J Ramsay Kilpatrick
J Ramsay Kilpatrick was born in Manselton, Swansea in 1929. After the untimely death of his mother in 1931 he moved to live with his grandmother, 'Ma', in Gerald Street in the Hafod. His early memories are of playing on the streets with his pals and roaming the tip, the playground of generations of Hafod children. Regular Saturday afternoon visits to the Bug (the Landore Cinema) and reluctant attendance at Hafod School were his world until the outbreak of the Second World War.
He left Hafod School at the age of 14 in 1943 and began work as office boy in the 'QF', ICI's munitions factory where quick-firing shells were being made for the Navy. It was in QF that he began to learn about the world of work. Just as the Second World War drew to a close he began his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner in ICI Landore at the age of 16.
His grandmother died in 1947 and Ramsay left Landore in 1949 to finish his apprenticeship in ICI's Waunarlwydd works. He married Margaret in 1953 and they set up home in what had been Ma's house and Ramsay's childhood home. Ramsay and Margaret lived in Gerald Street until they moved to Dunvant in 1964.
Ramsay retired in 1992 after 48 service to ICI and Alcoa. In 1993 he suffered a debilitating stroke and moved to Brecon with his wife, Margaret. In February 2007 his daughter, Felicity, began recording memories of his early years. Ramsay died in August 2007 but Down the Memory Lanes of My Hafod remains a touching reminder of a lost world.
Ramsay was from a family that had lived in the Hafod and worked in the copper industry for five generations. It was his dearest wish that people would remember there was once a thriving and innovative industry on the flat scrubland around the Liberty Stadium and on the banks of the Tawe. The area is being revived after years of dereliction but the landscape of Ramsay's memories has long gone. The world he recalls has disappeared but he recalls the time as if it were yesterday.