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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Festival of Archaeology: a “Scorching Success”!





Having fun with magnifying glasses and APs at the Penparcau Fun Day
A fortnight of unbroken sunshine gave archaeological enthusiasts a memorable 2013 Festival of Archaeology in Aberystwyth. The following pictures show some of the 750+ enthusiasts who attended Royal Commission events. These included community days in Penparcau and Llanon, a lecture for the launch of the Llŷn Archaeology and History Society, a presentation on work of industrial landscape artist Falcon Hildred, and an expedition to Pen Dinas hillfort led by Dr Toby Driver. Watch out for the front cover of the next edition of the CBA Newsletter (late Summer 2013) which shows an army of enthusiasts making their way to the summit!
Enthusiasts striding to the summit of Pen Dinas hillfort despite the heat of the baking sun

Piecing together a Coflein image of Aberystwyth




The Royal Commission’s Nikki Vousden explaining the mysteries of fish-traps at the Community Excavation Open Day, Heol Non, Llanon, organised by Dyfed Archaeological Trust



Dr Peter Wakelin talking to a full room on the work of Falcon Hildred

Visitors enjoying a site tour at the Community Excavation Open Day, Heol Non, Llanon



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Monday, 29 July 2013

‘Worktown’ at the National Slate Museum





Falcon Hildred (centre), with staff from the Royal Commission and the National Slate Museum.

An exhibition of more than 30 prints by the north-Wales based artist Falcon Hildred has recently gone on display at the National Slate Museum in Llanberis. This is the second exhibition of the artist’s work since the Royal Commission acquired his unique collection of more than 600 drawings and watercolours in 2011, and the first ‘Worktown’ exhibition to take place in Wales.

Falcon Hildred is a highly accomplished artist who has dedicated his working life to recording the buildings and landscapes of nineteenth and twentieth-century industry, producing works of high aesthetic, historic and social value. He has recorded in detail technological and engineering change and a rapidly disappearing way of life. The drawings record Blaenau Ffestiniog (the artist’s home since 1969 and a place he has recorded extensively), and a number of industrial towns in Wales and England. The exhibition was curated especially for the National Slate Museum, which sits at the heart of the industrial slate landscape of Snowdonia. Speaking at the opening, Falcon commented that seeing his drawings at the slate museum was ‘like seeing them coming home.’

The Falcon Hildred Collection was acquired in 2011 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The free exhibition will be on display at the National Slate Museum until the 6th January 2014. For further information about visiting the National Slate Museum, visit their website: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/slate/

Visitors enjoying the short film about the artist, commissioned especially for the project.

Falcon Hildred signing copies of the Royal Commission’s book Worktown: The Drawings of Falcon Hildred, which accompanies the exhibition.

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Royal Commission’s Medwyn Parry to lead motorcycle cavalcade on visit to UK Thankful Villages





Royal Commission’s staff wish everyone taking part a safe journey.

It all began with a conversation about a year ago about the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1. The conversation was between Medwyn Parry from Reader Services and myself, Deanna Groom, Maritime Officer.

‘Now Medwyn, what are the really iconic World War I sites in Wales that we should start thinking about doing more survey work on or researching?’, I said.

‘Well, there are sites such as the practice trenches at Bodelwyddan and Penally. Toby Driver has taken some wonderful aerial photographs of those recently’, Medwyn replied.

‘We should do something about the shipping losses around the coast from submarine attacks… but are there any other really great stories yet to be told?’, I said

‘Well, there are the Thankful Villages…’, Medwyn said.

And so Medwyn told me the story of the 51 villages where every soldier who went to war, fought through the real horrors of trench warfare, actually came home safely.

Now Medwyn Parry with fellow motorbike enthusiast, Dougie Bancroft, are about to set off on a 9 day, 2500 miles journey, to visit to each of those villages and deliver a special commemorative plaque. Many of the villages have parties planned to welcome them to celebrate their village’s unique status and the reasons they have to be thankful within their communities today.

The charities benefiting from the fundraising include The Royal British Legion, who support former and serving military personnel, their families and dependants.

The Royal Commission’s staff would like to wish everyone taking part a safe journey and every success.

The event begins on Saturday 27 July at Llanfihangel y Creuddyn, Ceredigion, at 8am, and passes through Herbranston, Pembrokeshire, and Colwinston, Glamorgan, on the same day. The ride is due to finish back at Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, Ceredigion, at around 19.30pm on Sunday 4 August.

