Memories of the Threepenny Bit
By Linda Wheatstone
Linda was born up the Varteg in 1956. She is Gwyneth and Ron Jenkins’ daughter and had 6 siblings. In 1969, she and her family moved to 15, The Twinings. Linda got married in 1975 and had 2 children, Tony and Emma. In 1976, she and her husband moved into 9, Lyncroft, partly so that their son, Tony, when he was a toddler, could walk down the path to see his granddad. Linda would phone up to let Ron know that Tony was on his way, then Ron would look out for him and phone to say when he’d got there safely. Tony was Gwyneth and Ron’s first grandchild and he and his granddad were very close.
Linda used to do a lot at the Threepenny Bit, she helped out with Mother and Toddlers, and ran the Brownies, and she worked as a cleaner in the hall. She and her sister, Susan, were also involved with the bingo and the committee.
Linda remembers how, when Gwyneth was involved in the running of the Threepenny Bit, she’d tell people that things needed doing and then everyone would pitch in and help. For instance, Linda’s brother-in-law did the artexing on the walls. There was also an occasion when a lady collapsed and was seriously ill in the hall. Linda remembered how Gwyneth stayed with her, and how the lady’s daughter always said that Gwyneth saved her mother’s life that day. Gwyneth was regarded as a kind of community nurse, whenever anyone had any health problems, they would go and see her.
On one of the annual trips to Barry, they realised they had an extra child with them – he had been going to get a paper at Fairwater Shops when he’d seen all his friends getting on a bus so he’d got on it too! After the initial panic, Gwyneth phoned the police, who let his frantic mother know.
Linda’s wedding reception was held in the Threepenny Bit. During the party, somebody noticed that the manhole in the foyer was blocked – so her father-in-law, dressed in his suit for the wedding, clambered down in there and unblocked it!
During the time that she’s lived on the estate, Linda has seen children grow up and have children of their own. She has also seen how the strong community spirit, where people felt like they were part of big extended families, has waned and largely disappeared. One thing that happened was that, in the early 90s, the Threepenny Bit became solely a bingo hall and all the other activities, except for the occasional private party, had to move elsewhere: Brownies moved to the church on Fairhill and the playgroup ended since there was nobody available to take it on.
There used to be concrete pipes in the small square outside 15, The Twinings, for the children to play in. Linda remembers these flooding and one of them filling up with water, which a child fell into, and her father rushing out with a hammer and chisel to knock a hole in the pipe and release the water. But even this flood didn’t compare to the one in May 2014, which Linda, on holiday in Burnham-on-Sea, watched on the national news!