Philip Morris Walters was born in Aberdare on November 11th 1938. He was the son and only child of Edward R. (Ted) Walters1 and his wife Ann2, née Morgan of Siop-y-Parc3, 63 Gadlys Road, Aberdare. The family was Welsh speaking and all attended Carmel Welsh Calvinistic Chapel in Hirwaun Road, Trecynon, where both Philip’s parents were elders, as was his grandfather David Morgan. Philip was schooled in Aberdare, and apart from a few years away from the town in the late 50s, he spent the whole of his life working in the locality.
He received his primary education at Park School, Trecynon and moved to ABGS in 1949. He had a strong interest in sport gaining a place in the school Rugby 2nd XV 1955–56, 1st XV 1956–57, and Cricket 1st XI 1955 and 1956. He also took a prominent role in athletics and appears frequently in the Sports Day programmes as both competitor and pupil organiser. Indeed, in 1957, his final year, as Captain of Dewi House he was presented with the W.M. Llewellyn Cup for leading the winning House.
To celebrate finishing his A-levels Philip and Alun C. Davies4 made a hitch-hiking tour of Wales. Starting at Llangrannog, they followed a route that included Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Dolgellau and Snowdon. Indeed they climbed it twice in one day: an early climb to witness sunrise from the summit, and a second ascent with their hostel group in the afternoon. The trip finished with visits to Caernarfon, Bangor and finally Shrewsbury. It was an active celebration of the completion of his schooldays and foretold his fascination with the outdoors that he pursued for the rest of his life.
Possibly inspired by his uncle Morris Morgan5, who was a barrister, Philip went up to UCW Aberystwyth in 1957 where he read Law and graduated LL.B. in 1960. From there he went to Law School in Guildford alongside his school friend Peter Jenkins. Whilst there both played for Guildford RFC — as well as completing their solicitors’ examinations.
He then returned to Aberdare as an articled clerk to the solicitor Graeme John6 - at a time when Philip’s family were required to pay the firm for taking on the fledgling solicitor and to train him. In 1964 he qualified as a solicitor, later going into partnership with Graeme John, once again alongside Peter Jenkins. Whilst at Graeme John and Partners, Philip met his future wife, Iris James of Godreaman, who also worked there. They married in August 1969 and a son David was born in the following year.
Ten years later Philip began his association with the Coroner Service, first as Deputy Coroner and later as Coroner initially for North Mid-Glamorgan, then for Mid Glamorgan and finally as H.M. Coroner for Bridgend and North Glamorgan. At the age of 69 he retired from this post in October 2008 after 35 years’ service, and having dealt with a spate of suicides in Bridgend County in his final year.
Throughout his life Philip supported and engaged in a variety of sporting activities. He was a founder member of the Harlequins Bowls Club and was instrumental in relocating the club from Aberdare Park to its own clubhouse and greens in Trecynon, which the club purchased in 1976. In 1998 his team became the Mid Glamorgan County Fours Champions. He was captain of the club when it won the Carruthers Shield—the Welsh bowls premier competition—in 1980. He was club treasurer at the time of his death.
Philip was also heavily involved in the world of snooker. He was chairman of the Welsh Snooker and Billiards Association and later the Chairman of the International Snooker and Billiards Federation for some years. He attended the World Championships in India (1974) and Malta (1978).
Following his rugby playing years, Philip took up running to keep fit and was involved for many years in Aberdare Athletic Club, latterly serving as its President. After watching the first London Marathon on television in 1981, he was motivated to have a go himself, and took part in the 1982 marathon.
In his retirement, Philip kept himself busy with his allotment, and with his two grandchildren born in 1999 and 2003. He also continued his involvement with the Past Student Association, an association that had an intermittent existence in its final years, with formal reconstitution in the mid-1960s and again in the mid-1990s. However, he was heavily involved with the large reunion that took place at the Sobell Sports Centre in 2011, and continued to organise a wreath for laying on the cenotaph on each Remembrance Day. Philip also provided a collection of sports team photographs—with captions—for reproduction on this website.
