Churches & Chapels


Treboeth Gospel Hall


Researched by Ivor Williams with the much appreciated help of the late Joyce Nicholson My first thanks must be to the late Joyce Nicholson, who gave generously of her time and willingly of her knowledge towards this history. I always asked Joyce to write me a speech and every time it was written from scratch and filled with eloquent language. Appreciate it so much!

John and Joyce Nicholson


Joyce was a remarkable lady who unfortunately passed away on the 27th August 2008. She left this message written by herself in December 2002, while attending a previous History Group


            “I am an elderly student in the Treboeth History Group held in the Public Hall; we are set many projects by our Tutor, Patricia Bolt. One of the subjects I chose was the 'TREBOETH GOSPEL HALL'. It has always been my wish to write a feature on the history from its early beginnings to the present day as a tribute to my late husband John Nicholson's Involvement with the design and construction of the new building in the mid 1960's that replaced the old corrugated steel hall, which was erected in the mid 1920's”.

            “My interest in this project is because I have attended all the services for 45 years and have been active in Sunday school and children and ladies outreach work, taking responsibility”.


How it started

A big tent invaded the Treboeth Village in approximately 1922, and was erected where the Chemist is today. A gentleman, Mr. Arthur J. Chilcott, came over from Devon to preach the gospel. He was young and charismatic and many came to the services in the tent. What was the gospel he was preaching? It was from the Bible, Romans 1 verse 16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the Power of God unto salvation”.


Baptised in River Llan  
Sunday 3rd June 1928. Over 500 people drawn from Treboeth, Morriston and Llangyfelach, were present at a river baptismal service held by the members of the Treboeth Gospel Mission on the banks of the River Llan at Llangyfelach on Sunday afternoon. Glorious weather prevailed and in view of the shallowness of the water, considerable preparations had been made for the service, a rough dam having been constructed at one end of the stream so that a deep pool was formed. There were twelve candidates for baptism, six of each sex, one man coming from Llandilo and another from Morriston, the remainder being attached to the Treboeth Hall. Two years ago a similar service was held at the same spot. The service was opened by Mr. A. J. Chilcott. Hymns were sung and portions of scripture dealing with the ordinance of baptism were read, following which Mr. Chilcott spoke to the assembly on baptism. Each of the candidates recited a verse of Scripture before going down into the stream to be immersed by Mr. Chilcott, and the service ended immediately afterwards with the Benediction.


Baptismal Services
 These were held in Afon Llan River and they were local Treboeth people.


What effect did this have on the Community?

The late Gwilym James (Builder and Undertaker) of Penlan Grove, was seven years old in this village, of Treboeth, when the Big Tent invaded the boy’s cricket pitch and stopped them running around. They next saw an organ being carried in and a lady playing it and, whatever next, children's meetings began. Still seven years old, the next big event was on the way home from school, he saw a load of timber and galvanised sheets etc., and was told it was to be a new hall, a Gospel Hall. The tent came down and he resumed cricket - hooray! He was invited to children's meetings and eventually he became a member and was baptised in 1938, in cold water. He said the old building was drab with varnished boards to walls and ceiling. Still it was cosy and warm from a large, shoulder high, tortoise stove in the centre. Mr. James complained it was dangerous and to his surprise, one day he found it moved to a sidewall but, at its first lighting, the hall was set on fire so it was a 'fire brigade job'. Mr. James and Mr. Chilcott’s faces were red. Still, Mr. James said that they were happy days and eventually he met his wife and she played the organ in the Church at a later date, for many years.


Gwilym James died 13th April 2000 and is interned at Morriston cemetery. 


The original Gospel Hall built in the mid-1920’s


What were times like in those early years?

Craftsmen's wages £2.50 Bricklayer's wages £3.00. Behind Parkhill Terrace was a bake-house with no water. All water was carried from a spring ½ a mile away by the daughter, a young schoolgirl (She became Mr. James' wife). The oven was oil fuelled and there was no electricity. All the bread was carried in baskets, as roads were not made, except Main Road and the bottom half of Penlan Road, which was developed in 1931 (approx). The same young girl carried the bread to the customers in baskets.


A broadcast on Swansea Sound was made for the B.B.C. on 20th October, 1957. Mr. Chilcott who commenced the work at Treboeth, led the service and hymns were sung by the members.


What impact did the Church have on the Village?

Treboeth Gospel Hall was known for its outreaching work.





Mr. A. J. Chilcot in the old hall, he commenced with the tent.


Sunday school tea party in the old Gospel Hall about 1960
May Anderson, May Ledd, Mrs. Allen





Gladys Mary Anderson, known as May, was born on 8th May 1905 in Treboeth, the fourth child in a Welsh speaking family. May left school at the age of 14 as she was needed to help at home.


May Anderson was in the Gospel Hall for the Carol service on Christmas 2007 age 102, she died in July 2008 age 103. The funeral took place at May’s own Treboeth Gospel Hall and the burial at Morriston Cemetery.


