Blog - Digitisation

Posted - 16-05-2019

Collections / Digitisation / Discover Sound / News / Screen and Sound

From Planting Crops to Planting Trees: Telling the Story of the Forest

For the last 14 weeks as part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, the Library has welcomed 10 MA Archiving Administration students from the University of Wales Aberystwyth to work on one of our sound collections. We would like to thank the students for all their hard work and contribution towards the project, and to Crystal Guevara for writing this Blog about their time spent with us.

 

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Timber, forest fires, road building, and World War II stories are just some of the subjects that are covered in a collection made up of 167 MiniDiscs, each containing interviews recorded from people who worked for or around the Forestry Commission.

As part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, the National Library of Wales is working on preserving and making available sound recordings that tell the story of wales through oral histories. Dr. Sarah Higgins, professor at Aberystwyth University arranged for ten students in the post-graduate Archive Administration course to help the Library work on a project called the Story of the Forest.

I was one of ten students that got to work on the project and I found that my appreciation for the people who had started the work for this story grew from admiration to urgency so that more people could hear and learn from the experiences of the forest workers who transformed the landscape of rural Wales.

The majority of these recordings are in Welsh, the remainder being in English. To place you somewhere in the timeline of history we’re talking about mid-Twentieth Century Wales. Due to a high demand for timber, the Forestry Commission bought slate quarries and farms to transform those areas into plots for forestry farming. Naturally, this meant an adjustment in lifestyle and some people adjusted well to it while others longed for the way that things used to be. The people who were a part of these changes weren’t interviewed until 2002 and 2003 by a team of interviewers who were motivated to get on record the rich details of this time of transition and change.

Because the interviews were recorded on MiniDiscs, they needed to be rescued from becoming completely inaccessible, since so much of the technology around MiniDiscs has already become obsolete. So, our job as archive students was to digitise the recordings on the MiniDiscs, catalogue all of the interviews, transcribe them, and then put together an online exhibit to showcase some of these interviews along with old photographs provided by the interviewees. To get all of this done we got to work with some of the Library staff. They gave us guidance on what to do and we in turn strategized the timetable and roles and responsibilities.

 

 

Everyone on the team got to perform unique tasks and we sought to rotate everyone through all the necessary jobs to get a chance at trying different things out. Each task required a different learning process and each one was vital to make these stories publicly available.

During the digitising I was able to appreciate having technology that allowed us to continue preserving these stories. While transcribing, I got to hear first-hand the core of what we were doing. Listening to the interviews, was insightful and eye-opening. They contain stories about forestry policy, road building, nursery work, farm life, and other topics like Land Army Girls, Prisoners of War, and life post-World War II. Then, while cataloguing we strived to do things meticulously, but efficiently to create useable information that would help future users navigate through the collection.

To become more connected with the project and feel the real human connection with the interviewees and their stories, we organized a trip to Corris. Corris is one of the places mentioned often in the oral histories and only a 40-minute drive from Aberystwyth. While we were there, we could see for ourselves the different types of trees in their separate sections, covering the hills. We took pictures of our visit to include in the online exhibit and add our own perspective to continue telling the story of the forest.

 It was a great journey beginning to end. As we are only aspiring archivists at the moment, we relied heavily on the knowledge of all the library staff helping us work the technology and understand the metadata standards. Alison Smith, Berian Elias, Rhodri Shore, Gruffydd Jones, and Elena Gruffudd were especially helpful. That in and of itself was a lesson applicable in how to help and educate people who are learning to use archives.

 

 

To see these oral histories start off in a cardboard box and now find them searchable on the British Library catalogue brought a great sense of accomplishment for the entire team.

17 of these stories are now available to listen to online on the People’s Collection Wales website, along with more detailed stories about the specific process of cataloguing, digitising, transcribing, and work on the exhibit.

 

Crystal Guevara

MA Archives Administration

Posted - 22-04-2019

Collections / Digitisation

Gladstone and Ottoman Armenians (1896-1897) in the Gladstone’s Pamphlet Collection at the National Library of Wales and in the Gladstone’s Library Historical Collections, Hawarden

In September-October 2018, Dr Stéphanie Prévost, Senior Lecturer in 19th-century British History at Paris Diderot 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 on the Gladstones and the Eastern Question, including former Premier William E. Gladstone’s response to the Armenian massacres of the 1890s.

