Nantlle Valley History



The Small Shop - Number 6 Baladeulyn Terrace, Nantlle

This was a shop that belonged to Catrin Williams and her son Robert Williams - who was totally blind after an accident in the quarry when a steam engine boiler exploded in his face. (Catrin bought this house on 6th October 1921 from Henry Hughes). When his mother died, Robert carried on the business for years, by employing young women to work in the house and shop, and later in his life he remarried his housekeeper, and after his death - his son, John Williams, brought his family to live at No 6, but only for a few months, then it closed due to his retirement.

The shop was open 8am till 10pm, except Sundays, and it was very popular with both adults and children, and especially quarrymen, who bought cigarrettes, tobacco and matches and also lemonade or sasparilla in the hot summer months. Robert Williams also stocked all manner of remedies for colds and joint aches, etc. The villagers need not call a doctor if thge medicines were available at "Siop Bach" - the little shop. He also sold all sorts of sweets - 8 caramels for 1 penny and also "Red Seal Toffees" for children before they went to Chapel services, which were held on a lorage stage in the 'vestry'.

Walking the 1/4 mile from his home in all weathers to Fferm y Bryn, Rhesdai Victoria (Victoria Terrace) to collect his pint of milk, his stick was his main help and he knew by heart every gap (entrance or gateway) along the way by the sound his stick made. If you were out day or night you could hear his stick tapping gently finding his way.

He was a very educated man, and in his day he was a Sunday school teacher. I remember seeing a photo of him when he was a young man with his Sunday school class before his accident, and when I called at his shop he recognised my voice at once and always addressed me by this line of poetry:

"The happiest of the happy is Alun Bach".

The blind man was of fine character and will always be remembered for his good deeds with the village children.

A rough tranlsation of R.O.Hughes' poem of longing for Nantlle:

"The Quarry has abated, the smithy has slowed right down,
And the boys who loved the area have left.
The area of work for hundreds of heads of families (i.e. the men)
The area, has been left to the owls."

Translated by Emma Roberts from the original 'Y Siop Bach' by Thomas Alun Williams

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