The very first documented evidence of an association specifically set up to provide a Village Hall for Pontlliw is in the form of a Bank Pass Book in account with Lloyds Bank, Pontardulais, in the name of "The Pontlliw Public Hall and Library", a name which still remains in use to this day by the present Village Hall committee. The first entry in this book is a credit dated Jan 3rd 1922 for £85/2/1d. The pass book also gives the names of the committee at that date, which were as follows:
Secretary: Lewis J Clee.
Treasurer: Gwilym Jenkins.
Committee: Daniel Harris.
Rev'd D H Davies.
John Wm Jones.
Before this pass book the sum of £85/2/1d must have been accrued from somewhere so the evidence is that the committee had been formed some time prior to 1922. Meetings must have been held prior to opening this account and although no documentation is available they must also have discussed the possibility of providing a centre of some sort for the village otherwise why would the account be opened in the name of "The Pontlliw Public Hall and Library".
The fact that the committee was formed prior to 1922 is also bourne out by a record of £10 having been paid on April 14th 1950 to a Mr J. Thomas, "as a token of good wishes for more than 30 years service to the committee", although there is no mention of a Mr. J. Thomas on the original committee, it is probable that there were more than the two officers and three members, those being listed for banking purposes only. This entry would put the date of formation of the original committee as circa 1919 or possibly before. In all probability this gentleman was Mr Joseph Thomas, village Postmaster, 'Thomas the Post' as he was affectionately known, who played a very active part in all aspects of village life right through to the 1950's, and who was one of the original trustees of the land on which the present hall is built.
Of the very few entries in the pass book between 1922 and 1933, one remains something of mystery considering that the hall committee owned no property or land at this stage, and that is a debit entry in the amount of £5/10/0d on Feb 16th 1922, itemised as 'Bar Lock'.
On March 1st 1923 the sum of £70 was transferred to a deposit account, the balance of £8/15/1d remaining in the current account. Between this date and January 1933, when the hall committee really came into it's own, there was little activity to be shown with regards to the bank. Most of the day to day dealings of the committee probably being attended to on a cash basis, although unfortunately there is no documentary evidence of this.
In the late 1920's building work commenced on the new school building, quite modern for its time being built entirely of brick, this is the school that is in use today. The building was completed and everything was transferred from the old school in readiness to accept its first pupils on September 19th 1932. But what was to become of the old school building?
The records show that on January 11th 1933 the sum of £25 was paid by the committee to the Glamorgan County Council for the old school, and an official receipt dated 16th January 1933, confirms this transaction.
Although the committee of the day were unaware of what was to come, this purchase proved to be something of an investment, one which undoubtedly paved the way for today's village hall. No doubt Mr Lewis John Clee, Headmaster and secretary of the committee was the prime factor in arranging the purchase, but other than the actual sale documents there are no terms or conditions of use of the building available, which would no doubt have been the case considering the building was erected on County Council land.
Although there was still a lot of work to be done in converting the old School building for the purpose, Pontlliw now had its very own Village Hall, some forty years before the present hall was opened.
On the same day as the hall was bought there is also recorded the purchase from G.Collins Co, 50 x 4" pipes at 9d each, total £1/17/6d, although it is unsure as to the intended use of same. Then of course came the very important question of insurance, this was dealt with by the Royal Insurance Co on March 27th, the annual premium 7/6d.
There are no further entries for the year 1933, but the total assets of the committee at the end of this year were: The Building, 50 x 4" pipes, £50 in the deposit account and £2/12/7d in the current account. It can only be assumed that during this period the hall was being adapted for its future use, the classrooms would have to be converted and partition walls removed in order to make the building into the hall it was to become.
Although possibly a quiet time for the hall committee, it was a very busy time elsewhere in the village with yet more expansion, because it was during this period that the major part of Bryntirion Road, County Road (now Swansea Road) and Oaklands Road were being built. These houses being the first to be built in the village with electric light as standard.
August 1934 saw the start of a very busy period for the committee. On the 17th the committee paid to L.H.Woodhouse of The Eisteddfod Pavilion, Neath, £25/16/8d for the purchase of 200 chairs, and again on the 22nd of the same month, £12/10/0d for another 100 chairs. The committee obviously had grand plans for the hall, and one can now visualise the size of the building if the committee thought that it was able to seat 300 people, but then, those were the days before safety and fire regulations.
On September 15th Wm Saunders was paid £5 on account for the installation of electric light in the hall and on the 24th of this month the Gorseinon Electric Light Company connected the supply at a fee of £1/10/0d. October's transactions include £3/16/5d to Joseph Bevan of Gorseinon in respect of Stage Timber, £3/16/7d to Mr J. Thomas for Stage Curtains and £3/14/0d to Gamages, for the purchase of 24 Card Tables.
Things must now have been well under way for some form of "Grand Opening" because on November 5th, £1/10/0d was paid in respect of entertainment tax and on the 22nd it is recorded that the "Weekly Gazette" were paid 12/6d for the inclusion of an advertisement. On December 18th, J.R. Morgans, The Spot Office, Pontardulais, supplied 200 posters at a cost of 10/6d and Jos Thomas was paid £1/0/8d in respect of refreshments, pulleys and crepe paper. It is also interesting to note that a Miss L.K. Gwenter cleaned the hall on no less than 9 occasions between October 3rd and December 20th 1934 at a charge of 2/6d per time.
Only further research will tell whether December 1934 saw the grand opening of the Village Hall, everything points to this being the case, and maybe at a later date the complete story will come to light, but for the present time we shall continue with what information is available.