Blog - Collections

Teaming up to save the bits: digital sustainability in Wales

Collections - Posted 15-06-2021

The ability to remotely connect and network with colleagues has been one of the positives that have arisen from these challenging times. From my home in Aberystwyth, which is not always the most accessible of places by non-digital highways, I am able to engage with experts, learn from their experiences and contribute to discussions on a global basis. Although we have been building digital preservation capacity in Wales for many years, these encounters have inspired us to extend the reach of the work being undertaken to promote digital sustainability. Working with the sector, developing the use of digital technologies and sharing skills are key elements of the Library’s new strategic plan which will be launched shortly.

The opportunities presented by the use of platforms such as Teams and Zoom enable a more proactive engagement than has been previously possible. Through using these communication platforms, it is possible to discuss issues relating to sustainable access to digital material. The associated technological, organisational and policy issues which arise from providing access to digital material in the long term can be tackled by working collaboratively.

A particular innovation which will commence soon is the ‘Saving the Bits’ programme, which will be open to organisations across Wales. Sessions will discuss theoretical and practical issues, making reference to existing models, tools and workflows, which can be adopted by organisations. Taking advantage of new technologies, these sessions can now be both readily accessible and interactive, using presentations, live demonstrations and breakout discussions.

These sessions would not be possible without the resources and training materials which are now freely available; but what online meetings enable is greater coordination in the use of these resources and networking over how to implement new techniques more effectively. It is hoped that these sessions will contribute to the building of the community which is committed to saving the digital heritage a bit at a time.

Sally McInnnes

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Reliving Wales’ Euro 2016 Campaign through Newsbank

Collections - Posted 11-06-2021

It’s been 5 years since the Welsh football team and its fans took Euro 2016 by storm, after a 58-year absence from football’s major tournaments. With the delayed Euro 2020 tournament beginning tonight, and the team hoping they can emulate the heroic effort of 2016, here’s a quick recap of those unforgettable games via the Library’s Newsbank subscription (click on the headlines to read the reports).

 

 

Wales 2 – Slovakia 1 – “Dragons do roar!”

Excitement was understandably high amongst the Wales fans before our first tournament game in almost 60 years. Could the team carry on from their success in the qualifying rounds? We got that answer within the first 10 minutes.  Firstly, Ben Davies pulled off a fantastic goal line clearance to thwart Slovakia, and shortly afterwards Gareth Bale scored one of his trademark free kicks to put us ahead. Although Slovakia equalised in the second half, Hal Robson-Kanu sent Welsh fans wild when he scored the winner in the 81st minute to put Wales on top of their group. A dream start.

England 2 – Wales 1: “England grab last-gasp winner and break Welsh hearts.”

Topping group B, Wales were confident ahead of the game against their neighbours, and things were looking promising after Gareth Bale scored a long range free-kick on the stroke of half time. However, after equalizing early in the second half, England scored an injury time winner to knock Wales down into second in the group.

Russia 0 – Wales 3: “Bale & Co thrash Russia in magnificent display as the Welsh fairy tale gathers momentum”

If the team felt any pressure about progressing from the group stages, it wasn’t apparent as they deservedly beat Russia. Ramsey and Taylor scored in the first half to give Wales a comfortable lead, before Bale wrapped it up in the second half, becoming the tournament’s top scorer. With England only managing a draw against Slovakia, this meant that Wales were the group winners.

 

 

Wales 1 – Northern Ireland 0: “Cruel blow as own goal sends Wales into fantasy land.”

With both teams playing their first knockout game since the World Cup in 1958, this was an understandably nervy affair. Chances were few and far between, and the match was ultimately decided by an own goal after Gareth McAuley diverted Gareth Bale’s low cross into his own net. Not that any Wales fan cared, the quarter-finals beckoned!