This blog appears on the 2019 anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

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‘To serve Armenia is to serve Europe’ was British Liberal Premier W.E. Gladstone’s mot d’ordre to former French Ambassador in London on his last visit to the Grand Old Man, most probably in the winter of 1896-1897. Estimates now indicate that the three waves of the Armenian massacres that occurred in the Ottoman Empire in 1894-1896, possibly at Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s explicit behest (hence their being referred to as ‘Hamidian massacres’), killed some 200,000 to 300,000 Ottoman Armenians, not to mention other forms of violence. Gladstone’s long-lasting interest in Ottoman Christians, which is traditionally associated with his fiery defence of Ottoman Bulgarians in 1876, was again revived when news of massacres, this time against Ottoman Armenians, first appeared in the British press in late 1894.

Regarding Gladstone’s reading on the Armenian massacres, the Gladstone’s Pamphlet collection at the National Library of Wales, but also at the Gladstone’s Library at Hawarden where the volumes once owned by the Liberal Premier are also now held, partly make up for the silence of the last volume of the Gladstone’s Diaries. His long-standing public interest in the fate of Ottoman Christians, his speech at Chester in 1895 in defence of Ottoman Armenians immediately after the Liberal General Election defeat and his international status as the ‘defender of the oppressed’ account for the inflow of material (foreign or else) published about the Armenian massacres. As such, not only did Father Charmetant, Director of the French Works of Catholic Schools in the East, send him a copy of his original pamphlet Martyrologe arménien: Tableau officiel des massacres d’Arménie (1896), in which he produced an estimate of victims of the Armenian massacres across the Ottoman Empire, but he also made sure that ‘the Grand Old Man’ could read the English version en avant première. That he did shows through the many annotations, absent from the French text.

Deeply stirred by the Armenian massacres, Gladstone translated in his own words Charmetant’s ‘final appeal to dying Armenia of Christian Europe’ in his own forthcoming pamphlet. Penned in Southern France where he was staying at Lord Stuart Rendel’s to restore his declining health, The Eastern Crisis: A Letter to the Duke of Westminster eventually appeared in March 1897 and proposed an assessment of Turkish policy vis-à-vis Ottoman Christians since the 1856 Treaty of Paris, by which European powers protected Ottoman territorial integrity and independence against the promise that reforms (especially regarding the equality and protection of Ottoman non-Muslims) would be fulfilled. Gladstone cited another foreign authority on the Armenian Massacres, this time German missionary in Armenia Dr Lepsius, for his assessment of casualties as evidence of Ottoman misconduct. The copy of the English translation of Dr Lepsius’s Armenia & Europe: An Indictment (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1897) at the Gladstone’s Library is replete with notice lines of different colours and marginal marks, which all give a sense of the intense outrage reading in that case created.

 

 

Stéphanie Prévost

Paris Diderot University

April 2019.

Posted - 14-02-2019

Conservation / Digitisation / ITV Cymru / Wales / Screen and Sound

Restoration, Restoration, Restoration

The HTV Wales archive is a significant record of Welsh popular culture, politics and history captured on both film and video and it constitutes a large part of the Screen and Sound Archive. An archive of that size and age will have an assortment of conservation challenges, especially in the area of restoration. By far the most common problem with old tape is Sticky-shed syndrome (SSS) or hydrolysis. SSS is symptomatic of the breakdown of the tapes’ polyester binder due to absorption of moisture.

The tell-tale squealing of the tape as it passes over the playhead and the accumulation of dirty deposits upon the guide and playhead indicate a tape has SSS. A tape with SSS will, amongst other issues, exhibit ‘crabbing’, i.e. the moving from side to side of the moving image, and if not treated continued playback could further damage the tape.

