Blog - Research

Posted - 18-06-2018

Collections / Research

The Gladstone Pamphlets at the National Library of Wales

In January of this year Dr John Powell, Professor of History at Oklahoma State University, spent some time in the UK, both here at the National Library of Wales and in Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, undertaking research into the Gladstone’s Pamphlet Collection. We are very grateful that Dr Powell kindly agreed to write this blog about the part of the collection which is based at the Library. To see the full article version of this blog click here.

 

Tracts and pamphlets are the orphans of the Victorian print revolution, and the poor relations of William Gladstone‘s justly famous library.  Despite the fact that Gladstone read and collected thousands of shorter publications, marked them, organized them for reference, sent them to colleagues, used them routinely in developing policies, and employed them as evidence in his own books and articles, they have been seldom mentioned and never systematically examined in the study of Gladstone’s thought or politics.  The technological and educational revolution of the early nineteenth century may have made it into the age of the book, but as one recent study of the period has observed, if we count “what was produced” instead of what has survived, the Victorians might properly be considered “people of the tract”. More than 5,000 tracts once owned or associated with Gladstone are now housed in the National Library of Wales and are an invaluable source for scholars of the Victorian era. Added to the inherent value of the tracts themselves, annotations in a significant percentage of them provide scholars with kinds of evidence not generally found in correspondence, memoranda, and public papers. Working with Gary Butler at Gladstone’s Library, we have begun to unravel the complicated history of the pamphlets after Gladstone’s death.

 

The Gladstone Pamphlets housed at the National Library of Wales are rich as sources of Gladstone’s thought and policy development. Most of the pivotal moments in his career involved public exchanges involving some combination of articles, speeches, and tracts.  While his family, friends, and colleagues often urged more private methods of proceeding, Gladstone almost always chose to make use of the public forum, routinely reading and responding to the tract and periodical press. Whether engaging the nuances of Tractarian Church reform in the 1830s and 1840s, battling the Vatican or the Ottoman Empire in the 1870s, or attempting to bring justice to Ireland and the Empire in the 1880s and 1890s, he played politics with an eye toward the public.  Gladstone’s unique political gifts are too often represented as being almost exclusively rooted in principle, oratory and the public sphere.  But when he marked pamphlets in the first flush of new revelations or ideas, he often left posterity with a very personal glimpse of his feelings, which only later would be refined and mixed into a speech, policy, or pamphlet.

 

One example will suffice to suggest the kinds of insights afforded by the Gladstone pamphlets at the NLW. On 8 March 1846 Gladstone read E. B. Pusey’s Entire Absolution of the Penitent. He had long admired Pusey, having worked with him on High Church reforms pre-dating the Oxford Movement. By the mid-1840s, however, Gladstone had begun to doubt his elder colleague’s judgment as they each tried to preserve Catholic traditions in the Church of England. Upon reading Pusey’s cautionary footnote “to the young” regarding mortification— “See Mr. Newman’s valuable Sermon, ‘Dangers to the Penitent’”

 

–Gladstone underlined “Newman’s valuable Sermon” and noted in the margin: “This is hardly decent, time considered”. Newman had converted to Rome less than four months earlier. Reading this comment in the original pamphlet preserved at the NLW is about as close to being with Gladstone in his study and in his head as we are likely to get.

 

John Powell

Professor of History

Oklahoma Baptist University

 

Posted - 23-05-2018

#LoveMaps / Collections / Events / Research

Carto-Cymru The Wales Map Symposium 2018 Synopsis of “Charting the seas …” 18th May

The Welsh Assembly Government has designated 2018 the ‘Year of the Sea’ and consequently sea charts and other matters maritime were the topics of the day in the Carto-Cymru Symposium at the National Library on 18th May.

This year’s symposium was themed ‘Charting the seas and coasts of the World – how maps depict the sea and coastline and how such mapping is used to widen our understanding of these environments’.

