It was in September, 1949, when Betws saw the beginning of an influx of new residents that changed the little hill-top village forever. Turning what was incorrectly called by some the ‘off the beaten track’ hamlet into a bustling community.
In a matter of a few weeks 149 families came to live in Betws from all parts of the Garw valley, to live in aluminium bungalows, built in factories, and delivered in sections. (Prefabs) There was an air of excitement and great happiness, and some amazement, as the new ‘settlers’ began to enjoy the modern facilities on offer for some for the very first time. Hot and cold water in the one place, and bathrooms and toilets.This was a dramatic change from the over-crowded and shared accom- modation with the barest of facilities further up the valley. The ‘native’ Betws people, some of whom could trace their roots in this place over generations, must have looked on in awe as fleets of removal vans and sundry other vehicles wound their way up the hill to their village filled with the newcomers’ belongings.
The weather, warm and sunny, suited the mood of the day as the new tenants got to discover their surroundings. For a start the bus service would have to be dramatically increased as family, relatives and friends came to help or just visit in packed buses, with sympathetic conductor’s always ready to ‘squeeze one more inside!’ Extra buses were to be laid on for workers in those days of full employment, with a new generation who were eager to start enjoying the so called ‘post war boom.’
Regarding places of worship, Betws did have the spiritual facilities available for its original population, long before the Council decided to build there, with the ancient church of St David’s and Sardis Chapel. A new council school was provided for the influx of new pupils. The Oddfellows Arms welcomed the older thirstier newcomers with refreshment and entertain- ments, without for the time being having any other competition, the Mackworth Arms having closed down several years earlier.
Now down the years there have been other buildings added to the fabric of Bettws to supply the people’s needs. New schools, playing fields, min- ers’ welfare hall, a Christadelphian meeting place, a Senior citzens’ home, Clinic / Surgery, Post office, Boys’ Club and Social Club were all provided in the fullness of time.
In 2016 I wonder how many of the original 149 ‘Pioneers’ are still living in Betws, and would any of them or their families like to share with us the memory of that day, and any other events that happened in that early period of Betws’s history?