Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

As usual in this monthly blog post I’d like to share with you some of the objects that have been recently added to the industry and transport collections.

The first object this month is this rugby shirt with a ‘Tower Colliery’ badge. It was worn in the 1992 British Coal Cup Final. The donor was working in Taff Merthyr Colliery at the time, and took part in the 1992 Final in which Tower Colliery won. At the end of the match he swapped his Taff Merthyr Colliery RFC shirt for this Tower Colliery one.

Also, this month the museum was donated two paintings of Pontardawe Steel, Tinplate & Sheet Works. These were painted in 1955 by local amateur artist David Humphreys (born 1882), who had been employed in the works.

“Bar Mill” depicts the roughing stand of the steelworks bar mill, whilst “Hot Mill’s” depicts part of the sheet mills. In both paintings the artist has carefully recorded the working positions of the rollermen and the tools and features of the mill environments, such as the racked bar-turning tongs and cabin on the left of “Bar Mill”, and the tea cans (‘sten’) and jackets in the right foreground of “Hot Mill's”. Such attention to detail to the plant and environment is a distinctive hallmark of an industry ‘insider’ recording scenes he was intimately familiar with.

   

This electric cap lamp was manufactured by Oldham & Son Ltd. in about 1995. It is a standard coal-mining specification cap lamp, but is distinguished by being specifically inscribed “H.M.I” (Her Majesty’s Inspector (of Mines)) on the metal battery lid. It was owned and used by one of the South Wales Inspectors of Mines between 1996 and c.2004 during the course of his work.

Amgueddfa Cymru holds by far the largest and wide-ranging Welsh-interest share certificate collection held by any public museum. The collection ranges across railway and maritime transport, coal mining, the mining and smelting of metals, general industry, and service industries (finance, leisure, consumer products, etc.).

The museum is actively collecting in this field, and this month we have added two further examples to the collections.

The first is for the The Gwendraeith [sic] Valleys Lime Coal & Railway Co Ltd. This company was formed in February 1868 to develop the limestone and coal deposits in the lower Gwendraeth Valley. The company wanted to develop limestone quarrying and lime burning, and to acquire the existing railway which it intended to extend into the coalfield on the south side of the valley. However only 185 shares were subscribed to and with insufficient capital the company was wound up in December 1869, having achieved nothing on the ground. This certificate is a good example of a number of companies that tried unsuccessfully to develop the anthracite area of the south Wales coalfield.

The second certificate is for the Llynvi & Ogmore Railway Company. This company was formed in 1866 to amalgamate the broad gauge Llynvi Railway Company of 1846 and the standard gauge Ogmore Valley Railway of 1863. Both companies’ railways were focussed on Porthcawl Harbour and both were dominated by the Brogden family, Lancashire industrialists who developed the Maesteg iron and coal industry and who expanded dock facilities at Porthcawl. The company was managed by the Great Western Railway from 1873, and eventually absorbed by the G.W.R. in 1883.

This object is a cast iron artillery round made in Blaenavon steelworks in the mid 19th century. Surplus ones were re-forged for bridle chains on colliery headgears. The chains can be seen in the last photograph of the three below showing blacksmiths at Big Pit in about 1950.

 

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

Amgueddfa Cymru holds a large collection of material relating to the First World War. Many of these objects from the industry & transport, and social & cultural history collections can be viewed on this online catalogue. This catalogue was created to provide access to this collection of material, especially important during this period of commemorating 100 years since the First World War.

Some of the more poignant objects relate to those who lost their lives in the War, and amongst these are a number of Rolls of Honour. These either commemorate those who lost their lives, or commemorate both those who served, and those who lost their lives.

In the industry & transport collection is this very large (it measures 190cm x 130cm) framed and glazed illuminated Roll of Honour. It lists all those staff working for the Taff Vale Railway Company, who served and lost their lives in the First World War. The sheer numbers of staff mentioned shows how the war affected companies such as the T.V.R. and shows the tragic loss of life.

The Roll of Honour was drawn in the engineer’s office of the Taff Vale Railway at Cardiff by Ivor P. Davies. The alphabetical list details all men who served and also includes their regiment. Names are also marked to indicate those who died in action and those who died of other causes.

The Roll of Honour originally hung in the T.V.R. offices, in a building located next to Queen Street Station. Presumably it hung there until the offices were demolished in the 1970s during the rebuilding of Queen Street Station. In 1989 the Roll of Honour was acquired by the National Museum of Wales, where it was displayed in the Railway Gallery, in a building next to Bute Road Station (now Cardiff Bay). This was an appropriate home as it was displayed in a very historic building originally built as the head office for the Taff Vale Railway Company in the 1840s. This building is still standing, though in a poor state of repair.

It is important that this Roll of Honour be displayed during the commemorations. We were therefore pleased to work with staff at Arriva Trains Wales in fulfilling this. We were able to provide a high resolution digital copy, which allowed them to replicate it. The replica has now been placed on display in the newly revamped Queen Street Station, where it can be viewed by thousands of travellers passing through.

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

The National Waterfront Museum’s current exhibition “Forget me not: Postcards from the First World War” features a fantastic selection of various postcards from the industry & transport, and social & cultural history collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. An estimated 272,000 Welshmen served in the First World War, and at the height of the conflict a staggering 19,000 mail sacks a day were sent back to Britain from the front. As well as displaying a wide variety of different types of postcards, the exhibition also showcases some personal stories.

