Chapter 8:

           The public meeting of November 1st 1962 opened with an air of complete dejectedness on the part of the committee. The chairman commenting once again on the very poor attendance, he went on to say that if the public were interested in a hall they would offer their support and that they were of the opinion that nothing was being done, but although nothing can be seen, the committee had worked hard and in the end had suffered dissapointment through no fault of their own. He went on to say that we should not continue with the project as he didn't think a hall would pay its way in Pontlliw. The secretary also backed up the chairman's comments by saying that considering the position of other halls in the area it would not be advisable to carry on with the project of building. However, if the committee thought that this was the end of the matter they were in for a rude awakening as among the members of the public that evening was a resident of the new estate at Woodfield Avenue who proposed that the project be continued, this was duly seconded and carried.

          A new committee was formed that evening including the following officers, Chairman: Mr Colin Murray, who had proposed the continuance of the project, Vice Chairman: Mr Glyn Thomas, Secretary: Mr Ambrose Davies. J.P., Assistant Secretary: Mr Waldon Rogers and Treasurer: Mr Trevor Thomas. This new committee decided that one of their first priorities was to sort out any possible problems arising out of the restrictions in the deeds. A meeting would also have to be arranged with Mr Penhallerick of the C.I.S.W.O. to discuss grant aid.

          At short notice Mr Penhallerick agreed to meet the new committee on November 20th, but his comments were not very encouraging, he said that village halls were in a bad way at the moment, there were already many up for sale and many schemes were being wound up, the committee must therefore have very good reasons for wanting to build a hall. His suggestions regarding the restrictions on the deeds were to offer the council the land owned by the committee and instead build a pavilion encompassing a concert hall in the park. He also suggested that the committee arrange a meeting with the council to discuss possible grant aid from their quarter.

          This meeting took place on May 13th 1963 at the council offices, Gorseinon, and had a less than satisfactory conclusion. The C.I.S.W.O. objected to the proposals as the building would have to be a miners welfare hall to qualify for their help and two-thirds of the committee would have to be miners. The council's opinion was that the building would have to be designated as an educational centre before any help was forthcoming. Mr Ambrose Davies pointed out the fact that the village had at one time a hall of its own and still would have if the authorities had not let it get into such a dilapidated state. In spite of what had taken place the committee went ahead with their application to build. This application was turned down on August 28th, and it was generally thought that the council were wary of creating a precedent.

          Things were to quieten down for a while again after this further rejection. It was not until October 1966 that there was any further movement with the project when the committee again contacted the education authority who arranged for a Mr H Davies to meet them, this meeting took place on October 20th at the Castle Inn. Mr Davies inspected the deeds of the land and commented that before any grant aid could even be considered by the education authority the deeds would have to be sorted out, especially the men only clause.

          An Extraordinary General Meeting was called for June 28th 1967 to elect new officers following the death of Treasurer Trevor Thomas, and at this meeting it was decided to go ahead with the project despite the fact that all efforts to get help had so far failed, the committee would erect as large a building as possible with the funds available, at present in the region of 2,000, and devise some sort of weekly subscription from the villagers to help with the cost.

          On July 24th a report was received from the education authorities stating that as the deeds were a gentlemen only arrangement no grant aid would be forthcoming under these terms, also that any alteration to the deeds could only be made by act of parliament. They suggested that it would be advantageous for the committee to sell the property and the resultant proceeds could be used in some other way to benefit the village, or to purchase an alternative piece of land.

          In October 1967 the committee received yet another report from the education authority, this one from their legal department, stating that as the present committee was only set up to build the hall, and not a hall management committee, the restrictions on the deeds did not apply. They also suggested that a new trusteeship be drawn up to manage the hall when it is built to include ladies and representatives of the bodies using the hall, if this could be done then they were prepared to offer grant aid, possibly as much as 50% of the total cost, the remainder having to be found by the committee. With this encouraging news, it really did mean that the committee could think positively about the project of building.

          On December 4th, Waldon Rogers took over as full time secretary of the committee following the resignation of Ambrose Davies due to ill health. One of his first tasks was to contact an architect, arrange for plans to be drawn up and contact a contractor who could provide an estimate. A public meeting was then held on February 13th 1968 at Peniel Chapel to inform the village of the progress to date. This meeting boasted an attendance of between 80-100 people, evidently due to the increased population of the village from the new estates there was now a renewed interest in the scheme. One contractor, 'Reema' who specialised in pre-cast sectional buildings, provided plans and a scale model of a building suitable for use as a village hall.

          The public were informed that the total assets of the committee were now 2,040 which was still a long way off the estimated cost of the building on display, in the region of 10,000, but even so, the committee were given a mandate from the floor to carry on. The committee then set a target of 3,000 to be achieved through fund-raising ventures by September 1969 and an appeals committee was set up to manage the fund-raising.

          The appeals committee quickly set to work in organising their first event, a sponsored walk, which was held on July 20th and which raised over 113 for hall funds. Other events in the pipeline included a treasure hunt, a sports day and the carnival. The concert normally held to choose the Queens was to be replaced by a 'Mr & Mrs' competition on September 4th, Carnival day being September 14th, The Question Master was to be Colin Murray, and the hostesses were to be Ken Evans and Glyn Thomas. After the carnival itself the ladies on Woodfield Avenue and Christopher Rise held a Barbeque which was pronounced a huge success. Before the year end the fund-raising committee also organised an Art & Craft exhibition and on December 23rd committee members toured the village singing Carols.

          While all this fund-raising activity was taking place the main committee were equally busy. A revised estimate had been received from Reema, the cost would now be 14,000, this thought the committee, was far beyond their means at the moment, even if they were awarded grant aid. This prompted the committee to seek another contractor, one such company being Banbury. During October the committee was to hear from the council that their request for grant aid from this quarter had been fruitless, and from the C.I.S.W.O. that with only 148 miners and dependents in the village a grant from this body would not be forthcoming either.

          On November 28th 1968, Mrs Myra Thomas was elected to the position of treasurer, a position she still holds to the present day, having served officially on the committee since 1952, and for many years before that as an organiser and helper on various events. At the time of writing Myra Thomas holds the honour of being the longest serving committee member, 25 years as treasurer, and now in her 41st year of service to the committee.

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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