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It Will Be Sweet to Remember the Black Pudding.

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

"It'll be sweet to remember the black pudding." I uttered, as we drove past the crematorium heading into Bangor.


Having pedalled for forty miles that day we were both feeling a little peckish so, having showered and changed, Mrs Bygone Boozer and I were heading into town for some fodder. One of our regular ports of call in the pre-Covid days was the chippy on the corner of Ambrose Street and Beach Road, a couple of hundred yards along from the site of the lost Penrhyn Arms which we met in this post, where Mrs BB would have a cheese and onion fry-it whilst I'd go for some black pudding to accompany the chips, and we'd eat them sitting in the car looking out over the picturesque mud towards Port Penrhyn. For some reason the tide always seemed to be out when we visited that chippy.


As mentioned in my previous post on Bethesda's lost Waterloo Inn, we hadn't been back to north Wales for four or five years so it would've been no surprise for there to have been a change or two but the chippy was no longer the chippy. It was now Hi Bangor Takeaway.



King's Head Bangor

No cheese and onion fry-it. No black pudding. We just had to make do with fish and chips. We couldn't even eat then looking out over the mud as the car park was fenced off so we just ate them parked outside the shop.


Obviously the Hi Bangor hasn't always been a Chinese takeaway as it used to be that simple chippy I've described, but go back in time a couple of centuries and the building used to house a boozer – the King's Head. It dates back at least to 1829 when Pigot's directory lists a John Jones at the King's Head in Hirael, Bangor.



Extract from Pigot's 1829 directory.

John died in 1838, but the following year his daughter Mary married mariner Richard Richards and in 1841 he was running the place...



Extract from the 1841 census.

...just as he was in 1844.



Extract from Pigot's 1844 directory.

And that's the last reference that I've come up with that shows it being a pub, suggesting that Bangor's King's Head is a much more historic loss to drinkers than Bethesda's Waterloo Inn. And I'm certainly not of sufficient age to have supped in this one.


The Richards family continued to live in the property, but it seems that it was just operating as a shop. In 1851 Richard is described as a grocer...


Extract from 1851 census.

...and after his death the following year Mary continued in the same line of business.


Extract from the 1861 census.


After Mary's own death their son John continued to live in the property. John Richards, known by his bardic name of Isalaw, was a musician and continued to live in the house until his own demise in 1901. Over the door of the chippy is this plaque.


King's Head bangor

It reads:


YN Y TY HWN Y GANED

JOHN RICHARDS

ISALAW

(CERDDOR)

GORFFENNAF 13 1843.

AC YMA Y BU FYW ARE HUD EI OES.

BU FARW MEDI 15 1901.



BYDD MELUS GOF-IO Y CYF-AMOD.

DADORCHUDDIWYD Y GOFLECH HON AWST 5 1943.



The line below the musical stave is presumably a line from a hymn, and in my efforts to translate it I came across a few minor variations in the spellings of the phrase, one of which Mr. Google suggested was "It will be sweet to remember the sparrows". That's nice. Another had the line as Bydd melus gofio y fwamod which Mr. Google assured me meant "It will be sweet to remember the beaver". Hmmmm?!!! Appropriate alternative spellings, the products of various back and forth translations or just simple typos I don't know, but I'm settling on "It will be sweet to remember the covenant", and so my now aged, embryonic Welsh, along with Mr. Google's help or hindrance, suggests that the plaque reads as this in English:



IN THIS HOUSE WAS BORN JOHN RICHARDS

ISALAW

(MUSICIAN)

JULY 13 1843.

AND HERE IS WHERE HE LIVED ALL OF HIS LIFE.

HE DIED SEPTEMBER 15 1901.


IT IS SWEET TO REMEMBER THE COVENANT.

THIS TABLET WAS UNVEILED ON AUGUST 5 1943.



The plaque isn't the only thing attached to the front wall of the building. If a pub has a sign to advertise its wares why can't a fish and chip shop.


SIGN ON WALL OF OLD KING'S HEAD BANGOR


And I have to confess that the fish was very nice, but it would've been sweet to have remembered the black pudding.



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