Ponkey United and Joseph Wilding Last Town Crier of Wrexham.
Read on for three snippets of Wrexham history from the 1900s. Ponkey United and the Rhos Charity Cup; Joseph Wilding, Wrexham’s Last Town Crier); and “Manure Causing a Stink” in 1907.
Ponkey United and the Rhos Charity Cup
The Rhos Charity Cup Competition started in the years of hardship following the General Strike of 1926. They also helped provide boots for the poor children in the village. Groups of friends would form teams to enter the competition, adopting names such as Ponkey Tigers, Rhos Victoria, Hill Street Rovers, Aston FC, and even The Unemployed (they won the cup in 1933!).
Tom Rowlands of Church Street, a local referee and secretary of the Charity Committee, organised all the games. They took place on Cae Dwr. The photograph is from the game in which Ponkey United beat Afongoch 3-1 in the final of the Cup in May 1931.
Wrexham’s Last Town Crier
Joseph Wilding (see photo below) was the last town-crier of Wrexham, holding the post for over a quarter of a century. The Corporation of Wrexham employed him as such for a fixed annual sum. They provided him with a uniform consisting of a top hat decorated with a gold band, a coat and trousers. The trousers bore a red stripe down each leg.
He had an exceptionally strong voice, so much so that when he made an announcement by the old Town Hall (on the corner of Hope Street and High Street), his words were clearly audible at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel. Apart from official announcements, his duties also included announcing sales by auction and giving lost property notices. One of his duties was to promote the various events held on Wrexham Racecourse to celebrate Sir Watkin Williams Wynn’s marriage.
Mr Wilding resided in Market Street and had a shoemaker business on Bank Street. He was 64 years old when he died. After his death, no other crier was appointed, and so another time-honoured custom fell into disuse.
Manure Causes Stink in 1907
An alleged nuisance in Watery Road caused heated arguments at the last meeting of the Health Committee. The Sanitary Inspector and Alderman Thomas Jones (see photo below) disagreed over whether keeping a cartload of horse manure below the bedroom window of a neighbour’s house constituted a nuisance.
The Sanitary Inspector stated the owner had been ordered to stop using his dung pit, but had started using a cart to store manure for several days. Alderman Jones said, “I can’t agree with the Inspector that a bit of horse manure in a yard is a nuisance.” The Sanitary Inspector replied, “It is underneath a bedroom window, sir.”
The Chairman then intervened, “I would not like to sleep in that bedroom!” Cllr Edward Jones added, “We are advocating open windows, and I defy anyone to open a window if there is manure below.” They agreed to serve a notice on the owner calling on him to remove the manure cart (March 1907).
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Ponkey Joseph Wilding Wrexham