Children of Mary Jones

and John Powell

1. William Powell (1880-) married Elizabeth (Lizzie)                                                                                            Williams (1880-) in 1902

In 1885, the siege of Khartoum ended with the victory of nationalist Sudanese rebels against the ruling Egyptian authorities, who in turn were governed by colonial Britain.  The British had intervened and General Gordon was killed at the end of the siege.

In Onllwyn, two rows of 10 pre-fabricated houses, each built from timber and corrugated iron, were named Khartoum Terrace and Gordon Terrace, presumably to commemorate this event in some way.  The houses were “company” houses - erected, like Roman Road at Banwen - by the Evans-Bevan company, probably round about the turn of the twentieth century.

In 1911, this Powell family is recorded at 1 Khartoum Terrace, Onllwyn: William, Lizzie, three young children and what appears to be Lizzie’s widowed father, Thomas Williams.  The house is stated as having 5 rooms so would have been, for the time, perhaps quite comfortable.

onllwyn khartoum terrace

No. 1 Khartoum Terrace is on the left.  Gordon and Khartoum Terraces were situated very close to today's Onllwyn Miners’ Welfare Hall. Below, G.B. Evans is referring to the early 1950s.   The two terraces were demolished in the mid 1960s.

The London firm that manufactured these houses exported them to every corner of the British Empire, to mining communities especially, the first flat-pack houses.  Three-inch by four-inch hardwood frames, corrugated iron sheeting, the inner walls and ceiling pine tongue and groove planed planks, the cavity filled with horsehair for first-class insulation.  Three bedrooms, a large living-room with a big fireplace, a box room and pantry.  A lean-to, divided between a small kitchen and a bathroom.  The most comfortable house I have ever lived in.  In the kitchen a Dover stove that burnt anthracite…[Evans’ father-in-law] was entitled to thirteen tons of concessionary coal a year..and I got six tons a year…The fires were kept going twenty four hours a day and we had coal to spare."

Source Evans, G.B. (2012)  

By September 1939, Elizabeth is shown as a widow living with four of her five children at 15 Main Road, Dyffryn Cellwen.                                                                                                                     


i. Annie May Powell (1906-1992) married Rees Trefor Watkins (1900-) at Neath in 1924.  In 1939 they are living at 12 Main Road, Dyffryn Cellwen, very close to Annie May’s mother and siblings.  Trefor Watkins’ occupation is given as Colliery Hitcher.  Two (redacted) children are also shown resident.

ii.  David Powell (1908-1998) - Steam Crane Driver in 1939, resident at 15 Main Road, Dyffryn Cellwen.

iii. John Powell (1911-) - Colliery Wireman Below in 1939, resident at 15 Main Road, Dyffryn Cellwen.

iv. Gwen Powell (1914-2015), in 1939 resident at 15 Main Road, Dyffryn Cellwen.

v.  Doreen Powell (1916-), in 1939 resident at 15 Main Road, Dyffryn Cellwen.

2. Howell Powell (1883-) was a colliery engine driver and recorded as a “Pumpsman” in 1911 at 45 Roman Road, Banwen, with his widowed mother, Mary.

3. Eleanor Powell (1885-) is recorded in 1911 as being involved in “household duties”, with her mother at 45, Roman Road.

4. Gwenllian Powell (1886-) may have married by 1911, or might be away working in service.

5. Sarah Powell (1887-) is recorded as a dressmaker in 1911, with her mother at 45, Roman Road.

640px-Coelbren Junction station

A Neath to Brecon train pauses at the high, remote Coelbren junction in 1962 before attempting the big push up through Penwyllt and then across the vast expanse of the Crai moor to Sennybridge.   

"Coelbren Junction station" by Flying Stag - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

© (the written content and authorial photographs) Gareth Jones 2015-20