So how do we restore that believed lost episode of ‘Gwesty Gwirion’? The answer may surprise you! The standard practice is to bake the tape at low temperatures for relatively long periods of time, such as 130 °F to 140 °F (54 to 60 °C). Strictly speaking we don’t ’bake’ our tapes but instead use a commercial food dehydrator that removes all moisture from the tape pack. How long we do this to the tape will depend on the severity of the SSS; up to a week we’ve discovered is time enough. We have been successful with the majority of the tapes that have undergone the process, with many lost gems brought back from the brink of oblivion. You can see some of them on the ITV Wales YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT2NfMee-YxsGaH852qTx3Q or view them at the Library.

 

Martin Edwards

Posted - 14-11-2018

#LoveMaps / Collections / Digitisation

The Great War in maps

In the wake of the Armistice Day Centenary commemorations, it is perhaps timely to  draw attention to the Library’s maps relating to the conflicts of the First World War, a cataclysm in which 20 million lives were lost, some 40,000 being Welsh.

The Library’s many war maps and atlases display frontlines, trenches and other military paraphernalia, the war’s geopolitical impact in changing political boundaries, post-war redevelopment schemes and even include recreational map-based war games. The maps are of both military and civilian origin, the latter published to inform the  public and boost morale.

Some two hundred maps have been digitised as part of the Library’s War Centennial programme. Included are these two examples of maps from the unsuccessful Gallipoli Campaign – which was associated with inaccurate maps that regularly included outdated information gathered during the Crimean War.

The Gallipoli collection comprises contemporary War Office maps such as the two illustrated examples showing Ottoman defences on the campaign’s opening day and a later map of ANZAC positions, together with commercially published sheets.

 


The Allied attack on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula, popularly known as the Gallipoli or the Dardanelles Campaign, lasted from April 1915 to January 1916. Here, British Empire and French forces engaged the Ottoman Empire in an unsuccessful attempt to aid Russia and break the impasse on the fighting fronts by opening a shipping route with Russia  unimpeded by excessive winter sea ice and extreme distance.

A failed naval attack in the Dardanelles Strait in early 1915 progressed to a major land invasion on 25th April by British and French troops together with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps or ANZAC forces. A later landing occurred at Suvla Bay on 6th August.

Allied intelligence deficiencies, indecision and delay, combined with fierce Ottoman resistance thwarted headway and success and mired the belligerents in an entrenched battle of attrition and consequential heavy casualties. The British authorized evacuation began in December 1915, and ended the following January.

 

Gwilym Tawy

Map Curator

Posted - 15-10-2018

Collections / Digitisation / Events / News / News and Events / Research

The Peniarth Manuscripts: a bountiful harvest

Back in March, the Library published the first group of Peniarth Manuscripts to have been digitised as part of an ambitious plan to present the contents of the entire collection online.

This week, as the Library celebrates items and collections which have been inscribed on UNESCO’s UK Memory of the World Register, we announce that images of a further 25 manuscripts from the Peniarth Collection have appeared on our website. They are presented here according to dates of creation:

From the 14th century, we welcome 190, a Welsh manuscript containing religious texts such as Lucidar and Ymborth yr Enaid, together with 328 and 329, two legal manuscripts in Norman-French, with the latter containing the text of Magna Carta.

From the beginning of the 15th century, we welcome the Latin and English religious texts of 334, and from the middle of that century, the work of Petrarch in a Latin manuscript produced at Oxford (336), and the Welsh text of Gwassanaeth Meir (191). An abundant crop from the second half of the century includes Welsh Law (175), a calendar in the hand of Gutun Owain (186), and poems written by Huw Cae Llwyd (189).

A dearth of sources from the first half of the 16th century is followed by an abundant crop from 1550 onwards, including the manuscripts of Roger Morris of Coed-y-talwrn (169), Thomas Evans of Hendreforfudd (187), lexicographer Thomas Wiliems (188), Simwnt Fychan (189), and another version of Gwassanaeth Meir (192). Pedigrees are represented in 193, and medical tracts in 184, 206 and 207.

Robert Vaughan did not neglect contemporary manuscripts, and 17th century examples include a collection of Welsh poetry (184), grammars and vocabularies written by John Jones of Gellilyfdy (295, 296, 302, 304 and 305), and volumes written by Robert Vaughan himself (180 and 185).

