Blog - Events
With the 2018 World Cup due to kick-off on Thursday, football fans from 32 nations are hoping that their dreams will be realised. The rest of us will be itching to find out the answers to a number of momentous questions. Who will win the tournament – Germany, France, Brazil or Argentina, or one of the dark horses such as Uruguay, Colombia or Portugal? Who will be the player of the tournament – Salah, Neymar, Messi, Firminio or Ronaldo? And who will be the shock team of the tournament?
Unfortunately, following their feats at the Euro 2016 tournament, Wales won’t be taking part in Russia after a disappointing qualification campaign. However, 60 years ago Wales were about to play their second game in the 1958 World Cup, a 1-1 draw against Mexico at the Råsunda Stadium, Solna. The rest of the story is familiar to Welsh football fans – Wales went on to reach the quarter finals where a Pelé goal broke Welsh hearts.
But what is it like playing international football for your country? We are given some idea from John Charles’s foreword to the novel Dewin y Bêl [Magician of the Ball], which was published in 1957 as the excitement built up around the Welsh team and the 1958 World Cup. The novel by Alun Owen, a copy of which is held in the Library’s Historic Welsh Print Collection, was pioneering, the first novel according to its publisher to portray ‘the career of a young lad from Wales as a football player.’ The novel itself follows the travails of Gwyn Ellis from playing football for his school team to scoring a hat-trick for the Welsh Amateur team. Another of the novel’s main attractions was the foreword and endorsement given to it by John Charles, the period’s leading Welsh footballing hero.
In his foreword John Charles gives us a taste of an experience the vast majority of Welsh supporters will never have the privilege of experiencing – wearing a Wales shirt in an international football game. According to Charles:
I have had many incredible experiences during the course of my career as a professional footballer. But without a doubt, there is no experience more pleasurable than going out on to a Welsh pitch wearing the red jersey of Wales with talented fellow Welsh players in front of a crowd of Welsh people who love sport. On those occasions it has been my privilege to appreciate the fire and passion for international soccer shown by our Welsh friends surrounding us.
Over the next month, these will be the feelings flowing through footballers from 32 nations as they represent their countries on the football pitch. The only pity is that Wales won’t be amongst them.
Dr. Doug Jones
Published Collections Projects Manager
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.
This Saturday 12th May the fifth Family and Local History Fair will be held here at the Library. It will be a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in starting their journey to discovery their ancestors or perhaps to research the history of a house or area of importance to them. There will be something for everyone, including two enthusiastic speakers in their field of excellence – Dr Reg Davies, who maintains the Welsh Mariners website and Richard Suggett, an expert in old buildings who work for the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments – remember to book your free tickets.
There will be an opportunity to talk to experienced genealogists from the Library and the county Family History Societies, who will be able to give you advice. We have all probably inherited collections of photographs over the years, there will be a photo restorer on hand to give advice on how to store and restore your photographs.
Many local history groups will be present as well as the History Forum of Wales and Ceredigion Local History Forum. To coincide with the 200th anniversary of emigration from Ceredigion to Ohio, the Cymru-Ohio Society will be sharing more information about their celebrations to be held at the end of June.
It is of course an opportunity for some to visit the Reading Rooms to extend their research and also to visit the Kyffin Williams exhibition in Gregynog Gallery. Plenty to do for the whole day here.
The role of UNESCO and its Memory of the World programme are the subjects of the Library’s lunchtime lecture on 28 February. The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication. It is probably best known for its role in the protection of heritage around the world, both physical and digital, for the benefit of current and future generations. In Wales, six sites have been given the status of World Heritage Sites, including four castles, a town built around an ironworks and an incredible aqueduct.
In 1992, UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme to highlight the value of documentary heritage. Importantly, UNESCO sees its value not only in reflecting and promoting understanding of national memory and identity, but also as underpinning good governance and sustainable development. Heritage is therefore part of the sustainable development agenda, which is the centre-piece of both UNESCO and the wider UN’s activities until 2030.