Wales 3 – Belgium 1: “Wales unleash the Dragon to roast Belgium and seal semi”

What came next was undoubtedly the most famous night in Welsh football history. Wales arrived in Lille knowing that they could make history and go one step further than their 1958 counterparts. Standing in their way were Belgium, who Wales had already beaten during the qualifying rounds. However, Belgium were favourites for a reason. 13 minutes into the game, they took a lead through Nainggolan’s 25-yard thunderbolt. Wales stayed in the game, and the captain Ashley Williams equalized on the half hour.

We were then treated to the goal of the tournament, when on 55 minutes, Robson-Kanu bamboozled the Belgian defenders with an exquisite turn, and then calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner. Cue Welsh fans delirium. Belgium continued to push for an equalizer, but Wales sealed victory with a stunning Sam Voakes header. Wales had made it to the semi-final!

Portugal 2 – Wales 0: “Welsh fairytale ends as Cristiano Ronaldo takes Portugal to Euro 2016 final”

Spirits were at an all-time high after the Belgium game, and Welsh fans had high hopes of the team making it to the final at the Stade de France. Unfortunately, Portugal had other ideas. Led by their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, they delivered a solid performance to book their place in the final, with Ronaldo scoring their first goal and setting Nani up for their second.

The dream was over.

Although they fell at the penultimate hurdle, the team had ensured that they would be forever regarded as sporting heroes, as was evident by the thousands of people who lined the streets of Cardiff to greet them home.

“UEFA honours Welsh fans‘ inspiring passion”

It was a campaign that went beyond any of our wildest dreams, and the team ensured that none of us would ever forget those 25 wonderful days. Here’s hoping for more of the same. Pob lwc hogia!!!

 

Thanks to Siôn England & Deiniol Glyn for the photos.

 

Paul Jackson

Legal Deposit, Electronic and Acquisitions Librarian.

 

Tiny dragons and pretty pigs: Decoration in medieval Welsh manuscripts

Collections - Posted 07-06-2021

During lockdown, many of us have perhaps taken the opportunity to be more creative, whether that might be through art, crafts, or maybe learning a new skill such as a musical instrument. But if you were a medieval scribe, perhaps your only opportunity to channel your inner Van Gogh was by adding some colour to that manuscript you were working on. Scribes could add decoration to their work in a number of ways, so how about taking a look at some of the manuscripts that can be found in our digital collections at NLW for artistic inspiration?

Manuscripts were usually made of sheepskin or goatskin which was cleaned, stretched and dried to create parchment sheets. These sheets would be folded to create a quire (or gathering); four sheets made eight leaves (or bifolia) each with a recto and a verso side depending on the flesh or hair side of the parchment. To create a manuscript volume, several quires would be bound together. This was an expensive and time-consuming process, and the need to avoid wasting parchment coupled with natural imperfections in the material meant that manuscript pages were rarely perfectly even. So before writing on a page, the scribe would usually prick holes in the outer edges and rule each page with horizontal and vertical lines to maintain consistency. Spaces would be left for the insertion of decorations, as the scribe and the decorator were not always the same person.

Numerous different colours were used for decoration, which could be made from natural sources varying in rarity and cost. The ink used for text in medieval Wales could be oak gall-based (or gallotannic) ink, which presented a dark brown hue, but many other colours could be made from powder bases, such as red and orange from red lead (or minium), white from white lead, green from copper salts, and blue from lapis lazuli. These would all be mixed with a binding agent such as gum Arabic. Don’t try this at home though – many of these paints were poisonous! They were also expensive, so manuscript decoration was a sign of a wealthy patron.

The most common and simplest form of decoration was probably rubrication, or red lettering. This can be seen in many medieval Welsh manuscripts and was used for capital letters and headings. The Hendregadredd manuscript, containing Welsh poetry and the earliest parts of which date from the late 13th– early 14th centuries, demonstrates this, using red ink for poem titles, capital letters, and patterned space-fillers.

Rubricated letters were often alternated with another colour, which in the above instance was blue. But blue ink was expensive, so green was often substituted as a cheaper alternative. The rubricator of the 13th-century Llyfr Aneirin used green instead of blue, and additionally alternated green and red for its space-fillers.

