Bessie Jones

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Tan y Bwlch volunteer station mistress and wife of platelayer Will Jones.

Will & Bessie Jones, Tanybwlch.jpg Will & Bessie Jones, Tan y Bwlch.

Will Jones and his wife Bessie lived in the Tan y Bwlch station house to which Will had first moved in 1924; they married in 1929. During the 1930s, Bessie was volunteer station mistress, appearing in summer in traditional Welsh costume. She was the subject of many picture postcards, some of which were produced for her to sell. Photos also included shots of her operating the point lever, holding the token, etc. From the station house she sold teas to passengers and passers-by and continued to do this after the war, even though the railway was closed. Bessie continued her teas and her costumed appearances when the trains returned to Tan y Bwlch daily during the season for ten years until they both retired in 1968 to Will's home village of Waunfawr.

They returned to the railway to celebrate their Ruby Wedding anniversary in May 1969, when Mountaineer hauled a special for them. All the permanent staff, wives and friends attended, including the Festiniog Male Voice Choir (!)45-3

Bessie died in 1974, the FR Magazine said: Bessie Jones, former Tan y Bwlch station mistress, wife of Will, and mother of Islwyn to whom we extend condolences. She is a permanent part of the FR.

Bessie and Will Jones are buried at St Garmon's Church, Bettws Garmon, close to the WHR. There is a scene from Tan y Bwlch engraved in bas-relief on their tombstone (back of the church, fifth row back, eighth one along. Please clean the marble ballast while you are there - it is what railways use in Heaven).

Bessie's equivalent on the WHR was Miriam Jones, who was based at Beddgelert.

See also[edit]