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  1. A Pontycymer Women’s Shed?

    On the Garw Heritage site, a while ago, Martin Biginelli advertised the Pontycymer Men’s Shed which, he said, was looking for members. This prompted Maggie Bridgeman to ask, ‘Is there a Woman’s Shed?’

    Now this takes me back nearly seventy years.

    Every Christmas time the GPO hired students to help with the increase in seasonal mail with the sorting and delivery of cards and parcels. There were two regular postmen and four of us students crammed into the tiny Post Office back room. Jimmy Beynon, a regular, for no reason at all, said, “Isn’t it strange that you cannot pee and whistle at the same time.’ During a break in the sorting and after a couple of cups of strong tea we four students were across the road in the only public convenience in the village. We heard a loud bass-baritone laugh coming from the Post Office. It was Jimmy and we realised that we had all been whistling.

    So, what has this got to do with the ‘Women’s Shed’?

    This ‘convenience’ on the square wasn’t much, just four walls, no roof. One wall was clad with slate with a perforated copper tube to flush the wall and an open gutter at the base of the wall to carry it all away.

    Some years later it was decided to create a proper Public Convenience. The old urinal was demolished and, in its place, arose a larger brick building, this time with a roof and with two entrances. This really was a Public Convenience and catered to both sexes.

    Unfortunately, the council had not taken into account the sensitivity of some of the female members of the village’s society and had the entrances signed as ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Women’.

    Objections were raised and the convenience closed until a new sign appeared, ‘Ladies’. I’ll bet Jimmy Beynon’s laugh would have echoed around Pontycymer.

    So might I suggest to Maggie Bridgeman that she should be looking for a ‘Ladies Shed’, just to be on the safe side.

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