Capital letters could also contain intricate drawings. If you like tiny dragons, you’ll love the zoomorphic letters in Peniarth 540B, a 12th-century Welsh-produced copy of Bede’s De natura rerum.

In some instances, the scribe really went for it and drew capital letter decorations along the entire page, as is the case with NLW MS 3024C, a 14th-century copy of the works of Gerald of Wales. The decorator of this manuscript even drew a bearded face – a contender for ‘Movember’ perhaps? (f. 42v).

If tiny dragons aren’t your thing, other beasts also feature. Scribes sometimes wrote the first words of the next page in the bottom right hand corner of the previous page or column as a guide. These catchwords could be decorated, with those in the 13th-century Black Book of Carmarthen (which contains a collection of Welsh poetry), decorated with a lion (f. 4r) and a rather shocked-looking sea creature (f. 49r).

But decoration wasn’t just limited to the mythical – everyday scenes could also be represented. The 13th-century Peniarth MS 28, a Latin manuscript of the Laws of Hywel Dda, contains several colour illustrations depicting a number of scenes enacted from the Welsh laws. The manuscript contains colourful figures including images of snappily-dressed court officials and animals of value such as deer, horses, and oxen, but the prize for the best illustration must surely go to the pig (f. 25r), drawn complete with curly tail!

When we think of the medieval period, we perhaps think of muted colours and faded pages. But tiny dragons and law-abiding pigs aside, we can see how these medieval Welsh manuscripts are not only texts, they are a showcase for the creativity and skills of their decorators and scribes even centuries after they were made. So the next time you pick up a pen or paintbrush, why not take inspiration from our manuscripts, and unleash your inner medieval scribe!

Lucie Hobson
Assistant Archivist

Further reading:

  • Daniel Huws, Medieval Welsh Manuscripts (Cardiff, 2000)
  • Daniel Huws, Peniarth 28: Darluniau o Lyfr Cyfraith Hywel Dda = Illustrations from a Welsh lawbook (Aberystwyth, 2008)
  • Myriah Williams, ‘The Black Book of Carmarthen: Minding the Gaps’, National Library of Wales Journal 36.4 (2017), 357-375
  • Gerald Morgan, ‘The Book of Aneirin and Welsh manuscript prickings’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies 20.1 (1962), 12-17
  • J. J. G. Alexander, Medieval Illuminators and their Methods of Work (New Haven/London, 1992)
  • Daniel V. Thompson, The Materials of Medieval Painting (London, 1936)

Robert Recorde and the Whetstone of Witte

Collections - Posted 31-05-2021

Robert Recorde, who was born in Tenby is renowned for being the first mathematician to use the “=” symbol in a published book. This was featured in the The Whetstone of Witte which the Library will be exhibiting on-line soon.

Robert Recorde was born in Tenby in 1512. His mother was from Machynlleth. It was in Tenby that his interest in mathematics was first realised and this was recognised by the London Mathematical Society in 2015 when it commissioned an exhibition in his hometown to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Society.

Recorde clearly thought it was important to provide mathematical education to the masses who were not familiar with Latin or Greek. Most scientific books of the time were written in Latin and Recorde was one of the first authors to write mathematical books in English.

The first equation which used the symbol “=” can be seen in the illustration (it is on page 236 of the Library’s digital copy) from The Whetstone of Witte. There were other symbols used by mathematicians of the time in Europe which could easily have been adopted, and it was nearly a century before the two lines were generally accepted and recognised to denote equality. The symbol was used in influential works such as Richard Norwood’s Trigonometric, and its use then spread from England to Europe and to the rest of the world. To explain his use of two parallel lines, Recorde writes that “To avoid the tedious repetition of these words – is equal to – I will set as I do often in work use, a pair of parallels or Gemowe lines of one length, thus: = because no two things are more equal (see relevant page from the book blow).”