 

The presentations comprised:

 

From the Air, on Land and Sea: 21st century mapping of the seas and coast of Wales and Ireland – The CHERISH Project

James Barry, Marine Geoscientist, Geological Survey of Ireland, Rob Shaw, Senior Geo-Surveyor, Discovery Programme, Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland and Daniel Hunt, Investigator – Cherish Project, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

 

How selected terrestrial and maritime heritage sites expected to be impacted by climate change are being surveyed and mapped within a number of study areas across both nations during the first year of the project and during the next four years.

 

Bureaucracy, Cartography and the Hydrographic Office of the British Admiralty: Marine Charts and Charting in the Nineteenth Century

Dr Megan Barford, Curator of Cartography, Royal Museums Greenwich

 

The production and use of Admiralty charts in the nineteenth century.

 

The collections, history and work of the Hydrographic Office

Dr Adrian Webb, Head of Archive, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

 

How this vast collection came into being, how it was developed and why it has moved location from humble beginnings in the Admiralty to a purpose-built archive facility in Taunton.

 

 

Ffuglen a ffaith: mapio glannau ac aberoedd Cymru (Fact and Fiction: mapping the coasts and estuaries of Wales)

Dr Hywel Griffiths, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University

 

An overview of the mapping of the geomorphological features of Wales’s coasts and the way in which Welsh coasts and seas have been mapped in the poetry and prose of Cardigan Bay poets and writers in particular.

 

Cist siartiau Cymreig: Casgliad siartiau morol yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (A Welsh chart chest: The marine chart collection at the National Library of Wales)

Gwilym Tawy, Map Curator, The National Library of Wales

 

An overview of the Library’s collection focusing on historic charts of Welsh waters, whilst also including charts of Britain, Europe and beyond, naval charts, specialist charts, harbour development plans and the unusual. Tribute was also paid to Olwen Caradoc Evans, an authority on Welsh antiquarian maps and charts.

 

Charting the Welsh Seas

Deanna Groom, Senior Investigator (Maritime), The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

 

Royal Commission research to record archaeology in Welsh coastal and offshore areas and archaeological sites where historic charts have been particularly instrumental in establishing the identity of shipwrecks and dates of loss. Consideration was also given to surveys undertaken as part of U-boat Project Wales.

 

Yet another fascinating, informative and successful Carto-Cymru Symposium!

 

Many thanks to all who attended and contributed, particularly the speakers and a special thank you, as ever, to principal organizer Huw Thomas and the Steering Committee chaired by Sally for your hard work and competent navigation over the preceding  months and on the day.

 

Gwilym Tawy

Map Curator

Posted - 30-04-2018

Collections / Digitisation / News / Research

Hidden Histories in the historical Welsh Print Collection: The case of Louisa Calderon

Amongst the treasures in the Historic Welsh Print Collection is a large collection of Welsh and Welsh interest biographies dating from 1800 up to 1914. This collection, soon to be digitised, encompasses over 2000 biographies of figures in Welsh and international public life.

 

This unique collection includes biographies of clergy, politicians, social reformers, poets, authors and musicians of Welsh descent, of international figures, as well as slave narratives, biographies of ordinary people, of infamous criminals, and of emigrants from Wales to the USA and other countries.

 

In its entirety the collection offers a comprehensive picture of Welsh public life from the nineteenth century through to the beginning of the First World War, of the people and the issues that of were of concern during this period and also of how the Welsh viewed the world and how the world viewed the Welsh. They also offer the opportunity to discover hidden or previously forgotten histories that shed new light on some of the leading figures of the day.

 

One of the hidden histories we recently discovered in the collection was that of Sir Thomas Picton and the torture of Louisa Calderon. Thomas Picton is now mainly remembered for his exploits during the Peninsular War and for being the highest ranking officer killed at Waterloo. Indeed, his statue is among the 12 statues of Welsh heroes on display in Cardiff City Hall. However, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, following his time as governor of Trinidad he had a much darker reputation.

 

Picton’s governorship of Trinidad was authoritarian and brutal and led to his trial at the King’s Bench in 1806 accused of ordering the judicial torture of Louisa Calderon. Calderon was a 14-year old mulatto girl, accused of being involved in the theft of money from a Port of Spain businessman, Pedro Ruiz,  whom Louisa’s mother had arranged for her to live with a as a ‘mistress’ at age 11. The trial was a cause celebre at the time and is recounted in detail in The Trial of Governor T. Picton for Inflicting the Torture of Louisa Calderon… published in 1806.

