Author Topic: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs  (Read 39070 times)

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Fester

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2011, 10:11:05 PM »
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Try going back to 7-54 posting. :D

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suepp

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2011, 10:11:36 PM »
Brilliant to have first hand account, great recall  $thanx$

Quiggs

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2011, 10:24:07 PM »
Instalment 3

.                          By this time I had a sister, Joan.   Shortly after, my father’s brother and his wife turned up. He had been in the Engineers in Germany. There were also some American soldiers billeted up at the top off the house, so I had a ready supply of Gum, Lifesavers and Chocolate etc.   
   Things must have been a bit crowded. Probably too many women in the kitchen! And with many soldiers returning from the war, housing was in short supply, so the next thing I knew, we were living on the Gunsite on the West Shore of the Great Orme. as Squatters, I think it was still under M.O.D. control
   The Gunsite is situated at the end of Llys Helig Drive, it was separated from the drive by a large wooden gate, which was under the control of a caretaker, who opened it in the morning at 8 o’clock and locked it again about 6 o’clock. More of that later.                We occupied what had been the fortified Guardhouse, as you enter the site, just where the road starts to go downhill there is / was a path on the right hand side that leads to the Guardhouse. ( See Photo of exterior of the building on the Forum )
   It was very basic, the basement area consisted of an outside entrance at the rear, which was accessed by some concrete steps, which ran from either side of the entrance to either side of the building, so that it could be accessed from both sides in a hurry. Inside there was a short corridor with a room each side. At the end of the corridor it opened out to form a large room The front centre of the room extended forward with the sides  at an angle of about 45 deg. with several small square openings about 4ft 6 ins high in the outer walls, to allow the occupants to fire out at any attackers, the window openings were also angled on the inside, in the manner of arrow slits in Castle Walls, to allow the defenders to cover a larger area of fire.   The upper floor had an entrance at the top of the steps on the Northern end of the building. Just inside became the kitchen area. Turn left inside the door along a short passage, with a room on the right, my parents bedroom. Which I think my father constructed with panel walls.
   The passage led into another square room, with a large cast iron stove with an oven on it’s right hand side. It could take half a hundred weight of coal / coke to fill the grate. So dad obtained some fire bricks, to fill part of the space, to save using so much fuel.
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Quiggs

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2011, 10:32:49 PM »

   At the Southern end was another room, that became the bedroom for my sister and I. The back of the stove was against this bedroom wall so it afforded some slight warmth in the winter, but not much, because it was so greedy on fuel, it was left to go out each evening. So we piled our coats etc. on top of the bed and wore socks on our feet with the pyjamas tucked in. My mother also put a couple of bricks in the oven before the fire went out, then wrapped them in newspaper and put them in the bed as foot warmers. When it was really cold we wore gloves and a cap as well.
   With the basement area below the living accommodation being open to the elements, via the firing apertures, the rooms above could be quite cold, particularly the winter of 1947.
   Back outside the rear of the building at the bottom of the stairs, opposite the basement entrance, there was another flight of stairs leading away to a small square room at the top, this was the  Toilet! A bit of a sod at night, particularly in the winter slithering up the steps glazed with ice, then sitting on a cold ‘Bog’ freezing your nuts off. Not to be recommended.
   The walk to Lloyd St. School was not much better, we sometimes put an old pair of socks, when we had any, over our shoes to provide a grip on the ice going downhill.
   There were other families living there as well, in various buildings and they formed a roster to take the kids to school, one parent in front, one behind, to make sure no one escaped!    One morning, the group assembled and we made our way out of the gunsite only to be confronted by a herd of goats blocking the way, it was stalemate for a while, neither group giving way, finally the goats dispersed and we proceeded to school but we were late that morning. It was also cold in the schoolroom, we often wore our coats in class and the milk monitor brought in the bottles of milk to put them to thaw in front of the small fire in the classroom, the ice in the bottles forced the caps up in small icicles .
       The families contacted the council, to see if transport to school could be provided as there was no bus service to the site but were told that it was short of the qualifying distance and that we would have to continue to walk.    This continued for a while but more families joined the community, for that is what it was developing into, everyone helping each other.
Dictum Meum Pactum

