In the days before the M4 motorway and the town centre redevelopments Port Talbot looked very, very different. However, with the approach of the motorway whole streets were demolished to make room for this ‘fantastic’ new development. None it appeared felt this loss more than the residents of Llewellyn Street. Once a street of 5 terraced blocks -2 on one side 3 on the other-and a flourishing community often described as a community within a community, Llewellyn Street was torn apart by the approach of the M4.
One resident described it as the downfall of the street and said the street was ‘left in isolation from the rest of the town’ when the bulldozers moved in. He said living with the building works meant living in ‘perpetual dirt and dust’ while watching the monster creep ever closer and ever higher over their houses and their lives.
Perhaps last night’s announcement stirred the people of Port Talbot into reliving this past horror as hundreds flocked to Llewellyn Street today, led by the school teacher.
I’ve read about the evictions before but those stories had little effect compared to watching today’s events. One man- Alfie- told the growing crowd all about his life living in the vanished side of the street.
He told us of his exploits as a boy, of number 17 and the pretty woman and her sailor husband, of the boy who played the same song over and over on his record player. These are the real memories of the town and not the ones ‘sponsored’ by ICU. Do you know these memories still haunt those people? They’re there like a shadow and in the shadow of the monster that put an end to them waiting to come out, they are the silent tear in past residents eyes, they will be our future.
But ICU would sooner tear down our memories and the memories of a whole town! As Alfie told the crowd today ‘they say you die many deaths.’ If ICU have their way and the town is evicted it’ll be the death of not just the town but it’ll take the life out of each and every person just like they did 60 years ago.