Recorde was also among the first mathematicians to use the forms of numbers that we are familiar with today (1, 2, 3, etc.). In another of his books named The Groundes of Artes, Recorde compares these numbers with the Roman numerals that were commonly used in textbooks at the time (i, ii, iii). The form of numbers that are used today are derived from Hindu or Arabic numbers from around 600 A.D. It is quite fascinating to see that Recorde had to introduce these numbers to his lay readership. This shows that English scientific writing involving mathematics and arithmetic was in its infancy and that Recorde was a key figure in its introduction to the people of Britain.

 

 

Recorde was a Fellow in All Souls’ College, Oxford having earlier graduated in mathematics. He later studied medicine at Cambridge. He was also a Royal Physician and was appointed Head of the Royal Mint. While working at the Mint he was answerable to the Earl of Pembroke. Recorde accused the Earl of siphoning some of the profits of the Mints to himself. He was prosecuted for slander for making the accusation and was fined a thousand pounds. As he had no means to pay the fine he was imprisoned for bankruptcy. He soon fell ill in prison and died in 1558. When Elizabeth I rose to the throne a few years later the case was re-opened and his name was cleared. As compensation, land was given to the family in Tenby.

Recorde wrote his mathematics in English so that it could be understood by people. He introduced the numbers 1, 2, 3 etc. to his readers. But we remember him mainly for being the first mathematician to use two parallel lines to denote equality. Robert Recorde made an unique contribution to mathematics in the sixteenth century.

Bibliography

Roberts, G. (2016) Robert Recorde: Tudor Scholar and Mathematician, Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Roberts, G. Ff. (2020) Cyfri’n Cewri: Hanes mawrion ein mathemateg, Caerdydd: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru.

 

Hywel Lloyd,

Assistant Librarian.

Share a Story Month

Collections - Posted 26-05-2021

It’s Share a Story month and Wales’ tradition of sharing stories is reflected not only in our Manuscripts collection but also our printed books collections. From folklore and the legendary tales of Twm Siôn Cati to stories of Madog and his voyage to America, to the adventures of Wil Cwac Cwac and his friends in Llyfr Mawr y Plant and the magical world of Harry Potter, this is a chance to share some of our favourite stories from the printed books collections.

The hero of The adventures and vagaries of Twm Shôn Catti (1828) is the legendary character who sometimes corresponds to Robin Hood or Rob Roy. His exploits are claimed to be based on events in the early life of Thomas Jones of Tregaron, landowner, antiquary, genealogist and poet. This was the first book to celebrate this hero. It is evident that the book was intended for a Welsh readership from the author’s open criticism of English travellers.

Cymru fu : yn cynnwys hanesion, traddodiadau, yn nghyda chwedlau a dammegion Cymreig (1862) is one of the first important works published by Isaac Foulkes (Llyfrbryf, 1836-1904), publisher, journalist and man of letters from Llanfwrog in Denbighshire. As well as publishing books such as this collection of folklore, Llyfrbryf wrote biographies of J. Ceiriog Hughes and Daniel Owen, and edited the poetry and letters of Goronwy Owen and the works of Twm o’r Nant. He did more than any other editor of the time to arouse the interest of ordinary Welsh people in their country’s literature.

 

Madog ab Owain Gwynedd is said to have sailed with eight ships from Abercerrig near Abergele to search for a new country in the west after tiring of the quarrels between his brothers following their father’s death, and to have landed in Mobile Bay about 1169. In the 16th century, John Dee was the first to claim the New World for the Queen of England on the basis of Madog’s voyage. The descendants of the Welsh who emigrated with Madog were identified with the Mandan Indians living to the west of the Missouri river at the end of the 18th century. The myth came to public notice when the historian John Williams published Farther observations, on the discovery of America, by Prince Madog ab Owen Gwynedd (1792). As a result of Iolo Morganwg’s forgeries this became a strong motivation for emigrating from Wales to America.

