteen for selling tea. /If you searched throughout the districts /I’m sure you wouldn’t find /Anyone better for helping his community /Than our friend Capt Mabe. /He as well as others /Worked hard with Ezec /And none of the gang expected /To be paid with a cheque. /Jim Rowlands and Tom Battin /Were there like two giants /No chance for anyone to lean /On a pickaxe, mattock or shovel. /And now I must conclude /Or else I’ll face the sack /It’s now been given to the Council /To keep the place smart. /There’s a rumour that a girl from Boncath /Is now extremely keen /In love over her ears /With Norman Thomas, Clyn. /If she comes down to court him /Doris* can make savings now /No need for a fire in the parlour /Each night till break of dawn /The two’ll be in the Shelter /So cosy and so warm /Courting in the darkness /Away from the world’s noise /They’ll be courting as long as they want to /Happily and without fuss /There’s no better place for courting /Than the corner of a Bus Shelter.
*Norman Thomas’ mum.
I do like these fascinating posts on local features and personalities — ideally suited to the blog format as an immediate and accessible record. Thanks — shall look out for this when I’m passing, before it goes.
Interesting how less straitlaced they were about ‘courting’ then we might imagine, and how more puritan attitudes can seem today, despite the ‘sexual revolution’.
I guess that the new style shelters, made of see-through materials, are designed to discourage young people in search of a little privacy!
Very likely, or to make potential passengers more visible to bus drivers?