it became possible to provide a two weeks holiday for six groups of twenty men each summer for three years. One hut served as a dormitory and the
other as a dining room and social centre.
In the mornings for five days a week,
preparation, but otherwise they were free to enjoy their holiday.
The first act, on a wet Sunday morning, was the snipping of a barbed wire fence by the National Secretary, to create an entrance to the site from the approach road. Mr. W. R. Watkins, in a car, led the advance party of four unemployed members of the Newport YMCA. Two Bell Tents soon appeared on an appropriate site. The bell tents would be their home for the next two weeks, while in that time the huts would be erected.
Mr. Frank Coles, chairman of the Caldicot YMCA, a carpenter by trade, joined the party the following day to direct the work of construction of the huts, which were not of the prefabricated species. Materials had been bought in bulk at privileged prices. A concrete plinth made more elaborate foundations unnecessary. The frame-work was soon formed, the cladding nailed on and the roof made secure and waterproof. In two weeks time, the first group of campers reported their presence.
During the period of the camp in the summers of 1931/32/33, the site was levelled and prepared for the construction of the building. The fall of ground along the front of the building line of 156 ft, necessitated excavations to a depth of five feet for foundations. The rock and soil was barrowed away to the lower end of the site to level the ground. It was hard work. Below the top soil of only 15 inch depth, was solid rock which required the wedge and sledge for punching out. In addition, two plots near the sea frontage needed to be levelled for tennis courts and a garden.
Each week a selected leader detailed the work to the campers and arranged leisure time activities. The men maintained an excellent spirit among themselves; they enjoyed the work and developed a comradeship; they worked for a purpose. They had their sad moments at the Friday night impromptu "sing song" when farewells were said and good luck offered to half their number before they left for home the following morning; back to boredom - the men with idle hands and no work to do.
About twenty of the unemployed men received invitations to attend the formal opening of Glan-y-mor, and to take a week's holiday there. They took pride in having made a contribution to such a worthy project. The two discarded hut plinths remained on the site, a silent monument to those great-hearted men.
Building operations commenced in the autumn of 1932. Contracted work included the erection of the main sections comprising the rest room, lounge, dining hall and kitchens together with thirty-five completed bedrooms and space and partitions for a further seven. The kitchen section was a mass of unplastered walls. From the rough concrete flooring, looking up between the steel and timbered flooring joists one could see the slated roof.
The total cost of these first sections amounted to £7,300, including equipment and furnishings; over £3,000 had been secured by donated income. Local Associations and Women's Auxiliaries contributed liberally to the fund. Later a mortgage of approximately £3,000 was taken up. The residue of the debt was cleared in a short time, and the mortgage was also liquidated