The novelist Isaac Craigfryn Hughes (1852-1928) was born in Quakers’ Yard, Glamorgan. He was a miner and was blind for the latter part of his life. Y ferch o Gefn Ydfa (1881?) is the most popular of his six novels, which tells the story of Ann Maddocks (1704-1727), daughter of William Thomas of Cefn Ydfa, a house near Llangynwyd in Glamorgan, and wife of Anthony Maddocks. Her father died when she was a child, and according to the unfounded romantic legend she unwillingly married Maddocks, a wealthy lawyer who was her guardian’s son, although she was in love with a young poet called Wil Hopcyn, who composed the verses “Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn” for her. She is said to have died of a broken heart soon after marrying Maddocks. Iolo Morganwg was the first to claim that Wil Hopcyn was the author of the song, but Hughes added over-emotional details to the story in this novel.

Histori Sawney Beane (ca. 1800) is an extraordinary legend telling the tale of Alexander “Sawney” Beane, head of a 45-member clan in Scotland in the 16th century. His wife Agnes Douglas was accused of being a witch. The clan was responsible for murdering and cannibalizing more than 1,000 people while living undiscovered in a cave between Girvan and Ballantrae for 25 years, until they were discovered and executed on the orders of King James VI. This book about the history of Sawney Beane is a translation from the English.

This of course is only a small selection – the Library’s shelves groan under the weight of books that are full of stories of myths, magic and mayhem. There are boundless hours of entertainment between the covers of these books – search our catalogue to see what stories you will discover.

Covid Passports – 1600 style

Collections - Posted 17-05-2021

Proving one’s state of health may be a current preoccupation with modern would-be travellers, but that is by no means a new phenomenon.

Before he journeyed to Italy with two friends in 1600, Elizabethan author and poet Robert Parry of Tywysog, Denbighshire, tells us in his diary that he had first to obtain a ‘lycence’ for overseas travel from Secretary of State, Sir Robert Cecil. Like the modern passport, this document enjoined those officials whom they would encounter to give them aid and protection as they departed their own land, and whilst they travelled abroad. It was also a means of monitoring the movement of individuals in-and-out of Elizabeth’s rather paranoid realm!

Clutching his vital lycence as he landed at Calais on 22 February, Parry had to face an obstacle to his journey. Intending to travel to Italy through France, the party discovered that areas of Savoy in the Western Alps, and Piedmont in north-west Italy, were experiencing outbreaks of plague, common enough at that time. Quite naturally, the Italians were worried by the spread of the disease:

“the Italians are very curious & circumspect in receavinge any strayngers into theire Contreyes wthout Bulletynes which could not be had but in places free from disseases the meanynge whereof in place more apte I will declare: for that I nothinge doubt, but that this worde bulletyne is straynge to our nation especially those that have not travelled in forren contreyes.”

Not to be thwarted, the intrepid travellers entered Switzerland, and travelled into Italy via that route, thus avoiding the need to satisfy the Italians by producing bulletynes of health!

Robert Parry seems more interested in the word than in the implications of his action. He suggests that this meaning for the English bulletin(s) – adapted from the Italian bullettino – was new. It may not have been accepted into wide-spread parlance, as the earliest instance in the Oxford English Dictionary is its use over forty years later by John Evelyn.

Thankfully, Robert Parry returned safely from his six-month ‘Iter in Italia’, minus the plague, and carrying a new English word as a souvenir. He entered it into his diary, now at the National Library of Wales: the earliest surviving diary written by a Welshman.

Maredudd ap Huw
Curator of Manuscripts

Links

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Sensational Developments: Newsworthy Victorian Photographers

Collections - Posted 10-05-2021

Whilst working from home this last year, one of my tasks was to rebuild a basic spreadsheet of Welsh Photographers (1850 -1920) – names, addresses, dates. In all honesty this became a little tedious, so I started doing a little research. Every now and then I’d have a quick search on Google, which didn’t produce too many results. Then I started using online newspaper sources, searching specific names, as well as the simplest search term -“Photographer”.

Much of what I found were simply advertisements or notices of bankruptcy, quite a lot of bankruptcy actually! But of course, to be really newsworthy the stories had to have a sensational flavour and I found tragedy, assault, theft, accusations of indecent behaviour, drunkenness and fraud! I will visit some of these stories in future writings, but I thought I’d start with an interesting occurrence in the Police Court at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire on 20th October 1897.

