Emrys Bevan

4th October 2019 |

“Brynhhyfred” now No. 7 Killan Road, one of a row of three little stone cottages which clamber carefully up the breath-robbing Killan Hill, is perhaps one of the oldest, and most representative and inviting of habitations in the village. Step inside and you are at once transported back to the earlier days of the century, a coal fire proclaims a welcome from the grate whether the day is dull or bright, its cheerful flamelets picking out the wooden beams which support the kitchen ceiling. Beams which speak sweetly of times past, and home-cooked hams and garden herbs hanging up to dry. The house, small and self-contained breathes an air of imperturbability and furniture polish. Whatever evil may lurk outside, all inside is at peace.

Life was not easy when Emyr Bevan took up his scholarship at Gowerton Intermediate by transferring from the village school where he had enjoyed the friendship of such lovable characters as Aubrey Jones, Davie Henry and Griff Parry. His father Abraham Bevan – a man of considerable musical ability, who could with aplomb deputise at the organ in Ebenezer when needed – died when Emrys was only ten. Abraham had worked at the Killan Colliery as a fireman and the weekly wage on which the family was dependant was now abruptly cut off.

Fortunately, he was blessed with a mother and grandmother of essential frugality and determination. They saw to it that their stand at Swansea Market was adequately stocked each week with produce from the land which the family had been prudent enough to acquire.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the young Emrys Bevan, then emerging as the kindly character he became in adulthood, resisted the attempts of Mr D. E. Williams, Headmaster at Gowerton to channel him into higher education for which he seemed ideally equipped following matriculation. He joined so many of his generation whose consciences brought prematurely to a close their formal education, surrendered as it was to economic rather than rational forces.

And so it was in 1920, at the age of sixteen that Emrys started work at the offices of the fateful Killan Colliery. When tragedy struck, and the colliery was flooded, Emrys was transferred to the Grovesend Steel and Tinplate Company, owners of the mine. He was to serve this industry for forty-five years.

The choir has always held it as a matter of pride that its existence from 1895 to the present day has been an unbroken stretch.