Wales of Old
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The JENKINS family of Pont-y-gwaith
(Rhondda Fach, Glamorgan)
Photographs and commentary provided by Nina Jenkins of London, England
Above: My great grandparents, Thomas and Catherine JENKINS
My great grandfather Thomas JENKINS (father of David) was born in Cwmavon in 1844 although his birth was not registered and no baptism has yet been found. Nor have I yet found any record of his death in Cwmaman, Aberaman, or Aberdare. The picture could have been taken anytime after 1863, but is likely to have been taken about 1880. The clothes appear to be in the style of the 1870s.The verse on Catherine's funeral card (below) reads:
The premises of the Swansea photographer Henry A. Chapman were bombed in World War 2 and the premises are now occupied by Stardust Amusements. There do not appear to be any surviving archives.
My great grandmother Catherine JENKINS (née DAVIES) was always known as Grandmother Jenkins. She was born in Cadoxton-juxta-Neath in 1850 and died in Penrhiwceiber in 1921. The cemetery register and death certificate records that she was "otherwise known as Dite", and an aunt said that the name seemed familiar, but I have been unable to discover why. She did not marry again, there was no one of that name on the electoral register, there is no one of that name in the area then - or apparently now - and she was a stern unbending woman, unlikely to be "living in sin". If anyone can offer any suggestions or solution to the mystery, I would be very grateful.
Rest on, dear mother, thy labour's o'er,
They willing hand will toil no more.
A faithful mother, true and kind,
No friend on earth like thee we find.
Left: My grandfather David JENKINS with one of his sisters in a typical studio portrait taken in 1892. The photo was taken by Wills of Cardiff whose successor company continues to trade in Morgan Arcade in Cardiff. I have discovered what is left of the company archives, but there were no lists of customers or numbered plates, so there is no way of ascertaining further details.
Above: Pont-y-gwaith School Infants Class 1913.
My Aunt Edna JENKINS is 3rd from left, 2nd row from back.
Above: Another Pont-y-gwaith School group photo from 1913.
My Aunt Evelyn JENKINS, is - I think - the 3rd child from the right in the 2nd row back, with the very noticeable ringlets. The family believes that one of the boys in this photo and/or the previous one became a famous boxer.
Above: A Jenkins family photograph taken in the early 1920s.
David JENKINS and his wife Elizabeth, née EVANS, are surrounded by their children:
(left to right) Laura, Donald, Lilian, Elfed, Evelyn (married John Charles JONES),
Althea (married George ELMS), and Edna.
When the photo was taken the family were living at 7 Llewellyn Street, Pontygwaith. My grandfather, David JENKINS (born 1870) was a former miner and a leading light in the Temperance Movement (International Order of Good Templars).
David had two shops at No 7 and at No 116 Llewellyn Street, and two in Beddau. No 7 was destroyed by a gas explosion many years ago and is now just an empty space in a long terrace of cottages. It is hard to believe there was ever room for even a house far less a place to bring up seven children and have a business. David extended credit in the Depression and went bust!! My father, Donald JENKINS (born 1913) is the young boy second from left. All the family are now dead. Standing on the far right is Althea JENKINS (born 1897) who, along with the sisters either side of her, was a teacher. Despite the fact that Althea went out to India in 1924 to marry and the family left the area in 1929, she is fondly remembered by a lady still living in Llewellyn Street as the "..most wonderful teacher ever..".
Left: My father, Donald JENKINS.Many thanks to Nina Jenkins for allowing me to use
Although not a Welsh photo, this is a photo of a Welshman which I included because I liked it!! I also thought that it would be interesting to see a 1933 RAF uniform. Donald Trevenyn JENKINS served in the RAF for 24 years and was a Warrant Officer when he retired in 1956. He died in 1961 whilst working at the Ministry of Education at Cathedral Road, Cardiff, and he is buried in Thornhill Cemetery, Cardiff.
Most of my life I thought that his middle name came from a Cornish
connection in the family (he had one set of Cornish great grandparents), but just before my last aunt died she told me that the very bossy wife of the local chemist asked my grandmother to name him Trevenyn and my grandmother (who was apparently no wimp) had not dared to refuse. What a let-down!!
her wonderful old photographs and for supplying such
fascinating background details.