Finally, one lonely manuscript of Welsh sermons (324) from the 18th century, possibly the product of Montgomeryshire.

For a complete list of all Peniarth Manuscripts available digitally, consult the dedicated page on our website. Meanwhile, our diligent digitizers continue to work through the collection!

Maredudd ap Huw
Curator of Manuscripts

Posted - 21-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Dictionaries and Grammars

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of dictionaries and grammars that will be digitized as part of the project.

Gruffydd Robert – Dosparth byrr (1563)

Gruffydd Robert was a Roman Catholic scholar, a grammarian of the sixteenth century and a humanist of the Renaissance. It comes as no surprise therefore that Robert was concerned with the study of language and the Welsh language in particular. As a Catholic exile he had to contend with rigorous press censorship across Europe which made the process of publication a daunting task. Gruffydd Robert’s multi-volume Grammar ‘Dosbarth byrr’, the earliest grammar to appear in Welsh, was at least partly published in Milan from 1567, where the author had settled. Robert was a firm supporter of the art of translation and believed it was a vital component in the expansion and development of a language in the modern world. He put his ideas into practice in his grammar. In addition, he converted the Ciceronian style into a Welsh medium by including a select translation of Cicero’s De Senectute in his sixth volume of ‘Dosparth byrr’.

John Davies – Antiquae linguae Britannicae, nunc vulgo dictae Cambro-britannicae, a suis Cymraecae vel Cambricae, ab aliis Wallicae, et linguae Latinae, dictionarium duplex. Prius Britannico-Latinum, … posterius, Latino-Britannicum. Accesserunt adagia Britannica (1632)

‘Dictionarium Duplex’ was a Latin-Welsh, Welsh-Latin dictionary and the first of its kind. This publication showcased John Davies’s lifetime study of the Welsh language, from Old Welsh poetry dating from around the sixth century down to the seventeenth century. Davies was a Renaissance scholar and these humanistic values were evident is his ‘Dictionarium Duplex’. The preface to the volume presented an interesting statement on the uniqueness of the Welsh language, its history and its place within an international linguistic context. In addition, his familiarities with the ideas of influential humanistic scholars were evident within the publication. This dictionary was aimed at, and produced for, scholars or Latinists. It was certainly not a practical resource for the ordinary Welsh-man, nor the uneducated poet. The ‘Dictionarium Duplex’ came to the attention of some of Europe’s leading linguists in the seventeenth century and laid the foundations for many future Welsh linguists and scholars. It also had a great impact on lawyers and priests during that time. Its publication is considered as one of the most important events in the history of the Welsh language in the seventeenth century.

Thomas Jones – Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb / The British language in its lustre (1688)

‘Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb’ or ‘The British language in its lustre’ was the first Welsh-English dictionary to appear in published form. This volume, by the almanacer Thomas Jones, was pocket sized and relatively cheap. Jones used John Davies’s Welsh-Latin section in ‘Dictionarium Duplex’ as a starting point for his publication. However, this dictionary was not intended for the educated minority, like Davies’s Latin version, but rather the ordinary population. Jones wished to enhance the lower class’s ability to write and spell both in Welsh and English through ‘Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb’.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 19-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation / News / Research

Aberystwyth shipping records

Creating linked open data for Victorian shipping registers

Volunteers at the National Library of Wales have been transcribing 19th century shipping records for Aberystwyth and these are now being shared openly on Wikidata by the Library’s National Wikimedian.

 

For the first time it is now possible to visualise and query this rich historical record giving us a glimpse of life in 19th century Aberystwyth.

 

In the 18th and 19th Century the Welsh ‘interior’ was not easy to reach. Before the coming of the train and the invention of tarmac, the best way to get goods in and out of West Wales was by boat. Shipping was a booming industry in towns and villages along the West Wales coast and Aberystwyth was no exception. Records for more than 500 ships registered in Aberystwyth survive at the National Library of Wales and Ceredigion County Archive.

 

Aberystwyth Harbour by Alfred Worthington

 

Volunteers at the National Library began transcribing the Aberystwyth shipping records in 2012. The data they extracted contained information about the ships, their crew and the voyages they undertook.