 

Unable to get a confession through interrogation, Picton had issued the order to ‘Inflict the torture on Louisa Calderon’, who was subsequently subjected to piqueting, which at trial William Garrow, the prosecutor dubbed ‘Pictoning’. Calderon did not confess and was imprisoned for a further 8 months before being released. Picton admitted ordering the torture, but claimed that it was legal under the Spanish law still being administered in Trinidad at the time, despite the island being under British rule. The jury found him guilty, but Picton was never sentenced and the decision was partially reversed by special verdict at a retrial in 1808.

 

As noted above, the case became a sensation at the time and shone a light on the brutal realities of the British colonial system and indirectly of colonial slavery. Indeed, Picton had originally been accused of a number of other charges, included the execution of over a dozen slaves, although tellingly these were not viewed as being serious enough by the Privy Council to be taken further. Picton had also been a supporter of the development of slave plantations in Trinidad and had made part of his fortune through speculating in slaves.

 

Despite Picton’s well-deserved reputation as a brutal and autocratic colonial governor, following Waterloo all was quickly forgotten. The Newgate Calendar, which in 1810 had protested that Picton, the perpetrator of these crimes, was still at large was by 1825 portraying Picton as the victim in the case.

 

Despite the focus placed on her at the time, Louisa Calderon, largely disappeared from the historical record, although she is believed to have returned to Trinidad in 1808 and according to one source died in poverty in June 1825.

 

Sources

 

The Trial of Governor T. Picton for Inflicting the Torture on Louisa Calderon a Free Mulatto and one of His Britannic Majesty’s Subjects in the Island of Trinidad, (London, 1806).

James Epstein – ‘Politics of Colonial Sensation: The Trial of Thomas Picton and the Cause of Louisa Calderon’, American Historical Review, 112 (3), 2007

James Epstein – Scandal of Colonial Rule: Power and Subversion in the British Atlantic during the Age of Revolution, (Cambridge, 2012)

Kit Candlin – The Last Caribbean Frontier, 1795-1815, (Basingstoke, 2012)

 

Dr Douglas Jones

Published Collections Projects Manager

Posted - 20-04-2018

#LoveMaps / Collections / Digitisation / Research

Old Periodicals, a New Datatype and Spiderfied Query Results in Wikidata

Several years ago the National Library of Wales appointed the Worlds first Wikidata Visiting Scholar. The volunteer, Simon Cobb, has worked with the library ever since to share, enrich and explore the library’s data using Wikidata – a massive open access linked data repository which contains tens of millions of pieces of data on just about every subject imaginable. In this guest blog, Simon presents his recent work, using open library data on periodicals, publishers and printers in conjunction with the latest Wikidata visualization tools. Jason Evans, National Wikimedian.

Recent developments in Wikidata have made it possible to display more items from the National Library of Wales’ collections on a map. A cluster feature in the Wikidata Query Service map view has enhanced geolocation data visualisation and the new geoshape datatype provides access points for content discovery.

Previously, the display of geolocated images was hampered by only one item per coordinate location being shown on the map. Since a SPARQL query can return multiple results with an identical location this was never an ideal situation. The problem is, in fact, inherent to linked data because every item with a specific relationship to a place will appear at exactly the same point on the map. This is due to the coordinates being attached to the place rather than each individual item.

If the item is an image of Aberystwyth Castle, it depicts the castle and, conversely, the castle is depicted by the image. This is a semantic relationship between the subject (image) and object (castle). The location of the castle is recorded as latitude and longitude coordinates, and thus a query to show on a map the location that the image depicts will use these coordinates. Other images that depicts Aberystwyth Castle will also have these exact coordinates.