Search online for Thankful Villages 2013 news feeds and for more information on the schedule.

To learn more about these practice trench complexes and to see some of  Toby’s images, follow these Coflein links:


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Monday, 22 July 2013

A Grand Day Out: The Royal Welsh Show, Abergele, 1950







Fifty years ago the Royal Welsh Show moved to its permanent site at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells. Before then the show was held in a different locality each year. The Royal Commission has recently unearthed an old aerial photograph from the Aerofilms Collection of one of the first shows held after the Second World War. It was held in Abergele on Wednesday–Friday, 26–28 July 1950, the dates were carefully chosen to slot between the Royal Lancashire and the Yorkshire Shows. Figures for the show were high―with attendances of 61,311 and a profit of £3,814, and the site of the show, now occupied by the Maes Canol housing estate, overlooked the marsh towards Rhuddlan and the River Clwyd. The highlight of the show was a display by the Liverpool Mounted Police, who in 1950 regularly patrolled the docks, football matches and race meetings on horseback. In a later account of the show in 1950, Vernon Hughes wrote, “The weather during the three days was warm and sunny, the field was packed with happy, smiling faces, the caterers were busy, and the traders on their stands were obviously pleased with the public, other tents were full of exhibits and, most importantly, the farmers and their families were really enjoying themselves in the summer weather―a sure sign it was a good show.”  Then as now, the Royal Welsh Show was certainly fun for all the family―especially in glorious sunshine!

If  anyone has any memories of the Abergele show in 1950, please visit our Royal Commission stand at the show (CCA 785) and tell us about it or phone the Royal Commission, Tel:- 01970 621200.   Other unique images from the Aerofilms Collection may be viewed on Coflein, the Royal commission’s on-line database.

Notes to Editors:
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is the investigation body and national archive for the historic environment of Wales. It has the lead role in ensuring that Wales’s archaeological, built and maritime heritage is authoritatively recorded, and seeks to promote the understanding and appreciation of this heritage nationally and internationally.
Website: www.rcahmw.gov.uk

The Aerofilms Collection
The Aerofilms Collection consists of over one million items, including negatives and photograph albums.  Dating from 1919 to 2006, these images show the changing face of Britain throughout the 20th century. It represents the largest and most significant body of air photographs of Britain taken before 1939.

This very large collection of historical air photographs was acquired by English Heritage, in partnership with the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Scotland in 2007. The collection is jointly managed by the three partners.

For further information please contact:
Nicola Roberts, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales nicola.roberts@rcahmw.gov.uk  Tel: 01970 621248    Mobile: 07866050316

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tragic stories of Great Gale among winners of ‘Tell Us Your Story’ competition







Four new films showcasing the work of archives in Wales were launched today at Flintshire Record Office as part of the recent ‘Tell Us Your Story’ competition.

Users of Welsh archives were asked to submit a story about their experiences and discoveries as a result of using the service. Six of the winning stories have been made into films and four of these are stories from North Wales which were shown at the event.

Among the winners, and subject of one of the six films, is Royal Commission Maritime Officer Deanna Groom, who researched shipping losses around the Welsh Coast during a storm in 1859 including a Liverpool-Melbourne passenger vessel called The Royal Charter which was lost on Anglesey.

Deanna adds, “There are many sad stories, but also ones of bravery and courage associated with each wreck. The stories of aid given by local people to shipwreck survivors reaffirm faith in human kindness”. Deanna describes the tale of the EAGLE, a wooden sloop built at Newquay in 1819 which was registered at Aberystwyth – the Royal Commission’s home town. It was driven ashore near Conwy during the Great Charter Gale and a letter from the master, John Richards of Borth, appeared in the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald, held at Gwynedd Archives, for the 19 November 1859, Pg3 Col 1.

The letter begins: ‘Dear Sir, my vessel, THE EAGLE of Aberystwyth having been totally wrecked during the late gales off Llandrillo, and my poor wife and child drowned on the sad occasion, I shall feel extremely obliged if you will allow me through the medium of your paper to communicate my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to those humane and hospitable people of Aberegle and Rhyl, on whose hospitable shore I was cast…’

The Great Gale Shipwrecks Project is a joint Royal Commission and Cadw project investigating shipwrecks and its impact on coastal communities around Wales with local schools. Deanna’s prize money has been used to buy copies of books about the Royal Charter shipwreck to donate to schools involved in the project.