 

In 2016 the library began to explore the possibility of enriching some elements of the data using Wikidata as a platform to share this data. If you are unfamiliar with Wikidata, it is part of the Wikimedia family of websites, which includes Wikipedia, and is a massive database of free to use data. It isn’t even six years old but it already contains 50 million data items about all sorts of places, people, things and concepts, all added by volunteers and organisations wishing to share their data with the world. The library’s Wikimedian collaborated with Ceredigion County Archives, who held additional information about the ships in order to create linked data about the ships themselves. This data included details such as the type and size of each ship, the date and location of construction and, where known, their fate.

 

From this, we were able to begin digging around in the data, and creating revealing visualisations. If you wanted to see the most popular names for ships registered in Aberystwyth, for example, we can easily retrieve and present this information. A map of where the ships were built revealed some interesting facts too. As you might expect, many ships were build locally in Aberystwyth, Borth and Aberdyfi, for example, but the data also reveals that dozens of ships were built in Canada. A little more research revealed that the government of the day was so concerned about a French invasion that they deliberately established ship building yards in safer lands, such as Prince Edward Island off the Canadian Coast, in order to safeguard the ability to move good around the uk by boat.

Word map of most popular ship names

 

Left; ships built in eastern Canada. Right; Ships built in Aberystwyth and Aberdyfi

 

We were also able to plot all the shipwrecks mentioned in the records. This not only highlights the perils of 19th century shipping, but reveals how ships from West Wales villages were traveling the world. From India, China and Africa to South America and even the South Pole, Welsh sailors were very well traveled.

 

The location of shipwrecks recorded in the shipping records

 

After the initial transcription work, many of the volunteers who had worked on the collection were keen to do more, to collect more information about the ships, their crew and their owners, so in 2017 a series of new tasks were set. Volunteers began searching for photographs and paintings of the ships, investigating the fate of more of the vessels, recording the owners of each vessel and they began the mammoth task of researching the lives of every ship’s master mentioned in the records.

 

Whilst the task of identifying all the ships masters will take some time yet, the first of the tasks  has now been completed. Data about the owners of each ship exists in the original shipping records, but was not within the scope of the initial project, so two of the volunteers who worked on the original project, Lilian and Myfanwy kindly went back through the records, and other sources such as the Crew List Index Project and extracted the the data. Much of this has now been incorporated with the rest of the data for each ship on Wikidata. Apart from providing an easy way to search and explore the data held within the collection the improved Wikidata allows us to query and visualize the data in new ways, which helps us better understand what these records tell us.

 

The new data now means that for many ships, we can chart its ownership throughout its life on the seas. We have also been able to create data items for each of the ships owners, be they individuals or established shipping companies. We know where the companies were based, and where individuals lived, and we know, from their names whether they were men or women.

 

For example we know that of the 630 owners identified, 47 were women. More research would be need, but at first glance it would appear that most of those 47 took ownership following the death of their husbands.

 

The records show how the ships often changed hands regularly. If we take the rather appropriately named ‘Volunteer’ we can plot a chart which shows all of its owners, the other ships those people owned, and the other owners of those ships – painting a complex picture of the business of ship ownership in West Wales. And it should be stated that the 630 owners identified will, in many cases, simply be the majority shareholders, or the appointed owner/manager. Many of these ships had multiple shareholders, meaning people from many walks of life could afford to invest in the busy shipping trade.

 

Owners of the ‘Volunteer’ with other connected ships and their owners

 

We can also see who the big players were in Aberystwyth by querying ship owners by the number of ships they owned. Thomas Jones, an Aberystwyth shipbuilder comes top of the pyle, owning more than 20 vessels at one time of another.

 

Ship owners, ordered by the number of ships they have owned

 

Timeline showing the ships owned by Thomas Jones

 

Wikidata, like Wikipedia, is a platform which anyone can edit so any one can now help to improve the data. If they spot mistakes, or have extra information it can be easily added directly to Wikidata. Our volunteers are still working hard to collect even more data so the amount of data connected to the Aberystwyth Shipping records will continue to grow over the coming months and years. Everyone is free to explore and reuse the data, so for the technically minded among you, please feel free to hack, create, mash and re-work our data, and be sure to share the results with us!