 

The marker cluster plugin was implemented to address this problem and it is now possible to view two or more items with the same coordinates. Nearby map markers are grouped using an animated clustering functionality to display an increasing number of clusters, with fewer markers in each, as one zooms in closer. The real gamechanger, however, is the spiderfied markers. Rather than having a solitary marker at a shared location, multiple markers now spiral outwards from a central point, with legs being used to retain their attachment to the precise location and thus show all items in situ.

 

Spiderfied markers of periodicals published in Carmarthen. Unexpanded clusters and single markers are also shown. Each marker contains the periodical’s title, place of publication and cover image (if available). This map is available at: http://tinyurl.com/ycnjsylv.

 

Carmarthen is an important town in the early history of printing in Wales. Some twenty-eight titles in the Welsh Journals and Welsh Newspapers Online digital collections were printed in the town, with twenty-six being first issued before 1900. These periodicals have the same place of publication (i.e. Carmarthen), and thus appear on the map at their shared coordinates. The markers are spiderfied, colour coded according to decade of publication and arranged in a chronologically ordered spiral, starting in the centre with the earliest publication.

In late 2017, a new geoshape datatype was implemented in Wikidata. As the name suggests, it is for storing geographic information in a manner that will produce shapes on a map. Geoshape data can be a single marker at a specific point, a line between two or more points, or a shape, known as a polygon, which is the area enclosed by a point-to-point line, traversing at least four points, with the first and last point being identical. A line or shape is created by structuring geocoordinates to represent the relationship between a series of points; somewhat like a dot-to-dot puzzle. Additional data about a place, such as the address, postcode, website or Wikipedia article, can be attached to a geoshape.

 

The National Library of Wales was the UK’s first Wikidata geoshape. The popup information box includes an image, link to the NLW Wikipedia article and SPARQL queries of the Library’s collections. Markers indicate features of interest and provide images from different vantage points.

 

Since a geoshape can contain multiple points, lines and polygons, it is possible to store data about a group of related locations like, for example, buildings with a similar use. This is a great way to visualise the booktrade locations in Wales that have been added to Wikidata.

Multipolygon geoshape data showing book trade locations in Carmarthen, past and present. These locations and those in other parts of Wales are stored as a single geoshape in Wikimedia Commons (see https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Data:Book_trade_in_Wales.map).

Whilst the book trade locations geoshapes are relatively simple and, therefore, not burdensome to create manually, others, like, for instance, those of castles depicted in the Welsh Landscape Collection, are much more complex. The intricate geoshapes that are formed by sections of perimeter wall between towers or bastions and surrounding the bailey and keep of a castle can be slow and fiddly to make but, luckily, we can draw on linked data instead. A link is forged when an OpenStreetMap feature is tagged with a Wikidata ID and this enables a SPARQL query to retrieve OpenStreetMap data about Wikidata items in the results. Such linking can make a large amount of existing geoshape data accessible.

 

Geoshapes of buildings shown in the Welsh Landscape Collection prints shown in the historic counties of Wales. The buildings are OpenStreetMap features, tagged with the qid of a Wikidata item returned by a SPARQL query, imported as geoshape data and combined with historic county geoshapes from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Geoshapes of buildings shown in the Welsh Landscape Collection prints shown in the historic counties of Wales. The buildings are OpenStreetMap features, tagged with the qid of a Wikidata item returned by a SPARQL query, imported as geoshape data and combined with historic county geoshapes from Wikimedia Commons.

The results of a SPARQL query to retrieve images from the Welsh Landscape Collection can be visualised on a map with geoshapes to represent the building depicted. Shown above, the results for Tintern Abbey are spiderfied to expand a cluster of images with an identical geocoordinates from a single point within the geoshape. Previously, it was only possible to display one of these images on the map view results.

 

Simon Cobb, Wikidata Visiting Scholar at the National Library of Wales

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Posted - 14-03-2018

Digitisation / Research

The David Hawkes Collection

Amongst the National Library of Wales’s most important Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic collections is the David Hawkes collection, a rich collection of mainly Chinese books and books of Chinese interest. The collection also includes a smaller set of Japanese books and books of Japanese interest.