 

One of these personal stories relates to Evan William Jones, a slate quarryman from Pendyffryn, Dinorwig. Evan was born in about 1891, and when he enlisted was married to Laura with one daughter. He was initially exempted from military service on the grounds of 'exceptional domestic position', and this exemption lasted until 29th September 1916. He then enlisted in the 1/4th Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment on 25th October 1916, where he was a Private with the Reg No. 242727. His Unit Register Card notes his occupation as ‘Slate Quarryman’. On 19th March 1919 he was transferred to the Army Reserve. At the end of the war he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

 

Amongst the collection relating to Evan Jones’ First World War service are his ‘Certificate of Exemption’, ‘Unit Register Card’, and a ‘Field Service Post Card’. Along with these are eight postcards, one a studio portrait of Evan probably taken before he left for service, and five showing men in military uniform, along with three postcards sent by Evan to his family. There is also a good luck card sent from ‘Evan to my mother’. Most of these are on display in the current exhibition.

 

Evan W. Jones survived the war, but was later involved in an accident at Dinorwig Quarry when a crane overturned and fell on him, resulting in a fracture of his skull. He died at the Quarry Hospital on 1st December, 1924. The exhibition features a memorial poster printed with a poem (of ten verses) written in Welsh by Elias Hughes (Myfyrian), and containing a photograph of Evan W. Jones in the centre.

 

Dinorwig Quarry hospital was opened in 1860. General surgery was still practiced there till the 1940s when it became a first aid centre. It closed in 1962, and was later restored and opened as a visitors centre in 1970 as part of the Padarn Lake Country Park. The hospital is situated very close to the National Slate Museum at Llanberis.

 

“Forget me not: Postcards from the First World War” runs until the 19th June 2016 at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

 

To discover more about First World War collection at Amgueddfa Cymru view this online catalogue.

The first object this month is this wages book from Roath Power Station. Roath Power Station was owned by the Cardiff City Electricity Department until Nationalisation, when the Central Electricity Generating Board formed. It was situated on a site on the corner of Newport Road and Colchester Avenue, and began supplying electricity in 1902. It was essential in supplying electricity to the new fleet of electric trams that began running in Cardiff from 1902, and a Tram Depot was situated close by on Newport Road. This aerial view from the Tempest Collection shows the site in the 1950s after the construction of the two concrete cooling towers were completed in 1942.

 

 

Last year we were donated a copy of the design for the Lesbians & Gay Men Support the Miners Group badge that was produced in 1984. The events from 1984/85 were recently depicted in the film ‘Pride’. We have now been donated two of the original designs for the badge. This complements a number of objects in our collection including a 30th anniversary badge manufactured in 2014.

 

Also relating to the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike we have been donated this month this ‘Cardiff Miners Support Committee’ mug. It was manufactured by the Welsh Beaker Company in about 1985. It was purchased by the donor at a benefit gig at Cardiff Students Union, whilst a student at Cardiff, to support the miners during the 1984/85 strike.

 

Finally we need your help to identify this lovely view of a Victorian boating lake. It was taken by the photographer J. Owen of Newtown who had won a prize for his photography at the National Eisteddfod on 1889. The lake is currently unidentified but it has been suggested it might be the lake at Llandrindod Wells, or possibly Lake Mochdre at Newtown. If anyone is able to help confirm the location we would love to hear from you.

 

 

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

The first object this month is this share certificate for the Ystal-Y-Fera Iron Company. This company was in operation from 1839 until 1885. The company owned the Ystalyfera iron works in the Upper Swansea Valley, as well as extensive coal and iron mining interests. The company was established in 1839 when three co-partners, Sir Thomas Branckner, Joseph James Hegan and Edward Budd acquired land in the Ystalyfera area and built a blast furnace. By 1847 the site had 11 blast furnaces, and was the largest iron works outside Merthyr Tydfil. By 1848 the works also had twelve tinplate mills, making it the largest tinplate works in the world at that time. The works later declined, and eventually closed in 1885. This certificate is made out to Joseph Hegan’s brother John, and is signed by Sir Thomas Branckner and J.P. Budd as Directors.

 

This badge was produced in 1991 to commemorate the closure of Penallta Colliery. The colliery was opened in 1906 by the Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Company. By 1931 it was one of the largest collieries in South Wales, and employed over 3,000 men. In 1935 it held the European record for coal winding. Penallta finally closed in 1991, and the last shift on the 1 November was led out by a brass band. It was the last deep mine working in the Rhymney Valley.

The black and white photograph shows Penallta Colliery on 9 April 1981, and was taken by John Cornwell.

See this page on our Images of Industry database for more objects related to Penallta Colliery.

 

This name plate is for a Class 37/4 locomotive No. 37429 ‘Eisteddfod Genedlaethol’. The original diesel/electric locomotive was built in 1965, and withdrawn from service in 2007. In 2015 it was designated by the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board and donated to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

 

The final object this month is this small ceramic vase produced in the early 20th century. On the front it has a view showing ‘Llwynpia Collieries’. It would have been produced as a souvenir ornament.

 

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