 

Jason Evans

National Wikimedian

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Posted - 14-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Cookery and Lifestyle

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of lifestyle and cookbooks that will be digitized as part of the project.

Augusta Hall – Good cookery illustrated. And recipes communicated by the Welsh hermit of the cell of St. Gover, with various remarks on many things past and present (1867)

Augusta Hall, or Lady Llanover was a prominent sponsor of Welsh folk culture. Her ‘Good Cookery Illustrated’ contained Welsh tales and recipes. It was structured around the conversations of a traveller to Llanover and the hermit of Llanover.

Thomas, Thomas – Llyfr Coginio a Chadw T? (1880)

Thomas Thomas was a Wesleyan minister and miscellaneous writer. He was an active producer of popular books and his volume ‘Llyfr Coginio a Chadw T?’ (‘Book of Cookery and Housekeeping’) was particularly successful. This work was aimed at the women of Wales. Its objective was to instruct its audience on how to cook delicious and nutritious meals. The volume was marketed as a text book for inexperienced cooks. In addition, it contained clear directions on how to arrange the household, in order to ensure a healthy and comfortable environment for the family unit. The author was convinced that such shortcomings in the arrangement of one’s household drove men to public houses.

Thomas, Thomas – Llyfr pawb ar bob-peth: sef, y ffordd oreu i gyflawni holl ddyledswyddau, ac i gyfarfod a holl amgylchiadau bywyd cyffredin (1880)

‘Llyfr pawb ar bob-peth’ was also among Thomas Thomas’s most successful works. This small volume of instructions was aimed at a wide and diverse audience; for ‘everyone and all’. For the young man, it contained instructions on reading and writing; outlined an acceptable code of conduct; instructions in dressing appropriately, and choosing a suitable companion. For the young women, the author gave clear instructions on how to keep a clean and tidy home, and the means in which clothing were to be kept. For the young couple the volume contained suggestions on how to choose, buy and build a suitable home, means of organisation and how to govern the family unity. For the young farmer it contained recommendations on breeding stock and outlined the most effective ways of securing high quality produce.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 07-09-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Science and Mathematics

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of scientific and mathematical publications. These will be digitized as part of the project.

 

Robert Recorde – The Whetstone of Witte: whiche is the seconde parte of arithmetike; containyng thextraction of rootes: the cossike practise, with the rule of equation: and the woorkes of surde nombers (1557)

The Whetstone of Witte’ was published in 1557 and written by the influential Welsh mathematician and teacher Robert Recorde. It is in this book that algebra and the equals sign (=) are first introduced in published form.

Robert Hooke – Micrographia (1665)

Robert Hooke worked at the Royal Society as Head of Experiments and his scientific interests varied. He made several influential and pioneering contributions to his field, for example, he invented the compound microscope. Through his microscope Hooke looked at insects, plants and bird’s feathers; detailed drawings of these are included in ‘Micrographia’. In addition, his publication presented a new way of conducting scientific exercises; through careful observation and the recording of results. Hooke’s concepts were highly influential and became common practices within the scientific field.

William Robert Grove – On the Correlation of Physical Forces: being the substance of a course of lectures delivered in the London Institution, in the year 1843 (1846)

William Robert Grove was a Welsh physical scientist, judge and lawyer. He was particularly devoted to his scientific work and gained considerable praise for his research projects within that field. His ‘On the Correlation of Physical Forces’, published in 1846, is considered a literary classic. In this volume Grove explains the principle of the conservation of energy. It is worth noting that his work was published a year prior to that of Herman von Helmholtz, a German physicist who also enunciated the above principle in his famous thesis ‘Über die Erhaltung der Kraft’ (“On the Conservation of Force”).

William Henry Preece – Telegraphy (1914)

For most of his professional career William Henry Preece was connected to the field of telegraphic engineering and its development. Educated at King’s College, London, he quickly progressed in the area and was appointed electrician to the General Post Office in 1877 and promoted to engineer-in-chief in 1892. This publication demonstrates his interest in the development of the field and is a general introduction to the science of Telegraphy.