To be inscribed onto the Memory of the World, documents need to be both of outstanding national or international significance, and permanently accessible and re-usable to all without hindrance. The work of the NLW supports and aligns with these aims. Since its foundation, the Library has been committed to collecting, preserving and giving access to all kinds and forms of recorded knowledge, especially relating to Wales and the Welsh and other Celtic peoples, for the benefit of all. The Library’s strategic plan places an emphasis on extending sustainable access to its collections, through digitisation, through the preservation of physical and digital material and through outreach activities.
Peniarth MS 1 – The Black Book of Carmarthen
The Library has four inscriptions on the Memory of the World UK Register: the Survey of the Manors of Crickhowell and Tretower; the Life Story of Lloyd George, the Peniarth Manuscript Collection and the Hepworth Cinema Interviews. Andrew Green, the former Librarian of the National Library of Wales, posted a blog about the value of UNESCO inscriptions. He identified three types of value which ensued from inscription on the register: gaining public recognition, securing publicity and attracting resources. These have certainly been true for the Library, which has used the inscriptions to promote the Library’s collections, thereby enhancing understanding of the distinctive character and identity of Wales, as well as supporting the successful submission for Archive Service Accreditation and for numerous applications for grant funding. The global role of UNESCO is also of considerable value to the Library, as it is an authoritative voice for the protection of the heritage and a source of information and best practice.
On Wednesday, 10 January, Professor Iwan Morus will present a lunchtime talk on William Robert Grove.
Grove was a scientist from Swansea who was brought up during the ferment of the Victorian industrial revolution. During this period the appreciation of the importance of science and its use in everyday life gathered pace. Grove’s neighbours included the botanist Lewis Weston Dillwyn and the industrialist John Henry Vivian. Both became Fellows of the Royal Society, as Grove did himself: evidence of Wales’ scientific heritage from the period.
Grove studied in Brasenose College, Oxford, before moving to London to commence a career in the law. His interest turned to science and specifically to the chemical reactions that produce electricity. He discovered the acid nitrate battery (the Grove cell) and he attracted the attention of Faraday. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1840 and he was appointed a Professor in the London Institute a year later.
Grove’s vision was for such batteries to be used in the future to power transportation. Indeed, the German engineer, Moritz Hermann van Jacobi used a series of Grove batteries to power an electromagnetic motor boat on the river Neva in St. Pertersburg. The technology was also used by the telegraph industry in America.
When Grove experimented further he developed the gas battery by placing tubes of Oxygen and Hydrogen alternately in dilute sulphuric acid and connecting them with Platina foil. The battery transformed Oxygen and Hydrogen to electricity and water. This was the forerunner of the modern fuel cell. He also introduced early ideas on the Conservation of Energy.
By Grove’s death in 1896 a future was foreseen where electricity would be all-powerful. Though the complete dream was not realized (coal and gas came to prominence), battery technology has developed rapidly, and is essential to many aspects of modern life. If a new and clean technology can be developed, the debt to this notable man from Swansea would be considerable.
Interestingly, Grove returned to the law later in his life;, he became a QC and was appointed a judge
To order a ticket to hear Professor Morus’s lecture follow this link.
The University of Wales Press published a book by Professor Iwan Morus on William Robert Grove last year in the series on Welsh scientists. You can read the book in the Library by ordering it here.
Acknowledgement is made to an article written by Professor Iwan Morus which appeared on the websites of The Conversation and Aberystwyth University.
In less than a month’s time, the Library’s Arthurian exhibition will close its doors, and our hero will return to his isle of enchantment.
To mark this year’s Explore your Archive, two events at the National Library on the 15th of November drew attention to all things legendary and archival here.
A lunchtime presentation by Scott Lloyd of RCAHM Wales (author of The Arthurian Place Names of Wales) discussed myths, legends and archaeology, drawing on examples from over a century of archival accumulation by the Commission.
A gallery talk by Maredudd ap Huw, curator of the Arthurian exhibition, led visitors on a trail following the king in his many guises: from the legendary Welsh figure in sources such as the Black Book of Carmarthen and the White Book of Rhydderch, through his medieval French manifestations, before returning to his mixed fate in Tudor Britain.
It is unlikely that King Arthur himself was an archival creator: he was far too busy to keep minutes, file correspondence, and audit accounts. However, manuscripts and books concerning the king may still be seen and enjoyed at the Library’s Hengwrt Gallery until he finally sets sail on December 16th.
