Beacon Road and its Houses

This account of the houses in Beacon Road is based on the memories of a few individuals who lived there. It's a bit speculative because our memories arenít all that good, so we would welcome comments from anyone who can make corrections or additions, and we will update the page as we get them so keep coming back. Some of the pictures used on this page can also be found on other pages of this site. Thanks to Colin Rees for sending us many of these photos which were taken by his father Jack.

The bungalows along Beacon Road were built around 1942 to house families who were moved to Rhigos to work in the Royal Ordnance Factory nearby. The street itself was a narrow concrete roadway leaving room for a small garden in front of each house. The pictures below show this roadway. The older picture on the left was taken from the front garden of number 58 on the north side of the road, and shows the roadway and the houses opposite. On the right is a modern photo taken from the roadway near the middle entrance (which was beside the white house just visible through the trees) and looking towards Hirwaun. At the Hirwaun end of Beacon Road there may have been a circular road area for vehicles to turn, and then a set of steep steps leading down to the level of the main road.

Possibly Mrs Joan Betty outside no. 57 about 1946

The roadway in 2004 looking towards Hirwaun

Beacon Road was accessed from the main road by two entrances. One entered at the West end of the road while the other entered at the centre of the road close to the shop. The pictures below show the what was left of the central entrance in 1974 and in 2004.

Beacon Road entrance in 1974
(from Sylvia Shore)

Beacon Road entrance in 2004

In the picture on the left below the houses look like the ones in the picture above as they appear to have a porch at the front and the side, and the window layout is the same. The pictures also show the chimney on the roof of each house, which may have served the living room as well as the kitchen, while the box next to the chimney may have been a water storage tank. The picture on the right shows the front of the smaller houses on the north side of the road, numbers 58 and 56 with numbers 54 and 52 beyond. In this picture the houses have a front door but no porch, but we think that all the houses had porches in the later years so it's possible that the porches were built on over a period of time

Street party about 1951

Possibly Mrs Joan Betty outside number 57 about 1946

Most of the houses were built of brick, and there is some evidence that they were double-skinned like modern houses. In the old photo on the left you can just see some air-bricks in the outside wall of this house (number 58 with Joan Rees), while in the photo on the right, taken in 2004 in what was left of Beacon Road, there is evidence that at least the lower part of the wall was double-skinned. The outside of the houses may have been painted, possibly for water-proofing?

Joan Rees outside number 58 about 1946

Wall and doorstep visible in 2004

The bungalows were centrally-heated with hot water from a boiler-house which some people remember being at the Hirwaun end of the street. The water was carried to the houses in pipes along the back which can be seen in these next photos.

The Riden children in the back garden of number 75

Joan Rees and Colin in the back garden of number 50 about 1946

We think most of the houses were built of brick with pitch floors. The interior walls were painted, as shown in these next pictures, which also show one of the central heating radiators (left) and the pipe which carried the hot water into the house for the central heating (right).

Joan Rees and Colin about 1951

Colin Rees with members of his family about 1946

The photo below left shows a view along the back gardens of the houses on the north side of the road, taken about 1952. In the background you can just see a water tower and the Hirwaun coal tip. Although many of the houses were brick there were a number of concrete houses on the north side of the road from number 38 down towards the shop in the middle. The photo on the right shows a small part of the front of one of these concrete houses.

Joan Rees and Colin in the back garden of number 58 about 1952

Number 38 about 1950

Opposite Beacon Road were the Neath Road Bungalows. These were built on a higher bank above the main road, accessed by a roadway at the Hirwaun end. These bungalows may have been wooden houses, or at least boarded on the outside with wood as can be seen in the photo on the left. We could gain access to the bungalows by a set of concrete steps in the bank just opposite Beacon Road, and the remains of these steps are shown in the photo on the right.

Back garden of 5 Neath Road Bungalows about 1954

Steps to Neath Road Bungalows 2004

At least one of the old houses in Halt Close is still standing and, and possibly still occupied. The pictures below were taken in April 2009 and show the front and back views of this house.

In general the houses along Beacon Road were built in semi-detached pairs, but there were a variety of types of house along the street. We've drawn the following plans of some of them from the memories of people who lived in them. Click on the thumbnail pictures below to view them.

Number 38

Number 50

Number 58

Some of the pictures above make it look like a grim and colourless place but most of the residents were proud of their homes and took time to make small gardens and keep them tidy. As an example just take a look at this photo of the Davidson's house (number 65 Beacon Road) sent to us by Rosalind Barden. A nice bright house with a lovely garden (artificially tinted in this photo).

A few years after we had left Beacon Road, and the bungalows had been knocked down I think, I remember our Mum taking us for walks to Beacon Road where we would dig up a few plants from these abandoned gardens to transplant into our new garden up the Bryn.
 Happy memories!

Thanks to the following people for pictures and information:
Colin Rees
Joyce Riden
Anne Hammonds
Barbara Hammonds
David Hammonds
Stephen Hammonds
Rosalind Barden