Chapter 3:

           1935 opened with the hall committee busily engaged in organising all manner of social events for the village, and it does appear as if the village was making the fullest possible use of their newly acquired facility.

         The first entry in the committee's records for the year is for 25 posters and 1 roll of 1/- tickets from J.R. Morgan, followed by the payment of 13/9d to John Hall Tools Ltd in respect of 'replacement of broken saw'. The insurance premium was now also due and the amount of work that had been done to the hall is reflected in the new premium, this had increased from the previous year to 1/2/6d, the property now being valued for insurance purposes at 300.

          It is possible that there was at this time also the first signs of a village Amateur Dramatics Company being involved in the hall because of an entry dated March 5th paying to the Educational Publishing Co for Producers Rights the sum of 2/2/0d in respect of "Change". This is also mentioned in a list of items advertised in the Weekly Gazette during the year as "Change" being performed on Tuesday February 19, also later, on March 4th 1936, there is the following entry, 'Received from Pontlliw Drama Co 1/6d.

          However, it is known that on Wednesday March 6th the committee held a "Whist Drive" at the hall, and on the Saturday of the same week, the 9th, there was a "Dance". The following Saturday, the 16th, the Havan Dramatics Co staged a "Drama" for which they were paid 3/13/6d, no other details are available. On April 25th, a Thursday, there is mention of a concert, but again no details are available. Certainly a very eventful few months for the hall committee.

          In June of 1935 there are two items, one in favour of John Edwards esq and the other in favour of Hywel Myrddin esq, which point to the hall being involved in some way with the Eisteddfod of that year as both entries are marked as 'included on Eisteddfod a/c'. Most of the other entries for the year are general expenditure, such as 'Gorseinon Electric Light Co' and payments for cleaning of the hall, goods and refreshments etc.

          Only now, in September 1935, almost three years since the hall was purchased do we see the first mention of a rates demand, this from Llwchwr Urban District Council for the sum of 5/1/3d. This would bear out the fact that the hall was only offically opened for business towards the latter part of 1934.

          November 27th of this year was one of the most notable days in the history of the Village Hall, particularly for the present hall, as this was the day when the parcel of land on which the hall now stands was purchased by the committee of "The Pontlliw Public Hall and Library". Please note that the term 'purchased' has been used for it has long been a misconception that this piece of land was donated to the village, in point of fact it was handed over to the committee 'in consideration of the sum of Ten pounds being paid', a small sum for such a piece of land one might say, but the committee were not free to do as they wished with the land as the deeds included many restrictions on it's use.

          The land was sold, for want of a better word, jointly by Walter Clement of Pontlliw and John Emlyn Clement of Loughor to the Trustees of "The Pontlliw Public Hall and Library", those being at that time the Reverend Emlyn Roberts of Carmel Chapel, Joseph Thomas of the Post Office, Pontlliw, and John William Jones of Pontlliw, for the purpose of 'the erection of a Public Hall and Institute'. One of the many restrictions imposed on the Trustees was that 'the said premises shall not in any circumstances be used for the sale or consumption of intoxicating drinks'.

          Another restriction, quite legal at the time but which would be virtually impossible to implement these days, being amongst other things in breach of our current equality legislation is the following, "The only persons who shall be entitled to attend and vote at meetings shall be men residing at Pontlliw aforsaid or in that portion of the Llwchwr Urban District situate within a radius of one mile from the Pontlliw Post Office who have attained the age of twenty one years".

          These clauses were the cause of many a headache for the committee's that were to follow, but all this is in the future, to the committee of the day there seemed to be no problem.

          Early in 1936, on Saturday the 29th of February, The Gorseinon Revellers staged a Variety Concert at the new Village Hall, for which they received 3/15/0d. The total receipts from this concert amounted to 6/1/6d, so if we assume that admission for adults was 1/- each, this being the face value of the tickets purchased, then there were in excess of 180 people at this concert, even more if there were children.

          The balance sheet of the committee as at the 25th of March 1936 clearly shows the emphasis placed on the hall as an entertainment centre for the village, with the stage, curtains and scenery (back cloths, wings and proscenium) appearing as separate items. It is also interesting to note that a use had not yet been found for the 50x4in pipes as these also appear as an individual item.

          Many small cash amounts are entered as received during the course of the year, referenced by name only, presumably these would have been for hall rentals etc. On September 4th Mr Trevor Thomas, treasurer, was paid an amount for expenses incurred from the period 1933 to 1936, in total 8/6d.

          The next major acquisition for the hall committee and one which is sure to have been appreciated by many, especially the menfolk of the village, was the purchase of a full sized billiard table. This was purchased on September 16th from 'The Bolgoed Sale' including all accessories for 15. On December 15th a Mr A. Bale is recorded as being paid 1 for erecting the billiard table and a further 1 for a secondhand half-sized billiard table. On December 14th and again on the 15th there are entries referring to 'receipts from billiards', so no time at all had been lost in getting this facility up and running. Whether intentionally or by an oversight a billiards licence was not applied for until January of the following year, the public announcement of the application for a licence at Swansea Petty Sessional Court appearing on the 30th, and the licence itself being obtained on February 20th, at a fee of 6/0d.

         Another drama was performed on Saturday April 10th 1937, probably by the Pontlliw Drama Co as there are no records of any fee being paid only of the receipts, which amounted to 3/8/6d. Later in the year there is also mention of another whist drive being held with receipts of 3/0d. It does seem as if the hall was also quite extensively used other than for these organised functions, as there are 58 entries in total as income for the year 1937, all for varying amounts and recorded by name.

          Over the next few years the hall continued to be used to the full, the billiards licence being renewed each year, other payments such as the rates and electricity bills continuing to be met, receipts were also on a par with previous years, but this success was to be short lived due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Although not apparent at this stage decisions were soon to be made over which the committee had no influence and which would prove to have far reaching consequences for the village hall committee.

          One of the last recorded entries on the accounts for this period was a purchase from E.J.Riley Ltd, for 'replacement of lost billiard ball, 1/18/10d'. Little did the committee realise that one lost billiard ball would pale into insignificance in comparison with what was to follow.

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Pontlliw Village Hall  (The Story of a Dream Come True)
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Norman Smith / Pontlliw Village Hall 1993 - 2009