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HAGGAR'S NIGHT - A GREAT SUCCESS!

We celebrate Pembroke's link with the early cinema.

 

Friday March 20th was a great success when many joined us for a night at the silent movies in Pembroke Town Hall in celebration of the life and work of William Haggar (1851-1925), a pioneer of the film industry with strong Pembroke connections.  I introduced the event and gave a history of my great grandfather, William Haggar’s remarkable life and times. 

Between 1902 and 1909, William Haggar made between 40 to 60 films but only a few survive.  We are fortunate to have copies of five, including the Maid of Cefn Ydfa which, in its day, was a sensation and made Haggar’s fortune: these have been deposited in Pembroke Museum and form an important part of our collection. 

During the course of the evening the films were shown to live piano accompaniment by musician and composer Sue Howley.  We were fortunate indeed to have Sue play for us – she is a brilliant pianist interpreting the films in her music which breathed new life into them.  This is how they were meant to be seen and the experience was quite enthralling. 

The evening ended to the stirring notes of God Save the Queen (as was once the custom).  I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed Haggar’s Night – certainly one of the most memorable events we as a Society have staged.

 

My Project: Pembroke, Our Town, Then and Now

 

Walking down Main Street – this is something I have done so many times before, but  this time it was different, I had no planned destination, no time limit, no appointment to keep but I did have a purpose.  To fulfil this purpose  not  only did I have to take myself  back to my childhood but I had to stop, ponder, admire and remember Pembroke as it was then; the shops, businesses, homes, and buildings but  more importantly, the people.  It is the townsfolk who have  left me with memories of growing up in a happy, friendly community and it is they who have made Pembroke what it is today.

Vicki Haggar at the exhibition, Monkton Church Hall
Vikki outside her home on Orietlon Terrace, Pembroke Main Street

 

 

This picture was taken around 1946.  I am pushing my dolls pram outside our family home on Orielton Terrace.  We lived on the terrace until I was nine years old when we moved to Little Barnard House, 122 Main Street.

 

I visited almost all of the businesses in the town asking questions about premises and people in order to build up a step by step picture of the Pembroke that  I remember,  as it was, and as it is today.  Everyone I talked with gave me what information they could and showed a great deal of interest and enthusiasm.  I was treated with courtesy and kindness and was very impressed by the willingness that people showed to give me what information they could, I am very grateful for this.

I received a bonus when letters started arriving from friends, both locally and in other parts of the country, sending me photographs and transcripts of their memories of Pembroke.  My introductory article published in Pembrokeshire Life obviously travelled far and wide and stirred up a few memories, this interest gave me a lot of encouragement.

 

This picture, was sent to me by one of the daughters of Mr. & Mrs Stevens who ran Percy Rees, 23 Main Street. Mr Leslie Stevens, who was Percy’s son in law, took over the business when Percy passed away in 1942. He was assisted in Management by Miss Megan Rees, Percy’s daughter and was joined at a later date by his other daughter Eira. In the 1800’s the shop was owned by W. G. Roch, General Outfitter, eventually the shop was to become a Draper’s and Ladies Outfitters. The frontage of the shop has for some time now been split to form two premises.

 

Percy Rees Silver Jubilee 1977

Eventually, I arrived at Pembroke Castle and my adventure, which I had thoroughly enjoyed, was over.  My project covering from East End Square to Pembroke Castle in words and pictures was displayed for all to see on June 4th 2011. 

 

 

Saunders and Son, General Ironmongers.

Saunders was a well established family business situated at 129 Main Street. This picture, kindly donated by Gary Saunders shows his great grandfather Charles, his father Sidney and his aunts. The picture was taken around 1912.  Saunders was demolished in the 1950’s to make way for the Govan Davies Garage.

I have been calling it “My Project” but this is not strictly true – it is a story of Pembroke compiled by myself with the aid of my partner James but without the help, interaction and contribution of the local people it would have been seriously lacking in interest.  It was a project created by the community and therefore it should be rightly named – “Pembroke, Our Town Then and Now.”

Main Street Arthur Squibbs 1936
This old picture taken by Arthur Squibbs in 1936 shows Ernie Morgan the Barber standing on the step of his shop.  Ernie was Mayor of Pembroke 1980/81 and was on the council for a number of years.  After Ernie came Mrs Elsdon’s Sweet Shop.  Mrs Elsdon had the best sweets in town, we used to sneak out of Haggar’s and go over to Mrs Elsdon with our pennies.  We used to think she was magic so we called her The Wizard of Oz. This premises is now the home of Stems Florist.
James Spooner and Vicki Haggar Visitors at the Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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