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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Recording Interesting Features at Goetre Isaf Nr Bangor





Our People’s Collection Wales event at Bangor Museum in March resulted in a recent follow-up visit by Nikki and myself to a nearby farmstead, Goetre Isaf near Bangor, to record interesting features there. These included rows of bee-boles, a carved slate fireplace surround, a horse-gin, chairs from the investiture of Prince Charles in 1969, and an early ‘vertical drop’ toilet among other treasures. Here’s a taster - to see the rest, visit the collection on People’s Collection Wales.

                  
This row of bee-boles is a series of slate-topped recesses set in an outside stone wall at Goetre Isaf. Small bee skeps or straw hives were placed inside to protect them from wind and rain. Bee-boles like these were widely used before the invention of modern bee-hives.


This beautiful hand-carved slate fireplace was saved from destruction at Bethesda and has been re-used at Geotre isaf. Slate carving such as this, now recognised as a special form of Folk Art, often included names and dates, concentric circles and motifs such as plants, birds and animals. This example commemorates the marriage of John and Elinor Parry, Bethesda, 3 May 1836. An excellent site which explores the history of slate carving in North Wales can be found on the Friends of Gwynedd Museum website where many other examples are shown.

To see the other features recorded at Goetre Isaf visit the collection on People’s Collection Wales.

If you have more information on any of these features, or have photographs of your own, why not add them to the growing collection on People’s Collection Wales?

By: Helen Rowe, People's Collection Wales Officer


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Friday, 26 April 2013

Dolbelydr: Open Weekend, 26-29 April





Exterior view of Dolbelydr (NPRN:27114) taken by the Royal Commission in 1950.
Dolbelydr, near St Asaph is open to the public this weekend, 26-29 April, with demonstrations of Calligraphy on both Saturday 27 and Sunday 28. Fully restored in 2003, and now owned by the Landmark Trust, Dolbelydr is an impressive example of a sixteenth-century storeyed gentry house with its tall end-chimneys and lime-washed elevations. Once seat of a branch of the Salusbury's of Lleweni in the fourteenth century, Dolbelydr was the former home of Welsh grammarian Henry Salesbury (1561-1632/7), who wrote his "Grammatica Britannica" there in 1593 and for whom the current building was probably constructed. The house was a tenanted farmhouse throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and was last occupied in 1910 until its restoration by the Landmark Trust. Those interested in the architecture of the house will find reconstruction drawings in Houses of the Welsh Countryside, page 246, figure 137. The National Monuments Record of Wales holds a wealth of information ―74 Collection Records― on this important house, which has been tree-ring dated c.1578 and was recorded by the Royal Commission’s investigators in 1950 and 1999. Many of images are now available on Coflein.

Detail view of door showing draw-bar slot at Dolbelydr.

Coflein - Discovering Our Past Online
Coflein is the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW), the national collection of information about the historic environment of Wales.
   
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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Y PLAS – could YOU live in 1910?






A brand new television series on S4C this September…

The producers of ‘Coal House’ a ‘Snowdonia 1890’ want to give you the chance to travel back in time and find out what life is really like upstairs - and downstairs – in a grand Welsh country house in 1910.

We’re looking for families and individuals of all ages to live and work in a beautiful country estate for three weeks this September. Could you be a butler or cook, maid or housekeeper, the farming family or even the Squire and his wife? Your life in the house will mean dressing, working, eating and playing just as they did in 1910, and the cameras will capture all the action for a landmark series on S4C and online this autumn.

Perhaps you’re a fan of period dramas bringing our bygone days to light or you have parents or grandparents who experienced domestic service. This is your chance to find out how they lived; in a fully immersive, unforgettable real-life experience bringing our history to life.

For an application form, please contact the production team by email yplas@yplas.tv or call 029 20 671540.

Deadline for entries: 13th May 2013.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Visions of Place - Wales Festival of Architecture





One of the first viewers of the exhibition.

Visions of Place, the Royal Commission’s contribution to this year’s Wales Festival of Architecture, a joint venture between the Mid-Wales Branch of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, is now on display in the main level of Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The panels explore the story of designed settlement in Wales. This exhibition covers the Garden Village Movement, Newport Prefabs, Herbert Luck North: Arts and Crafts Architect, John Nash and the Picturesque, and Eco-housing. The exhibition is strikingly illustrated with images drawn from the National Monuments Record of Wales, many of which are available on Coflein.

The exhibition is open daily and will run until the 4 May, 2013.

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Monday, 22 April 2013

Big Pit Tapestry on Display from 1 May





Big Pit Tapestry. Copyright: Mad Mountain Stitchers

The incredible tapestry of Big Pit, Blaenavon, cleverly created last year by the Mad Mountain Stitchers and reported by the Heritage of Wales blog in September will be on display for public viewing at Big Pit from the 1 May, 2013. Using a number of different and highly-creative materials and techniques, Margitta Davis, Ann Notley, Penny Turnbull, Milli Stein and Jan Winstanley took two years to ingeniously create this wonderful tapestry using images drawn from the National Monuments Record of Wales and in particularly pictures from the extensive John Cornwell collection.