 

David Hawkes (1923-2009) was a celebrated Sinologist and translator, best known for his translations of Cao Xueqin’s The Story of the Stone, one of China’s ‘four great novels’, and of the poetry anthology The Song of the South. Hawkes’s translation of The Story of the Stone has rightly been recognised  as one of the finest examples of the translators art, which made the work more accessible to English-language readers while remaining sensitive and faithful to the language, meaning and poetry of the original.

 

The David Hawkes Collection is his working library which Hawkes donated to the National Library in 1983-84 and is one of the most important collections of Chinese books in the UK. The collection is comprised of 1,710 titles in 4,400 volumes including a large number of works on Chinese literature, alongside works on Chinese philosophy, religion, history, music, art and archaeology. The collection also includes annotated works from the collection of another renowned Sinologist and translator, Arthur Waley, who was a friend and mentor to Hawkes.

 

In 1989 The Hawkes Collection was catalogued on to cards by Dr Wu Jianzhong, later Director of Shanghai Library, as part of his training whilst studying at Aberystwyth for a research degree. At present the collection is only accessible via this card catalogue, however the Library is currently in the process of developing a project with the aim of making the collection accessible via our online catalogue as well as digitising some of the  works in the collection.

 

Dr Douglas Jones

Published Collections Projects Manager

Posted - 30-10-2017

Collections / Research

Edmund Jones, “The Old Prophet”

Tomorrow is Halloween – the eve of All Hallows’ or All Saints’ Day. It is also the anniversary of what is regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation – the appearance of Matrin Luther’s 95 theses. This year is special – it is the 500th anniversary of the event.

 

So it is an ideal time to draw attention to one of the Library’s more fascinating collections. Edmund Jones (1702-93) of Pontnewydd near Pontypool was popularly known as Yr Hen Broffwyd (the Old Prophet) and his library of books is the most interesting if not the only chapel library of such rarity to have survived in Wales. It comprises 80 volumes of Welsh and English Protestant sermons and theological writings, mainly from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, almost all of which have been marked by Edmund Jones. Some have detailed notes, such as his opinion on the contents of the volume and from whom he received it; in two of the books he wrote inside that they were given to him by John Wesley. The books have all been catalogued by myself, and are therefore available for users to read and research the impact that these early Protestant sermons had on Jones and the Welsh public.

 


Edmund Jones was deeply interested in the new Methodist movement in Wales in the 18th century pioneered by men such as Howell Harris, Daniel Rowland and William Williams, Pantycelyn, (whose birth was celebrated this year and noted in this blog a couple of weeks ago). His form of Christianity was more experiential and heartfelt than the cerebral form which was still favoured by many in the established Anglican Church at the time. He professed a belief in spiritualism and apparitions which may have been derived from the new ideas spreading at the time. His reputation in this regard rests on his alias of The Old Prophet and a book which he wrote entitled Relations of Apparitions in Wales. This contains accounts of alleged supernatural occurrences in Wales, which Jones attested to. Can you, the reader, find any evidence in some of the notes seen in his books (see images above) to confirm some of his strange beliefs?

 

 

Hywel Lloyd,

 

Assistant Librarian

Posted - 22-09-2017

Reader Services / Research

A look back at the ’97 Referendum using the Library’s electronic resources

This week saw the 20th anniversary of the Welsh referendum that paved way for the creation of the National Assembly for Wales. I decided to see what I could discover about this historic occasion within the Library’s various online subscriptions.  (*To access these resources from outside the Library building you will have to use your reader’s ticket. If you haven’t got a reader’s ticket you can register very easily here).

Whilst support for devolution was low during the first referendum in 1979, the ensuing political and economic landscape over the next decade and a half led to increased calls for a second referendum. As a result, the Labour party included proposals for a second referendum in their 1992 manifesto, and after their landslide victory in the 1997 general election, these were set in motion.

The Referenda (Scotland and Wales) Act asked voters if they were in favour of devolution for Scotland and Wales. Many commentators analysed what devolution would mean for the future of the United Kingdom, as can be seen in this article from ‘The World Today’:

 

The referendum was held on the 18th of September 1997, and unlike the referendum in 1979, the result was extremely close. In fact, the votes were so close, the result hung on the announcement from Carmarthenshire. As the result came in, there were wild celebrations amongst the Yes campaigners as devolution was secured by a margin of 6,721 votes.