John Martin Powell of Milford Haven, photographer, artist and lay preacher, aged around 60, had been summoned to court by his wife of 32 years who wanted “..Separation and maintenance on the grounds of cruelty,”, something which Mr. Powell, of course, denied. His wife had been living with her daughter for some time and with the help of her sister, had brought the case to court.

The proceedings were progressing, albeit with some vocal outbursts from Powell, when suddenly, “… The court was startled by an hysterical scream from Mrs Powell, who was shrinking horrified away from where her husband was standing. Simultaneously there was a scuffle, and it was seen that Powell was pointing a revolver at his wife.”

Powell was still advancing towards his cowering wife when he was surrounded by half a dozen people, one of whom was his own son-in-law, and the revolver was ripped from his grip by Police Sergeant Brinn. “…It was a question for a moment whether the defendant would be preserved from violence..” as the crowd went into uproar with shouts of “Lynch Him!”, and people tried clambering towards the bench. Mrs. Powell had been ushered from the room and one of the Magistrates, Dr.Griffiths, stood on a chair and “…Appealed to the public to suppress their feelings, threatening to place under arrest anyone who incited a riot. He assured them the magistrates would do their duty by this man, and urged them not to say another word…”

Once calm had be restored, Powell, now handcuffed, stood before the Magistrates and was charged with the attempted murder of his wife and remanded in custody.

On 10th November Powell was brought to Carmarthen Assizes to be tried by Judge and Jury, and you’d think it was a fairly open and shut case. But, no, there was some question as to whether the trigger had actually been pulled. No one could say for certain that they saw Powell’s finger actually on the trigger. Some said they had heard a click, others heard nothing, but on examination the cartridge in the chamber of the gun had indentations as though the hammer had struck but not fired.

The jury retired for fifty minutes, and on their return announced that they had not reached an agreement. “Then why have you returned?” asked the Judge. “We wanted our dinner,” A juror said, to much laughter from the the crowd, “I don’t think we can agree, as we are eight to four”. “I have known eight to convert four. I’m afraid I cannot discharge you,” replied the Judge, then adding, to more laughter, “Not withstanding the fact that you want your dinner.” “I’m very sorry for that,” the Juror said, ”For I shall never be converted.”

To the sound of more laughter the jury was ordered to retire once more, and in quarter of an hour they returned.

“We find the prisoner not guilty of pulling the trigger, but of presenting the revolver for the purpose of intimidating his wife.”

The Judge had to concede that this amounted to a verdict of not guilty and before he discharged Powell he warned that any further cruelty to his wife would result in serious punishment. Ten days later a settlement between Powell and his wife was reached with maintenance of ten shillings a week to be paid. Powell continued in business until 1901.

Simon Evans
Curatorial Assistant, Photographs

Sources: South Wales Echo 21st October 1897.
South Wales Daily Post 10th November 1897
Cardiff Times 13th November 1897
South Wales Daily News 19th November 1897
Carmarthen Weekly Reporter 12th November 1897

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Collecting the Election

Collections - Posted 19-04-2021

When the people of Wales elect a new Senedd on May 6th, a period of frantic political campaigning will come to an end. But while the politicians have been campaigning, the Welsh Poltical Archive has been quietly working to make a record of the campaign for researchers of the future. Staff at the National Library of Wales are recording party election broadcasts and the leaders’ debates on the TV and we’re also making copies of the websites and Twitter feeds of the political parties and individual candidates.

Despite the Covid-19 restrictions and the general move towards online campaigning the leaflet or election address is still one of the most important methods which candidates use to reach electors and many will be sent out during the campaign. The Library holds a large collection (nearly 200 boxes) of election addresses and other campaigning ephmera and it’s one of my favourite collections. While the oldest material in the collection dates from 1837 most of it is from the 20th century and since 1983 the Welsh Political Archive has been helped by a group of supporters across Wales who collect any election ephemera they receive and send it to us to add to the collection. This means that we have a comprehensive collection from all parties and all parts of Wales.