  
Left: Connecting tunnel between Pit Bottom and River Arch. NPRN 433 (John Cornwell Collection)
Right: Nineteenth-century workings in Coity Pits. NPRN 433 (John Cornwell Collection)

The National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) holds the national collection of information about the historic environment of Wales from the earliest times to the present day. It includes almost 2,000,000 photographs, over 125,000 drawings, over 32,000 archived maps, and over 530,000 pages of text and reports. An increasing amount of this material is available on Coflein, our on-line database. In addition the Royal Commission welcomes enquiries about its collections and offers a free public enquiry service.

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Friday, 19 April 2013

First Tramroad Bridge in Wales, and One of the Oldest in the World





Kymer’s Canal and the Pwll-y-Llygod Tramroad Bridge

Survey in progress at the Pwll-y-Llygoed Tramroad Bridge.
©Crown Copyright. NPRN 43100, DS2013_139_001
Kymer’s Canal is the oldest purpose-built canal in Wales and was constructed by Thomas Kymer between 1766-8. The canal ran for 4.8 kilometres and transported goods from a series of anthracite collieries and limestone quarries situated along the valley of the Gwendraeth Fawr, to a quay at Kidwelly. At Pwll-y-Llygod, which marked the terminus of the canal, a tramroad linked from Carway Colliery. This tramroad crosses the river adjacent to the canal, and the bridge carrying it has recently been the focus of work for the Royal Commission. An important scheduled monument this is the oldest tramroad bridge in Wales and one of the oldest in the World.

Following a request from Cadw, Royal Commission Investigators have been undertaking a detailed survey of the bridge. The structure has suffered damage from recent floods and to help inform repairs it was essential that a detailed survey was undertaken. Using laser scanning and total station technology an accurate three-dimensional record of the bridge has been captured. The data, together with the resulting plans and elevations, will now be archived within the National Monuments Record of Wales

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Piloting the Internet - Carmarthen Edition






Last month Britain from Above made its presence felt in not one but two locations in Carmarthen! Starting with the Tourism students from University of Wales, Trinity St David Carmarthen campus, the students explored the project and using the big screen projector in the classroom they looked at various locations around England and Wales― Cardigan and Reading being particularly popular. They also had the opportunity to look at some large prints of the collection as well as more recent prints from the Royal Commission’s archive taken by aerial investigator, Dr Toby Driver. The students were impressed by both the differences and similarities they could identify between the aerial photographs ― the result of the eighty-year time gap between them. Everyone seemed inspired by the project, and several of the third-year students enthused about how it would become a valuable resource for some of their future planning modules, and how they would be able to use the images as information to fuel or theme tours and guided walks around areas of the British Isles.
 

Later on in the day, we moved across town where residents from the local community came along to hear about the project for the first time. They were astonished by the range of the collection and the quality of the images. After hearing about the project and seeing the remarkable collection, they were all keen to log in and get started! Once registered, most people started their investigation of the site, some referring to the step-by-step guides when they reached an unfamiliar part. The group quickly started adding their own tags and comments. One lady commented that she was sure she had become addicted as she and the others started pointing out excitedly half-forgotten buildings. Another happy tagger said that one of the houses was her great-grandmother’s house which she used to visit as a very small girl.

Both groups seemed to really enjoy what the project had to offer; the students and members of the community alike were keen to make use of it as a research resource; the latter group delighting in the memories it brought back. The group really embraced and made the most of a lovely afternoon trip down memory lane.  Several of them are keen to become more involved in the project in a research capacity, and this will be exciting to develop!

Explore: Britain from Above website.

By: Natasha Scullion, Britain from Above Activity Officer, Wales.

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Friday, 12 April 2013

Piloting the Internet ‘Getting the best of Britain from Above’






Free Event, Everyone Welcome!

Friday 26 April 2013, 10am-4pm
Newtown Library, talks: 11am, 1pm and 3pm

Come along and discover this fantastic online resource showcasing a previously unseen collection of aerial photographs of Wales, Scotland and England from the pioneering age of aviation. The collection covers the years 1919-1953, a period when the landscape of Britain was undergoing drastic change.

There will be three talks on the history of the collection and the project itself during the day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, but everyone will be welcome to pop in and find out more through the day with a Britain from Above Activity Officer and have a go on the website itself as part of the Digital Unite Spring Online week.

Newtown Library, Park Lane, Newtown, Powys, SY16 1EJ.
Telephone: 01686 626934

Find out more at: www.britainfromabove.org.uk
Twitter: @AboveBritain

Natasha Scullion, Britain from Above Activity Officer, Wales.
e-mail: natasha.scullion@rcahmw.gov.uk
Telephone: 01970 621200

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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Then and Now - Slate-trade Hulks at Caernarvon





It began with a public inquiry about imagery for Caernarvon Castle, but it triggered a visual memory with Cheryl Griffiths, the Royal Commission’s longest serving member of staff, of historic photographs she had seen in the Industrial Archaeology Collections.

This wonderful series of images shows the former Slate Quay on the River Seiont. The old landing point for the Castle was developed around 1817. With the coming of the Nantlle Railway in 1825-8, which brought slate from various quarries to the harbour, the mouth of the Seiont was turned into an even busier place.

Slate Quay Caernarfon, DI2013_0093.
Maritime Officer, Deanna Groom, set out to try and recreate the view - ‘I was actually too far south along the bank... and there they were. Two really quite substantial wooden vessels, which I feel certain must have been engaged in the slate trade at sometime. The Harbour Master at Caernarvon, Richard Jones, believes that the vessel on the western bank was called the LILLY, but we’d love to hear from local people who may know more about them’.

What do you know about these vessels?
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