The Guardian reports for the days after both Welsh referenda can be seen here and here:

 

As a result of this narrow victory, the Government of Wales Act 1998 was passed by the Labour government to create a National Assembly for Wales:

 

There was a concern that the low voter turnout meant that voters were apathetic towards the notion of a national assembly, however this study by Roger Scully, Richard Wyn Jones and Dafydd Trystan concludes that this was not the case:

 

However, even though Welsh devolution was achieved by the narrowest of margins, Richard Wyn Jones and Bethan Lewis were keen to point out that the result was a substantial achievement for those in the ’Yes’ campaign

 

Following such a momentous change to the country’s political landscape, and following further referendums in 2006 and 2011, it’s only natural that commentators and scholars have sought to discuss and evaluate the impact of devolution on various aspects of life in Wales:

Evaluating Devolution in Wales by Adrian Kay

Serving the Nation: Devolution and the Civil Service in Wales by Alistair Cole

New Labour, Education and Wales: the devolution decade by David Reynolds

Devolution and the shifting political economic geographies of the United Kingdom

 

Paul Jackson

Legal Deposit, Electronic and Acquisitions Librarian

Posted - 15-09-2017

Events / News / News and Events / Research

Wici-Iechyd (Wiki-Health)

Improving online access to Welsh language health information

The newly appointed National Wikimedian at the National Library of Wales will begin in his new role by tackling an important issue facing Welsh speakers – access to free, quality information on important health and wellbeing issues in Welsh.

Wicipedia is the most viewed Welsh language website in the world with over 90,000 articles. A recent audit of the content revealed that Welsh Wikipedia has very few articles about health and yet the few articles which do exist are, on average, being viewed more times than articles on any other subject. This suggests that Welsh speakers want to consume information about their health in Welsh, through Wicipedia.

  • Welsh Wicipedia has 1,500 Welsh language articles on health compared to 84,000 in English
  • 2.09% of Welsh Wikipedia articles about Health – 6.67% in English
  • Views of Welsh articles about health make up 12% of total page views, more than any other subject.

It is thought that Wikipedia has become the most consulted health resource in the world (based on 4.8 billion pageviews in 2013) and therefore it is vital that it contains reliable, comprehensive information on all aspects of health, from medications, and surgical procedures to fitness, wellbeing and historical information.

It is estimated that poor health costs Wales billions each year, and free easy access to health information through the medium of Welsh (on Wicipedia) would help provide the public with the information they need in a format they are familiar with.

The project, funded by the Welsh Government, will see the National Library of Wales hold a series of public events across Wales, to teach and encourage Health professionals, Medical students and the general public to help improve health content on Wikipedia.

The National Wikimedian will also seek partnerships with charities and institutions who already produce Welsh language health content with the aim of working together to provide access to this content through Wicipedia, with links back to their own online services.

It is hoped that the 9 month project will result in the creation of 3000 new Welsh language health related articles on Wicipedia.

This project aligns with the mission of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, namely, to help develop A healthier Wales and A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. The National Library of Wales is one of the Government’s key partners in delivering on the act.

The project will also help the Library to engage with new communities and develop new partnerships in the education and health sectors in order to promote and develop the use of Welsh as a digital language.

