history

The socialist submariner

March 19, 2017 0 Comments
The socialist submariner

My friend J. asked me the other day whether as a child I’d read stories set in schools.  I said I couldn’t recall reading any, despite being a greedy reader – unless you counted Tom Brown’s schooldays, a present from some well-intentioned aunt, which I found unreadable and never finished.  The only explanation I could […]

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George Ace, pioneer cyclist

March 13, 2017 0 Comments
George Ace, pioneer cyclist

Wandering among the memory theatres of Wales over the last year or two I’ve come across some fine institutions, some striking objects and some remarkable characters.  In Tenby Museum they remember the happily named George Ace, a distinguished figure from the heroic days of cycling. George Ace was born in 1861 and came from Swansea.  […]

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Y Garn Goch

February 27, 2017 0 Comments
Y Garn Goch

Bûm yna am y tro cyntaf rhywbryd tua diwedd y 1970au.  Cofiaf ddilyn y lôn gul, droellog o wastatir afon Tywi, i fyny’r rhiw o bentref Bethlehem, cyn parcio’r car ar droed y llwybr.  Cofiaf hefyd y waliau cerrig sychion yn amgylchynu’r ddau fryn, yn ddiamddiffyn i’r gwyntoedd o’r gorllewin – neu’n waeth, gwyntoedd dwyreiniol […]

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Turner at Ewenny: a political artist?

February 13, 2017 0 Comments
Turner at Ewenny: a political artist?

Recently I’ve been looking into the strange fate of Ewenny Priory at the time of its dissolution in the 1530s and 1540s.  Sooner or later anyone interested in the history of the priory can hardly escape an encounter with the remarkable watercolour of the church’s interior that JMW Turner painted in 1797, when he was […]

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Blwyddyn Chwedlau Cymru

January 29, 2017 0 Comments
Blwyddyn Chwedlau Cymru

I’r swyddogion yn Llywodraeth Cymru sy’n gyfrifol am baratoi cynlluniau i ddenu twristiaid i Gymru, mae ‘diwylliant’ Cymru yn broblem y mae hi bron yn amhosibl dod i afael â hi.  Y prawf diweddaraf o hynny yw’r ymgyrch bresennol Blwyddyn Chwedlau Cymru. Llynedd oedd ‘Blwyddyn Antur’, a ‘Blwyddyn y Môr’ oedd hi yn 2018: pynciau […]

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Against heritage

November 26, 2016 1 Comment
Against heritage

Having spent a big chunk of my adult life trying to help look after bits of it, I’ve developed a strong dislike, bordering on contempt, for the word ‘heritage’.  Why, I wonder?   Etymologically it’s an innocent enough word – something inherited, passed on from one individual or community or age to another. So what’s so […]

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Magnus Maximus, man and memory

November 21, 2016 2 Comments
Magnus Maximus, man and memory

Doing some research recently on the Roman fort and settlement of Segontium I found myself face to face with a Roman emperor, Magnus Maximus.  His story is interesting but not unusual.  Later memory of him, especially in his guise as Macsen Wledig, is singular. His face stares out of coins he had minted to cement […]

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Cribarth

November 13, 2016 0 Comments
Cribarth

It’s the morning of the Pumpkinification of Donald Trump.  Three of us have fled the bloggers, tweeters and trolls, to the head of Cwm Tawe.  We park in Ystradgynlais, near Ysgol Golwg y Cwm, and walk up to the track of the old Swansea Vale Railway.  This and the Brecon and Neath Railway it connects with […]

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Peter Lord’s ‘The Tradition’

October 8, 2016 0 Comments
Peter Lord’s ‘The Tradition’

In front of me is a copy of The artist in Wales, the first book to attempt a full conspectus of art in Wales, past and present.  It was written in 1957 by David Bell, when he was Curator of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.  It’s a drab volume, even taking into account the austere […]

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Generosity of a bookseller

September 11, 2016 2 Comments
Generosity of a bookseller

In Swansea institutions don’t get more crustily venerable than the Royal Institution of South Wales.  But people too can grow into institutions.  Jeff Towns, the first speaker in the RISW’s new season of talks, can’t deny that he too is a Swansea fixture.  True, he doesn’t go as far back as 1835, but since he […]

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