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Mair Davies, Baptist Missionary

When Mair Davies left school in Cwmogor, aged 13, she went to live with her aunt and uncle at Pantdwrgns, Talog, living there for 9 years. However, at the funeral of her father she felt she had to help people overseas, and offered herself to the Baptist Missionary Service.

She undertook training in Rhondda, Carmarthen, and London. Mair served as a Baptist missionary in India from 1927 to 1967. She was described as being like Mother Theresa, helping the weak and poorest. Many people of Talog remember her visiting wearing clothes from India, with her adopted daughter, Shontu. She is buried at Bethania Chapel.

Source: Eddie Turner

Talog Stores

Talog shop was established in 1836 and in 1851 was run by Thomas Thomas. Several of the Thomas family died in an epidemic in 1854, and the family was nearly wiped out. Thomas Thomas died aged 41; his wife, Margaret, aged 39; a daughter, Mary was 17; and a son, David was 15. Two other children died young in other years; one at only 1 day old, and the other at 7 weeks.

Mr Turner said “Talog Shop was a thriving business. There was a warehouse on Carmarthen Quay where ships used to come into Carmarthen up the river. A railway to Carmarthen was built it 1852 and they had to put in a bridge that opened to allow ships to come in. You can see that bridge now from B&Q. The Thomas family owned or rented the warehouse. Goods came in by boat and were stored there, then brought to Talog.”

This involved using one of the tollgates in Carmarthen which featured in the Rebecca Riots.

In the 1900s Thomas Richard Thomas inherited the shop, and his younger brother, Walter Thomas went to London to work as a shop worker. Their sister lived in Troed y Rhiw, Talog. Walter Thomas returned from working in London to help run the shop, and they called it Thomas Brothers.

Mr Turner has some receipts showing that in 1913, as T.R. Thomas, it was a “Draper, Grocer, Ironmonger, Seed & Manure Merchant”, with “Funerals Completely Furnished”. In 1932 the heading was for “Thomas Bros. Grocers, Drapers and General Merchants”.

Mr Turner said “The shop sold all sorts of items, including fertilisers, feeding stuff – they reckoned you could get anything in Talog. They had their own cow and a field, so they had fresh milk. If you wanted a suit, they would measure you, then you chose the material from a book, the style you wanted, how many pockets you wanted, single breasted or double breasted, and you could have it within a week.”

This practice had ended by the time Mr Turner moved to the village.

The Early Days
Some early receipts
Thomas Bros with lorries
Talog Stores and Post Office
21st Century – HDG Farm Supplies

Source: Eddie Turner

100 years of Talog Hall

The origins of Talog Hall

In 1914 the “Committee of the Talog and District Eisteddfod” signed a “Memorandum of Agreement” with the shop-keeper, Thomas R Thomas, whereby he lent the Committee £40 to purchase a marquee for their use, and agreed to store the same until paid for. 

Agreement and Signatories

After World War 1

After World War 1 Lloyd George’s government decided to demolish most of the army camps and give huts away. John Daniels worked in Cardiff and helped to acquire the Hall, along with T R Thomas the shopkeeper.

Talog Hall was originally an army hut, like those used by men on National Service as dormitories, probably with 10 beds in a row. The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) distributed the huts to mining communities and villages on condition a plot was found, and money to pay for transport and erection. The money to pay was collected by chapels to be paid back after the hall made a profit.  However, Bethania Chapel agreed to give the money, instead of asking for it back, in return for use of the Hall free of charge.  Mr Turner believes that T.R Thomas organised the transport of the hall from Cynwyl Elfed railway station – using a traction engine and horse and cart.

Cilwendeg Farm gave land in the village to build the hall. They also gave a water supply to the village. The villagers laid the pipes for the water. Mr Turner’s mother-in-law paid someone for a day’s work for her share of the work.  The maintenance was taken over by the Carmarthenshire Council.

Talog Hall Opening Concert

The opening ceremony involved Sir John Daniels, MA, Cardiff, who also gave a set of books to the hall to start a library. The chapel used the hall for drama on Boxing Nights, an Eisteddfod on New Year’s Night, and Christmas parties for the children, as well as other chapel events.

Talog Hall

The ex-army hut was opened on 22 September 1920, and now, as Talog Community Hall is 100 years old.

The YMCA wanted one shilling a year from the hall to maintain ownership. This agreement held until 1977 when Brinley Jones sold Talog Shop to Handel Griffiths.
Inside the hall in those days there was a kitchen, with books on a shelf. In 1962 electricity came to Talog. The lighting had previously been provided from the shop via a generator to the hall. There was a stove in the hall, powered by coal, in the centre of the hall.
Mr Turner said of those times: “Brinley the Shop asked me if I would go with him and Jack Jones, who worked in the shop, around villages which had a hall to see what heating they had. “We went to several villages, started with Meidrim, can’t remember the names of all of them, but Aber Cych was one, and we ended up in Llanpumsaint.” Some had tubular heating, some had overhead, one had under-floor heating. The team decided on overhead heating.
Brinley decided to ask the YMCA if they could provide a grant for the heating, and a man came down Talog where a delegation met him. But there was no grant, and the YMCA representative also refused to sell the hall. However, in the last few years the hall has been transferred to a community organisation. The car park was bought from Brookside, probably about 20 years ago.

Source: Eddie Turner