Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

This month the museum purchased four handbills for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. They date from the 1960s and 1970s. This company is still going and is the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world. It was founded in 1830 and is celebrating its 185th anniversary this year. Three are illustrated here.

The next three images are from a book of cartoons published by the Western Mail and Evening Express. The cartoons by J.M. Staniforth tell the story of the strike of 1898 and are “a Pictorial History of the longest and most disastrous dispute which ever afflicted the extensive coalfield of South Wales and Monmouthshire”. Joseph Morewood Staniforth was born in Gloucester in 1863. His family moved to Cardiff in 1870, and he started working for the Western Mail aged 15. His first cartoons were published by the Western Mail in 1889 and he went on to produce cartoons covering political and social unrest in Wales up until the First World War.

Amgueddfa Cymru holds a large and comprehensive collection of Welsh share certificates. This month we added one further share certificate to the collections. This was for Nobel Industries Ltd. This company, which operated from 1920 to 1926, owned two important explosives works in Wales. The Glynneath Gunpowder Works in the Vale of Neath (now open to the public by the Brecon Beacons National Park), and Pembrey Explosives Works, Carmarthenshire (also open to the public as a local authority owned country park). This certificate is unused and dates from the 1920s.

Finally this month we acquired three photographs showing the hot dip galvanizing of finished steel pressings at Cwmfelin works, Swansea in the early 1960s. The two images here show the galvanising of buckets and rubbish bins.

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

As mentioned in my last blog post staff at Amgueddfa Cymru are working on the Hansen shipping photographic collection to enable this collection to be made fully accessible to researchers and interested parties. I also gave a background to the collection and the work staff and volunteers are doing on it – you can read it here. In this post I’ll explain a bit about the cataloguing process.

We are working at putting each individual negative onto our collections management database (CMS), where details of all the museum’s collections are stored. Each entry will record full details of the name of the ship, the date and place the photograph was taken, and the name of the photographer. This will allow us to do comprehensive searches. It will also include the medium (in many cases gelatin dry plate negatives, with some film negatives). We will also being adding as much historic details of the ship as possible, and one of our volunteers has been working on brief histories of some of the vessels. This collection comprises over 4,500 negatives, so you can appreciate the scale of the work needed to fully catalogue, store and digitise this collection. We have made good progress so far, having added a further 334 negatives since the last blog post, and now have 1,834 records on the system.

As staff are working through the collection we are also re-packing from old glassine bags into modern conservation grade four-flap envelopes specifically designed for the long term housing of glass plate and film negatives. We no longer use glassine bags for storage of photographic collections as under certain conditions, especially if exposed to moisture, the bags can stick to the glass and film negatives causing permanent damage. Therefore, where possible we are re-packing into conservation grade packing. The whole collection is stored in an environmentally controlled photographic store at the National Collections Centre, Nantgarw.

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

This month Amgueddfa Cymru acquired an example of a Prestcold ‘Packaway’ domestic fridge. This fridge was made in Swansea in the 1960s, and was bought new by the donor’s mother and used until only 18 months ago. It still works perfectly! The donation also included the original manual along with a recipe book.

These four lamp checks have been added to the collection this month. They are from Britannia, Deep Navigation, Oakdale and Cwm Collieries. Lamp checks (or 'tokens' or 'tallies') were used to let colliery management know who was in work, and were essential in informing rescue services who was underground during an incident such as a fire or explosion. If you would like to know more about colliery checks and token there is an interesting article here on our website. You can also see many more examples from our collection here on our 'Images of Industry' online catalogue. 

Also this month we received a brick to add to the large collection of Welsh manufactured bricks held at the National Collections Centre. It was found in tipped debris on the former Cyfarthfa Willows cinder tip, Merthyr Tydfil. The brick was manufactured at the Cyfarthfa iron & steel works between about 1890-1910.

Finally this month, we acquired a framed aerial photograph of Cefn Hirgoed opencast coal site was taken in the 1960s, and was at one time on display in the opencast office building. The close up view gives you a better idea of what the site once looked like.

This month Amgueddfa Cymru was able to acquire a painting of Henry Howard Evans. The painting dates to about 1892, and is interesting as it has been painted over a photograph. The photograph was taken by Goldie Bros. of Cardiff and it is signed at bottom right. The brothers Frank and Lawrence C. Goldie had studios at Swansea, and in 1888 they opened a photographic studio in Queen Street, Cardiff where this photograph was probably taken. They produced photographic portraits of people such as the Marquis of Bute and Madame Patti. This photograph has then been painted over to resemble an oil painting, and presumably this was done by, or on behalf of, Goldie Bros. The painting contained an engraved inscription on the frame that shows it was presented to Mr H.H. Evans, who was Undermanager of the Gelly Colliery, by the Gelly House Coal Workmen and friends on his leaving the colliery in December 1892.