Treboeth Gospel Hall 1960





The last wedding in the old Gospel Hall about 1965



The new building The tin building was only temporary and the brethren were inspired by a local engineering draughtsman, Mr. John Nicholson, (my late husband) to build themselves a new building which is the present Treboeth Gospel Hall, standing on the comer of Heol Gwyrosydd and Llangyfelach Road. It was designed by Mr. John Nicholson and then was built by the craftsmen in the Church; some were carpenters, electricians, plasterers, painters. Mr. Gwilym James did the brick building. The ladies of the Church stripped the seats (benches) from the old building and repainted them for use in the new hall. Mr. Cliff Thomas grained all the benches. Mr. John Nicholson, who was responsible for all the steel erection, was qualified at Rees and Kirby's Morriston (it is now demolished). All the members worked as directed, as a team and worked during the day at their daily work, then worked until, often, 12 o'clock midnight and on a Saturday on the new building. We wives had to go and bring our husbands home such was their enthusiasm. Lights were put up in the winter for them to carry out the work.




Final touches being "put to the new Treboeth Swansea Gospel Hall, ready for tonight's opening by Mr. A.J. Chilcot, one of the founders of the 45 year old group and old temporary Gospel Hall.

Among those in the picture are Messrs;" John Nicholson, Brian James, Cliff Thomas, Terry Williams, Theo Whittaker, Gwilym James, William Sullivan, Tom Taylor. On ladder Malcolm Sullivan.


Some of the women demonstrate their ability with paint brushes.

From left: Margaret John, Ethel Davies, Nan James, Enis and mother Margaret Davies, Grace Gordon and Edith Thomas.






The first meeting in this new building was on the 4th of May 1967. The Official Opening was held on the 27th of October 1967

Opening Ceremony, Mr. Chilcot is standing, the first meeting on 4th May 1967


The first wedding in the new Gospel Hall about 1967






The new Gospel Hall with a flat roof on the extension. A sloping tiled roof was added in June 1991







Photographs of missionary, bible exhibition in the Gorse Gospel Hall with Hugh McKay from Nigeria. We made the stands, I did Brazil, these were set up in the Gospel Hall and were visited by the school with Mr. Geraint Williams.

Mrs. Iris Rees shows her work on Africa, she was a mid-wife in Africa.


Mrs. Iris Rees’ work display on Africa



John and Joyce Nicholson explain the work in Brazil to Hugh McKay organiser of the exhibition.


Mr. Stuart McGlashan and Mrs. Joyce Nicholson on ‘Education Abroad’


Mr and Mrs Malcolm & Hannah Coombes, missionaries in France.


Mr David Taylor and family on Ireland


Doug Rea on Ireland with Hugh McKay


Mr. Hugh McKay


Talk on Korea by a Korean from the Bible College


Talk on Korea by a Korean from the Bible College


Leighton Davies and sister of friends talk on India


How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?


Approx. 1965 The Treboeth Gospel Hall Choir, singing in the Gospel Hall, Dick Saunders (Radio evangelist) conducting, John Hall at the piano. 


The Local School

The local school showed interest and a Bible Exhibition was held in Treboeth Gospel Hall and the present head master, Mr. Geraint Williams, brought classes and teachers to view and were taken around and pointed out the history by the Elders and members of the Church. Also, when the school was doing their project on different faiths, they again visited and were shown how the church conducted their services. Mr. Richard Owen from the Church takes the assembly once a month in the School. Others previously helping were Mr. Tony Harrison and Mr. Kevin Brookes.


Mr & Mrs Geraint Williams, Headmaster of Gwyrosydd Junior School talking with Mr. Gwilym James




Children's Work - both on a Sunday afternoon and on a Friday evening. This work covered Treboeth, Clase, Penlan, Portmead and later Blaenymaes. The children were picked up in the Hall Bus with conductors, free of charge. Many folk in Treboeth remember the old days when one lady of 92 had round badges, then triangular badges for answering Bible questions.


Young People's Work - on Friday evenings and Sunday evenings (8-9 O'clock). This work helped many teenagers, some of whom have gone on to take further responsibilities in other churches.


David Tucker (previous Elder of the Church) became president of Trans World Radio

Ian Rees went to Botswana, Africa.


Paul and Julie John, became Youth leaders in a Church in Ipswich.


Keith Berry, a Pastor/Minister in Dunstable


Paul Griffiths and wife, to work as Youth leaders and on radio.


Malcom and Hannah Coombes, to work as outreach in the South of France.



Treboeth Gospel Hall Sunday School performing the musical, “Psalty’s Christmas Calamity”, the story of a Christmas song book whose dusty pages have to be washed, and that’s where the calamity starts. Fifty members of the Sunday school are taking part in the production which involves singing twenty traditional and modern carols to bring forth the true meaning of Christmas. Psalty is being performed at Gwyrosydd Junior School, Treboeth, Swansea this evening at Penlan School on Saturday.

Sisterhood Meeting were held at the Gospel Hall Treboeth

Sisterhood meetings at the Gospel Hall

There were also teas for Senior Citizens Musical afternoons with Peter Jackson, a blind pianist and the Male Voice Christian Choirs.


 Mother and Toddler Groups


Treboeth Gospel Hall was depicted on a plate.



April 2000, Gwilym James

Gwilym James died 13th April 2000


Joyce Nicholson from Treboeth Gospel Hall, telling the story of “Pilgrims Progress” to Gwyrosydd Junior School.


John Kissock-the judge, Roy Davies, Richard Owen, Mark Essery, Joyce Nicholson, ---, ---.


Peter Davies and Joyce Nicholson


Gospel Hall February 2008