The network of supporters is at work now helping to ensure that the candidates and their promises in the 2021 Senedd Election are recorded in the collection and I’m looking forward to sorting and cataloguing them all over the summer. However, our supporters aren’t able to collect everything so we’d be really pleased to receive any donations of campaign material you receive, especially from independent or minor party candidates or from the constituencies of Alyn and Deeside, Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff North, Clwyd South, or Ynys Môn. You can send them to The Welsh Political Archive, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, SY23 3BU. Surely that would be better than putting them in the recycling!

Rob Phillips
The Welsh Political Archive

 

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Who was George Crudge ?

Collections - Posted 12-04-2021

And why is the Library blogging about him?

Ernest George Crudge arrived in the Tregaron area in about 1910. Why he came here is something of a mystery – in the 1911 census he was lodging with David James, Chapel Street, Tregaron. He was 24 and his occupation photographer. In 1912 he married Annie Hogan of Cardigan House, Pontrhydygroes. It is not known if they had met prior to his move to the district or subsequently as in the same census Annie Hogan was working in Aberdare. Their bilingual wedding service was held at Bwlchgwynt Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.

Whether George’s past history was known to his bride is not known. In June 1908 George had been under the influence of a dubious Mr Hoffman who operated, probably fraudulently, under the name F Lewis & Co , Photographers in Tottesdown, Bristol. It seems that on two occasions Crudge used a business card to dupe businesses into letting him hire a bicycle, promising to pay later. He didn’t and was sentenced to a month’s hard labour for “obtaining on June 15th from Percy Harold Taylor the sum of six shillings and sixpence by means of fraud other than false pretences.”

On his arrival in the district he set about earning a living as a photographer. Most of his works survive as real photographic postcards with a caption at the bottom in distinctive upper case white lettering, often featuring a date. The advantage of this format is that as many, or as few, of the desired photograph could be produced as necessary. The reverse of his cards are usually stamped “E. George Crudge, Pontrhydygroes” in purple ink. Crudge produced series of views of Pontrhydygroes, Cwmystwyth and Llanilar. He also photographed communal sheep shearing at farms in a wide area and seems to have dabbled with the idea of publishing printed postcards, though only of Tregaron. The couple seem to have moved from the area during WW1, though he was present when his brother William married Annie’s sister in September 1916, also in Ysbyty Ystwyth.

By 1939 George and Annie were living in Bristol. By this time he was employed in the aircraft industry and died in October 1944, Annie in 1956.
Although his tenure in this part of the world was short his small postcard sized photographs capture aspects of rural communities on whom change was about to be foisted. His posed groups of farmers and their families suggest he was readily accepted into the area. Sadly, none of his original negatives have come to light, unless of course you know differently!

W Troughton, April 2021.

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Archives in Danger

Collections - Posted 06-04-2021

Archives and Records Council Wales have recently been have awarded a Covid-19 Archives Fund Grant of £50,000 from The National Archives. This generous award will allow us to employ a Records at Risk Officer for Wales to lead on the development of a national strategy to identify records at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has a number of implications for the continued operation of businesses, charities, and other community organisations, with many closing with very little warning. The records created by these bodies have historical value, not only for their own business operation, but for the evidence they provide of their part in the life of the local community and of the story of Wales at a national level. Many of these organisations are the life blood of our local communities, and their records form an integral part of the local and national story. These are the places where people live their lives, work, shop, meet their friends and come together as a community, and their records will tell us more about how people in Wales really lived.

Over the coming year, as the country emerges from the pandemic, an increasing number of these types of local organisation will face closure, or may be unable to continue to care for their historic assets. It is crucial that that there is a coherent approach to ensure that any vulnerable archives and records are safeguarded for future generations. It will be the role of the Records at Risk Officer to survey the current record keeping landscape in Wales, to ensure that records at risk are identified, and to develop the framework for a longer-term national Records at Risk Strategy for Wales.

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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.

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