We know quite a lot about the life of Henry H. Evans. He was born on 28th April 1865 in 15 Windsor St., Aberdare. He started work as a colliers’ boy at 12 years of age at Bwllfa Colliery, Aberdare. In 1880 the family moved to Maerdy in the Rhondda Fach and Henry continued his career as a collier in Maerdy Colliery until 1884 when he was articled to Mr Rees Llewelyn, Mining Engineer, Aberdare. His training was cut short by the death of his father, Mr John Evans a colliery official, in the Maerdy Colliery explosion of 1885 when he became the family’s bread winner. He began to attend the first mining night school in Aberdare about this time, walking over the mountain from Maerdy to Aberdare for the lessons. At twenty four he gained his 2nd class certificate of competency and became the under manager of Gelli Nos. 2 and 3 Pits where he remained for several years. He later returned to Maerdy Colliery as under manager.

He became manager of Bwllfa Colliery, Aberdare in 1894 where he remained for 18 years until he became the Agent for Albion Collieries in 1912. In 1910 he received the Edward Medal for bravery for saving the life of Mr John Isaac, a colliery repairer who had been trapped under a fall of roof. The museum holds in its collection another painting dating from 1929, which shows H.H. Evans wearing his Edward Medal.

By January 25th 1932, he had become general manager of the Cambrian Combine and lead a team of volunteers following the explosion in Llwynypia Colliery. He was 67 years old at the time and stayed down the pit until the last victim had been found. Eleven men were killed including two rescuers.

The Mines Inspector’s report was rather scathing about the rescue attempt – “In reference to the rescue operations, in the cold light of events it must be said that they were conducted with greater valour than discretion, for even when men from the Porth Rescue Station equipped with breathing apparatus were engaged in J. Alsop’s face, officials not so equipped, including the General Manager (Mr. H.H. Evans), the Agent (Mr. R. Lloyd) and the Manager (Mr. J. Whitticombe), were engaged in Prior’s and Brown’s. They had with them a canary but appear to have had more regard for its life than for their own, with the result that one of their party, John Evans, Overman, was overcome by afterdamp and died.”

He died on May 2nd 1936 only a few weeks after being elected Chairman of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coalowners’ Association. He was buried in Aberdare Cemetery.

This painting joins the other painting mentioned here. As well as a model of a coal dram. This model is a scale replica of a ‘Patent Cambrian Tram’ invented by H.H. Evans and R. Evans in 1931.

As well as this photograph/painting we have acquired a number of other photographs this month, these include these two photographs showing Oakdale Colliery and Markham Colliery, which were taken during the late 20th century.

Finally this ‘book’ of matches we have collected for the two adverts that relate to tourism in Porthcawl. On the front is an advert for Caesars Palace & Mississippi Ballroom while the reverse has an advert for Trecco Bay Holiday Caravan Camp.

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

 

 

The South Wales Miners’ Eisteddfod started in 1948 in Porthcawl, and Amgueddfa Cymru has a number of programmes for various years in the collection. This copy is for the Eisteddfod held in October 1971, and has been donated recently. The Porthcawl Eisteddfod was made world famous in 1957 when the famous US actor, singer and Civil Rights Movement leader, Paul Robeson made a famous broadcast. In 1938 Paul Robeson had been in Wales filming 'The Proud Valley'. This film introduced him to the miners of the Rhondda, and he was invited to sing at the South Wales Miners’ Eisteddfod. In 1950 Robeson had been denied a passport to travel abroad. Still wanting to appear at the Eisteddfod he used the transatlantic telephone cables to transmit his concert from New York to an audience of miners and their families in the Grand Pavilion at Porthcawl. It was a gesture of international solidarity. There is a copy of this recording made on 5th October 1957 in the museum's collection.

This pocket watch and protective snuff tin has been donated this month, and was used by the donor at Cwmtillery Colliery in the late 1970s. A protective case was a common way for mineworkers to protect their watches from dust and knocks. In this case a new use has been made for the snuff tin. We have other protective watch cases in the collection that were speciffically made for that purpose. The pocket watch shown is an example of a pocket watch in a protective brass and glass pocket watch case, which was known as a turnip. This watch was owned by Mr Evan Weston who was killed in the explosion at Universal Colliery, Senghenydd, 14 October 1913.

The final object this month is this real photograph postcard showing the officials of Meiros Colliery, Llanharran in 1920. Meiros Colliery probably opened in the 1880s, and closed about 1938.

Mark Etheridge
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW