Generation Games

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     Standing, Margaret (Maggie) Pring holding her baby daughter Dorothy. Sitting, left, Hannah Williams, Maggie's mother and on the right, 'Mamgu' Mary Williams, Hannah's mother.

     In 1894, aged 17 years, Hannah eloped with Daniel, and they married at Merthyr Registry Office. It was to have been a double wedding, with Hannah's brother also marrying. Their parents found out and he was stopped, although they didn't know about Hannah's plans. It came as quite a shock.

     Mamgu raised her family of five boys and seven girls, (the survivors of eighteen children Mary gave birth to) at Colliers Row, Abernant with her husband Tom, who worked as a Hewer at the local pit.



     42 years later it's FRIDAY the 13th . . . and for ex-iron worker Dan Williams and his wife Hannah it’s both a joyous day and an unlucky one. Joyous because it is their 70th wedding anniversary. Unlucky - because they won’t be celebrating it together.

     It was quite a party the Williams family were to have held in the Ocean Club, Cardiff, today. After all, there aren’t many couples who have reached their 70th anniversary.

     But a few days ago 88 year-old Mr. Williams, of Cornelia Street. Splott, Cardiff, was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he had a cataract removed from his left eye. He had already had an operation on his right eye.

     In her warm-as-toast living room 87 year-old Mrs. Williams yesterday said: "It was a terrible disappointment. We were so looking forward to the party, a good crowd was to have been there. But I'll try to get into the hospital tomorrow so that we can be together for at least an hour."

     There was quite a family flap when Mr. and Mrs. Williams were wed and Mrs. Williams smiled to herself as she recalled the day. It was to have been a double wedding, with Mrs. Williams’s brother being married at the same time. But her parents stopped him marrying - though they didn't know that she, too, was planning to be wed.

     From her home in Colliers Row, Abernant - her sister, Mrs. Rachel Evans, still lives there - she ran off ... to Merthyr Register Office.

     "I was just 17 at the time, and that’s young even by today’s standards.” Said Mrs. Williams. “No-one knew of our plans, and what a shock they had when they found out!”

     They set up home in Merthyr. It was a struggle at first, for Mr. Williams, then a miner, was paid only 21 shillings a week. A few months later they moved to Cardiff, where he took up a job at the Dowlais Works - at only 18 shillings a week, though with better prospects.

     “Seventy years, it’s a long time, and I never thought I’d reach my 40th when I was first married,” said Mrs. Williams. Tears came to her eyes when she said that all but one of her seven children, all girls, had perished, Margaret who now lives in Elaine Street, Splott.

     Some died early in life, one when she was only 18. But Margaret (Maggie) has given Mrs. Williams four grand children, and they in turn have given her five great grandchildren.

     Mrs. Williams's recipe for a happy married life: "Give and take, and do what you can for one another."

     Sadly, 19 days later, Dan, suffering from pneumonia, passed away in hospital.


     72 years later, Maggie now 97 years, heads five generations of her family as she cradled three week old great-great-grand daughter Ashlea Louise.

     The women gathered at the Romilly Nursing Home, Canton, Cardiff, for the get together. Maggie brought up her family in Splott. Elder daughter, 72 year old Dorothy Jones, of Llanrumney, Cardiff, brought along her daughter Yvonne Willicombe, 42, and Ashlea's mum, Yvonne's daughter Natalie Prescott, 23

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