Our life on Byways Estate
by Allan Horton
Allan was born in Markham, near Blackwood, in 1949 and, when he was 15, his family moved to Cwmbran so that he and his brothers wouldn’t have to work underground in the mines. Allan had loved living up The Valleys and took a while to settle into his new community where there were so many new people from places all over Britain. Despite this, he was impressed by how clean Cwmbran was and how wide the roads were – and by how there was a dance every night, instead of one a year like in Markham!
After leaving college, Allan found work in Panteg Steelworks, the Star Brickworks in Oakfield and Girlings.
After marrying Brenda, Allan moved into 4 Littledene in 1974. He remembers going to parties at the Threepenny Bit and voting there when it was used as a polling station.
The estate had a reputation for being very rough and people outside it called it ‘The Zoo’, but Allan always found everyone really friendly and never even had to lock his car while he lived there!
There were a lot of kids living near the Hortons on the estate and, because he had a Transit van, Allan often used to take them places like the beach, the reservoir and to Usk to play rounders.
On one occasion, Allan remembers, there was a loud explosion on the street outside and he looked outside to find that his neighbour, Mr Long’s, car had blown up when he went to start it. Luckily nobody had been hurt, but all the neighbours started coming out of the houses with coffee, tea and sandwiches and it turned into an all-day event!
Allan and Brenda moved away from the estate in 1996.