Merthyr Memories: Tramroadside North Memories

by Christine Brewer (née Williams)

I was born on Tramroadside North during the War, and I spent all of my early life there. The Tramroadside North I remember from that time bares very little resemblance to the same area today – it has been developed beyond recognition.

The part of Tramroadside North that I am talking about, or ‘The Tramroad’ as it’s more commonly known, is the road that runs between Church Street and what was known as Harris’ Hill – roughly where the Tesco roundabout is today. When I was growing up, the road was much narrower and was lined on both sides with small houses and cottages.

A map showing Tramroadside North (marked in yellow)

On the side of the road nearest the Railway Station were also several ‘courts’ of houses: Joseph’s Court, Vaughan’s Court and Rosser’s Court. There was also a pub, The Tydfil Arms, and we also had a green-grocer’s shop and a small ‘front-room shop’ in one of the houses.

An aerial view showing the top part of the Tramroad. The Tydfil Arms is at the centre of the photo (the larger white building). Photo courtesy of http://www.alangeorge.co.uk/index.htm

When I was a child I clearly remember the old tram-lines running down the middle of the road, the trams had stopped running years before of course, and I also remember the air-raid shelter near the lane up to Thomas Street. I often wondered how effective this would have been in an air-raid as it was quite a flimsy brick-built building just built at the side of the road.

The Tramroad decorated for the coronation of King George VI in 1937. Photo courtesy of http://www.alangeorge.co.uk/index.htm

Most of the families who lived on the Tramroad had lived there for generations, and we were a community all of our own. Everyone knew everyone else, and I could tell you who lived in almost every house. I was born in a very small two up, one down cottage – the youngest of five children, so when I was young I went to live with my aunt who had more room. She lived at the bottom end of the Tramroad, and had huge garden which stretched all the way back to the Station Yard. I clearly remember the animals being brought into the Station Yard before being taken to the abattoir, which was near the present day Farm Foods store.

There were, of course, some characters living on the Tramroad. One of our neighbours had a garden full of fantastic cabbages, and whenever anyone asked her about them, she would say that she had buried her husband’s ashes there, and that is what made them so big. Another lady, actually another one of my aunts, had a menagerie in her house. Whenever she came across an injured animal, she would take them in and care of them. Over the years I remember her having many wild birds, hedgehogs etc. At one time I even remember her having a fox-cub!

At the top of the Tramroad was Adulam Chapel. The chapel actually faced Lower Thomas Street, but the cemetery was on the Tramroad, and there was path to the chapel through the cemetery. I went to Adulam Chapel every Sunday, and I remember going to Sunday School in the vestry underneath the chapel and being taught the Lord’s Prayer in Welsh by the teacher Evan John Peters.

The Tramroad in the 1960’s with Adulam Chapel in the middle of the photo. Photo courtesy of http://www.alangeorge.co.uk/index.htm

Also underneath Adulam Chapel were two very small houses that shared a kitchen and toilet. When I was a little older, my sister married and moved into one of these houses. I dreaded going to see her as I would have to walk along a path through the cemetery to get to the house; I remember one occasion walking down the path and a boy jumping out at me from behind a grave – he thought it was one of his friends and wanted to frighten him…..he certainly frightened me!

Adulam Chapel. Left is the front of the Chapel on Thomas Street. Right is the back of the chapel on the Tramroad, showing the cemetery with the path (left) leading to the houses

So much has changed. Most of the houses have been demolished, and all of the courts, the Tydfil Arms and Adulam Chapel have all gone. It’s sad to look back and see all I remember disappeared.

Vaughan’s Court being demolished. Photo courtesy of http://www.alangeorge.co.uk/index.htm

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