 

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:

 

Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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Posted - 31-08-2018

Collections / Digitisation

Revealing the Objects: Responses to the Blue Book Reports

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of publications that directly responded to the Blue Book Reports. These will be digitized as part of the project.

 

R. R. W. Lingen, J. C. Symons and H. R. Vaughan Johnson – Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (1847)

In 1846 William Williams, the Welsh Member of Parliament for Coventry, introduced a motion that would eventually lead to an inquiry into the state of education in Wales. In the eyes of Williams, and the British Government in general, the Welsh people were becoming an increasingly unruly and riotous population and therefore threatened the foundations of society. Government officials were convinced that these seditious events were coordinated and held in the Welsh language. Kay-Suttleworth, the Secretary of the Council of Education noted that the commission would hold “an inquiry into the state of education in Wales, especially into the means afforded to the labouring classes of acquiring a knowledge of the English language”, that is, the language of commerce, higher education, government and law. Three deputies were appointed as investigators; R.R. W. Lingen, J. C. Symons and H. V. Johnson; their conclusions were later published in report form. With regards to education, many aspects were criticized by all deputies, including the poor quality of education provided by unqualified teachers, schools’ unsuitable locations and lack of facilities. Due to the ignorance and prejudices of the deputies these faults were over exaggerated slightly, in fact, education of the lower classes in England did not fare any better. Their comments concerning the immorality of Welsh women were highly controversial. Only six pages of the reports were devoted to these criticisms; however such remarks were discussed extensively by the national press, particularly the London papers. The reports were also seen as an attack on the Welsh language due to the deputies’ comments regarding its inferior status and that its use restricted the masses in terms of social prospects.

Jane Williams (Ysgafell) – Artegall or, Remarks on the Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (1848)

Jane Williams was a London-born historian and miscellaneous writer. She spent many years of her life in Brecon, Wales and as a result developed a friendship with the famous cultural sponsor and supporter Augusta Hall, or Lady Llanover. Thereafter Williams took a great interest in Welsh literature and learnt the language. She published several important volumes, yet ‘Artegall or, Remarks on the Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales’ was printed as an anonymous pamphlet. It examined the reliability of the witnesses called to give evidence for the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales. Williams stressed her disapproval of the generalisations made by the deputies throughout their investigations, proving that individuals of Anglican dissent were prepared to defend the Welsh people after the reports were published.

Evan Jones (Ieuan Gwynedd) – Facts, figures, and statements, of illustration of the dissent and morality of Wales: an appeal to the English people (1849)

Evan Jones, also known by his pen-name Ieuan Gwynedd, was a poet and pamphleteer. He was an avid supporter of the temperance movement and a dedicated Nonconformist. He defended Welsh nonconformity against the attacks of clergymen, and, more specifically, against the numerous criticisms noted by the Education Commissioners of 1847. His arguments, always strongly presented, were based on a careful preliminary study of the facts; as seen in his pamphlet ‘Facts, Figures, and Statements in Illustration of the Dissent and Morality of Wales: an Appeal to the English People’.

Robert Jones (R. J. Derfel) – Brad y Llyfrau Gleision (1854)

R. J. Derfel was a poet, writer and socialist. His play ‘Brad y Llyfrau Gleision’ or ‘The Treachery of the Blue Books’ was a direct reaction to the criticisms presented in the 1847 ‘Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales’, also referred to as ‘The Blue Books’. Derfel portrays Wales as an extremely godly country in his play, which makes it an intolerable destination for the demons. These demons however are excepting of Welsh clergymen, a group that provided most of the evidence used in the 1847 reports. Many Welsh clergymen were accused, mostly by devoted Nonconformists, of betrayal during the inquiry, and it’s no surprise that they are accepted by the occupants of hell. During the second act Beelzebub (prince of the demons) sends three spies to assess the state of the Welsh people, not dissimilar to the three deputies appointed to carry out the 1847 inquiry. The ‘Treachery’ however is committed by the Church goers and clergymen. Many, including Derfel, thought that their evidence enhanced and even fed The Blue Books’ anti-Welsh judgements. The play was inspired by the tale of the “Treachery of the Long Knives”.

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Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

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