Philip Walters died at home in Elm Grove on June 24, 2015, aged 76 years after a sudden illness. The funeral service took place on July 7th 2015 at St Fagan’s Church, Trecynon.
Siop-y-Parc was originally a tobacconist & barber’s shop run by Philip’s maternal grandfather David Morgan with his wife Margaret. After his death the shop stayed in the family and was run by Ted & Ann Walters. They sold various items of stationery and haberdashery. But Siop-Y-Parc was much more than this: it was a place were Welsh language books were sold; concert tickets were available and it also functioned as a small community centre. Glyn Griffiths (ABGS 1928–35), deputy editor of The Aberdare Leader wrote an article in an August 1964 edition of the paper when the shop was about to close. Some extracts from his article follow:
“This little establishment — No 63. Gadlys Road — has been an institution in this part of Aberdare for 67 years; indeed a social centre, rendering public service to countless local people in all walks of life, young and old. Ever since it began, this little business has had a reputation for its warm concern for people; for friendship, homeliness and helpfulness.
The proprietor, Mr David Morgan, was a national figure in the hairdressing movement and for several years President of the South Wales and Monmouthshire Hairdressers’ Federation.
Those were days when the barber-shop was open until ten or eleven o’clock on Saturday nights. From early morning then until late at night, David Morgan shaved people and cut their hair behind the glass partition at the far end of the shop which has remained untouched throughout the years. But more than that, as far-back as nearly 70 years ago the shop was a centre where all the important topics of the day — religious, political and social — were argued. It was there, at the end of the day, and often very late into the night, that some of the pioneers of the Labour Party met.
A producer of the chapel dramatic society for many years David Morgan arranged for many of the rehearsals to take place in his little barber shop, and in later years, his daughter, Ann, for many years Carmel Sunday school superintendent, often brought her own Band of Hope children and Sunday School scholars to the shop to prepare them for concerts, eisteddfodau or Scripture examinations. Mr. Morgan was also keenly interested in elocution, and many were those who went along to the shop to be thoroughly drilled in the techniques of reciting, when that art was very much more in vogue than it is today.
Then, when the little shop passed over to Mr. Morgans’s schoolteacher daughter, and her Hirwaun-born husband, Ted, it became known as a centre for the sale of Welsh books and periodicals, Welsh souvenirs and novelties, Welsh Christmas cards and calendars, the clientele for these being drawn from all parts of the Valley. But still the shop went on giving something extra in service to the people of the locality. Siop-y-Parc also became the centre for the sale of tickets for concerts, eisteddfodau, operas etc., and in the past 20 years or so, thousands of tickets for all sorts of such events must have passed over the counter without Mr. and Mrs Walters having asked a single penny for their services or for the use of their shop. There were many nights when the shop lights were kept on solely for the convenience of people who might want to call in to buy tickets!
Yes, there are lots and lots of people who will have cause to remember Siop-y-Parc and regret its passing; the generations of pupils at the nearby at Boys’ Grammar School who called there for pens and pencils, rulers and rubbers, stencils and geometry sets; the children who rushed there on the days immediately after Christmas seeking “caps” for the cowboy-set shooters Santa had brought them; children who wanted fishing nets for the Park Pond (and occasionally a jam jar from Mrs. Walters’s pantry went with the net, free of charge).
Next week, this quaint old shop with a character, selling all sorts of odd bits as well as all the best things in Welsh literature, will no longer be serving the people of Aberdare, and very soon, the old shop-front, there unchanged for the best part of a century, will disappear for ever, when extensions are carried out by the people of the next-door shop who have acquired the premises.
Mr. and Mrs. Walters and their son, Mr. Philip Walters, Ll.B., leave Siop-y-Parc with the good wishes of hundreds of friends in Aberdare and outside it for a happy time in their new home – 54, Tudor Terrace, Gadlys.”
31 August 2019