Merddin Emrys

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2011, 10:56:22 PM »
Great stuff this, thanks for the 'real' history, I was born in Coventry too!  *&(
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Quiggs

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2011, 02:15:35 PM »
Instalment 4


The buildings that were occupied were as follows:- From the gate the road went straight ahead for a 100 yds. or so before going downhill, as stated earlier, the path to our home was on the right  At the bottom of the slope there was an entrance to a field on the left, with a cottage style building just inside, occupied by Mr and Mrs Fenn, then later,  Mr and Mrs Smith.     The road then turns to the right and levels off. After about another 100 yds. or so there was an opening in the hillside, on the right, with a Nissan Hut, Mr and Mrs Barr. A little further on the left, was a flat roofed building, the concrete base is still there, the openings to the soil pipes show were the toilets were, Mr and Mrs Drabble, with their children, George, Leslie, Evelyn and Barbara. A little further on, on the right, just a little way up the slope, was another cottage. Mr and Mrs Williams. Continuing  onward the road divides, with a mound in the centre, another cottage on the top, Mr and Mrs Wright.  Bear right up a slight incline, at the top of which is a large concrete area on the right, where some Nissan Storage Huts used to be. Opposite on the left is a large
mound, probably from the spoil when the area for the Nissan Huts was excavated. The purpose of the mound was to hide the area from being observed from the sea.  Onward ’till the road turns left, on the right hand side was a small flat roofed bunker type building occupied by Mr and Mrs Sutcliffe and children, their names escape me. A path continued past this building to a larger house, Mr and Mrs Smith and Peter. Continuing along the path leads to a road, going up towards the end of the site, another building on the right, Mr and Mrs Williams, brother to the other Williams earlier. Returning back down the hill until the road on the left, leading down from the mound earlier, another cottage, Mr and Mrs Hughes.

       The clamour for transport to school was increasing. So my father borrowed my grandfathers car, as no one else had a car, and he clocked the distance from Lloyd St. School to the furthest family on the site, which just gave the qualifying distance for free transport.  So after some disagreement the council finally agreed and from then on we had a Taxi to and from school.  This service was provided by Barlow’s Taxis from Queens Rd. Craig y Don, who had a fleet of Austin eights of pre war vintage. ( I think that was the model ) Big black saloon cars with chrome bumpers and large Headlights and bulbous wings.
   A while later as all the suitable buildings on the site were occupied, some families started to occupy the buildings of the Radar site, up the concrete road near the Rest and be Thankful Café, on the Marine Drive, so the Taxi would pick us up on the Gunsite and then drive up to the Radar site to pick up the children from there   
   One morning on the way back down the Marine Drive, we were confronted by a large Ram standing in the middle of the road, the taxi driver slowed down and sounded his horn, but the Ram refused to move, so the driver crept forward slowly towards the beast. We thought afterwards that he saw his reflection in the shiny wing of the Taxi, because he suddenly charged. BANG, straight into the offside wing. He staggered back knees buckling under him, shaking his head from side to side going Bbaaaaaaaa  Bbaaaaaa baaaaaaa, before slowly staggering off. The dent in the wing had to be seen to be believed. It’s one of the funniest thing I’ve seen. We were still laughing when we got to school.
   The site caretaker had a dispute with some of the residents,( because that’s what we were, having been given Rent Books, 8s and 6p/wk. rent, they’d given up trying to evict us.) about being late opening the gate in the morning. Alongside the Gate there was a Sentry box, which also contained the main switch for the electricity supply, to get his own back the caretaker turned off the supply to the site. I’m not really sure what happened but some of the residents worked for MANWEB, the electricity board, anyway the supply mysteriously by-passed the Sentry box, control box, we had no further trouble.
   Apart from one of the residents, a man was sent round to read the electricity meters, when this particular meter showed that none had been used, the resident explained that he’d been away. The explanation accepted, the meter reader left. The next quarter, the same thing happened again, this time he said he’d been called to work away on an urgent job, so hadn’t used any electric. Again the meter reader left, but suspicions aroused. A week or so later an Inspector arrived after dark, to find every light on and
                                 5
electric fires in every room. Further investigation revealed the tenant had by-passed the Electric Meter. He subsequently went to Court and was never seen again.
Dictum Meum Pactum

