Chapples Garage

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For 50 years, Chapples Garage on the Old Monmouth Road near Cuckoo Row served the village as a garage and local gathering place. It is currently the location of Frank Sutton John Deere Tractors.

Cindy Chapple tells the story of her family in Raglan.


My grandparents Frederick and Ellen Chapple (whose grave is in St Cadoc's churchyard) moved to Raglan from Cardiff in the 1920's.    Fred had been at Gallipoli in the first World War with his two brothers, one of whom perished,  and returned a broken man with shell shock. Interestingly they were based for some time in what is now Iraq (Mesepotamia then I believe) and I have several interesting picture postcards which he sent home from Basra and Baghdad.   

Fred had been an accountant with Cory Bros at Cardiff Docks up until then but fell on hard times during the depression.   His wife Ellen seems to have been the driving force behind the move to Raglan where she set up a business at Cuckoo's Row on the Monmouth Road. 

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The business consisted of a cafe and petrol pumps and may have had a vehicle repair shop as well, run by their two sons, Syd (my father) and Brin.     The sons ran a van service around Raglan and the surrounding villages exchanging and refilling the large heavy batteries which powered  the wireless (radio) in the home.  (No electricity then!)     This business led on to the bus and coach company which they ran for the rest of their working life, alongside their engineering/ toolmaking business.     Fred Chapple's health continued to deteriorate and he died in 1936.   Ellen continued to run the cafe and my parents moved into the small prefabricated bungalow on the site on their marriage in 1939.   

Disaster struck in the summer of 1943, three months before I was born, when the whole premises was engulfed by fire.    I am told you could see the flames as far away as the Forest of Dean, bearing in mind that there were petrol pumps on the site, one can only imagine what an inferno this was.      Fortunately no-one was hurt but both Ellen and my parents lost their homes, business and all their possessions.     

The people of Raglan rallied round and the brothers set up business at the back of Central Garage where they continued to operate as toolmakers for five or more years.       During the early 1950's they began rebuilding on the site on the Monmouth Road and I remember the painstaking task of cleaning the mortar off old bricks, in order to rebuild,   new bricks were simply not available.    The business continued there until the late 1970's when the premises were sold to Frank Sutton who still occupies the site,  and I believe the original building with the secondhand bricks is still part of this business! 

See More photo's from Chapples garage and buses  

   I have some photos of my mother's days as a teacher at Raglan school in the 1930's and also some of my own school days in Raglan in the 1950's but I will send those to you another day!   

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