History and Heritage

Ystalyfera and District

Ystalyfera - South Wales

Preparing the South Wales Voice, the later incarnation of the Llais Llafur, photograph used with the permission of Bernant Hughes

Memories of the Llais Newspaper

Below, are several newspaper articles from the Llais, recording aspects in the newspaper's life and history.

The Llais newspaper of FRIDAY 19th SEPTEMBER 1958 recorded these memories of the earlier days of the Llais Llafur :-


Congratulations on your Diamond Jubilee Edition. It gave me much pleasure indeed to read its contents, in as much as I remember the paper’s birth at Wern Road in a basement.

Very often I sat on the knee of Mr Ebenezer Rees whom I called “Uncle”. He was the founder of the Voice. Many a cup of tea I had with the family and he coaxed and coaxed me to become an apprentice.

The wages offered then were negligible and I went down to the mines before I was 12.

There’s one thing outstanding in my mind about the Llais in its infancy. That is the scribe who appended his name as Twm y Dramwr. He would disclose what was happening underground and often came under criticism for disclosing what happened in the life of a miner. I believe to this day, his name was never disclosed.

I had to write my humble congratulations to the Llais on its 60th birthday and I sincerely hope my descendants will see its centenary. I conclude by wishing the Voice every success it deserves.

Riverside Cardiff

The Llais newspaper of 26th SEPTEMBER 1958 records the early days of telephones at the Llais and in the Swansea Valley :-


The man, who installed the first telephone in the Voice Ystalyfera office, celebrates his golden wedding anniversary today (Friday).

He is Mr W G Walker aged 72 of 45 Balaclava Street St. Thomas Swansea.

“I remember it quite well,” he told me, “It was a ten party line.”

Mr Walker retired from the GPO 13 years ago. He had worked for them for over 33 years.

“It was known as the National Telephone Co., when I first started there,” he said. When Mr Walker retired he held the post of Construction Foreman. His work took him all over the country.


At Milford Haven, recalls Mr Walker, there used to be so many telephone wires on one pole that it was possible for the public to touch them.

“They used to hang down,” he said. “The cables were not laid underground in those days,” he added.

When working for the GPO in 1913 Mr Walker made history. “I was the first man to use a bosun’s chair to renew pigskin slings that held the telephone wires to a wire cable,” he said. The bosun’s chair was hooked over the wire cable and Mr Walker pulled himself along as he renewed the slings.

He was only 12 when he drove a chain horse which was used to take clay from Swansea Beach to the South Dock. “The clay was used as a dam in the making of a new entrance to the dock,” he said.

The clay was to be found under the roots of old trees that had once grown on the beach. “The horses were used to pull the roots out of the ground and then to take the clay to the docks.” His pay was 10s. a week.

He often took trips on the “Blacksmith’s shop with a row of houses” – the Mumbles Railway.

“You were lucky if you got to Mumbles without having an eye full of cinders,” he laughed.

Mr Walker met his 70 year old wife at a religious picture show, at the “Old Star Theatre,” now the Rialto Cinema.

“I went along with a few of my friends, to look for some girls,” he said. The one he “found” married him two years later.

“I had to wait until I was earning £1 a week before I was able to marry her,” he said.

Will the Walker’s hold a party to celebrate their anniversary? It is very unlikely. “We get only £5 4s a week, now” said Mr Walker, “And all that is taken up for the house. We can’t afford a party.”