Tags: , , , , ,

Posted - 17-08-2017

Collections / Research

Thomas Stephens Letters: Transcripts now available online

As part of a Leverhulme Trust funded project on Thomas Stephens of Merthyr Tydfil at the University of Wales Centre for Celtic Studies, transcripts of over 400 letters sent to the Chemist of Merthyr Tydfil who fuelled a revolution in Welsh historical scholarship are now available online. Team members Marion Löffler and Adam Coward, whose aim is to rediscover Thomas Stephens and re-establish his work, have decided to make the first fruits of its research available to the public in this way.
Thomas Stephens’s voluminous archive was donated to the National Library of Wales in 1916, and most of the letters to him were bound in two volumes, Letters A-M (NLW MS 964i-iiE) and Letters M-W (NLW MS 965i-iiE), 1840-1876. The Library’s website therefore seemed the natural home for our transcripts of letters sent to Merthyr from Australia, America, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and Wales, but which have long found a permanent home in Aberystwyth.
Are you are interested in Merthyr Tydfil and Welshmen in Australia, Welsh Victorian scholarship and druids, cromlechs and antiquarians, or the eisteddfod, Unitarians and European scholarly connections? Would you like to read letters by Victorian luminaries like Augusta Hall (Lady Llanofer), Walter Davies (Gwallter Mechain), Harry Longueville Jones, Thomas Price (Carnhuanawc) and Hersart de la Villemarqué? Then click on these links to the manuscripts and the transcripts:

HAVE A LOOK AT THE PROJECT HERE: Knowledge Transfer and Social Networks: European Learning and the Revolution in Welsh Victorian Scholarship

Marion Löffler Dipl.Päd. Dr.Phil. FRHS
Reader University of Wales CAWCS, Knowledge Exchange and Social Networks
Assistant Editor Dictionary of Welsh Biography
Head of Graduate Studies

Posted - 24-04-2017

Collections / Digitisation / Research

A Welsh cinematic journey via the Library’s online newspapers

Whilst reading the current issue of Empire magazine, I came across an article on how “Citizen Kane” lost out to “How Green Was My Valley” for the Best Picture award in the 1942 Oscars. The article got me thinking about other Welsh films or films set in Wales, and I decided to see if I could find some more interesting articles in the Library’s collection of online newspapers. (*To access these resources from outside the Library building you will have to use your reader’s ticket. If you haven’t got a reader’s ticket you can register very easily here).

I began by searching for a report of the 1942 Oscars Ceremony, and found this in the Telegraph Historical Archive:

 

(The Telegraph Historical Archive, 1855-2000)

 

 

As you can see, this is a far cry from the awards hysteria we see today. However, to be fair, they did have more pressing matters to report about at the time!

 

Staying with the academy awards, my next search was for “Hedd Wyn”, the first ever Welsh language film to be nominated. It was interesting to find in this article in The Guardian that the Academy’s board was unaware of the existence of the Welsh language, and that the film was only selected after a Welsh-English dictionary was sent to them as proof!

(ProQuest Historical Newspapers (Guardian & The Observer))

 

 

Ask anyone who was a teenager growing up in Wales during the late 90s to name a Welsh film, and I guarantee you they’ll all have the same answer: Twin Town.  This tale of the Lewis twins causing havoc across Swansea remains a firm favourite, but I discovered there was an outcry in some quarters upon its release. To my surprise, I read in this article in the Sunday Times that some appealed for the film to be banned due to its “amoral” nature.

(The Sunday Times Digital Archive 1822-2006)

 

 

“Twin Town” was released at the height of Cool Cymru. Sticking with that theme, Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals has ventured into film making in the last few years. His last film was “American Interior”, which traced the story of a 22-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia who travelled to America in 1792 in search of a fabled Welsh-speaking Native American tribe called the Madogwys. It’s a fascinating story, and it was fantastic to find out that Gruff had used the National Library’s archives when researching for the film.

(Newsbank)

 

 

Of course, I couldn’t write this blog without giving a mention to the film that was recently filmed at the Library!

(Newsbank)

 

 

As you can see, these online newspapers provide users with a wealth of information at their fingertips. Also, if this blog has given you an urge to watch any of these great Welsh films, remember that they’re available to view from the National Screen and Sound Archive, and are also available to buy from the Library shop.

 

Paul Jackson

Legal Deposit, Electronic and Acquisitions Librarian

← Older Posts

Categories

Search

Archives

About this blog

A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

Due to the more personal nature of blogs it is the Library's policy to publish postings in the original language only. An equal number of blog posts are published in both Welsh and English, but they are not the same postings. For a translation of the blog readers may wish to try facilities such as Google Translate.

About the blog