Machynys in about 1920. The South Wales Works appears near the top left, Richard
Thomas Mills at the top, and the Burry Works on the right.
Machynys Farm, Cliff Terrace, and Machynys School
Bwlch-y-gwynt and the Burry Extension Works
Springfield Terrace on the left, and Sea View Terrace on the right
Pauline Whitten in front of the public telephone
Celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
Celebrating the investiture of the Prince of Wales, 1969
Jumble sale to raise money for the people of Biafra
On holiday in Blackpool
I am grateful to Nevil Williams and Sandra Jenkins for the photographs on this page
Many of the workers at the steel and tinplate works of Machynys would have lived
just outside the peninsula, often in New Dock Road to the north and adjoining streets.
But from an early date staff housing was also constructed very close to the works.
By 1897, when a Llanelli trade directory was published, the housing formed two distinct
communities, one known as Machynys, the other called Bwlch-y-gwynt.
The community of Machynys lay to the east and south east of the South Wales Works.
As you can see from the map on the left Bay View Terrace, Brick Row, and Cliff Terrace
lay between the South Wales Works and Machynys Farm, while Maliphant Row, also known
as Dock Row, ran to the east of the Works. The 1897 trade directory gives the name
of all the householders occupying these houses. In Maliphant Row, for example, Joseph
Green, tinplater, lived at number 1 and William Prosser Thomas, rollerman, at number
5. In Bay View Terrace Mrs Charles, widow, lived at number 7 and Mary Lewis, tinplate
opener, lived at number 15. In 1897 the residents of Maliphant Row would have had
a clear view to the north from their back gardens, but in 1910 the Richard Thomas
Mills were opened very close to their boundaries.
The 1897 Llanelli trade directory, published by James Davies & Co, can be seen in
the Llanelli public library.
Bwlch-y-gwynt (the name means “Windy Gap”) lay close to the sea south of the Burry
Extension Works. It has a single entry in the 1897 directory, with 22 households
listed. By the date of the map on the left further houses had been added. Those on
the east side of Machynys Road were known as Springfield Terrace (otherwise Wellfield
Terrace), those on the west side were called Sea View Terrace. In addition there
were half a dozen houses along Machynys Fach Road.
Machynys and Bwlch-y-gwynt were noisy places. Here are some of the sounds that could
be heard if you stopped to listen to them:
· The whine of a gantry.
· Railway trucks being coupled together.
· The hooters of the steel and tinplate works.
· Men and women walking to work and back.
· Children singing.
· Men talking loudly as they came home after pub closing time.
· Bill fruit and veg coming round every Saturday morning.
And if you lived near Machynys Farm:
· The lowing of cattle.
· The crowing of cocks at daybreak.
· The grunting of pigs.
People who have memories of Machynys and Bwlch-y-gwynt emphasise the strength of
the community spirit in both places. Eira McKibbin, in her slim volume Machynys –
Yours Truly, describes the trust that existed. If you had to go out you could leave
your door unlocked, with the payment for the rent man or the insurance man left on
the hallstand. National events such as the investiture of the Prince of Wales in
1969 were occasions for a street party. Bus loads of people would travel to Mumbles,
Aberafon, or Porthcawl for a day out together. Large groups would go by train for
a holiday in Blackpool. People would readily join together to raise money for causes
such as the humanitarian crisis in Biafra when that region attempted to secede from
Not many people had their own telephone. If you needed to ring someone in Bwlch-y-gwynt
you rang the public telephone (Llanelli 2008) and could rely on someone answering
who would then call the person you wanted.