The extensive Great Gale collections can be view on People’s Collection Wales at: http://www.peoplescollection.co.uk/Collection/1515-the-great-storm-of-1859

All the films can be viewed on the Welsh Archives YouTube channel or alternatively visit archiveswales.org and click on the link.

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Monday, 15 July 2013

Festival of Archaeology at the Royal Commission 2013





Family fun at the Royal Commission stand
This year’s Festival of Archaeology got off to a great start on Saturday, 13 July, with two Royal Commission events in Penparcau. Throughout the afternoon, visitors flocked to the Penparcau Fête marking the 60th anniversary of Llwyn yr Eos primary school and organised by Penparcau Community Forum. While many children enjoyed special activities at the Royal Commission stand, older residents told their stories and brought old photographs to the People’s Collection Wales officers.


Residents from Penparcau enjoying some of the People's Collection Wales' photographic images of  the Silver Jubilee celebrations, 1977
 Meanwhile a group of intrepid enthusiasts braved the current heat wave to tackle the slopes of Pen Dinas hillfort under the expert guidance of Dr Toby Driver, reaching the summit to enjoy the cool sea breeze and breathtaking views.
Intrepid enthusiasts approach the summit of Pen Dinas hillfort, NPRN:92236

A breathtaking view to behold for all!

Later in the week, as another Festival of Archaeology event, the Royal Commission will be hosting an evening reception and presentation on the life and work of Falcon Hildred, the Blaenau Ffestiniog-based industrial landscape artist. Here, at the Commission’s offices in Aberystwyth, on Wednesday 17 July 6―8pm, there will be an opportunity to view original drawings and an exhibition, and enjoy a talk by Dr Peter Wakelin, Secretary of the Royal Commission on Worktown: The Drawings of Falcon Hildred. Light summer refreshments will be provided and the evening is open to all.

Two views of Pant-yr-ynn Mill  (NPRN: 28620) as drawn by Falcon Hildred
For details on other Royal Commission events for the Festival of Archaeology, please visit our web page.

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Friday, 12 July 2013

Knit Archaeology for this year’s Festival of Archaeology! 13―28 July, 2013







Get hands-on with archaeology this summer to celebrate the 23rd Festival of Archaeology, which runs from 13―28 July. If you have ever wanted to knit a Castell Henllys round-hut tea cosy, a Pontcysyllte door stop or show off your Celtic style, now is your chance to demonstrate your imagination and creativity. Enter to win a £25 knit pack from Ramshambles York, Council for British Archaeology membership and a copy of the CBA’s latest book―Star Carr: Life After the Ice Age.

To enter, simply:
1. Take a picture of your knit.
2. Follow Festival of Archaeology on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/festivalofarch .
3. Send the e-mail address you use for Pinterest to festival@archaeologyUK.org and request to be added to the “Archaeology Fest Knit” group board.
4. Pin your image to the “Archaeology Fest Knit” board with the hashtag #FestArchKnit and a short caption.

Finally, add your images to the Royal Commission’s Facebook page or Tweet us to showcase your heritage creation.

That’s it! Good luck! To seek inspiration peruse our images on Coflein!

The contest ends 28 July at midnight. One winner will be chosen by judges. The winner will be informed by the CBA via e-mail.

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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Penparcau Summer Fête, 13 July 2013





Pen Dinas Hill-fort, Aberystwyth.

As part of this year’s Festival of British Archaeology events, on the same day as the guided walk to the iron-age fort, Pen Dinas, by Dr Toby Driver on Saturday 13 July, the Royal Commission will also be attending Llwyn yr Eos School summer fête. The school is located next to Neuadd Goffa, Penparcau, where the walk will finish. The fête has been organised to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the primary school, Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, and the day will run from 12pm until 9pm. Events will include displays by the historical re-enactment group, Normannis, a dog show, street dance, boxing and sparring, choirs, and much more. The Royal Commission will be running a range of exciting children’s activities throughout the day, including an intriguing activity involving copies of the modern and historic maps of Aberystwyth held by the Royal Commission and a programmable motorised bug called Bee-Bot! Please come along to discover more.

For further information please contact Nicola Roberts, Telephone: 01970 621248, or the Penparcau Community Forum, Telephone: 01970 611099.

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