Trojan

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2011, 06:01:56 PM »
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A while later as all the suitable buildings on the site were occupied, some families started to occupy the buildings of the Radar site, up the concrete road near the Rest and be o Café, on the Marine Drive, so the Taxi would pick us up on the Gunsite and then drive up to the Radar site to pick up the children from there

I remember a forum member on the old forum who went by the nickname Pobo, telling us he lived up there.



Hugo

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2011, 06:44:16 PM »
My cousin Peggy Whittle lived there with her husband Harry before they emigrated to Canada.

Quiggs

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2011, 12:01:43 AM »
Yes I remember the the name Whittle, but cannot recall exactly where they lived, maybe in the Cottage type building vacated by the Hughes who by-passed the meter, I'm not sure.
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tonyf

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2011, 10:41:34 AM »
Quiggs has started me thinking about the Gun Site as a squatter. I'd like to post  some of  my early memories as a small contribution to our social history. I hope members are still interested? Anyway, here goes first Installment: When the war ended the army moved out and 10 or 12 families moved in on the gun site as squatters. My parents grabbed the first house on the left (now built on), I say house in the loosest of terms, it had 2 rooms, front room and bedroom, no electricity, bath or inside toilet. It did have an Aga for cooking, heating and hot water. The toilet was outside in a dark, cold lean to which I hated. They named the house the ‘Nook’. The Nook was situated on a small (20ft) cliff facing the Conway estuary and the prevailing westerly winds. The loo was a chemical loo that my parents emptied over the cliff every Sunday wind permitting and the bath was a tin one for which copious amounts of water were boiled for the Sunday night bath! I remember a corrugated lean-to being added with a stable type door as the main entrance. We had a cat for the mice as there were loads of them. We also kept chickens that the foxes loved and I recall hunt the egg to eat in garden game.
I remember the blasting of the road/tunnels on the A55 at Penmaenmawr which could be seen across the Conway Estuary from the Nook as a small boy standing on his bed looking out of the window (we were lucky enough to have glass in it) in the middle of the night until assured by my Dad that all was well. I must have been screaming or something as the flash bangs  were very frightening? Sundays were always a favourite for me besides the ‘over the cliff with the loo’ bit which invariably had a comic slant to it. Sundays were also tide dependant as my Dad used to go for winkles taking me with him, obviously something from the war and rationing. Lovely they were. I used to come home with crabs and small fish in a can. Also the occasional Herring Gull (common seagull) eggs, salty and fishy but nutritious!  ¢¢##

suepp

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2011, 10:51:58 AM »
these stories are absolutely fascinating, I had no idea people lived there - when did you move out and where to? I think these stories need to be compiled into a book  *&(

tonyf

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2011, 11:11:03 AM »
Hi Suepp, all will be revealed in the next couple of instalments  $thanx$

ormegolf

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2011, 11:14:01 AM »
Are you sure about the blasting of the road tunnels? I always understood that they were constructed around 1935/6.  Do you think you heard blasting in the many quarries in that area?

DaveR

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2011, 11:21:09 AM »
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Are you sure about the blasting of the road tunnels? I always understood that they were constructed around 1935/6.  Do you think you heard blasting in the many quarries in that area?
1932 Penmaenbach Tunnel
1935 Pen-y-Clip Tunnels

tonyf

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Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2011, 11:25:42 AM »
Hi Ormegolf, you could possibly be right as I believe some of the tunnels have dates on from the 30s? I just vividly remember it to be late at night and obviously dark and coming from where the tunnels are today. It was 1949/50ish.  It could possibly of been blasting railway cuttings, road widening or some such, but from memory it was for only one night.