Log cabin between Bryn Twr and High St

Was it a plot by the enemy to destroy Abergele? Or was it just a mis-hit by a pilot lightening his load as he swung round from a blitz on Liverpool docks?

Whatever the reason, during the Second World War a bomb fell on Abergele and rocked the High Street area. It exploded right next to the house where Gordon and Joyce Hughes live now.

Gordon was a printer on The Abergele Visitor when we were kids. The Visitor Office used to be across the road from the present office: where Whiteside’s newsagents is now. The paper was printed upstairs with lead type on a press.

Uncle Gordon and Aunty Joyce were very good to us as children. In those days before Round Table displays, they were the ones who organised our street’s bonfire party on Guy Fawkes night. I can taste Mum’s treacle toffee now. Gordon hammered Catherine wheels into the wooden telegraph pole at the back of our house; Joyce ladled out home made soup. I was frightened … not so much by the bangs of the fireworks but by the sight of the Guy being swallowed by flames. Because he wore an old pair of my father’s pyjamas.

We always lit that bonfire near the home of a neighbour of ours – and Gordon and Joyce’s – Mrs Stirzaker. She lived in a log cabin which originally came from Kinmel Army Camp. It was made of rough pine painted with creosote. She grew beautifully scented pink roses behind the privet hedge of her garden.

Then, one day, Mrs Stirzaker moved out. As a young boy, I remember watching them flattening her home. We children were playing amongst the planks as the men demolished it. As I climbed a pile of logs, I jabbed my hand on a rough piece of wood and got a big splinter in my finger. I ran home to mum, crying. The splinter did hurt but what really made me sad was having to watch Mrs Stirzica’s log cabin being torn down.

The location of the log cabin

The location of the log cabin in Bryn Twr, Gordon and Joyce's house is on the left.

11 Responses to Log cabin between Bryn Twr and High St

  1. Annwyl (nee Thomas) says:

    Mrs Annie Stirzaker was my grandmother and I spent many happy hours playing in the garden of the cosy log cabin by the ‘playnies’! I used to make putrid looking rose petal ‘perfume’ from the roses you mention in the garden too, as well as paddling in the river Gele (not advisable now) and sitting for hours making daisy chains on the grass by the swings. Nanna moved to an elderly person’s bungalow on Peel Street but she died in 1984. I also remember scary farmer Mr Manners too, having lived at Tan Y Bryn for many years – I wonder how he earned the seemingly widespread reputation for a shoot to kill policy on his land! Mr John Emrys Williams was one of my favourite teachers at Emrys Ap Iwan, and I remember when we visited the house how lovely his wife Hilary was. Lots of the ‘shorts’ jogged memories for me and made me laugh!

  2. Nigel Hilton says:

    I wonder if this is the same log cabin that I remember from my youth? I seem to recall that if you stood on the footpath with the playnies to your left & the grass play area (still there to this day) to the right, the cabin was the first property on the right. The rest of the details match with what I remember – tall hedges, lovely garden etc. I used to hang around with a friend by the name of Robert Cookson who, I presume, was related to Mrs Stirzaker as I was invited in on a couple of occasions. I have a vague notion that Rob’s father may have worked in the kitchens at the Chest Hospital where my father was a male nurse. Anyone know more about Rob?

    • David Hughes says:

      Helo Nigel,it’s nice to see you on here. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, we were in School together, albeit a year apart. Remember our art sessions with Manod. I was talking to you some years back on the BBC local website but that closed down so no more. I’m glad you’ve found us here, your contributions will be much appreciated. I can’t see your e-mail address but would like you to get in touch on cdlhughes@hotmail.com

      Best regards,

      David

  3. This sounds like the same one Nigel. Thanks for sharing your memories on this site. Other readers, please use this comment system to let Nigel know about Robert Cookson.

  4. David Hughes says:

    Sorry Nigel, apparently Robert died some years ago.

  5. Nigel Hilton says:

    Hi David,
    I was so sorry to hear about Robert. I remember him as a great character from my teen years. I do recall our correspondence on the BBC site but, unfortunately, don’t seem to get a lot of time ‘on-line’ these days, other than in fits & starts. I well remember our Art classes with Manod, another super teacher amongst many we were blessed with at the Grammar School. I still recall an incident when we were trying to get a backdrop from the stage area, up the girls’ corridor and to the Art room when we bumped into the Deputy Headmistress (Miss Williams was it? – known as Ma French to all). That route was the only way we could get the long pole there, around the fewest corners. She was baffled as to how I’d managed to pass my French O Levels considering my abysmal performance in class!!
    Happy Days.

  6. David Hughes says:

    Remember her well, think she hated me ! , I was lousy at French. Manod lives in Denbigh and is still seen by some of our school mates from time to time. He’s very active in Welsh Choral signing.

  7. Nigel Hilton says:

    At least I was in good company then as she certainly didn’t like me, as I indicated above. Just been looking through the new Abergele Town Guide which dropped through our letter box the other day. I noticed that Page 11 has a sketch of St. Michael’s church Lych Gate 1966 credited to Manod. Good to know that he’s alive & well. Thanks for the update.

  8. Dewi Davies says:

    Hi David and Nigel

    Well I failed at French, but on a trip to the Dordogne, I had this brick of a pizza, that bent the fork, and out of nowhere came this fluent French to register my complaint, must have been there all the time!

    I see Manod and Eric Howells round Denbigh from time to time, and also have a phone chat with Gethin Rees, about twice a year!

    Attended a couple of reunions, probably five to ten years, but that network gone very quiet now.

    Nigel, I recall cycling to yours from home in Old Colwyn, then onto St.George, to find a kitten, then cycled home, then my father made me take it all the way back!

    Here is my e-address dewi.davies@hotmail.com

    I pop to Abergele from time to time, it is seems to do ok, I work in St.Asaph Biz Park, and live in Tremeirchion.

  9. Reece Davies says:

    Manod Rees died on April 11th 2016. He was 75. Great bloke.

  10. David Peskett says:

    I wen’t to Emrys Ap Iwan 1972 To 1976 I was known as David Lloyd my surname is now Peskett , I used to John Manod on a regular basis and learnt some years after leaving school that Manods wife Jane was my second cousin
    Indeed as you say what a lovely man

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