Benjamin Jones and the Cwmamman Silver Band
Cwmamman Silver Band, 1909.
It appears that the above picture was taken outside Glanamman School. The bandleader (holding the baton), was named Benjamin Jones, but was known locally as "Benny'r Band". Mr Jones was born c.1879 and lived at "Pleasant View"; 79 Cwmamman Road, Glanamman, in the proximity of the village square. His wife was named Maggie and they had two daughters and two sons. One of their daughers married and lived in North Wales. The other daughter, Mary Laura Jones, cared for her father when he suffered from pneumoconiosis, as a result of working at Gellyceidrim Colliery for many years. Benjamin was the brother in law of the popular local historian, John Jenkyn Morgan of Glanberach, Glanamman.
Benjamin Jones was a popular and well known figure in Cwmamman and an accomplished band master who led the Cwmamman Silver Band to several victories in South Wales contests. He also won numerous eisteddfods with his fine baritone voice. He had conducted a number of "Cymanfa Ganu" throughout the locality and was familiar with the Folland family; the Cwmamman Silver Band being furnished with smart uniforms by Mrs Folland in June 1925, as well as being invited to play at Llwynderw, the Folland home, in Black Pill, Swansea. Benjamin Jones also knew Mrs Folland through their mutual connections with Bethesda Chapel, Glanamman; himself being precentor at the Baptist Chapel.
Cwmamman Silver Band at Llwynderw, Black Pill, June 1925.
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On the 19th of February, 1927, the Cwmamman Silver Band were among the participants at the opening of the Cwmamman Workmens Hall and Institute; Ben Jones, being one of those on the committee, which was formed to make the necessary arrangements for the ceremony. The hall became one of the venues in which the band then played from time to time.
On the 21st of September, 1933, the Amman Valley Chronicle announced that the new bandmaster for the Cwmamman Silver Band was Mr Malgwyn Jones, of the Plough and Harrow Inn (Glanamman Square). He succeeded Mr Ben Jones who had recently resigned. Malgwyn Jones was the nephew of Mr Stanley Jones, conductor of the Cwmamman Choral Society and organist at Brynseion Chapel, Glanamman.
The 4th June, 1936 edition of the "Amman Valley Chronicle", reported that Mr Benny Jones; the "former" bandmaster of the Cwmamman Silver Band, conducted the massed bands of the Amman Valley at the opening of the Amman Valley Cottage Hospital. The massed bands comprised of four silver bands, namely; Cwmamman, Ammanford, Gwaun Cae Gurwen and Brynamman. The paper reported that this was a kind act on the part of the hospital committee, as Benny Jones had been bandmaster in excess of thirty years.
Mr Benjamin Jones died on the 8th of May, 1961, aged 82 and is buried at Bethesda Cemetery on Grenig Road, Glanamman. His well attended funeral was officiated by five ministers; Rev. T. Ellis Jones, pastor, Rev. D. T. Evans, Rev. Jenkyn Lewis and Rev. D. J. Davies, of Glanamman and Rev. W. Mon. Williams of Brynamman. His obituary in the 11th May, 1961, edition of the South Wales Guardian referred to him as "One of the most esteemed residents of Cwmamman".
Sadly, the same edition of the newspaper announced the death of Mr Lemuel Edwin Rees, a well known cornetist with the Cwmamman Silver Band. He had died suddenly in an armchair at his home; "Brynffynnon", Tircoed Road, Glanamman, aged 65. The retired ex tinplate rollerman worked at the Mount and Wernos Collieries when Glanamman Sheet Mills closed in 1930. Lemuel Edwin Rees does not appear in the picture at the top of this page as he would have been approximately only 13 years old in 1909.
Thanks to Dilys Jenkins for the information and to John Madge for the picture. Thanks also to the South Wales Guardian for allowing me to use information from the Amman Valley Chronicle and South Wales Guardian.