Blog - New Accessions
100 years on the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth is securing the legacy of Edward Thomas by collecting and digitising his archive, with 5 new opportunities for the public to engage with his archive.
This week we will be noting the death of the poet Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917) who was killed in action soon after he arrived in France at Arras on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917. It was not until 1914 that he wrote his first poem, and due to his tragic death he did not live to see the publication of his Poems (1917) (under his pseudonym Edward Eastaway), nor the subsequent Last Poems (1918) and Collected Poems (1920).
1. Lunchtime presentation
On Wednesday (5 April 2017) Dr Andrew Webb, (Head of School of English Literature, Bangor University) will explore Edward Thomas as a Welsh writer, considering his Welsh heritage, his connection to figures including O. M. Edwards, and the ways in which Wales informs his prose and poetry. Tickets for the lunchtime lecture are available here.
2. Archives and manuscripts at the National Library of Wales
The diaries and manuscripts of the poet and prose writer Edward Thomas are held at the Library, and include diaries, letters, draft poems and the original manuscript of Edward Thomas, The Heart of England (London, 1906) and the catalogue is available to view online.
Also a newly acquired archive of Geoffrey Woolley contains letters from Edward Thomas, and a file on Edward Thomas publications, with loose pages from ‘The bookman’, comprising copies of Edward Thomas’s poetry columns and book reviews. This is a brand new source of research for life and work of Edward Thomas.
The presentation given by Dr Andrew Webb coincides with our exhibition to note the centenary of his death in action during the Battle of Arras. One hundred years ago two poets were killed in battle during the Great War: Hedd Wyn and Edward Thomas. The exhibition Fallen Poets: Edward Thomas & Hedd Wyn runs to 2 September 2017.
Many of his manuscripts have already been digitised by the National Library and more are being digitised during the centenary year.
5. Edward Thomas webpage
A new webpage relating to Edward Thomas and his collection has been published and available to view on the Library’s website.
Nia Mai Daniel
Pennaeth Isadran Archifau a Llawysgrifau
Head of Archives and Manuscripts Section
Last month, we received an important and substantial film accession.
This arrived by lorry from S4C in Cardiff. It roughly consists of around 400 cans of 35mm & 16mm prints of film and animation which date predominantly from the 1980s and 1990s. The first task after un-loading the shrink wrapped collection of 10 pallets was to make an inventory and then this information will be input into our library’s database.
By now, the collection sits safely in our film vault where the next step will be to inspect, re-can and number it for access purposes. Here follows a selection of just a few of the titles: Leaving Lenin, Coming Up Roses, Gogwana, multiple titles from the Superted series, Solomon & Gaenor, Arthur’s Departure, Otherworld, My Pretty Valley, Boy Soldier…
Although many people perhaps think of the work of a film archive as a rescue mission for old and neglected (and mainly black and white) footage, the truth is that collecting ‘current’ work is just as vital to the, preservation of our film heritage. The films of Cardiff-based filmmaker Steve Sullivan have been on the Archive’s wish-list for some time, and now we have them!
… Steve turns out to be the ideal depositor, having carefully labelled and indexed his reels in preparation, making our work a great deal easier at the other end! His BAFTA-winning film, ‘A Heap of Trouble’, has already been housed in the Archive for some years, and now we are delighted to add ‘Fatted Calf’ (joint winner of the 1998 DM Davies Award), ‘The Debt’ (1998) and ‘Dreams and Desires’ (1997) – tales of the unexpected all!
We look forward also to seeing Steve’s first feature film, ‘Happy Hours’, … and eventually to preserving it, too, for posterity!
On October 29th last year, at the Gate venue Cardiff, I interviewed a great lady, great songwriter and an awesome voice. The lady’s name is Mary Hopkin, yes the lady who brought us such joy as “Those were the days”, “Knock knock who’s there”, “Aderyn Llwyd”, “Earth song” and a wonderful version of “Streets of London”. I have been a fan of hers since I heard her distinctive voice in my teens, in the early 1980’s.
This interview has been the product of careful diplomacy with Mary’s daughter, Jessica Lee Morgan, and I thank her on behalf of the Archive for her help in this. Mary is very cautious of the media and interview requests in general and so to have the chance to meet and talk to Mary was simply brilliant. I was determined to interview Mary for the Archive to have an unedited (in her own words) recorded item of her whole career.
I have to admit, whilst waiting for the right time, I was nervous and unsure, but I shouldn’t have feared. When Jessica introduced me to Mary all the pre-notions went away. Mary was very welcoming, hospitable and talkative.
The interview lasted just under half an hour, spanning her first singing experience at home right up to the evening’s main focus – showcasing her daughter’s album release and concert. The interview was free flowing, I stayed away from asking too many questions about Opportunity Knocks, the Apple Records years and The Beatles.
Seeing Mary visibly and enthusiastically supporting her children; her son Morgan as well as daughter Jessica was very humbling. Recent re-releases of her studio albums have dominated media coverage of Mary but on this particular night it was all about Jessica’s album “I am not” and Mary and Morgan’s collaboration album “You look familiar” concentrated the mind on the here and now.
A public performance by Mary Hopkin might not be on the cards but I’m very heartened to see that the song writing, lyrics and the talented voice have not abandoned her.
The National Screen and Sound Archive is proud to collect Mary’s, Morgan’s and Jessica’s musical discography and I would like to thank Jessica, Morgan and the band for a wonderful concert and thank Mary herself for agreeing to be interviewed. This interview is now available at the Archive.
The Urdd banner above the doorway to the National Library
One of the biggest youth festivals in the world is visiting our neck of the woods this week. The Urdd National Eisteddfod is being held, in glorious sunshine, in the grounds of Llanerchaeron mansion, near Aberaeron.
“Urdd Gobaith Cymru”, or the “Urdd” as it’s known, founded by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards, who made the first Welsh language talkie “Y Chwarelwr”, is a strong and vibrant youth movement. It runs residential activity centres in north and mid Wales, and has a base at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
The Urdd National Eisteddfod is the culmination of months of preparatory work by Urdd branches throughout Wales, and is a showcase for young talent in literature, dance, drama, music…
The Library has a “stand” at the festival, and NSSAW is screening one of the stage highlights.
Recently we received a very interesting batch of films, some of which are early generation copies of movies made by Sir Ifan, including Urdd cruises from the thirties. The films show Urdd members and their families enjoying trips as far afield as Norway, Brittany, Spain, Portugal and north Africa.
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