The Frozen Pond

 

The Frozen Pond

 

About 1896 we had a very hard a very hard winter for five weeks everything in the building trade was stopped by heavy frost, a very trying time for all masons joiners & plasterers not forgetting the labourers who would do anything to obtain a few shillings to have food, (no dole in these days). Trade’s people Grocers would have to help and be paid when the men restarted work it took many months to get over the payments back at about 2/6 per week. One or two of the schools were closed (no central heating) roads very bad to have supplies of coal, horses unable to get out of the stables many days. We did have some enjoyment out of it, there was a pond called “Llysnewydd”. A very large tract of water behind the Grenfells works tip, this was frozen and all the best of Swansea used to come up by train to Upper Bank station for some hours of skating, being situated on [text missing] off a certain part, for Mr Nancarrow who was the Head of Grenfells and his guests sometimes would number about fifty. He was a good skater himself and very liberal with his money, to keep us off the best part of the pond, he would take us, and make a figure 8 for all some-times two or three, then throw hand-fulls of coppers all around him as he was going around, and what a scamper for those men included in the scramble if they could get two pennies or more they would be right for a bit of tobacco, or if lucky enough a pint as well, which they could warm in any of the ‘pubs’ with a pointed saucepan it was put down in the fire for a few minutes, and soon warmed you up.

Mr. Nancarrow done this again as he was leaving it was very nice to see the ladies in fur coats with a muff to put their hands in, also of fur, then the Gent taking one of her arms and going around these figure eights [text missing] break in the ice by the side of the pond and throw buckets of water all over. It would again freeze and be perfect for the next day this went on for a few weeks, but no one was sorry when the thaw came to start work again.