Maredudd ap Huw
Curator of Manuscripts
Philip Jones Griffiths, John Bulmer, Marian Delyth, Rhodri Jones, Pete Davis, Peter Finnemore, David Hurn, Jeremy Moore, Amanda Jackson, Jon Tonks, Alison Baskerville, Bedwyr Williams, Tessa Traeger and Homer Sykes are just some of the photographers who have spoken at LENS since its inception in 2005. Each year our one day Documentary Festival of Photography has hosted talks by four, sometimes five, photographers – each with their own style and message to portray.
On Saturday November 4th we will be hearing from Sebastian Bruno, an Argentine/Spanish visual artist, who works with photography, moving image and installation also Gerallt Llewelyn, who has been photographing in North Wales in a career spanning nearly 40 years and has mastered a number of genres. Another veteran of the Welsh Photographic scene is Bernard Mitchell who will be launching his book “Pieces of a Jigsaw: Portraits of Artists and Writers of Wales.” Dr Christopher Webster continues to lecture on a number of aspects of photography, whilst Richard Jones, like Gerallt a native of North Wales, is renowned for his stunning landscape photography.
I look forward to hearing their talks and being inspired by their creativity. Come along, sit back and be inspired.
Photographic Collection Curator.
In 1567 the first translation of the New Testament into Welsh was published in London. A law had been passed in 1563 instructing the bishops of the Welsh dioceses and the bishop of Hereford to arrange for the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer to be translated into Welsh by 1st March 1567. Most of the New Testament and the whole of the Prayer Book were the work of one translator, William Salesbury. Salesbury was a native of Llansannan in north Wales, who converted to Protestantism while studying at Oxford, and was responsible – as either author or translator – for most of the books printed in Welsh up to 1588.
Although Salesbury’s New Testament was superseded in 1588 by Bishop William Morgan’s more readable version, which included the Old Testament, his translation is an important milestone in the history of Welsh publishing and in the history of providing the people of Wales with the Scriptures in their own language. To mark the 450th anniversary of its publication, the Library has digitised the most complete copy of the 1567 New Testament in its collections. This copy, which is still in its 16th-century binding, was amongst the 200 volumes purchased by Sir John Williams, Bt. from the Earl of Macclesfield and donated to the National Library of Wales at its foundation.
Rare Books Librarian
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.
The second Modernist Network Cymru (MONC) conference takes place at the National Library of Wales and Aberystwyth University School of Art on 12-13 September 2017, with ‘Word and Image’ as its theme.
Final Programme and Abstract Booklet
To accompany the conference the Library is exhibiting manuscripts and archives relating to some of Wales’s most important twentieth century writers and artists. The items on display are as follows:
- a sketch of a soldier from David Jones’s manuscript draft of Part V of In Parenthesis (David Jones Papers LP2/6),
- a coloured diagram by David Jones depicting the genealogy of myth (David Jones Papers LO3/3),
- letters from T. S. Eliot to David Jones (David Jones Papers CT1/2),
- a selection of the notebooks of Ray Howard-Jones showing draft poems and drawings (Ray Howard-Jones Papers H2/3),
- papers of the poet R. S. Thomas relating to the publication of an illustrated collection of his poems, The Way of It (1977) (NLW MS 23474C),
- letters from the photographer and artist John Piper to the composer Alun Hoddinott (The Alun Hoddinott Archive BA1/23),
- sketches by the artist Gwen John (NLW MS 22297B),
- Gwen John’s notes on art (NLW MS 22284B),
- ‘Birds in Winter’, an illustrated poem by Berta Ruck, recently purchased by the Library (see the Berta Ruck Archive),
- papers of the writer and artist Brenda Chamberlain (NLW MS 24065E),
- Dylan Thomas’s sketch map of Llareggub, the setting for his play for voices Under Milk Wood (NLW MS 23949E),
- a letter, 16 June 1953, from Thomas to his American mistress Liz Reitell (NLW MS 24091D),
- and a holograph copy of Thomas’s poem ‘Ears in the turrets hear’ (NLW MS 23990D).
The exhibition can be seen in the Summers Room at the National Library on 12-13 September 2017.
Rhys M. Jones
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Assistant Manuscripts Librarian